Over 9 million UK Internet users have had their accounts hacked. Of them, 8% of the population explained that they have lost money in 2012 due to cybercrime. Online security experts pointed out that it was quite surprising that 2.3% of the population reported losing over £10,000 to Internet fraudsters.
According to the survey, about 18% of the respondents had experienced attempts to break into their Internet accounts, including email, Internet banking, gaming and social media. 30% of them said it had happened more than once. The researchers revealed that people aged 55 to 64 were least likely to be targeted by cyber criminals – the rate was around 11%, perhaps because they are more care more about security. More than 25% of people aged 18 to 24 have become a victim of cyber attack.
92% of respondents said they had lost nothing in 2012 due to any kind of cybercrime. However, over 3% of more than 1,500 surveyed had lost up to £100, another 2.5% complained they had lost up to £10,000, and 2% claimed to have lost over £10,000.
For comparison, back in 2011, a British government claimed that the overall cost to the economy was £27 billion per year, of which identity theft accounted for £1.7 billion and Internet scams and ripoffs – another £1.4 billion. According to the report, the main loser was UK business, which lost £21 billion due to high levels of IP theft and industrial espionage.
In the meantime, now the social media revolution had changed the way hackers do their job. They explain that a computer virus which used to steal credit card information now creates bogus Instagram “likes” that could be used to generate buzz for someone. Fake “likes” are sold in batches on online hacker forums. For example, one can get 1,000 Instagram followers for $15 and 1,000 Instagram “likes” for $30, while 1,000 credit card numbers cost only $6. Apparently, cyber crime has a clear impact on the lives of average British citizens, with their accounts and credentials being compromised, perhaps even multiple times.