Symantec: Nearly Two-Thirds of Users Hit by Cyber-Crime

A global survey of 7,000 users found that 65 percent had been victimized by some sort of cyber-crime, from having their machine infected with malware to online identity theft.

A new survey by Symantec shows cyber-crime may be more prevalent than some think - and users are not happy about it.

According to "The Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact" 65 percent of about 7,000 users globally that were surveyed reported falling victim to cyber-crimes ranging from online credit card fraud to having their machines infected with malware. In the United States that figure was 73 percent. China led the way with 83 percent, while Brazil and India were tied at 76 percent.

After being victimized, 58 percent of respondents globally said their strongest reaction was anger, while 40 percent reported it was feeling cheated. Underlying this is the apparently widespread belief that cyber-criminals will escape justice. Nearly 80 percent said they doubted such criminals would be caught, and the vast majority of victims blame themselves for being tricked by online scams and malware attacks (77 percent and 73 percent, respectively).

"We all pay for cybercrime, either directly or through pass-along costs from our financial institutions," said Adam Palmer, Norton lead cyber security advisor, in a statement. "Cyber-criminals purposely steal small amounts to remain undetected, but all of these add up. If you fail to report a loss, you may actually be helping the criminal stay under the radar."

According to the report, it takes a global average of 28 days to resolve a cyber-crime, at an average cost of $334. Fewer than half of the victims surveyed reported the crime to police.

Despite the threat, many users apparently have no plans to make any changes to their own behavior online. In fact, just 51 percent said they would change their behavior if they became a victim. Three percent of those surveyed feel cyber-crime won't happen to them.

Ironically, 24 percent of respondents overall believe it's legal or perfectly okay to secretly view someone else's e-mails or browser history. A third said they have used a fake online identity.

"People resist protecting themselves and their computers because they think it's too complicated," said Anne Collier, co-director of and editor of, who collaborated with Norton on the study, in a statement. "But everyone can take simple steps, such as having up-to-date, comprehensive security software in place. In the case of online crime, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure."