National Cyber Security Alliance and McAfee Release New Cybercrime Data for National Cyber Security Awareness MonthNearly One in Five Americans Report Being Victimized Online
WASHINGTON – Nearly one in five Americans report being victim to a crime that was committed over the Internet, according to a survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and McAfee. October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, a coordinated national effort focusing on the need for improved online safety and security for all Americans and the study examines one of the month’s focal topics: cybercrime and law enforcement.
Of those surveyed, 17 percent say they have been a victim of a crime that was committed over the Internet such as identity theft, data theft, bullying or auction fraud, and 29 percent know someone who has been a victim of such crimes. One in five Americans also had contact with someone on the Internet who made them feel uncomfortable through persistent emails, stalking, or in other various ways.
When asked what puts Americans most at risk of a cybercrime or a loss of personal information the largest number of respondents, one-third (30 percent) said they believe connecting to an unsecured wireless network puts them most at risk while 22 percent said not having any or enough security software. Additionally, Americans’ top two concerns while using the Internet include: identity theft (41 percent) and someone hacking into their (or their family’s) financial information (13 percent).
The most cited concern for parents is adult sexual content, with 39 percent stating this is their biggest source of worry. Additionally, 27 percent of parents report the potential for their child to make contact with strangers when they are online is their biggest point of concern. Other concerns identified include bullying or harassment from peers (ten percent); identity theft (nine percent) – which is continuing to grow as an issue; portrayals of drug or alcohol use (three percent); long-term damage to their child’s reputation (two percent).
“The Internet is an incredible resource for connecting with people but as we conduct more of our lives online, we must remain mindful that there are bad actors using it to track, harass or make unwanted contact, and these criminals are more resourceful than ever,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “This data supports an ever-increasing need for online users to be vigilant in their actions each day. Working together, we can provide Americans with the tools and information they need to practice safe online behaviors during October and throughout the year.”
NCSA continues to work with leading companies in the cyber industry to determine best practices for users to stay safe online. Roland Cloutier, vice president and chief security officer of ADP added, “Our goal is to shine a spotlight on cybercrime issues, and provide consumers, parents, and the law enforcement community with an engaging dialogue, tools and practical advice to protect against this growing problem. All Internet users must be educated to recognize cyber threats and how to take ongoing action to protect ourselves and our digital infrastructure from victimization.”
Tom Kellermann, U.S. vice president of cybersecurity at TrendMicro, said: “The threats posed by cybercrime are very real and can impact every person and organization across the United States and around the world. By working together, we can learn how to prevent these acts to provide a safer community for all. We’re proud to work together with the National Cyber Security Alliance this month and throughout the year to spread the word about steps we can all take to protect ourselves and our youth online.”
NCSA is also continuing to work with local law enforcement and cybercrime organizations to help facilitate an increased awareness and uncover best practices with handling cybercrime issues. An example of such collaboration includes an event today in conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month. NCSA board members and executives will join officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service, local law enforcement and others in Miami, FL to discuss cybercrime issues such as credit card skimming, data breaches, viruses and malware and best practices with handling such crimes.
In addition to the research study and today’s cybercrime focused event, NCSA is also introducing new collateral for victims of cybercrime. These resources include a pamphlet entitled, “If You Become a Victim of Cybercrime” and a coordinating brochure on tips and advice that were created with input from the National Sheriffs’ Association and International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The publications are targeted to victims of malicious acts and detail the realities of cybercrime, how to report cybercrime and who to contact, how to collect and keep evidence of victimization, information on specific types of cybercrime, and additional links for information. These materials can be found at: http://www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/protect-your-personal-information/id-theft-and-fraud.
NCSA also advises all Internet users to access the Web using these three simple steps: STOP. THINK. CONNECT. All Internet users should take security measures, understand the consequences of their behavior and actions and enjoy the benefits of the Internet. Here are some additional tips and advice:
For additional information on how to prevent cybercrime before it happens, check out the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Campaign at http://stopthinkconnect.org/tips-and-advice/. NCSAM supporters can get the latest news and updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/staysafeonline and on Twitter at @StaySafeOnline. The official Twitter hashtag of NCSAM is #ncsam. The National Cyber Security Awareness Month Web Portal is also available at: http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/ and a calendar of additional NCSAM events can be found at: http://staysafeonline.org/ncsam/events.
NCSA also welcomes organizations to show their support for NCSAM by becoming an official NCSAM Champion and submitting their registration at: http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/champions/.
About The National Cyber Security Alliance
About STOP. THINK. CONNECT.
Tola St. Matthew-Daniel