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More than 2.5m UAE consumers hit by cyber crime in the last year

More than 2.5m UAE consumers hit by cyber crime in the last year

Despite the increasing number of attacks, consumers indicated they were willing to continue risky online behaviour

More than 2.53 million consumers in the UAE were victims of online crime in the past year, according to a new survey.

Symantec-owned antivirus firm Norton said $1.4bn and 31.5 hours per person had been spent dealing with the consequences of cyber attacks in the country but the consumers affected were likely to continue risky behaviour.

In its survey of 21,000 people including 883 in the UAE, the company found 68 per cent were aware of the need to activity protect their information online but were still willing to click links or open attachments from senders they did not know.

Among UAE consumers, 53 per cent of Millenials said they had experienced online crime in the last year. Men, at 52 per cent, and frequent travellers (50 per cent) were also likely to report higher instances of cybercrime.

Nearly a third of respondents also said they had problems identifying fake emails, known as phishing attacks, and 39 per cent failed to identify them in testing.

“Our findings show that people are growing increasingly aware of the need to protect their personal information online, but aren’t motivated to take adequate precautions to stay safe,” said Tamim Taufiq, head of Norton Middle East.

“While consumers remain complacent, hackers are refining their skills and adapting their scams to further take advantage of people, making the need for consumers to take some action increasingly important.”

In other parts of the survey, 49 per cent of consumers said it was harder to stay safe and secure online than in the physical world.

In addition, 59 per cent said entering their financial information online when connected to public Wi-Fi was riskier than reading their credit card number out loud.

But many indicated risky online behaviours including a willingness to click on links from unknown senders (30 per cent), sharing their passwords with others (31 per cent) and did not see any danger with using the same passwords across accounts (31 per cent)

One in five (21 per cent) also had at least one unprotected device and 23 per cent said they were willing to install a third party programme to gain access to public Wi-Fi.

Due to consumer complacency, risky online habits and sharing passwords 420,000 more consumers in the UAE were affected by cybercrime in the last year, according to Norton.

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