2023 Norton Cyber Safety Report – the Wild, wild, web (www)

The 2023 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report paints an accurate but grim picture of consumer cyber safety. Some 595 million have experienced cybercrime. What is more disturbing is that 463 million of those happened in 2022!

Australia is at the top of the list – an incredible 8.3 million of us suffered from an astonishing 14% YoY increase in cybercrime. The average for other markets is around 5%. The top cyber threats were:

  • So-called detection of malware on your computer, home network, smartphone, tablet or other internet-connected device and victims allowing remote access to the device to fix it. 41%
  • Mobile SMS scams leading to visiting poisoned websites. 35%
  • Phishing using highly socially engineered email appeals. 30%
  • Extortion scams (so-called sextortion). 24%
  • Social media hacking. 23%
  • Email hacking. 20%
  • Ransomware. 13%
  • Dating Apps. 10%

Most use personal data from a data breach to gain unauthorised access to bank accounts, email etc.

Not surprisingly, 40% clicked on a poisoned link in an email or text and were convinced of its legitimacy via clever impersonations of real websites.

Depending on the severity, you can spend from a few hours to hundreds trying to get your money back or, at worst, resolve identity theft. In Australia, 41% (or 8.3 million) lost an average of $242, but some lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Identity Theft – it is the one to worry about

The 2023 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report found that about 15% had suffered identity theft. That is about 1 million in ANZ. 76% lost money and an extraordinary amount of time in getting new ID documents, credit cards, bank accounts, driver’s licences etc. Only 8% of Aussies managed to recover completely.

What is worse is that 32% did not know they had suffered ID Theft until too late – being notified by a bank, credit card company, debt collector etc.

How does ID Theft happen?

The 2023 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report says we willingly share too much online. Data comes from:

  • 36% Social media.
  • 31% banking app or website (keylogging).
  • 28% fake websites.
  • 27% responding to a Phishing email.
  • 23% responding to an SMS.
  • 20% on dating apps.

No wonder 70% of those surveyed are worried about ID Theft! What is worse is that they are unprepared to detect and avoid it.

  • 50% expected ID theft to happen to them.
  • 78% felt more vulnerable.
  • 55% felt they were well protected.
  • 74% don’t know how to check.
  • 60% don’t have a clue what to do if they experience ID Theft
  • 58% had not considered the possibility or even knew about ID Theft.

Dating scams

27% have fallen prey to an online dating scam. There are more wealthy Nigerian Princes and Arab Sheiks looking for love than you can poke a stick at. The tricks here are:

  • Catfishing
  • Finance scams
  • Intimate picture blackmail
  • Inheritance scams
  • Military romance
  • Stalking ex-partners (a whole other can of worms)

Never send money to an online romance – the chances they are real are ZERO.

What can you do?

Apart from being ultra-aware of the methods used by scammers and cybercriminals (which is very few of us), the key things are:

  • Stop sharing. Innocent posts like celebrating your birthday or anniversary are gold to scammers. Better still, delete social media accounts, especially those you seldom use.
  • Disguise your online presence using a pseudonym and junk email account.
  • If you have kids implement parental controls.
  • Check and tighten all default privacy settings in Windows, Android., macOS and iOS.
  • Ditto for web browsers
  • Use a Virtual Private Network for financial and secure transactions.
  • Strengthen passwords and use multi-factor authentication.
  • Use Anonymous payment methods like PayPal that do not expose your credit card details or get a junk credit card with a low limit for online use.
  • Never click on a link. Always go to the company’s website and log in.
  • Use email encryption (Gmail and Outlook have this option).
  • Lock your letterbox.
  • Shred anything paper with personal details, even just your address.

The list goes on, but despite every article, there is still over 30% who have done nothing – that is about as much protection as a knitted condom.

And a staggering 74% accept certain risks to online privacy to make their life more convenient. In other words, they have not read the privacy policies and take a risk.

What software can help protect you?

Norton’s report is sobering reading, and one may say it is to justify Norton’s products. As a long-term IT journalist, I can safely say that its research is altruistic and only helps raise the issues we can report on.

While 58% of Aussies have anti-virus/malware protection on their computers or smartphones, most don’t know that you can get software that disguises your digital footprint and disables trackers on your devices. And very few (72%) know that you can get a dark web monitoring service to see what personal information is out there.

Norton Identity Advisor and Plus – full details

Norton 360 Platinum (includes Norton Identity Adviser Standard)

  • Device Security – Advanced security with antivirus
  • SafeCam for PC – alerts you when the camera is accessed Z(not macOS)
  • Password Manager
  • PC Cloud backup (not macOS)
  • School Time – manages remote learning over the internet
  • Secure VPN
  • Dark Web Monitoring
  • Social Media Monitoring
  • Restoration Support in case of identity theft.
  • For up to 20 devices.
  • New for the second half of 2023. Price TBA
2023 Norton Cyber Safety