Most cybervictims blame themselves

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Feel guilty and stupid about being hit by cybercrime? You're not alone. Almost as many victims feel guilty as angry, according to a report from Symantec.

The survey found that 65 percent of internet users worldwide have been hit by some type of cybercrime, including computer viruses, online credit card fraud and identity theft. In the US, it's a whacking 73 percent, and the Chinese fare even worse, with 83 percent of internet users having fallen victim.

But the main focus of the report was how people feel about it. And the study, called The Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact found  that victims’ strongest reactions are feeling angry (58 percent), annoyed (51 percent) and cheated (40 percent).

"I was emotionally and financially unprepared because I never thought I would be a victim of such a crime. I felt violated, as if someone had actually come inside my home to gather this information, and as if my entire family was exposed to this criminal act," said Todd Vinson of Chicago.

"Now I can't help but wonder if other information has been illegally acquired and just sitting in the wrong people’s hands, waiting for an opportunity to be used."

Nearly 80 percent said they didn't expect cybercriminals to be brought to justice, and fewer than half reported the incident to the police.

"We accept cybercrime because of a 'learned helplessness'," said Dr Joseph LaBrie, associate professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University. "It’s like getting ripped off at a garage – if you don’t know enough about cars, you don’t argue with the mechanic. People just accept a situation, even if it feels bad."

Unfortunately, many of these same people think it's perfectly okay to perpetrate minor online crimes themselves. Nearly half of the people surveyed thought it was legal to download a single music track, album or movie without paying, for example. Twenty-four percent believed it was legal or perfectly acceptable to secretly view someone else’s emails or browser history.