ESET Ireland’s latest survey reveals 22 per cent of Irish have already lost money to cybercrime, which could mean they have suffered up to €300 Million of financial loss because of it.
Everyone knows virus infections occur, cards get abused, scams happen. But the prevailing sentiment is still that it’s something that happens rarely and it’s primarily just a nuisance. ESET Ireland’s latest survey reveals it has likely happened to someone you know and it actually cost them money.
Cyber-threats can incur financial damage in many ways. From the costs of having an infected computer repaired, or having your credit card abused online, to the recent wave of ransomware infections, which lock your files and demand a ransom to unlock them.
ESET Ireland commissioned a survey in October, carried out by Amárach Research on a thousand Irish adults, which asked whether they ever suffered financial loss and how much, because of cyber-threats, consisting of repairing an infected computer, having their credit/debit card abused, being victim of an online/phone/text scam or a target of hacking, etc.
While 78% said they suffered no loss (or didn’t use a computer), the 22% who did, which is nearly one in four people, represent a very significant percentage. With 9% having lost up to €50 and the Irish population currently being at about 3,5 Million adults (the survey only covered the adult population), this translates into 315000 people having lost up to a total of over €15 Million just for the first group! And if we add up all the numbers and losses of all others, from the top 9% to the bottom 1% who lost over €3000 (if 10 out of 1000 told us they lost over €3000, in the whole of Ireland that could mean 35000 people with a total of over €105 Million in costs?), the final statistical estimate of Irish direct and indirect cyber-crime damages could be beyond €300 Million.
The demographic breakdown is also interesting. Dublin and the rest of Leinster seem to be the safest, with 19% having suffered losses, while Connaught and Ulster seem hardest hit, with 30% having lost money already. Females and the older generation seem to be more cautious, with 20% females versus 24% of males and the older age group of 45-54 with 19% versus the younger group of 25-34 with 27% having suffered financial consequences of their online activities. In one of our previous surveys we have found out that 54% of Irish computer users have already suffered a malware infection, 15% had their credit/debit card abused, and 14% were victims of online or phone scams.
All these numbers should really convince people to start taking computer security a bit more seriously, as a survey we did on online behaviour actually revealed the situation has decreased in the last 2 years!
What to do?
- Keep your system and your antivirus software patched and up to date.
- Don’t open suspicious files, go to suspicious websites or download suspicious pirated materials, and particularly if your antivirus warns you you’re about to open something dangerous, do take its warning seriously. Think before you click!
- Be very careful with your online banking and credit card information, if you’re unsure of anything you’ve received online, just ring your bank and ask!
- Stay informed about latest threats (on blogs like ours), so you know what to avoid. Bad guys that are after YOUR money are always thinking up new ways to scam you.