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India tops APAC ransomware table with £2.5 BEELLION losses

Norton stats show rich pickings for criminals in the sub-continent

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India has the dubious honour of being named as the ransomware capital of Asia Pacific, with online crime costing the country an estimate $4bn (£2.5bn) in 2012, according to Symantec.

Stats released by the security giant as part of its Norton Report 2013 found that India is among the world’s top five countries for identity theft (11 per cent), ransomware (11 per cent) and phishing (9 per cent).

Half of the adults surveyed by Symantec said they had experienced online crime in the past 12 months, with the global average at 41 per cent, although the average cost per victim ($207) was below a worldwide average of $298.

The stats paint a picture of a country with an increasingly tech-hungry populous but one which is guilty of some rather risky behaviour online, especially when it comes to mobile.

Nearly two-thirds said they had experienced mobile cyber crime in the past 12 months, much higher than a global average of 38 per cent, with nearly half not aware that security products for smartphones and tablets exist.

Some 60 per cent said they use public or unsecured Wi-Fi, with large numbers doing so to send personal emails, access social media accounts and even do online banking.

The report also highlighted deficiencies with BYOD, with 52 per cent of respondents saying their company has no policy on the use of personal devices at work.

The study chimes with previous reports which point to cyber criminals enjoying rich pickings in India.

Last July the country came first in Sophos’ global list of top spam-relaying countries, accounting for 11.4 per cent of junk emails despite being home to only 5.3 per cent of the world’s internet users.

Symantec pointed out that advanced targeted attacks have risen in the sub-continent from 77 per day in 2010 to 82 per day by the end of 2011 – and are especially aimed at SMBs with low information security awareness.

It goes right to the top too – in December 2012 it was revealed that over 10,000 email addresses belonging to senior government and military officials had been compromised.

New Delhi’s response to the growing online threat has not always been as focused as it should.

In January it emerged that the government was hoping to improve the country’s cyber security preparedness by including a security awareness brochure with all desktop PCs, mobile phones and USB modems. ®

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