A Third of All Americans Hacked in the Past Year

September 13, 2016, Written By Bill Hardekopf
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More than one-third of Americans (37%) experienced a computer virus, hack or other cyber attack in the past 12 months, according to a recent study. The most common attacks were viruses (69%).

Of those who had been hacked, 42% were between the ages of 18 and 24. Only 22% were over the age of 70.

These attacks were costly to consumers. The nationwide survey, conducted by Zogby Analytics on behalf of HSB Insurance company, found the victims often had to spend money to recover. In 23% of the cases, victims spent between $1,000 and $5,000, while 56% spent less than $500. Usually, the costs were associated with restoring data and purchasing software.

The attacks themselves had associated costs as well. 18% of those surveyed faced online fraud, which led to the theft of money or property. 26% of those attacks hit young consumers (ages 18 to 29), compared to 11% of those over 65. Even though younger people were more often targeted, older adults were more concerned with online fraud (45% of those over 50 vs. 37% of those 18 to 29).

Many victims also had to pay hackers to regain access to their devices and encrypted data. 11% of the respondents had been the victims of cyber extortion, and 71% of these incidents involved demands for money. More than half (53%) of the victims refused to pay, while others (15%) paid four or more times.

“Consumers rely on smartphones, personal computers and tablets for virtually every aspect of their lives,” said Timothy Zeilman, vice president and counsel for HSB. “Their personal information is stored online and increasingly their home systems are connected to the Internet. The threat to cyber security for individuals and families is significant and growing.”



The information contained within this article was accurate as of September 13, 2016. For up-to-date
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