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In terms of cybersecurity, South Africa is dramatically safer than the United Kingdom and the United States. This, according to a new Surfshark study of the top ten countries found to have the most cybercrime.
Surfshark, a cybersecurity company, found that on a year-to-year basis South Africa had the lowest rise in cybercrimes. The UK tops the list of cybercrime hotspots followed by the US, Canada and Australia.
Agneska Sablovskaja, a data researcher at Surfshark, says, “Compared to 2020, 8% more people fell victim to cybercrimes globally, whereas in the UK, this number grew by 40%. Therefore, it is vital to invest in people’s practical knowledge and education, which is one of the most important factors in developing the ability to cope with online threats.”
Witnessing this problem, Surfshark developed a data vulnerability thermometer that gives users their risk score, possible specific cybercrimes, and prevention tactics depending on the data points selected. It also contains descriptions, typology, tips, and statistics of 20 different internet crime offenses aimed at individual users.
The Surfshark study also found South Africa had just 52 victims per 1 million internet users. This is almost 92 times less than the list-leading UK with 4 783 victims per 1 million internet users.
This is a dramatic decrease after South Africa showed the sharpest cybercrime density rise of 277% in the previous year. Of all the countries measured, phishing continues to be the most common cybercrime for the third year in a row, while investment fraud had the highest financial impact on its victims.
“As more of our lives become digital, the chances of falling victim to online crimes grow every year. Since 2001, the online crime victim count increased by 17 times, and financial losses grew more than 400 times, from $2,000 to $788,000 losses per hour,” explains Vytautas Kaziukonis, chief executive of Surfshark.
“Inevitably, the privacy and cybersecurity landscape will change rapidly over the next several years. Now is a good time to focus on personal cybersecurity hygiene to stay safer online.”
Meanwhile, Mexico ranked at the end of the list with 16 victims per 1 million users and a 14% rise compared to 2020. The US, Australia, Greece, and Germany saw a decline in cybercrime density, with Greece facing a sharp 75% drop. Nevertheless, all of the countries, except Germany, rank in the top five of the list.
What are the most popular cybercrimes?
According to Surfshark’s study, phishing continues to be the most common cybercrime for the second year in a row. In 2020, there were a total of 241,343 phishing victims. However, on average, phishing victims lost the least amount of money ($136 per victim), while people who fell victim to investment fraud lost the most ($70 811 per victim on average).
At the same time, investment fraud had the highest financial impact in total on its victims.
People lost about $1,5 billion this way in 2021. That year the least impactful online crime was the Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. Only around 1 000 victims reported this crime with an average loss of $197.
“As the geopolitical tensions grow, we might see more cyber warfare and 0day spyware similar to Pegasus,” explains Aleksandr Valentij, security officer at Surfshark.
In total, cybercrime claimed at least 6,502,323 victims and $26 billion in losses over the 21-year period.