A new survey has revealed that the number of cybercrime victims grew 10% globally in 2015 as hackers exploited vulnerabilities to sneak into homes via connected devices.
Norton by Symantec surveyed 20,907 consumers online in 21 countries, finding that 689 million people were victims of cybercrime in the past year.
While 76% of consumers know they must actively protect their information online, 44% felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data they are now responsible for protecting.
The report revealed that consumers are still sharing passwords and undertaking other risky behaviors with 35% having at least one unprotected device. These lax practices leave devices vulnerable to ransomware, malicious websites, zero days and phishing attacks.
Over six in 10 (62%) consumers said they believe connected home devices were designed with online security in mind.
Symantec researchers, however, found security vulnerabilities in 50 different connected home devices ranging from smart thermostats to smart hubs that could make devices easy targets for attacks.
Half of consumers said it has become difficult to stay safe online than in the real world in the past five years.
Six in ten (61%) said they believe the online entry of financial data when connected to public Wi-Fi poses a significant risk when compared to reading their credit or debit card number aloud in a public place.
Almost half of parents (48%) believe their children are more likely to be bullied online than on a playground, compared to only 23% in 2015.
The report said 35% of millennials are happy to share passwords that compromise their online safety.
Over one in three consumers never connect to a Wi-Fi network using VPN, which can potentially enable a hacker to steal information as it travels on the network.
Symantec Norton Business Unit executive vice president Fran Rosch “Our findings show that people are growing increasingly aware of the need to protect their personal information online, but aren’t motivated to take adequate precautions to stay safe.
“While consumers remain complacent, hackers are refining their skills and adapting their scams to further take advantage of people, making the need for consumers to take some action increasingly important.”