Consumers lost $19.4 billion to cybercriminals in 2017

Millennials may be the most connected generation yet, but that doesn’t mean they’re the smartest when it comes to keeping their data safe. According to a new report by cybersecurity firm Symantec (SYMC), makers of Norton antivirus software, 69% of those from the social-media generation fell victim to a cybercrime in 2017 in the U.S. alone.

Millennials were not the only ones duped by criminals. Everyone from Baby Boomers to Gen X’ers were impacted by cybercrime last year. All told, Symantec’s 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report indicates that more than one half of the adult internet population in the U.S., or roughly 143 million people, were hit by some form of malware, virus, spyware or phishing scam in the past year.

Globally, that number jumps to a whopping 978 million internet users who were hit by tech savvy criminals looking to score an easy buck. And score they did. Symantec says U.S. consumers lost $19.4 billion and about 20 hours of time dealing with the impact of cybercrime. That amount jumps to $172 billion when you take the rest of the world into account.

Of course, it makes sense that many of those losses were the result of consumers making some very basic missteps in securing their data. For instance, the report claims that 60% of U.S. users who were struck by criminals shared at least one of their passwords for their devices or online accounts with another person. That’s a cardinal sin in the church of cybersecurity.

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Stop sharing your Netflix password with everyone you know. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

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