Why Do People Who Get Malware Also Get Mugged?

Why Do People Who Get Malware Also Get Mugged?

Here’s an odd statistic: according to the Norton Cybercrime Report, if you’ve experienced an online crime in the last year, you’re more likely to have also been the victim of a real world crime. While 9 per cent of people who haven’t managed to suffer identify theft or a virus had been a victim of burglary, robbing or violence, that figure jumps to 17 per cent for people who has been victims of electronic crimes.

Picture by cometstarmoon

Correlation doesn’t imply causation, but I couldn’t resist asking Norton’s internet safety advocate Marian Merritt why she thought there was such a difference. Her answer: “Clearly these people aren’t taking enough care in their real-world interactions and it carries over in their online world.”

The report covered 20,000 people, including 800 in Australia. While the top three online crimes worldwide were viruses, scams and phishing, in Australia the top three were viruses, online credit card fraud and hacking of a social networking profile. While that suggests we’re ahead of the curve when it comes to using and abusing social networking and online banking, the fact that viruses top the charts suggests that people are not following even basic security precautions. Still.


  • To an extent this is a very interesting statistic. I would love to read the report fully.

    I know a few people who have been mugged and have malware.

    I know a few people who have No malware and have been mugged

    I know a few people who have malware and have not been mugged.

    And then there is ME. NO malware never been mugged. I guess that makes me smart :)!!!!

  • If you are robbed of your wallet with a credit card, and that stolen card is used to buy stuff online that might get counted under “online credit card fraud”. Similarly, being robbed of a smartphone could open the social networking hacks.

  • Here’s the link for Australia.


    Interesting to see that globally, Australians seem to rank highly in both deleting suspicious emails and learning from our mistakes.

    Interesting then that we also suffer almost 500% the cost of resolving cyber crime as US victims, and 200% for global average. If that’s loss to victims or cost of law enforcement isn’t made clear (not that I could see – it’s probably in the full report but I only looked at the national summary sheets).

    This would be interesting to know. Are we being ripped off the most, or are we spending the most on solving cyber crime?

  • My guess here is that the correlation is more to do with what it takes for a person to report that they’ve been victims of a “crime”. I think there are people for whom it takes a less serious action to report in this survey.

    For example, consider these two situations. (a) You leave your Facebook open at work, and a collegue writes “I’m stupid!” as your status. (b) You leave your wallet on the bus, but notice as soon as you get off. You run and catch up with the bus, but when you get back on, someone has taken your wallet off the seat.

    Someone with a high “likelihood to report crime” might report that both of these situations are “crimes”; while someone with a low “likelihood to report crime” might laugh them both off as unfortunate instances, but nor report in a survey that they’ve been a victim of a “crime”.

    I think that this sort of mediating factor is much more likely to produce the correlation than any real world diffence in online vs real world risk taking.

  • It is simpler than that. People who get most malware are non-tech inclined people, non-geeks, non-nerds; i.e. people who “have a life” in the cliché sense. These people tend to spend more time out in the open, go out at night, etc. Hence they’re more likely to get mugged than a nerd who spends all day in front of the computer.
    I’m sorry to disappoint you, but that’s clearly the explanation.

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