Cybercrime cost Canadians $3 billion in the last 12 months, up from $1.4 billion the year before, according to a new report.

According to the 2013 Norton Report released by U.S.-based software security maker Symantec Corp., an estimated 7 million people in Canada have been victims of cybercrime in the past 12 months. The average cost of cybercrime per victim is roughly $380.  

Globally, the cost of cybercrime has risen to US$113 billion, or just under US$300 per victim, according to the report.

The report’s authors surveyed more than 13,000 people in about two dozen countries around the world, and found that cyber attacks and “risky” information sharing habits are increasingly common.

The rise in cybercrime, which includes everything from unauthorized computer access to identity theft, has been linked to increased use of mobile devices and open Wi-Fi networks.

“The move to mobile is really one of the core findings that we’ve seen and as people have tablets and smartphones, that’s where the cybercriminals are going,” Symantec Canada director of consumer solutions Lynn Hargrove told CTV’s Canada AM Wednesday.

Hargrove said people are not securing their mobile devices as widely as laptops and desktops, which are more likely to have anti-virus and anti-malware software.

According to the 2013 Norton Report, 60 per cent of mobile users in Canada aren’t aware of the existence of security programs for their smartphones and tablets.

Only 25 per cent of smartphone users have basic free security software and 32 per cent of them have experienced cybercrime in the past 12 months.

Hargrove offered some tips for mobile device users:

  • Always password-protect your smartphone and tablet
  • Download security software on all your mobile devices
  • Don’t shop or do your banking online while using a free Wi-Fi network in a coffee shop or elsewhere

Hargrove said the report showed that 50 per cent of people are sleeping within the reach of their mobile phone, “so it’s part of your everyday life now.

“It’s really an extension of who you are.”