More than a quarter of people online have lied about their name and more than one in five has done something online they regret, says a new report. The behavioural and psychological impacts of online life are outlined in a report from the security firm Norton. The report suggests that two-thirds of web users have been hit by cybercrime, with the costs and time to resolve the crime varying widely around the world. But a large amount of online dishonesty came from the respondents themselves.
Seventeen percent of respondents to Norton's survey had lied online about thier age or where they live, while nine percent lied about their financial or relationship status - all more than the fraction that lied about their appearance (7%).
The study, "Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact", reveals telling details not only about the proportion of web users struck by cybercrime, but the disparity among countries as to the costs to each cybercrime victim.
In the UK, 59% of respondents have been victimised; on average, the respondents' "most recent experience with cybercrime" required 25 days to resolve, at a cost to them of $153 (£99).
While the corresponding times in Brazil and India were both significantly higher at 43 and 44 days respectively, the costs were vastly different.
Brazil had the highest cost among the countries surveyed, at $1408 (£907), while in India it was just $114 (£73).
Sweden had the quickest average resolution time, at just nine days and at a cost on average of $178. More telling perhaps are the attitudes of survey respondents with regard to the ethics of their own behaviour.
Many felt it was "legal" to download a music track, album, or film without paying (17,14 and 15% respectively), and 17% view plagiarism as an acceptable practice.
Nearly a third had e-mailed or posted pictures of someone else without permission, and a quarter had secretly viewed someone else's browsing history.
Orla Cox, a security operations manager for Symantec, told BBC News that she was unsurprised about the survey's findings on the respondents' honesty.
"A lot of people, while they want to get information about other people on the web, they themselves would like to remain somewhat anonymous, to hide some of their own information so as to be not too easily identifiable on the web," she said.
"I don't think it's always a bad thing but certainly people are trying to create a whole different identity for themselves for nefarious purposes." (BBC)