Alarge number of Indian adults have experienced cybercrime, including identity theft, in the past 12 months, a report by cybersecurity firm NortonLifeLock said on Monday.

The sixth annual Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report said 59 per cent of Indian adults have experienced cybercrime in the past 12 months and cybercrime victims collectively spent 1.3 billion hours trying to resolve these issues.

The report, conducted in partnership with The Harris Poll, surveyed more than 10,000 adults in 10 countries including 1,000 adults in India.

As per the report, many of the Indian adults who detected unauthorised access to an account or device in the past 12 months felt angry or stressed, scared, vulnerable or powerless after the incident. While 52 per cent turned to their friends for help, 47 per cent contacted the company that the account was hacked from for help resolving the issue.

''In a year of lockdowns and restrictions, cybercriminals have not been deterred. More Indian adults fell victim to identity theft in the past 12 months and most are concerned about data privacy,'' NortonLifeLock Director Sales and Field Marketing (India and SAARC Countries) Ritesh Chopra said.

He added that while the report suggests that many Indian consumers (90 per cent) are taking proactive steps to safeguard their data, 2 in 5 still feel it is impossible to protect their privacy (42 per cent) in this age or say they don't know how to do so (42 per cent).

''It is therefore crucial for consumers to seek expert advice and take active measures to safeguard their online privacy,'' he said.

The report found 70 per cent respondents in India believed that remote work has made it much easier for hackers and cybercriminals to take advantage of people. About two-thirds (66 per cent) said they are more worried than ever before of being a victim of a cybercrime.

Similarly, 63 per cent of Indian adults reported that they feel more vulnerable to cybercrime than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic began. ''Over 2 in 5 Indian consumers (45 per cent) have experienced identity theft, with 14 per cent impacted in the past year alone (up from 10 per cent in 2019), which means over 27 million Indian adults experienced identity theft in the past 12 months,'' the report said.

Most Indian adults are concerned about data privacy (75 per cent) and want to do more to protect it (77 per cent), it added. '

'In fact, 76 per cent are proactively looking for better ways to protect their privacy and 9 in 10 (90 per cent) have taken steps to protect their online activities and personal information, nearly three-quarters of whom (74 per cent) say they have done so due to changes in lifestyles and work environment since the pandemic began,'' the report said. Some of the most common steps taken are making passwords stronger (43 per cent) and limiting information shared on social media (36 per cent).