Security Market Segment LS
Sunday, 14 April 2019 09:12

Aussies choosing convenience over cyber safety, losing money and time each year to criminals


The results from the 2018 Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety have revealed some startlingly sober stats that Australians shouldn't ignore, given the money lost and time wasted in trying to recover from the very real threat of cyber crime.

Over the last year, Norton reports that "almost one in three Australians (30%) experienced cyber crime and 55% of the population say it is at least somewhat likely they will experience cyber crime in the next year.

"These are some of the key findings from the 2018 Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report, an online survey conducted in Australia by The Harris Poll in October 2018 among 1,002 adults 18+ and released today from Norton LifeLock.

"As a result of cyber crime in the past year, the average Aussie lost an estimated AU$240 and spent almost 7 hours (6.6 hours) trying to resolve the resulting issues, such as replacing devices or recovering lost files or money; with almost one in three (31%) needing a week or longer dealing with the problem.

"The Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report also estimates Australians lost 37 million hours and $1.3 billion as an impact of cyber crime in the past year."

So, what are the most common cyber crimes experienced by Australians?

These include:

  • 26% of people have detected malicious software on a computer, Wi-Fi network smartphone, tablet, smart home or other connected device.
  • 14% detected unauthorised access on an online banking of other financial account.
  • 12% detected unauthorised access on an email account.

In today’s connected world, Norton tells us that "businesses are prime targets for cyber attacks and unintentional missteps can result in critical exposure of consumers’ sensitive personal information. Nearly three in four (73%) Australians are more alarmed than ever about their privacy.

"As a nation, Australia does not have an overwhelming sense of trust in providers to manage and protect personal data with a mere one in five respondents trusting government (20%) and financial services (20%) a lot, and we have the least amount of trust in social media providers at only four%. In fact, one in five (17%) respondents have gone so far as to delete a social media account due to privacy concerns in the past 12 months.

"Conversely, Australians want control of their privacy, but without hassle or cost. Eighty-nine% of respondents claim they want to do more to protect their privacy, yet the majority will accept certain risks to their online privacy to make life more convenient (68%).

"Perhaps in the pursuit of convenience, respondents also claim they are willing to freely give or sell companies personal information such as identification information (15% would give for free, 19% would sell), internet search history (16% would give for free, 30% would sell) and location (19% would give for free, 32% would sell)."

In the age of information sharing, Norton explains that "control is now at the heart of society’s privacy paradox – from which organisations should have it, to what consequences organisations should face when it is mishandled. 98% of respondents claim it is an important requirement for organisations to give customers the ability to control how their personal data is used.

"Furthermore, 61% of respondents say it is absolutely essential for organisations to give consumers a way to report misuse of their personal data. Yet for many Australians, personal accountability for their own personal data is deterred by the pulling of a purse string, with the majority not willing to pay organisations to secure their personal data.

"In fact, less than one fifth of respondents (19%) are willing to pay a social media provider to ensure protection of personal information, ranking lower than retailers and online shopping sites (24%), healthcare providers and institutions (27%) and financial institutions (27%)."

What does Norton say are "best practices Australians can follow to help protect against online threats?"

These are:

  • Safeguard yourself: To help protect your devices and information from the latest online threats, use a robust multi-platform security solution, such as Norton Security Premium, and update it regularly.
  • Never open suspicious-looking emails: Cyber criminals send fake emails or texts that may look legitimate. The links in these emails or texts contain malicious software that can download malware and spyware. The software may be able to mine your computer for personal information, which is then sent to a remote computer where the attacker could sell the information on the dark web or use the information to commit identity theft.
  • Make use of a VPN on public Wi-Fi: Many public Wi-Fi connections are unencrypted. This could give cyber criminals a chance to snoop on data being sent and received by your device. If there are software vulnerabilities on your device, attackers can inject malware to help them gain access to your data. In some cases, attackers create fake Wi-Fi hotspots purporting to be legitimate networks.
  • Own your online presence: Carefully read the terms and conditions before opening an account or downloading an application, including social media accounts. Be sure to set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing.
  • Get two steps ahead and manage your passwords: Switch on two-step verification or multi-factor authentication wherever offered to prevent unauthorised access to your online accounts. Always change the default passwords to something strong and unique on your devices, services, and Wi-Fi networks.
  • Educate your child about online safety: Don’t just tell them to be careful online, show them how. Spend time with your child online and guide them through how to have a positive relationship with technology.
    Be cautious of over-sharing your child’s life on social media: You are creating your child’s digital identity. Ensure your social media posts present your child in a positive way.

Mark Gorrie, Territory Manager and Cyber Security expert for Norton by Symantec A/NZ said: “Our research shows that each Australian stands to lose hundreds of dollars each year as a result of cyber crime, with over half the population falling victim to its affects in their life time.

"The time is now for Australians to take proactive onus over their online identity and practice safe internet behaviours to protect themselves and their family in our increasingly digital world.

"Our cyber safety is inherently tied to trust, the transmission, collection, and storage of our personal information has never been greater than it is today. For the most part, Australians are aware that our data is being collected by websites, social media sites, our apps, and smart home devices.

"Yet many people don’t yet understand the value of their personal information, nor understand who is responsible for keeping it secure and confidential, putting themselves at risk of cyber crime.”

More about the real impact of cyber crime and how consumers can protect their privacy, identity, and digital information is available in the full report.


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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