Security Market Segment LS
Tuesday, 24 November 2015 11:18

Cybercrime costs Australians A$1.2 billion in just one year Featured

Cybercrime costs Australians A$1.2 billion in just one year Image courtesy of Stuart Miles,

Cybercrime cost Australians more than $1.2 billion over the past year, with around four million Aussie Internet users impacted by online crime.

A new report just released by Norton by Symantec reveals that Australians lost an average of 14 hours and $325 per person dealing with the impact of cybercrime.

Nearly 9 out of 10 (90%) of those surveyed worried they will be a victim of online crime, and 66% believing it is more likely their credit card information will be stolen online than from their wallets.

There was also an emotional impact and toll from cyber attacks, with victims saying they’d be devastated if their financial information was compromised.

Mark Gorrie, Director, Norton by Symantec, Pacific region said credit card fraud and online extortion continue to be one of the biggest issues affecting Australians online.

“Alarmingly, Australia ranks as the eighth most impacted country in the world by ransomware, with victims being asked to pay on average a ransom of $420-$700 with no guarantee their files will be freed.”

“Consumer confidence has also been rocked by the number of mega breaches that exposed the identities of millions of people who were making routine purchases from well-known retailers.

“Our findings demonstrate that the headlines rattled people’s trust in mobile and online activity, but it hasn’t led to widespread adoption of simple protection measures people should take to safeguard their devices and information online.”

And, according to Norton by Symantec, despite concern and awareness of cybercrime, consumers are overconfident in their online security behaviours.

Gorrie said that when asked to grade their security practices, consumers consistently award themselves a solid ‘A’, but in reality, most are not passing the most basic requirement of online security password use. In Australia:

•     Less than half (47%) always use a secure password – a combination of at least eight letters, numbers and symbols

•    People are sharing passwords to sensitive accounts with friends and family. Of those sharing passwords, nearly one in three (27%) share their banking account password, and on average they are sharing passwords for two accounts, with the most common passwords shared being email (55%) and social media (38%)

•    Women are also more likely to share their passwords over men (23%).

Other key findings of the survey of Australian consumers reveal that:

•    Less than half (40%) are confident they know what to do if there were affected by online crime

•    More than one in four (26%) of millennials think they aren’t “interesting enough” to be a target of online crime, despite 49% experiencing online crime
•    Just under half of Australian consumers (44%) think that storing their credit/banking information in the cloud is riskier than not wearing a seatbelt.

And, here are some tips from Norton by Symantec about what you can do to stay safe online:

•    Choose a unique, smart, secure password for each account you have online. For tips on how to do this, click here.

•     Delete emails from senders you don’t know, and don’t click on attachments or links on suspicious looking emails

•    On social media sites if an offer sounds too good to be true, it just might be. Beware of the pitfalls of clicking on links from social media sites. Before clicking, hover the mouse over the link to see its destination. Only click on links that lead to reputable, official company pages

•    Always monitor your financial accounts for unusual activity. If there is a charge that you didn’t make, report it immediately. Often cybercriminals will charge a small “test” amount before attempting to drain your bank account

•    Don’t put off installing security software such as Norton Security Premium and updating it regularly

•     Use a secure backup solution to protect files and backup regularly so criminals can’t hold them for ransom

•    Report cybercrime to ACORN and seek support from IDCare, if you have been a victim of identity theft.



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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).


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