Security Market Segment LS
Wednesday, 21 June 2017 17:21

Heightened concern on security issues for Australians

Heightened concern on security issues for Australians Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Australians are more concerned about security issues, with public concern now at its highest level in the last 10 years, according to a new study.

The latest Unisys Security Index shows Australia has recorded the second largest increase in security concern of 13 countries surveyed, behind only the Netherlands.  

And identity theft continues to top Aussie concerns, but concerns around national security and online security jumped significantly.

Across Australia, New South Wales and Queensland recorded the highest levels of overall concern (index of 163 and 160 respectively) and the Northern Territory the lowest (index of 136).

The survey also shows that Australian women are more concerned than men (index for women is 166 vs 149 for men), while young people aged 18-24 years are the most concerned (index of 173), with concern steadily dropping as age increases (down to an index of 150 for 55-65 year olds).

The study polled 1002 adults in Australia during April this year, along with polling in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, the UK and the US.

While identity theft was the biggest concern for Aussies, bank card fraud was also a major concern for 55% of Australians who were worried about other people obtaining or using their credit/debit card details.

And while concern increased in all areas of security polled, the biggest jumps were:

  •     Viruses/hacking:  54% of Australians are concerned about computer and Internet security in relation to viruses, unsolicited emails or hacking – almost double, up from 28% in 2014.
  •     National security:  54% are concerned about Australia’s national security in relation to war/terrorism – up from 32% in 2014.

“Identity is fundamental to addressing each of these issues. Anchoring our identity with secure multifactor authentication (including biometrics) provides a strong deterrent to unauthorised people accessing our personal information, our finances and the IT systems we depend upon,” says John Kendall, director of border and national security programmes, Unisys. .

“Similarly, biometrics-anchored identification both expedites and secures processes such as international border clearance.”

Kendall says that while the emerging markets of the Philippines, Mexico, Malaysia, Brazil and Argentina recorded the highest index scores, the biggest increases are in the mature markets of the Netherlands, Australia, the US and the UK.

“Even developed countries are starting to feel vulnerable – especially as we move to an increasingly interconnected global digital economy.

“The recent global impact of the WannaCry ransomware attack (which occurred after this survey) made this abundantly clear. Consumer trust is very fragile. Organisations have to assume that they will eventually be breached and take immediate steps to minimise and contain the impact on themselves and their customers in order to gain and maintain that trust.”

Kendall says young people are more concerned about misuse of their personal data and card fraud than older age groups – “suggesting that they are very aware of the issue”.  

“Yet they are not very concerned about the security of shopping or banking online – perhaps because it is ‘the norm’ for this generation.

“Banks, retailers and governments wanting to move more of their transactions online can use innovative security measures as a point of difference and position themselves as safe organisations to do business with – not only in terms of preventing data breaches, but also in terms of minimising the impact on customers in a world where breaches are inevitable,” Kendall notes.

“Many banks already do this well, setting an example for retailers and government agencies to follow.”

To download the full report of Australian results from the Unisys survey click here.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of 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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