51% Of Australians Fail To Combat Cybercrime

More than half of Australian internet users are at risk from online crimes, according to a new survey from ME Bank.

The majority (51%) of the 2,000 smartphone and tablet users in ME Bank’s cyber security survey failed to demonstrate proper avoidance or deterrence of cybercrimes.

ME Bank’s analysis pitted the survey respondents against 16 different potential crime scenarios to ascertain how well they could combat cybercrime. The majority fell short of ideal cyber security practices, with Baby Boomers (55%) and women (54%) experiencing significantly lower pass rates than the average.

While this lack of competence can often be put down to inexperience, the survey also found that only a slim majority (51%) thought it was their responsibility to protect themselves. Just under half of survey respondents didn’t think they needed to take security measures online.

40% of Aussies surveyed thought it was the responsibility of big business web service providers, such as banks and websites, to protect them from cybercrime; and 19% thought the government should be responsible.

“Government and businesses have a role to play, but so do individual consumers,” said ME General Manager of Cyber Security, Samantha Macleod.

“In today’s digital world, it’s never been more important to harness cyber safety advice to ensure we’re fully protecting our identities and funds.”



Precautions and dangers

Unsurprisingly, experienced digital users were much more likely (60%) to take security precautions when using online services compared to inexperienced users (40%). They were also much more likely to protect themselves from the most common cyber security failing of all – rarely changing passwords or PINs – which was admitted to by over a third of survey respondents.

A quarter of Aussies were found to be culpable for saving their complete login details in browsers or apps, and the same proportion reported clicking on website banner ads.

One of the most concerning statistics was the fourth-worst cyber security practice: 23% of respondents reported using unsecured public Wi-Fi to access their bank account online.



Cybercrime on the rise

Australians are experiencing cybercrime in growing numbers. A total of 12,691 crime reports were made to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) in the final quarter of 2016, which was over 1,000 more reports than in the previous quarter.

Scams and fraud online made up the majority of reported crimes (53%), while 20% were dodgy purchases or sales, and a further 7% were related to cyberbullying. The vast majority of Aussie cybercrime reports were from victims between 20 and 60 years old (76%), with children and teenagers accounting for less than 5% of reports.

The most common ways in which people were wronged were unsolicited emails, social network contacts, and website advertising, suggesting that fraud and phishing can be avoided by carefully screening messages from senders you don’t know.

“These results suggest that staying informed about the capabilities of technology, as well as the implications and risks of sharing certain information online, is the best way forward,” said Macleod.

“Yes, it’s hard to remember multiple passwords and update them on a regular basis, but there are a number of excellent password management apps now available to assist with this.”

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