Australians lost $1.2 billion to cybercriminals in 2015 according to a new report.
Norton by Symantec commissioned the Cybersecurity Insights report. Edelman Berland conducted research for the report, surveying 1000 consumers during August and September.
According to the report, Australians lost an average of $325 per person dealing with the impact of cybercrime.
“Credit card fraud and online extortion continue to be one of the biggest issues affecting Australians online,” said Pacific Norton by Symantec director Mark Gorrie.
“Alarmingly, Australia ranks as the eight most impacted country in the world for ransomware, with victims being asked to pay on average a ransom of $420-$700 with no guarantee their files will be freed.”
The report also found that 90 per cent of Australians worry they will be a victim of online crime and 66 per cent believe it is more likely their credit card information will be stolen online than from their wallets.
“Our findings reveal that consumer reservations are grounded in reality. In the past year, more than $1.2 billion was lost to cybercrime and approximately four million Australians were impacted by online crime,” said Gorrie.
However, despite concern and awareness of cybercrime, only 47 per cent of those surveyed used a secure password.
Respondents admitted to sharing passwords to sensitive accounts with friends and family.
Of those sharing passwords, 27 per cent shared their banking account password. The most common passwords shared were email (55 per cent) and social media (38 per cent).
Gorrie advised consumers to choose a unique, smart, secure password for each account they have online.
“Delete emails from senders you don’t know, and don’t click on attachments or links on suspicious looking emails,” he said.
On social media sites if an offer sounds too good to be true, it just might be, said Gorrie. “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.”
He added that consumers should always monitor their 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.”
Finally, Gorrie advised consumers to report hacking, online scams, fraud and ransomware demands to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).
ACORN is a joint project between the Attorney-General’s Department, CrimTrac, the Australian Crime Commission, federal, state and territory police.
If Australians have been the victim of identity theft, they can contact support centre iDcare.
The federally funded centre has developed a free phone service so that people can call to get help and advice on dealing with identity theft and other issues such as credit history.