The quarterly Unisys security index released today has found the majority of Australians surveyed particularly savvy when it comes to personal information security, in particular choosing a PIN (personal identification number), destroying bank or credit card statements or even reading the privacy policies of organizations they have dealings with.
The quarterly report involved a national survey of some 1200 Australians and was conducted by Newspoll on behalf of Unisys.
78 percent of respondents said they always or sometimes destroy bank and credit card statements before putting them in the rubbish, 75 percent either always or sometimes read privacy policies of organizations they have relationships with, and 70 percent say they never use a number such as their birthday when providing details for a PIN.
Andrew Barkla, Unisys Asia Pacific vice president and general manager, said the numbers are supported by more people shopping online or performing online transactions and the survey shows people have a level of comfort around doing online transactions; however there are still fundamental gaps in terms of how people can protect their identities.
Barkla said identity theft is the number one security concern from the respondents, but dumpster diving is still the number one cause of identity theft.
"One in five respondents said they just discard their banking and credit card statement in a bin and this is often where identity theft begins, simple old fashioned dumpster diving. One in three people are still using simple password measures to protect financial transactions and I guess we could say four-fifths of people are not complacent, but that still leaves 20 percent of respondents just putting these statements in a bin," Barkla said.
"This is the third quarter where identity theft has been the number one issue. Concerns about terrorist attacks fell from last time because the last respondents completed the survey two days after the London terrorist attacks and there were issues in Lebanon at the time, but the coverage and attention seemed to make people more concerned about their security in the wake of terrorism.
"What we are seeing in the online commerce space is a willingness, backed up by the last survey, for more people to provide identification information from themselves and people would willingly give up a fingerprint or iris scan if they know their personal information and identity is better protected. In the last survey 76 percent of Australians are happy to use a scan of their own fingerprint for identity verification, and now 70 percent of respondents are happy to have a biometric scan of their eye."
According to the December Unisys security index, 55 percent of Australian respondents are either extremely worried or very concerned about unauthorized access or misuse of their personal information, 53 percent are very or extremely concerned about other people obtaining credit card or debit card details and 45 percent of respondents are either very or extremely concerned about Australia's national security in relation to the "war on terrorism".
The security index asks respondents direct questions relating to their impressions of national security, financial security, Internet security and personal security.