Report: Almost $1.2 billion lost to cybercrime

About four million Australians impacted by cybercrime in the past year

Credit card fraud and online extortion are some of the biggest issues affecting Australians online, according to findings from a new report.

In the past year, more than $1.2 billion was lost to cybercrime and approximately four million Australians were impacted by online crime, Norton by Symantec Pacific region director, Mark Gorrie, said.

Nine out of 10 Australians worry that they’ll be impacted by online crime, with 66 per cent believing their credit card information will be stolen online rather than from their wallets, according to the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report.

“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,” he said. “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.”

According to the report, Australians lost an average of 14 hours and $325 per person dealing with the impact of cybercrime. Nearly nine out of 10 respondents saying they’d be devastated if their financial information was compromised.

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

Respondents were asked to grade their security practices, with most giving themselves an ‘A’, but were found to be failing the basic requirement of online security - password use.

Less than half (47 percent) always use a secure password made up of a combination of at least eight letters, numbers and symbols.

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

Women are also more likely to share their passwords over men (23 percent) and less than half (40 percent) are confident they know what to do if there were affected by online crime.

Some respondents (26 percent) thought they weren’t ‘interesting enough’ to be a target, despite 49 percent experiencing online crime.

The security vendor offered some top tips to stay safe online such as choosing a unique, smart and secure password for each online account; deleting emails from unknown senders and not clicking on attachments or links; being wary of clicking on links via social media sites; monitoring financial accounts for unusual activity; use a secure backup solution to protect files and backup regularly; and report cyber crime to ACORN or IDCare if you’re a victim of identity theft.

The Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report is an online survey of 17,125 device users, over 18 years old, across 17 markets, commissioned by Norton by Symantec and produced by research firm Edelman Berland. There were about 1,000 Australian respondents and data was collected in August/September.