Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cyber crime fears on the rise


New survey shows there has been a large jump in the number of people worried that their personal details may fall into the wrong hands. Photo: Anthea Russo

Fears about the consequences of cyber attacks, internet hacking and identity fraud are at their highest level in five years, with Australians ranking as among some of most concerned people in the world.

The latest annual survey has shown there has been a large jump in the number of people worried that their personal details held by banks, financial providers and telcos, may fall into the wrong hands.

The Unisys security index which polled 1200 Australians found that almost half of them were also concerned about the vulnerability of government agencies to accidental or malicious breaches.

Nearly three-quarters of Australians surveyed said that they were personally concerned about a potential data breach of their information held by financial institutions particularly credit and debit card companies.


The security program director for Unisys Asia Pacific, John Kendall said that "privacy issues are still the top security concern for Australians, with 62 percent of Aussies extremely or very concerned about unauthorised access to or misuse of their personal information, and 60 percent concerned about other people obtaining or using their credit or debit card details."

The index shows that public concern is at its highest since 2008 with 74 per cent of respondents worried about hacking of banks, 67 per cent about teleco internet service providers, 50 per cent Government services such as social welfare, tax office or immigration; 56 per cent about Health organisations, hospitals and doctors and 50 per cent about airlines and hotels including frequent flyer programs.

The index is an annual global study that provides insights into the attitudes of consumers on a wide range of security related issues around the world as well as Australian. The Australian survey was conducted nationally between in April with respondents aged 18 years and over.

The results come after investigations by the Australian Financial Review in the past year that have revealed widespread cyber attacks on the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Department of Finance and the Department of Treasury and Telstra.

It has also been revealed that the NBN Co has also been attacked by trojans which managed to avoid detection software.

The trojans, which reportedly target sensitive banking data are believed to have originated from Russia's underground hacker community.

Another survey of 120 of the world's largest technology, media and telecoms companies, which was released earlier this year, found 59 per cent had had security breaches in the previous year.

Mr Kendall said that the highest level of concern was recorded for banking and financial institutions, but Australian generally are concerned about breaches across many different sectors of government and business that they trust to protect sensitive personal information such as financial, taxation and medical details.

He said the index results shows customer confidence has been undermined and organisations need take action to regain public trust.

"They need to realise they have not done enough and its is area that needs constant upgrading.

"As the attacks get more sophisticated, the technologly and other approaches including education need to be stepped up," he said.

Poll: Should companies pay compensation to customers if their data leaks? Yes, if company was hacked or made a mistake and my details were exposed.




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Poll closed 27 May, 2013


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