Aussie consumers increasingly savvy over online security: Report

The growing viability of online start-ups has been underlined by new research that shows that Australian consumers are increasingly confident of their security on the web.


A survey of 1,000 consumers by PayPal and the Centre for Internet Safety at the University of Canberra shows that 90% were confident that they won’t fall victim to cybercrime by others guessing their passwords.


Two in three of those polled say they don’t share online passwords with others, while nearly 80% ensure their passwords don’t contain personal information – a common way for online fraudsters to access password-protected data.


However, the research suggests that some consumers are a bit too relaxed over their online security, with over a third of 18 to 24-year-olds constantly logged into their online accounts.


Young adults (18-24) are participating in risky behaviour by taking shortcuts to remember their passwords – over a third of Australians stay constantly logged into their online accounts.


PayPal says that online retail is growing at 11% year-on-year, even though many small businesses still lack a website.


With consumers increasingly finding online bargains from overseas retailers, there has been pressure on the federal government to reduce the GST-free threshold on imported purchases.


Alastair MacGibbon, director at the Centre for Internet Safety, says: “While it’s pleasing to see Australians becoming more vigilant when it comes to password protection, there are still many loopholes that need fixing.”


“Although service providers and industry have a key role to play, the power of a strong and private password must not be underestimated and we are urging consumers to take as much care in choosing a safe password as they take in choosing their online purchases.”


PayPal and the Centre for Internet Safety has put together a top three tips for password protection:

  1. Take stock of your current passwords: As most of us have a number of online accounts, the first step is to work out how many passwords you currently have, and where they are online. Once you have done this, the next step is to allocate a unique password to each account – it is important not to use the same password across multiple online accounts.
  2. Create your passwords: When creating an online password, it is crucial to the safety of your personal information that your password is strong and secure. Avoid using words you can find in a dictionary, people’s names, birthdays or phrases that can be easily guessed. It is always a good idea to include letters and numbers, as well as capital and lower case letters.
  3. Manage your passwords: Golden rule? Never share with your passwords with anyone.  Change your passwords regularly, a good start is to change all your online passwords when daylight saving time comes into effect and stops. If you cannot remember all your passwords, write them down somewhere and store them safely, away from your desktop.


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