We're more mobile than ever. But the cost of mobile convenience is that we're leaving basic security practices - that have become second nature on a desktop - behind.
According to the 2013 Norton Report, Australian mobile users had a general lack of security awareness when it comes to using their mobile devices. Some 32 per cent of surveyed respondents said they had experienced mobile cybercrime in the past 12 months and approximately one in five of survey respondents had lost their mobile device or had it stolen.
While adoption of mobile devices is high, awareness and willingness to take precautions against these threats is low. At the same time, criminals are seeing success with developing mobile-specific malware and scams, and by taking advantage of lost and stolen phones.
The report also found that the lines between work and play are becoming increasingly blurred. Nearly 46 per cent of survey respondents use their personal devices for work-related activities and 32 per cent say their company does not have policies in place around the use of personal devices for work. This puts both people and companies at risk and creates new security risks for businesses as cybercriminals have the potential to access sensitive business data.
As social media becomes part of our everyday life, Australians are also taking risks with their personal data online. The report revealed that over a quarter (30 per cent) of the surveyed participants connect with people they do not know on social media and one in four share their social media passwords with others. In addition, some 18 per cent of surveyed respondents save both their work and personal documents to the same online file storage account.
Like we have seen with mobile devices, the oversharing of information, whether it is on social media platforms or online file storage accounts, is creating a risk for businesses and consumers alike. The more places where work documents are saved and personal information is shared, the more avenues for a cybercriminal to gain access to valuable business and personal information. Every time you are online on any platform - mobile, social or cloud, you run the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime if you do not take the necessary security precautions.
Tips for Staying Safe Online
- Install and update a comprehensive security suite for all devices
- Use strong passwords for all devices and change them regularly
- Be careful with who can access your cloud-based account
- Understand the policies around using your personal devices at work and vice versa
- Avoid sharing personal information through the Internet, unless it is a secure connection. Always check for "https" in the web address
- Check your privacy settings on all your social media accounts and install two factor authentication
- Check your credit card and bank statements regularly for any suspicious transactions and report them to your service provider, your financial institution and the police
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