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A survey has revealed that a lot of Australians are exposed to new and unknown threats online.

According to a PC Tools research, while most Australians are aware of cybercrimes, 84 percent are ‘exposed to new and unknown threats on social networking sites, instant messaging services and other online communication and networking tools.’

Michael Greene, PC Tools Vice President Product Strategy, said: “The results of this survey show that while Australians are definitely security conscious, they lack the security savvy to protect themselves online, with the majority leaving themselves wide open to cybercrime because they aren’t aware of how the latest threats operate and don’t have the right security software.”

“The increased use of the internet among consumers, almost all of whom are now online on a daily basis, is providing a lucrative market for cybercriminals and as a result, we are seeing more and more sophisticated techniques that lure consumers into clicking on malicious links or downloading malicious files, for example.”

 

“The use of social engineering techniques means that traditional signature-based antivirus software is not enough to ensure online safety.  Users must make sure they’re equipped with the latest behavioural-based protection that protects against new and unknown threats, in addition to understanding key methods of infection. This is particularly true for the 58% of Australian respondents who only use a couple of passwords across all the sites they visit online and for the additional 31% who have only one password for all sites”, says Greene.

In addition to this, the research has found that:

  • Only 16 percent of respondents reported having comprehensive protection against viruses, spyware and other malware, while 25 percent of respondents didn’t know what type of security software they had installed. 
  • Only 2 percent of respondents were aware that the best way of protecting against new and unknown threats is to use Behavioural Protection. 
  • 35 percent of respondents did not update their security software regularly, with 16 percent doing it “rarely” and 10 percent never updating. 
  • 55 percent of respondents ignore alerts from their security software.
  • 45 percent of respondents open attachments or links sent from a friend or contact straight away, without checking them for legitimacy. 
  • 15 percent of respondents thought that if they only visited legitimate websites they could ensure their safety online.

“By ensuring they are using the right software to reflect their online behaviour and by being aware of the latest threats, consumers can be much better protected online and be both technically and security savvy”, concluded Greene.

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