Posted on September 16, 2021 at 3:49 PM
Google has published a report to educate Australians about their bad online habits that expose them to threat actors. The report also added that around 6.6 million Australians have their passwords compromised.
Google has stated that one in three Australians has been shocked by the study, revealing that their passwords have been exposed to hackers. The same report has also stated that one in four Australians, equivalent to 5 million people, have been victims of phishing scams that have led to them revealing their personal details.
The report stated that Australians had been tricked into sharing sensitive details such as banking information due to phishing scams.
Increased Online Scams in Australia
The recent research comes when Aussies have experienced an increase in online scams that lead to major losses for people. Most of these scams have been linked to online shopping platforms, cryptocurrencies and payment of taxes. The popularity of digital investments has created an ideal target for cybercriminals.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ASCS) recently released a report on cybercrimes. The annual report stated that in 2021, cybercrimes were happening every eight minutes, which revealed the dire need for Australians to invest in safe online practices that will keep their personal details safe.
Research from Google also showed that Australians need to improve their online habits to promote their online security. Some of these bad habits revolve around sharing sensitive online data with users.
It stated that 14% of Australians have shared their login details, such as passwords, with their friends and family members. Another 6% of Australians have shared their passwords with someone else through texts or emails.
Besides, most people do not authenticate the details of the websites they visit to determine whether they are secure or not. When online shopping, 47% of people also fail to look whether the website has an online lock at the URL section that shows that the website they are shopping from will protect sensitive details.
Google also added that one in three Australians, which represents 31% of the population, did not know what the ‘lock’ symbol; on the website’s URL means.
The report also shows that there is much needed to educate online users on how they can safeguard their privacy. 37% of Australians said that they did not know what to do when it came to maintaining online safety, which was why they did not take the required precautions.
The report also stated that women had limited knowledge about online safety compared to men. Around 43% of women were exposed to online scams because they did not know the steps they needed to take to protect themselves. On the other hand, 29% of men lacked the information on the steps needed to protect themselves online.
A representative from Google Australia, Samantha Yorke, stated that she was surprised at the many Australians who are falling victims to scams. These Australians have fallen victim to these scams despite increased warnings on the same by businesses and institutions.
She also stated that the data shows how easy it is for individuals to fall victim to online scams. “Hacking of passwords is an ever-present threat, and phishing scams are becoming more sophisticated,” she added.
Google Offers Tips on how to Protect Passwords
Google has given several tips to users to ensure that they no longer fall victim to these online scams. Online users need to keep several precautions in mind before browsing the internet to ensure that cybercriminals do not gain access to their online data.
One also needs to ensure that they authenticate an email address to ensure that it is from a genuine person before clicking on any attached link. It is also important for online users to share their banking details when shopping online, especially if the website persuades the user aggressively.
Some red flags that false e-commerce websites usually have are urging users to make payments with gift cards, cryptocurrencies, or cold hard cash.
Google has also given several tips that will help a user strengthen their passwords. This includes using a password management tool that will enable them to develop a strong and unique password for each account they own.
It is also advisable to set up a multi-step verification system. Before visiting a site, one should check the website connection to ensure it is safe. When a URL looks suspicious, one should look at it to ensure that it starts with an ‘https.’ Before downloading a file, one must ensure that it does not contain any viruses.