Half of Australians at risk of cybercrime

9 February 2017

Over half of Australian digital users are at risk from cyber security threats, putting their identity and money at risk, according to a new analysis by industry super fund-owned bank ME.

ME surveyed 2,000 smartphone or tablet owners across 16 different scenarios to ascertain how well they could combat cybercrime.

An astonishing 51% failed based on ideal cyber security practices.

Baby Boomers and women are most at risk, attracting significantly higher failure rates − 55% and 54%, respectively.

ME General Manager, Cyber Security, Samantha Macleod said the results were concerning, particularly given the rate of digital adoption.

“In today’s digital world, it’s never been more important to harness cyber safety advice to ensure we’re fully protecting our identities and funds,” she said.

Alarmingly, ME’s research shows only half (51%) of Australian digital users claim it’s their responsibility to protect themselves from cybercrime.

Alternatively, 40% said the responsibility sits with big business hosting digital services such as internet banking while 19% said it’s the government’s duty.

“Government and businesses have a role to play, but so do individual consumers,” said Macleod.

Unsurprisingly, ‘inexperienced’ digital users are less likely to take responsibility in protecting themselves from cybercrime (41%) compared to ‘highly savvy’ digital users (60%).

“These results suggest that staying informed about the capabilities of technology as well as the implications and risks of sharing certain information online, is the best way forward,” said Macleod.

Not changing PINS and/or passwords was identified as the worst offending cyber security practice, according to ME’s study.

“Yes it’s hard to remember multiple passwords and update them on a regular basis, but there are a number of excellent password management apps now available to assist with this.”


1. Rarely changing PINs and/or passwords: 37%
2. Saving login details to websites or apps on device(s): 26%
3. Clicking on ads on websites (e.g. banners): 25%
4. Accessing public WiFi networks to access internet banking: 23%
5. Using the 'auto-fill' feature containing personal information: 22%
6. Clicking on links received via a SMS/text message: 16%
7. Saving your payment details on online shopping checkout forms: 14%
8. Responding to an email from a sender who you don't know: 8%
9. Storing a photo or text file containing your credit card number on one of your devices: 5%
10. 'Jailbreaking' or 'rooting’ your smartphone/ tablet (i.e. removing the limitations put in place by a device's manufacturer): 4%


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Editor note

Note about the survey: Survey conducted via RFi Group using an online survey method. Survey completed by 2,000 smartphone/tablet owners.