The sharks are circling online, so beware.
The sharks are circling online, so beware.

Aussies ‘accept’ data breaches

THREE quarters of Australians are worried they can't protect their personal and financial information from cyber fraud, while 87 per cent now accept that data breaches and hacks are the new normal, new research has found.

The Mastercard survey of 1010 Australian adults also revealed more than two-thirds of respondents did not feel in control of their online security.

Mastercard spokesman Matt Barr said it was important people knew how to protect themselves.

"When it comes to buying goods or services via social media, customers can take some small, simple steps," Mr Barr said.

"Insist on using a secure payment channel when a seller is not known to you, particularly when buying goods via social media. No one should contact you for personal information or account data. If this happens, delete the email and reach out to your bank."

He said monitoring accounts and statements regularly was important, along with smart password creation and avoiding unrecognised links.

"Use a digital wallet. They use multiple layers of security to keep you safe," he said, adding that if information was accessed or stolen people should contact their financial institution immediately.

Aussies have accepted their financial information will fall into the hands of cybercriminals at some stage.
Aussies have accepted their financial information will fall into the hands of cybercriminals at some stage.

"Change the passwords across all of your accounts and ensure you use a strong password which contains a mix of letters, numbers and symbols, with no personal information included," he said. "Enable multi-factor authentication and add biometrics to access accounts."

Social demographer Mark McCrindle said people's acceptance of cyber fraud shows a shift in attitude towards the digital economy.

"Go back 10 years, people were worried about how their data would be used or their credit card security," Mr McCrindle said. "Australians have now made the decision to trade off their privacy for convenience and price.

"It's like the school of fish being chased by a shark; some are going to get eaten but most won't be affected. Even the most cautious consumer knows if they want to buy something, watch movies or listen to music, they are going to need to enter their details online."

He said people also trust that big companies and retailers will sort out any breaches or issues when and if they occur.