Posted on September 26, 2019 at 5:49 AM
Australians’ Reckless Online Behavior: Over Half of Office Workers Have Been Victims of a Phishing Attack
Australians are among the most frequently targeted people by hackers and cybercriminals, and the numbers back that up. Over 50 percent of the office workforce have been victims of a hacking attack of some kind, according to recent research on the matter.
The global-scale study was performed by online security firm Webroot, a company based in the United States of America. Among the primary findings was that precisely 56 percent of the Australians that work in an office had experienced a phishing attack. And of those people, only 30 percent decided to change their password afterward.
Australian workers, despite the high percentage of hacking and phishing attacks, have demonstrated a tendency to open malicious or suspicious links in text messages and in emails; more than employees in other developed countries such as Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and that is explained in the report.
And specialists in the matter have shown their surprise about the development, most precisely in the wat that Australians react and not in the frequency with which the scams are attempted. George Anderson, Webroot’s Product Marketing Director, told 9news.au that he is disappointed at the reckless browsing behavior showed by people in the country.
Anderson stated that it is baffling that Australians do virtually nothing to protect themselves from malicious actors on the web. They don’t seem to care whether their passwords are the same or are especially vulnerable, they don’t usually react well to phishing attacks, and they are full of false confidence at the moment of opening a suspicious link.
Anderson went on to say that he thinks Australian office workers expect other people to protect their data, instead of doing it themselves, which he sees as a “strange psychology” or approach to take.
Per the specialist, locals are some of the most heavily targeted people on the planet by hackers and bad actors because their time zone is unique. He explained that Australians are frequently phished because they always experience the first wave of attacks before any other part of the world.
People Don’t Know How Vulnerable They Are
According to Anderson, any attempt of asking for personal data and information needs to be looked at in a suspicious way, because people that can have access to login credentials can breach social media, email, and even banking accounts. He observed that people often don’t realize how exposed and vulnerable they are.
And, judging by the consequences, it is mind-boggling that Australians are so careless with their personal data. Per information provided by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), locals lose over $500,000 in scams, each and every year.
The commission also details that a little less than half of the scams and phishing attacks performed in Australia are of the phone variety. Approximately 23 percent of them are via email, and 14.4 percent are performed over text messages.
A disturbing development discovered in the study, according to Anderson, is that Australians think they can correctly spot a scam, but the numbers and statistics indicate that the percentage of cases in the country is larger when compared to other locations. They think they can identify a phishing attack, but they actually can’t.
Anderson explained that more Australian office workers compared to the rest of the planet know that they have been approached with a phishing attempt, but they are often overconfident, as they didn’t always know about the potential vulnerabilities and situations that hackers could exploit.
A Substantial Gap Between Knowledge and Perceived Knowledge
For example, 91 percent of Australians claim to have enough expertise and “smarts” to correctly identify a phishing attack and differentiate it with a real, honest approach, but only slightly over half of them knew that these offenses could be performed via phone. Many of them didn’t understand how they could be victims of this method via text message or video chat.
A hacker will be successful if he manages to instill confidence in naive users, no matter if it is via phone, email, or text message. For the former, Anderson explains that the practice of using deepfake voices is increasing in frequency: they record a trustworthy person or institution’s voice, which they will use in phishing attacks.