Mobile malware making Australians trust mobile devices less over time

Australians are becoming less trusting of online banking services and other technologies as their reliance on those technologies continues to increase, according to the results of a Kaspersky Lab survey into consumer perceptions of security risk.

Fully 27 percent of the 405 Australian respondents to the Consumer Security Risks survey, which was conducted online across 23 countries, said they would never consider using Internet banking on their smartphone or tablet. This was a significant increase over a year ago, when just 17 percent said the same.

Just 23 percent of respondents said they felt absolutely safe using their mobile devices for Web browsing, with two-thirds saying that mobile devices were as vulnerable as desktop or laptop computers in terms of cybercrime.

Yet despite this relatively high figure, just 30 percent of Australians were either not aware or partly aware of the ways that software exploits attempt to compromise their devices using software vulnerabilities. Of those who were aware of the issue, just 45 percent were concerned about it.

“The study highlights that Australians have a general awareness of a host of online threats, and are mindful that the businesses they entrust their information with are subjected to the same online threats as home users,” Kaspersky Lab ANZ managing director Andrew Mamonitis said in a statement.

“While this awareness has revealed some positive trends, this is tempered by consumers developing skewed ways of viewing what is ‘secure’.”

Kaspersky recently detected a huge spike in mobile malware targeting devices running Android, with the number of attacks jumping from 69,000 per month in August 2013 to nearly 650,000 per month in March 2014.

Despite their concern about the secure use of mobile devices, however, Australians were proving more circumspect than respondents in other countries about their sharing of personal information: just 16 percent of Australians, compared with 21 percent globally, agreed that they share “more information than they probably should” on social networks.

Similarly, just 6 percent of Australians said they tended to speak with strangers online about “private topics or issues” – half the global average.

Read more: Privileged-account risk multiplies for Australia's cloud-hungry businesses: CyberArk

Australians were also below global averages when it came to another trust-related behaviour: covering the camera on their digital devices out of concern they are being watched by outsiders as they use their devices.

Just 14 percent of Australian desktop and laptop users and 5 percent of mobile device users did this, compared with 21 percent globally and, interestingly, 40 percent in China. This behaviour was more common amongst younger users.

“Cybercriminals have used webcams to steal company secrets or gain access to financial services,” the Kaspersky analysis warned, “with one in ten respondents admitting to writing down their credentials on a piece of paper next to their computer.”

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

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Tags VulnerabilitiessmartphoneAndrew Mamonitisdirectors for CSO Australiasecurity riskAndroidcybercriminalskaspersky labaustralianonline bankingEnex TestLabinternet bankingTabletmobile malwareANZcybercrimeCSO Australia

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