Non-English speakers significantly more aware of malware risks: ACMA

Australians whose primary language is not English have a significantly higher awareness of the risks of infection by a range of malware than English speakers, an ACMA survey of Australians' security attitude has found.

The survey report, entitled Malware and Harmful Software: Consumer Views on Software Threats and Use of Protections, was based on a Roy Morgan Research survey of 1500 Australians and worryingly revealed that half of Australians believe they face no risk from malware.

Demographic breakdowns highlighted significant differences in perception of malware risk by age, while primary language spoken was another key point of difference in the 187 respondents who speak a first language other than English at home.

Whereas 30 per cent of English speakers felt it was likely or very likely they would experience malware that identifies Web sites visited or accesses their emails, for example, fully 43 per cent of non English speakers expected to encounter such malware. This was well above the overall 32 per cent of all respondents who expected to encounter such malware.

Just 26 per cent of English speakers said it was likely they would encounter malware that sends spam or redirects them to fake Web sites, while 38 per cent of non English speakers said it was likely that malware would be experienced. This is nearly a third higher than the overall 28 per cent of respondents who said they were likely or highly likely to encounter such malware.

Similar results were noted in relation to malware that steals personal or financial information (28 per cent for English speakers vs 37 per cent for non English speakers) or affects the way the computer operates (32 per cent vs 40 per cent ). In both instances, the figures for non English speakers were significantly different than the figures across the entire surveyed cohort (29 per cent and 33 per cent ).

The results suggest a significant difference in perception of risk from malware amongst different ethnic groups, with the report's authors noting that "there is a consistent pattern indicating they have a higher perception of risk".

The report made no explanation as to why non English speakers had a higher perception of malware risk compared with English speakers.

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