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​At Large Events, Australians Are as Concerned About Identity and Data Theft on Public Wi-Fi as They Are About Criminal Attacks - New Unisys Security Index™ Finds

  • One in five Australians have cancelled or considered cancelling plans to attend large-scale sporting events and festivals due to security concerns
  • Two in three Australians support police sharing personal information with other agencies to solve crimes

SYDNEY, Australia, 10 July 2019 – New research from Unisys Corporation reveals that Australians are equally concerned about cyber and physical threats at large-scale events such as sporting events or music festivals, according to the new 2019 Unisys Security Index™.

Forty-three percent of Australians say they are seriously concerned about a criminal attack causing physical harm. Similarly 43% are seriously concerned about someone stealing their personal data from their mobile device and the same percentage is concerned about someone stealing their credit card data when using public Wi-Fi. 

Fewer people are concerned about being physically attacked near an event (40%) or event attendees being targeted by hackers (37%). Only 29% of Australians say they are concerned that police could capture and save the surveillance video of attendees at the event.

The survey also found that one in five (19%) Australians say they have cancelled plans or considered cancelling plans to attend large-scale public events due to concerns about physical attacks and the safety of their data.

Australians are acting on their concerns

This concern about security at large events has impacted Australians' behaviour, with 30% of those surveyed saying they think twice about attending such events and 19% saying they have changed their plans to attend certain events due to the possibility of having their data stolen or being subject to physical harm.

While almost half (48%) of respondents report security concerns have not impacted their plans to attend large events, 23% say they now take extra precautions to secure their mobile devices and wallets and 17% say they now keep on guard for suspicious or threatening behaviour.

"The research findings highlight the convergence of physical and cyber threats in our everyday lives. Australians are aware of the various potential threats at big events – the good news is that awareness is the first step to protection. Australians are proactively protecting themselves by taking precautions to protect their information, being vigilant about what is happening around them and, in some cases, choosing not to attend events or locations where they feel unsafe. However, the temptation is to jump on any free Wi-Fi to avoid racking up mobile data costs. Always assume public Wi-Fi is unsecure and be cautious. If the device is used for work, employers should mandate use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN), regardless of whether the device is provided by the employer or employee," said Rick Mayhew, vice president and general manager, Unisys Asia Pacific.

Unisys recommends nine simple precautions for safer use of public Wi-Fi:

  1. Don't use confidential apps on public Wi-Fi such as online banking or work email.
  2. Avoid "jail-breaking" your device as this removes a number of security controls provided by the manufacturer.
  3. Keep your device operating system and applications updated to ensure the latest security patches are applied.
  4. To avoid malware infections, don't click on advertisements that pop up.
  5. Install a trusted security product to protect against malware.
  6. Stick to well-known networks – e.g., large cafe chains (but still don't assume they are safe).
  7. Never supply your phone or other personal password to access free Wi-Fi; it's not needed.
  8. Don't use a site if it has an HTTPS unencrypted warning.
  9. Use a VPN to secure your connection.

Strong support of law enforcement sharing information with each other

Additional research found two in three Australians support police agencies sharing an individual's personal information to solve a crime either with agencies within Australia (66% of respondents) or overseas (65%).

"There is strong support, and probably an expectation, from the Australian public to allow police to share information with other agencies to help them 'join the dots' to solve or prevent crimes. This could mean preventing attacks at events or enabling earlier intervention by welfare agencies to prevent child or spousal abuse. But trust is fragile, and to retain this high level of public trust in Australian law enforcement, any information sharing must be done in a secure fashion where only the right people from appropriate organisations can access such sensitive information," Mr Mayhew cautioned.

2019 Unisys Security Index: Concern stays high

The Unisys Security Index measures concerns of consumers on issues related to national, personal, financial and internet security and is the longest-running snapshot of consumer security concerns conducted globally. The overall measure of security concerns of the Australian public is 155 out of 300, up from 151 in 2018 and continues a period of elevated concern over the last three years. While Australia has only the eighth highest level of concern of the 13 countries surveyed, it has the second highest level of concern of the seven developed1 countries, behind the U.S.

Identity theft tops security concerns for Australians

Reflecting the concern about cyber threats at large events, the top three security concerns for Australians relate to data theft. More than half of adult Australians are seriously concerned about unauthorised access to their personal data (57%), bankcard fraud (56%) and computer hacking or viruses (54%). The biggest change from 2018 is growing concern in bankcard fraud which increased from 52% last year.

"Data theft continues to dominate the security issues that concern Australians as it is something most of us have personally experienced. It spans both deliberate attacks and accidental breaches - with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) reporting that 60% of data breaches in the last year were malicious, while a third were due to human error2," Mr Mayhew said.

Download the report, infographics, tips and video at

1 - The Unisys Security Index defines a "developed" country as one in which the gross domestic product per capita is measured at US$12,000 or more.

2 - Office of the Australian Information Commissioner Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme 12month Insights Report

About the Unisys Security Index

Unisys has conducted the Unisys Security Index – the longest-running snapshot of consumer security concerns conducted globally – since 2007 to provide an ongoing, statistically-robust measure of concern about security. The index is a calculated score out of 300 covering changing consumer attitudes over time across eight areas of security in four categories: national security and disaster/epidemic, in the National Security category; bankcard fraud and financial obligations, in the Financial Security category; viruses/hacking and online transactions, in the Internet Security category; and identity theft and personal safety, in the Personal Security category. The 2019 Unisys Security Index is based on online surveys conducted of nationally representative samples of at least 1,000 adults in each of 13 countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, the U.K. and the U.S. The margin of error at a country level is +/-3.1% at 95% confidence level, and 0.9% at a global level. In Australia, the survey was conducted 27 February – 22 March 2019. A follow up survey was conducted 3-12 April, after the 15 March attacks in Christchurch, to assess the impact on attending events. The Australian sample was weighted to reflect national demographic characteristics such as gender, age, and region.

About Unisys

Unisys is a global information technology company that builds high-performance, security-centric solutions for the most demanding businesses and governments on Earth. Unisys offerings include security software and services; digital transformation and workplace services; industry applications and services; and innovative software operating environments for high-intensity enterprise computing. For more information on how Unisys builds better outcomes securely for its clients across the Government, Financial Services and Commercial markets, visit Follow Unisys on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Victoria O'Neill, The Impact Agency, +61 2 9519 5411 or +61 408 499 765

Claire Hosegood, Unisys Asia Pacific, +61 411 253 663

Unisys and other Unisys products and services mentioned herein, as well as their respective logos, are trademarks or registered trademarks of Unisys Corporation. Any other brand or product referenced herein is acknowledged to be a trademark or registered trademark of its respective holder.