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New Survey Finds Australian Workers Don’t Know What They Don’t Know When It Comes to Protecting Themselves from Cyber Threats

Aussies unaware of many common cyber scams; don’t know who to report them to; and download unauthorised apps on work devices – Unisys Security Index™

SYDNEY, Australia, 3 November 2021 – Despite best intentions, most Australians overlook key steps to protect sensitive data while working from home, leaving their personal information, and their employers, at risk – finds the new Unisys Security Index™.

While 60% of Australians say they are responsible for keeping their own data safe and secure while working from home, many are not aware of common cyber security risks:

  • More than half (55%) are unaware of SMiShing – when a scammer texts asking for personal or financial information;
  • 39% are not wary of clicking on links in a text message, email or social app;
  • 79% are not aware of SIM jacking – when a fraudster gets your phone number transferred to a phone they control;
  • 73% don’t know which organisation to report a scam to if they fall victim;
  • Almost half (48%) say they are not as careful on their phone as on their laptop or computer when it comes to protecting their personal and financial details; and
  • 43% admit they have downloaded or installed software, mobile apps, or programs for work purposes, which their IT department had not authorised or approved.

Yet Australians are very concerned about protecting their privacy and data security. In 2021 the top four security issues concerning Australians are data/privacy-related: ID theft (59% of Australians concerned about this issue), hacking and viruses (57%), bankcard fraud (55%) and online shopping (49%). This marks a change of focus compared to 2020 when natural disasters, including pandemics, bushfires and floods, had been the top security concern for Australians.

“Employers trust employees to do the right thing. However, with the need to be able to prove vaccination status to access many services and venues, and the proposed introduction of a vaccine passport to travel overseas, scammers are already tailoring very sophisticated attacks that mimic government agencies and other organisations we trust. They trick people to click on a link or download an app, which can launch malicious code or cause them to unwittingly provide personal details which can be used for identity and financial fraud or to mimic their profile to access their employer’s systems,” warned Gergana Winzer, industry director of cybersecurity, Unisys for Asia Pacific.

“There’s a lot of focus on public and employee education campaigns to raise awareness of scams in order to avoid them. But education is only part of the solution – it must be repeated and continually updated to ensure people are aware of new, sophisticated threats. But humans will still make bad decisions – accidently or intentionally. So organisations also need a holistic approach to security that also includes processes, policies and technologies to make it extra hard for people to do the wrong thing,” she said.

Security Linked to Employee Experience

Australians gave a variety of reasons for intentionally installing unauthorised software and mobile apps: It was better than the tools their employer provided (43%); they wanted to use the same tools they use in their personal life for work purposes (38%); for entertainment and personal use (36%); or they needed it to do their job and their employer didn’t provide a good alternative (32%).

“Security and employee experience are fundamentally integrated: employees who download unauthorised software risk creating unsecured links to devices and systems. But don’t assume that ‘shadow IT’ means you need to provide more tools. Look at what unauthorised apps are installed, and ask why: Is it really a gap in tools required to perform a job? Or is it because employees aren’t aware of the functionality already available or are they simply reluctant to change from what they are familiar with? Measure the adoption of approved tools – including usability and experience – to work out how to make them irresistible, to negate the temptation or need for individuals to install unauthorised software,” advised Winzer.

2021 Unisys Security Index: 15 Years and Counting

The 2021 Unisys Security Index for Australia, the overall measure of security concerns of the Australian public, is 159 out of 300, up two points from 2020 and the highest in the 15-year history of the study for Australia. The study is the longest-running snapshot of consumer security concerns conducted globally. The 2021 Unisys Security Index surveyed 11,000 consumers in 11 countries, including 1,000 in Australia, in July 2021. Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS) gauged their attitudes on a wide range of security-related issues dealing with personal, national, internet and financial security.

For more results and information on the 2021 Unisys Security Index visit UnisysSecurityIndex.com.au and this infographic summarising the Australian findings.

About Unisys

Unisys is a global IT solutions company that delivers successful outcomes for the most demanding businesses and governments. Unisys offerings include digital workplace solutions, cloud and infrastructure solutions, enterprise computing solutions, business process solutions and cybersecurity solutions. For more information on how Unisys delivers for its clients across the commercial, financial services and government markets, visit www.unisys.com.

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Contact:
Ryan Marnell, The Impact Agency

+61 434 616 894, ryan@impactagency.com.au 

Claire Hosegood, Unisys Asia Pacific

+61 411 253 663, claire.hosegood@au.unisys.com

 
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