Life in lockdown: How to beat the cyber attacks
LIFE in lockdown has seen more Australians prone to cyber-attacks as we turn our homes into offices, stream more entertainment and play more online games.
But new data has also revealed Aussies are becoming more vigilant about their security online but still one in six have become victims of cybercrime.
The NortonLifelock Digital Transformation report, which surveyed 1000 Australians, found 83% believe cyber criminals have used COVID-19 to their advantage.
Two in 5 respondents working at home during the lockdown said they have downloaded content or apps that are not 100% secure, while 44 per cent admitted they are visiting websites that may be unsecure.
Phishing scams were the most popular, followed by mobile scams, virus/malware, fake payment forms at online checkout sites, data breaches and ransomware.
Four in five of those surveyed said they would consider working or studying at home on a more permanent basis with people from NSW the most positive about the change.
However, two in three parents reported difficulty in monitoring their children's online habits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some 60% were concerned about the cyber security risks and that their children could be targeted by cyber criminals.
Queenslanders led in adapting well to the lockdown period with 40% agreeing with the measure strong. However, 7% of Victorians opposed their restrictions.
Victoria was also the state with less people considering working/studying from home on a more permanent basis (76% vs 84% in NSW and a national average of 80%).
NSW (41%) took the lead of people signing up to more online subscriptions for gaming, magazines, books or streaming services, followed by VIC (37%).
In Queensland, the sign-up rate was less than one in three (31%).
VIC has the largest number of people being victim of cybercrime during lockdown (29%), compared to the national average of 24% and 26% in NSW and 19% in QLD
Since the lockdown almost twice the number of people in NSW (16%) have started to log out of their online accounts when finishing using them compared to VIC (10%) and QLD (9%). NSW has also taken the lead in connecting to an unsecure network or WiFi without a VPN compared to the rest of the country
The research also revealed that the use of video conferencing platforms skyrocketed, with more than half of respondents using these tools, up 30 per cent compared to pre-pandemic. In the case of those working from home, this number is even higher with 80 per cent now using these platforms, compared to 41 per cent before the lockdown.
NortonLifeLock officials say simple things like using multiple passwords can reduce risks.
"With ever increasing options available to us for content and streaming services, it may be tempting to use the same password across all of these accounts for ease,'' Mark Gorrie, Senior Director, Asia Pacific, NortonLifeLock, said.
"Using complex and unique passwords is critical to keeping all your services safe from compromise, and best to use two factor authentication, if available on the service.
"For those that struggle to manage multiple passwords a good idea is to use a password manager. This reduces using the same password for multiple accounts and adds an extra layer of protection to your online identity."
"For personal devices, such as phones, laptops, and tablets, it is crucial to have comprehensive security solutions that include not only anti-virus software but also protection against malware, ransomware, spyware and emerging cyber threats, password manager as well as a premium VPN for your online privacy installed."
KEY TIPS FOR CYBER SECURITY
Keep your VPN turned on. Unencrypted connections may give cyber criminals a chance to snoop on data being sent and received by your device.
Beware of COVID-19 themed phishing emails. Cyber criminals are exploiting the coronavirus outbreak to send fake emails with dangerous links to employees. Here's how it works: emails may appear to come from company officials, government or health bodies and might ask you to open a link to a new company policy related to the coronavirus. If you click on the attachment or embedded link, you are likely to download malware onto your device. Don't click on the link. Instead, immediately report the phishing attempt to your employer and run a scan on your computer.
- Manage your passwords. Use two-step or multi-factor authentication wherever offered to help prevent unauthorised access to your online accounts. Always change your default passwords and regularly update them(every 3 months) to something strong and unique on your devices, services, and Wi-Fi networks.
Only use trusted sites when providing your personal information. A good rule of thumb is to check the URL. If the site includes "https://," then it's a secure site. If the URL includes "http://," - note the missing "s" - avoid entering sensitive information like your credit card data or Tax File Number.
Don't open email attachments or click links in emails from unknown sources. One of the most common ways people are exposed to malware and viruses is through emails disguised as being sent by someone you trust.
Always keep your devices updated. Software updates contain important patches to fix security vulnerabilities. Cyber attackers can also target outdated devices which may not be running the most current security software.
- Back up your files regularly for extra protection in the event of a cyber security attack. If you need to wipe your device clean due to a cyber attack, it will help to have your files stored in a safe, separate place.