Hackers go phishing for naive Australians

Marion RaeAAP
Google says one in three Australians has had their passwords hacked or compromised.
Camera IconGoogle says one in three Australians has had their passwords hacked or compromised. Credit: AAP

Australians are making themselves vulnerable to hackers even as governments and firms harden defences.

One in three Australians has had passwords hacked or compromised and one in four has fallen for a phishing attack designed to steal banking or credit card details, according to research released by Google Australia on Thursday.

The latest scam has enticed almost 10,000 Australians to click on a text message link about a parcel that's supposedly due to arrive.

Instead, the link unleashes malware on both Android and iPhones that can steal bank and credit card information.

Few people are taking deliberate steps to protect themselves online, Google Australia spokeswoman Samantha Yorke says.

"There's been a huge focus on businesses falling victim to cyber attacks, but this data shows how frequently individuals have been caught in scams," she said.

The research found almost one in five of those who have an identical password across all of their accounts also admits to sharing that password in a text or email to someone else.

Two in five have written their passwords down somewhere, and one third say they have written it down somewhere safe.

"Password manager tools are one of the easiest ways to protect yourself, which the research shows one in four Australians are using," Ms Yorke said.

When shopping online, almost half do not look for the "secure" padlock icon next to a website address.

Nearly one third don't know that the symbol means there is a secure, encrypted connection for the transaction.

The YouGov researchers surveyed more than 1500 Australian adults last month.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails