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The threat of cyber crime in Australia

Concept stock photograph depicting Cyber Security theme, Thursday, April 28, 2016.

New data shows Australians are reporting cyber security incidents every 10 minutes and it’s costing Australian businesses $29 billion each year.But what kind of cyber crimes are people falling foul of, and how can someone protect themselves against them?

Australians are reporting cyber crimes happening every 10 minutes.

That's according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre, which states there has been over 13,500 reports of cyber crime since a new online reporting portal was established in July.

The federal government estimates cyber security incidents cost Australian businesses $29 billion each year.

Almost one in three Australian adults were affected by cyber crime last year. 

Online fraud is the most common type of cyber crime reported, including people clicking links in messages claiming to be from their bank and filling out online banking details.

This is closely followed by identity fraud, with criminals opening bank accounts in other people's names.

Head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre Rachel Noble spoke to ABC ...

"We see all sorts of types of things that criminals will do. So ransomware for example that's when criminals stop your business from being able to run, by seizing up your computer system and threatening you and making you pay a large sum of money to get your computer system running again. We see romance scams, identity thefts..."

Dr Nalin Arachchilage, is a senior research fellow in Cyber Security at La Trobe University.

"Cyber criminals are interested in breaking into people's mindset rather than breaking into systems straight away. Social engineering, manipulating humans is much more effective and cheap."

Statistics show while more people are self-reporting being a victim of cyber crime, some groups, such as those who become involved in love scams and people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, are more reluctant.

So, how can people protect themselves against cyber crime?

John Williams is the Director of the Cyber Security Centre at the University of Queensland.

"Not reusing passwords, and particularly making sure you've got a secure, unique password for your primary email account. Because once that's compromised it's really easy for attackers to then move sideways, to other high value accounts like Ebay or Paypal. The other thing to remember is don't undertake high value transactions purely on the basis of an email. Always verify by phone if you can and if possible, independently verify the phone number itself. So when you're sending a large amount of money it's really worthwhile taking a few extra minutes to just verify that that's correct."

He says people with digital literacy should help educate others.

"Talk to your friends, talk to your family, to your coworkers about cyber crime. If you've got a little more skill, a little more literacy, you can then share that knowledge. It's almost like a public health message, if you like."

For more information on what you can do to protect yourself from cybercrime you can visit www.staysmartonline.gov.au/reversethethreat.

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