Aussies still ignorant about 'phishing'

Posted by Hitarth Jani | 12:21 AM | 0 comments »

As more Australians manage their lives on the web they are becoming potential phishing victims.

Alarming numbers of Australians still don't know what the internet scam called 'phishing' is, nor are they adequately protected against it, a Galaxy survey has found.

Phishing is a type of online fraud that tricks people into supplying sensitive information to someone they shouldn't through spoof websites or phony emails, often offering lucrative deals.

Many of the scams come via email and usually claim to be from a trusted source such as a bank, the eBay internet auction website, or online payment company PayPal.

As more Australians use online auction sites, online shopping, social networking websites and online banking, they are becoming potential phishing victims.

The Galaxy survey, commissioned by eBay, found one in three Australian internet users believed people had to be "dumb" to fall for a phishing scam, but 72 per cent of respondents were engaging in risky online behaviour.

The survey of 647 internet users found seven out of 10 were at risk of becoming phishing victims.

Despite 30 per cent of internet users saying they knew what phishing was, only seven per cent correctly understood what the term meant.

Alastair MacGibbon, director of trust and safety at eBay Australia, said phishing attacks were becoming increasingly sophisticated.

"Even the most experienced internet users can fall prey to phishing attacks, but there's no reason to be afraid of using the internet," Mr MacGibbon said.

Mr MacGibbon advised internet users never to reply to emails that asked for personal information, and said they should get a safe browser and update their anti-virus software.

He said eBay users should download the eBay toolbar, choose a strong password and change it regularly.

Meanwhile, a Symantec Internet Security Threat Report for the first-half of 2007 said there had been a growth in the number of hackers trading malicious code and stolen information through their vast underground network.

The report was based on data collected from more than 40,000 sensors deployed in more than 180 countries.