Malcolm Turnbull has warned Australians to stay vigilant in the face of rising cyber crime across the country.
The warning came as the prime minister announced the government will step up its fight against scammers and award new powers to the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) to “disrupt, degrade, deny and deter organised offshore cyber criminals”.
Cybercrime is estimated to cost the economy $1 billion a year, with nearly 20 per cent of scam victims over the age of 60.
Until now, the ASD has mostly been focused on fighting Islamic State, but with cyber crime growing at a rapid rate the organisation will turn its focus to shutting down offshore safe-havens for cyber criminals.
“The Government will target criminals wherever they seek to hurt Australian citizens but every Australian has a role to play in ensuring our cyber security,” Turnbull said in a statement on Friday.
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Australians have reported over 100,000 cases of cybercrime to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) since 2014, with the most common scams filtering through email, social media and online advertising.
Turnbull urged Australians to be “proactive about protecting themselves online”.
ACORN’s top three tips for staying safe online are:
- Think of mobile devices as mini computers: always use a password
- Be careful on WiFi networks: remember to always log out at the end of your session
- Use a spam filter on your email account: be alert to suspicious or unsolicited emails
Anyone who thinks they may be a victim of cybercrime is urged to report the case to ACORN.
Have you ever been contacted by a scammer? How did you handle it?