Australians Left Exposed To Cyber Crime By Unprotected Mobile Devices, According To Unisys Research

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26th October 2010, 10:46am - Views: 1073

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News Release


Julian Brophy, Perception Partners, + 61 408 276 749

Claire Hosegood, Unisys, + 61 411 253 663

Australians Left Exposed to Cyber Crime by Unprotected Mobile

Devices, according to Unisys Research 

As overall security concerns in Australia fall, personal risk of identity theft is

high – Unisys Security Index

SYDNEY, 26 October, 2010 Australians have taken charge of protecting their identity on

social networking sites but are leaving themselves exposed by not securing their mobile

devices, according to new research released today by Unisys.

The results from the latest Unisys Security Index™ show that nearly six out of ten (58

percent)  Australians never secure their mobiles, PDAs or smartphones by using, and

regularly changing, a password or PIN.  Only 18 percent said they always secured their

mobile device.

Percentage of Australians who said they always take the following precautions against

cyber crime and identity theft: 

18% always use, and change regularly, passwords on their main mobile devices (58%


37% always use hard to guess passwords that are changed regularly when using the

Internet (29% never)

43% always read and comply with policies and privacy statements of companies they do

business with (20% never)

57% always securely shred and dispose of personal paperwork, such as bills, tax

documents and medical papers (21% never)

60% always limit personal information posted to social networking websites, and set

privacy settings to restrict who can access their information (22% never)

64% always update security and virus protection software on their computer (14% never)

“The majority of Australians are leaving themselves vulnerable to cyber crime and identity

theft by simply not bothering to lock their mobile devices with a password or PIN.  Think of

the vast amount of information that can be found on most mobile phones – phone numbers,

addresses, birthdays and even bank account numbers – all of which can be used to re-

create someone’s identity,” said John Kendall, National Security Program Director, Unisys

Asia Pacific.

“The risk isn’t just to the owner of the phone, but can also represent a risk to the companies

that they work for.  In fact, any gadget that has access to the internet presents a risk to an

organisation if the user doesn’t secure the device properly.  And the Unisys Security Index

results are suggesting they aren’t.

“Technology has moved quickly and many organisations have not yet caught up with the

security protection and policies that the latest gadgets require.  And when you consider that

97 percent of Australian employees use at least one self-purchased technology device at



, the potential exposure is significant.

“Given the national interconnectedness of the infrastructure that drives our aviation,

electricity and water supply, banking and finance, and telecommunications networks – it is

vitally important that we work quickly to respond to this changing security landscape,” said

Mr Kendall.

Younger Aussies now better protecting their identity on social networking sites

In contrast to the low percentage of people who actively protect their mobile devices, 60

percent of Australians say they always limit information posted to social networking websites

and set privacy settings to restrict who can access their information.  Young Australians

aged 18-34 appear to be protecting their online identities with 70 percent saying they do it

always, compared to only 44 percent of those over 50.  Interestingly when similar research

was conducted in 2007, 18-34 year olds were twice as likely as those aged 50-64 to be

comfortable providing personal details such as email addresses, full name and age on a

social networking site.  Comparing this finding with 2010 survey results suggests that

younger people may now be getting the message about the importance of protecting their

personal information online.

“Australians are quick to embrace new technology.  However there appears to be a lag

between adopting new gadgets, such as smartphones, and implementing appropriate

security measures – even if it is as simple as using a password,” said Mr Kendall.  

This is particularly surprising given that the top two areas of concern for Australians

identified in the Unisys Security Index relate to identity theft:  

56% are extremely or very concerned about unauthorised access to, or misuse of,

personal information, and 

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55% are extremely or very concerned about other people obtaining/using their credit

card details 

Unisys Security Index Declines

The Unisys Security Index, conducted by Newspoll and Australia’s only regular barometer of

security concern, shows Australians are ending the year more relaxed than they started. 

The overall level of concern on key security issues stands at 115 out of 300, down 8 points

compared to April 2010.

The four key areas of security surveyed all showed decline:

National Security Index:  110 – down 11points

Financial Security Index:  124 – down 7points

Internet Security Index:  111 – down 6 points 

Personal Security Index:  115 – down 7 points

“Australians may be feeling more relaxed about security – but they risk placing themselves

at higher risk of cyber crime if they don’t take simple steps to protect their identity – including

securing their mobile devices,” said Mr Kendall.


Unisys Consumerisation of IT research for Australia conducted by IDC: 

About the Unisys Security Index 

The Unisys Security Index is a bi-annual global study that provides insights into the attitudes

of consumers on a wide range of security related issues.  Conducted in Australia by market

research firm Newspoll, the Unisys Security Index provides a regular, statistically robust

measure gauging levels of concern about various aspects of security. The survey on which

the latest Australian Unisys Security Index is based, was conducted nationally between 17-

19 September 2010 by Newspoll using a nationally representative sample of 1,202

respondents aged 18 years and over.  All results have been post-weighted to Australian

Bureau of Statistics data.  The study measures consumer perceptions on a scale of zero to

300, with 300 representing the highest level of perceived concern.  For more information on

the Unisys Security Index including additional resource material visit:

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About Unisys

Unisys is a worldwide information technology company. We provide a portfolio of IT services,

software, and technology that solves critical problems for clients. We specialise in helping

clients secure their operations, increase the efficiency and utilisation of their data centres,

enhance support to their end users and constituents, and modernise their enterprise

applications. To provide these services and solutions, we bring together offerings and

capabilities in outsourcing services, systems integration and consulting services,

infrastructure services, maintenance services, and high-end server technology. With

approximately 24,000 employees, Unisys serves commercial organisations and government

agencies throughout the world. For more information, visit

About Unisys Asia Pacific

In Asia Pacific, Unisys delivers services and solutions through subsidiaries in Australia, New

Zealand, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan  and

through distributors or resellers in other countries in the region.  Visit


Unisys is a registered trademark of Unisys Corporation. All other brands and products referenced herein are

acknowledged to be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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