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One in four Australians hit by cybercrime - reversing the threat

Cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime is harming more and more Australians every day, and it’s time to reverse the threat.

'One in four Australians were hit by cybercrime last year – that’s over 6 million Australians. If we’re going to fight back, we need to work together,' Alastair MacGibbon, Head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), said on the eve of Stay Smart Online Week 2018.

This year, Stay Smart Online is launching 'Reverse the Threat' to encourage all Australians and businesses to take simple actions to defend against cybercrime.

'Fake emails and texts that try to get you to provide your personal information, fake shopping websites, and fake invoices sent to Australian businesses are just some of the ways that cybercriminals are targeting Australians,' Mr MacGibbon said.

'We really want to draw attention to the threat of cybercrime, which is why we are changing our website and social media pages from colour to black and white for Stay Smart Online Week.'

'Businesses, government and community organisations across Australia are also uniting to help reverse the threat of cybercrime throughout Stay Smart Online Week. Stay Smart Online partners including ANZ, Facebook, NAB, Australia Post, AGL, Qantas and many others will display 'Reverse the threat' black and white imagery on their websites and social media, and work with their customers and employees to focus the community's attention on cyber security.'

Stay Smart Online Week, running from Monday 8 to Sunday 14 October 2018, highlights how we can better protect ourselves, our families, our businesses and organisations when we are online.

Take practical steps

'Australians are receiving thousands of emails every day from cybercriminals who try to trick us into providing our credit card details, bank account logins, account passwords and personal information to gain money. It's time to get smarter online,' Mr MacGibbon said.

'Cybercrime is planned. Cybercriminals use psychology to take advantage of us like our desire to find love, make money, grab a bargain or be compliant. You can fight back by using tips, tools and techniques.'

This year’s campaign focuses on four key areas to help individuals and businesses to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals by improving personal and organisational cyber security:

  • PASSWORDS. Passwords are the lock on the front door to online lives. Make sure you have strong passwords and use a second layer of authentication, like an SMS code or a fingerprint.
  • PHISHING. We all need to closely check emails asking for personal details, verification of our passwords or bank details — whether we are at home or at work. Fake emails are getting increasingly sophisticated. Contact the vendor or organisation independently to check authenticity.
  • UPDATES. When you get a reminder to update the software on your computer, phone or apps, you should do it promptly. Better still, set it to auto-update. It will help you protect your information and identity.
  • PUBLIC WI-FI. Be wary when using public Wi-Fi. It is possible for others to see what you are doing over public Wi-Fi networks, so don't do online banking or online shopping or send sensitive information.

On 30 November 2020, we retired the ACSC’s Stay Smart Online brand and discontinued the annual Stay Smart Online Week. In its place, we launched the ACSC cyber security campaign across paid digital channels to increase awareness among Australians and small and medium enterprise (SMEs) of the cyber threat environment, and drive more Australians to to find tools to report, prevent and recover from cyber incidents.

For further information on what you can do to help reverse the threat of cybercrime, visit and follow us on Facebook

Cyber security facts

  • 6.09 million Australian adults were hit by cybercrime or cyber-enabled crime last year. This is one in four Australians.1
  • 43% of cyber-attacks are aimed at small businesses with an average cost of \$10,000.2
  • 59% of people use the same password across all of their devices and accounts.3
  • 80% of Android users and 23% of iOS users haven’t installed the latest software update on their device, leaving them exposed to cyber threats.4
  • 87% of people have taken risks on public Wi-Fi.5

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  1. Symantec, Norton Cyber Security Insights Report Global Results (2017).
  2. Symantec, Internet Security Threat Report (2016)
  3. Last Pass, The Psychology of Passwords: Neglect is helping hackers win (2017)
  4. Symantec, Internet Security Threat Report Volume 23 (April 2018) 
  5. Symantec, Internet Security Threat Report Volume 23 (April 2018)