Privacy

Control vs. Convenience vs. Cost: Consumers demand more control over personal data yet may not be willing to pay organisations to protect it

With the average Aussie losing an estimated $240* to cybercrime over the last year and spending almost seven hours trying to resolve any issues stemming from the incident, the threat of this digital delinquency is something Australians can no longer ignore.

Our 2018 Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report (NLCSIR) estimates that Australians lost 37 million hours and $1.3 billion as an impact of cyber-crime in the past year. In addition, half of the respondents claim to have experienced cybercrime in their lifetime, while 55 per cent are somewhat likely to experience cyber-crime in the next year. The time is now for Australians to take a proactive approach to protecting our online identities and practicing internet behaviours that keep us and our families safe from common online threats.

These threats include malicious software on computers, Wi-Fi networks, smartphones, tablets, smart homes or other connected devices (encountered by 26 per cent of NLCSIR respondents); unauthorised access to an online banking or other financial accounts (14 per cent); and unauthorised access to an email account (12 per cent).

As significant as these threats are for Australians as individuals, our nation’s businesses are prime targets for cyber attacks too, and unintentional missteps can result in critical exposure of their customers’ sensitive personal information. This threat of such mistakes at an enterprise level has led the majority of Australians to have little faith in organisations’ abilities to manage and protect our personal data.

A mere one in five NLCSIR respondents trust government and financial services a lot to manage and protect personal information. Australians have the least amount of trust in social media providers to manage and protect personal information at only four per cent. Yet despite this mistrust, customers may be hesitant to employ the vigilance or bear the cost to ensure their own security.

Australians want control of their privacy, but many do not want to deal with the hassle or price tag that comes with it. Eighty-nine per cent of respondents claim they want to do more to protect their privacy, yet the majority will accept certain risks to their online privacy to make life more convenient. Respondents also claim they are willing to freely give or sell companies personal information if doing so results in more convenience.

Convenience trumps control, which in this age of information sharing, sits at the heart of our society’s privacy paradox – from which organisations should have it, to what consequences organisations should face when it is mishandled.

Ninety-eight per cent of our respondents claim it is an important requirement for organisations to give customers the ability to control how their personal data is used, and the majority say it is absolutely essential for organisations to give consumers a way to report misuse of their personal data.

Yet for many Australians, their willingness to embrace personal accountability for their own personal data may be deterred if it lightens their wallet. The majority are not willing to pay organisations to secure their personal data. In fact, less than one fifth of respondents (19 per cent) are willing to pay a social media provider to ensure protection of personal information, ranking lower than retailers and online shopping sites (24 per cent), healthcare providers and institutions (27 per cent) and financial institutions (27 per cent).

Fortunately, there are some easy measures Australians can employ to reduce their vulnerability to cybercrime. Below are best practices Australians can follow to help protect against online threats:

  • Safeguard yourself: To help protect your devices and information from the latest online threats, use a robust multi-platform security solution, such as Norton Security Premium, and update it regularly.
  • Never open suspicious-looking emails: Cybercriminals send fake emails or texts that may look legitimate. The links in these emails or texts contain malicious software that can download malware and spyware. The software may be able to mine your computer for personal information, which is then sent to a remote computer where the attacker could sell the information on the dark web or use the information to commit identity theft.
  • Make use of a VPN on public Wi-Fi: Many public Wi-Fi connections are unencrypted. This could give cyber criminals a chance to snoop on data being sent and received by your device. If there are software vulnerabilities on your device, attackers can inject malware to help them gain access to your data. In some cases, attackers create fake Wi-Fi hotspots purporting to be legitimate networks.
  • Own your online presence: Carefully read the terms and conditions before opening an account or downloading an application, including social media accounts. Be sure to set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing. 
  • Get two steps ahead and manage your passwords: Switch on two-step verification or multi-factor authentication wherever offered to prevent unauthorised access to your online accounts. Always change the default passwords to something strong and unique on your devices, services, and Wi-Fi networks. Tools such as Norton Password Manager can help manage passwords, login information, addresses, and credit card details securely.
  • Educate your child about online safety: Don’t just tell them to be careful online, show them how. Spend time with your child online and guide them through how to have a positive relationship with technology.
  • Be cautious of over-sharing your child’s life on social media: You are creating your child’s digital identity. Ensure your social media posts present your child in a positive way.

To learn more about the real impact of cybercrime and how consumers can protect their privacy, identity, and digital information, visit here .

*Based on respondents to Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report which was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Norton™ LifeLock™ among 1,002 adults aged 18+ between October 9-30, 2018.


Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.

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