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Aussie consumers' zero trust in brands without data safeguard guarantee

Mimecast's Brand Trust report has found that over half of Australian consumers (59 per cent) say they would stop spending money with their favourite brand, if they fell victim to a phishing attack involving that brand, with 60 per cent saying that they would lose trust in their favourite brand if they disclosed personal information to a spoofed version of their website.

user icon Nastasha Tupas
Tue, 02 Nov 2021
Aussie consumers' zero trust in brands without data safeguard guarantee
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The findings include responses from 1,000 Australian consumers (participating in a global survey of 9,000 adults across the Benelux, Nordics, United Kingdom, Germany, South Africa, Australia and the Middle East), the data pointing to the need for brands with an online presence, to take note of survey’s findings.

In a digital-first world, having good products and customer service is no longer enough for companies. Businesses now also have a mandate to keep people’s data safe and take steps to prevent them from falling victim to cyber attacks involving their brand name.

The onus is on brands to secure their email communications and their websites. Mimecast researchers found that a whopping 78 per cent of Australian respondents naturally expect services to be safe to use and over two-thirds stating that the buck stops with the brand. Put simply, Australian consumers believe it’s the brand’s responsibility to protect itself from email impersonation and from fake versions of its website (as reported by 68 per cent and 70 per cent of respondents, respectively).

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What are the top factors that negatively impact consumers' perception of a brand?

Over a third of Australian respondents said brands refusing to compensate customers, after data or money had been lost due to a cyber security incident, was top of the list.

Brand responsibility for customer deception, loss of money after interacting with a fake website or phishing email were also of concern.

Mimecast researchers also surveyed Australian consumers on trusted industries and the findings reveal that when it comes to trust, not all industries are created equal.

In Australia, the top three most trusted industries are online banking, healthcare and utilities. The most leveraged for phishing attacks were delivery services, online banking and entertainment services.

During the pandemic lockdown, more Australian consumers were shopping online, as such, delivery services were targets for cyber attacks.

Online banking is one of the most trusted industries and yet, most phishing emails are related to it. Consumer trust in this industry is in part due to the role banks play in communicating with customers about threats and scams, providing advice on what to watch for, and how consumers can best protect themselves.

Cyber criminals have become more sophisticated, making it harder to distinguish real emails from fake ones and as a result, which brand messages to trust. And it turns out, cyber attackers exploit the trust consumers place in brands too.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, cyber criminals have worked tirelessly to expose the vulnerabilities that come with widespread remote working. Mimecast’s State of Email Security 2021 report revealed that email-based security threats surged by 66 per cent in in Australia since the start of the pandemic, with 70 per cent of businesses expecting to be harmed by an email-borne attack.

The latest Brand Trust findings return equally worrying results, and it seems no country is immune, with consistently high averages across all the surveyed countries.

In Australia, 77 per cent of respondents have received phishing emails in their inboxes, and 49 per cent of respondents were directed to a spoofed website from a web search.

The biggest fears consumers face when it comes to engaging with brands is disclosing personal information to scammers and losing money – if either of these happen, not only will consumers stop trusting the involved brands, but they will stop spending money regardless of whether it’s their favourite brand, one they regularly use, or just one they’re familiar with.

[Related: High end jeweller hacked, some 69,000 files on clients leaked]

Nastasha Tupas

Nastasha Tupas

Nastasha is a Journalist at Momentum Media, she reports extensively across veterans affairs, cyber security and geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific. She is a co-author of a book titled The Stories Women Journalists Tell, published by Penguin Random House. Previously, she was a Content Producer at Verizon Media, a Digital Producer for Yahoo! and Channel 7, a Digital Journalist at Sky News Australia, as well as a Website Manager and Digital Producer at SBS Australia. Nastasha started her career in media as a Video Producer and Digital News Presenter at News Corp Australia.

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