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Beware the cyber grinch: Defence calls for vigilance

Defence has urged Australians to be on guard against "Christmas grinches" ahead of the festive season.

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Thu, 04 Nov 2021
Beware the cyber grinch: Defence calls for vigilance
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Assistant Minister for Defence Andrew Hastie has called on Australians to shore-up their cyber defences ahead of Christmas, ensuring they’re on guard against malicious actors looking to steal money and personal information via online shopping fraud.

“We all love browsing online for a bargain and it’s a convenient way for many of us to do our Christmas shopping at this time of year, but if you are not alert, you could get taken in by fraudulent deals,” Assistant Minister Hastie said.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) received over 11,000 reports of online shopping cyber crime over the last financial year, making up 17 per cent of all reported incidents.


Those aged 25-45 made up nearly half of all victims of online shopping fraud.

“Businesses are already recognising the ACSC’s warnings, with the Australian Retailers Association partnering with the ACSC to promote secure online shopping,” the minister added.

According to the Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan, Australians are expected to spend over $58 billion on pre-Christmas shopping.

“Just as Australians are picky about where they shop in the real world, they also need to choose their online stores wisely, so they’re not exploited or targeted,” Assistant Minister Hastie said.

“Watch out for cyber criminals who use tricks like selling products that don’t exist, impersonating well-known brands but offering spectacular sales, or asking for personal and payment information they don’t need.

“If an online deal seems too good to be true – it probably is.”

An online security shopping list has been made available ahead of the festive season as part of the "Act Now, Stay Secure" cyber security campaign.

“We know from the recent ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report 2020-21 that the complexity and sophistication of cyber threats continues to rise,” Assistant Minister Hastie noted.

“Australians are expected to spend billions this festive season, the ACSC recommends only buying from trusted sellers, always using secure payment methods such as PayPal or credit card at checkout and never clicking on a link in an email or SMS to verify an order.”

[Related: Russian cyber actor pivots strategy]

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