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Why Australians are being targeted by hackers and cyber criminals

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Australians continue to be high on the hit list of cyber criminals and hackers according to the latest Threat Report from internet security experts Trend Micro.

According to the study that covered the first quarter of 2015, Australians have become even bigger targets for scams and spam.

And were also being lured to more malicious sites which are designed to infect our computers with malware and ransomware.

Australia actually ranked third in the world for countries with the highest number of users who clicked on malicious URLs.

Five per cent of malicious URL clicks were made by Australians for a total of 37 million in Q1 2015 0- up from 29 million in Q4 2014.

Spam has almost doubled since the end of 2014 – a trend noticed not only in Australia but also globally – with email the favoured delivery mechanism.

Trend Micro’s Threat Report says there were a staggering 7,371,418 spam sending IPs .

Online banking infections were also up from 2,135 in Q4 to 2,693 in Q1 as a result of more users falling victim to online banking threats.

Ransomware – where computers are infected and held to ransom by hackers – is still alarmingly high but it did drop from 72 percent in Q4 2014 to 52 per cent for consumers.

“Australians are becoming more susceptible to scams, such as malicious URLs and spam sending IPs, due to the sheer number of online scams cybercriminals are now crafting,” Tim Falinski, Consumer Director, ANZ, at Trend Micro, said.

“We are also noticing new ways people are being scammed which has moved from simple emails to more elaborate scams being driven through social media.

“This has been a direct result of two factors: the increase in number of devices we own and the increase in time we spend on them on activities such as banking and shopping, as cybercriminals have seen this as their best opportunity for financial gain.”

Mobile devices are becoming an even bigger target for hackers and cyber criminals with Trend Micro documenting more than 5 million Android threats to date.

Trend Micro predicts the threats will reach 8 million by the end of the year.

“Considering we’ve seen more than half the predicted Android threats for 2015 in Q1 alone, consumers need to be wary of underestimating the security threats their mobile devices expose them to,” Mt Falinski says.

“With Australians being some of the most prevalent smartphone users in the world, the easiest way to stay safe online is to exhibit caution whenever online – think twice before you click on a link, download a file or share information online.”