A finance platform called Money.com.au ran a survey of 1010 Australians this month after we’ve had a whole bunch of security breaches with companies like Optus, Telstra, Medicare etc. But hey, despite this, the survey found a massive 60% of Aussies are still not worried about sharing their personal information online and it seems younger respondents are the least concerned.
Interestingly, the survey also found that 28% of Australians provide some fake personal details when signing up to services, with date of birth topping the list of information they make up. Over 50% admited they don’t read the privacy T&Cs before sharing their personal details, while 79% believe the proposed digital ID could be hacked and leaked in a data breach.
Just 40% of Aussies are worried about companies collecting their personal information
The survey revealed we’re still not so concerned with only 40% of Aussies confirming they’re worried about companies collecting their personal information – but perhaps this is an improvement in numbers since we’ve seen so many data breaches over the past month which have made headline news.
The survey did find the percentage of those concerned is higher (at 57-68 per cent) when they’re asked to give banking information, face photos, tax file numbers or passport details – and this is when 28% have given at least one fake detail about themselves.
Concerning proportion of Australians still comfortable giving their data away
Money.com.au asked respondents to indicate how concerned they are, if at all, about giving their personal information when signing up to a service such as a subscription, telco plan, financial product, eCommerce site, app service, utility plan or accommodation service.
Money presented a list of 14 items – from date of birth and home address, to banking and passport details – and respondents could choose whether they felt ‘concerned,’ ‘neutral’ or ‘comfortable’ about giving away those details. Across all items, an average of 40% of respondents indicated they are concerned about providing such details.
Money.com.au found respondents are most concerned about providing their bank transaction history (68 per cent concerned), bank account details (65%), tax file number (58%), photo of their face (58%) and passport details (57%).
Respondents are least concerned about revealing their gender (with 90% comfortable or neutral) number of dependents (82% comfortable or neutral), date of birth (75% comfortable or neutral), home address (74% comfortable or neutral) and relationship status (71%).
Analysing responses across age groups, Money.com.au found that younger respondents are more comfortable about giving their personal details with an average of 45% of over-50s concerned about giving away personal details, compared with just 31% of under-30s.
Licensed financial adviser and Money.com.au spokesperson Helen Baker, says: “I am surprised by the level of comfort that the majority of survey respondents have around sharing their private information. Considering recent major customer data breaches, I think we need to start questioning why some service providers request personal information that is not relevant to their provision of the service.
“It may feel ‘safe’ to share personal details such as date of birth, gender and home address, but a company holding a combination of these can leave individuals vulnerable in a data breach. Malicious hackers, if armed with a few personal details about an individual, can steal their identity, sell their identity, create fake accounts or passports or incur debt on behalf of the individual,” Baker adds.
Money.com.au also found that more than half (52%) of respondents don’t read privacy terms and conditions when providing personal details to sign up to a subscription, telco plan, financial product, eCommerce site or other online services.
Australians are unlikely to share fake personal details as a means to protect their data.
Money.com.au asked respondents if they provide fake details about themselves when signing up to services. More than a quarter (28%) admit to providing some fake detail. Date of birth is the most common fake information that respondents tend to provide (chosen by 15%), followed by home address (13%) and name (12%).
Younger respondents are more likely to provide fake details: 32% of under-30s tend to fabricate at least one personal detail online, compared with 29% of 31-50-year-olds and 24% of over-50s. Specifically, under-30s are more likely to fake their name, at 16%, compared with 12% of 31-50-year-olds and 9% of over-50s.
Overall, a higher proportion of men tend to falsify their personal details: 31% of men have provided fake information, compared with 25% of women.
Baker says: “There are safeguards individuals could take to protect their accounts, and information. For instance, using a different password for every account and updating those passwords regularly, while setting up two-factor authentication, can provide an additional layer of protection. In light of recent data breaches that have made headlines, I believe large corporations will also become more diligent by updating their security systems regularly to prevent future data breaches.”
Following the Optus data breach, the Federal Government has put forward the idea it could centralise identity information through the myGovID digital identity system, as a solution. This would mean individuals would not be required to provide ID documents multiple times to service providers.
Australians would input their personal information into their existing MyGov account and only businesses verified to join the ‘Trusted Digital Identity Framework’ would be able to access an individual’s data. Money.com.au found that eight in ten (79%) of respondents are concerned that this proposed digital ID could still be hacked and compromised in data breaches.
The full survey results, including age and State breakdowns, can be found here.
For more from Women Love Tech about online security, visit here.