Malware and harmful software: consumer views on software threats and use of protections

Consumers Information technology Australia

In 2012, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) commissioned a national telephone survey with 1,500 Australians aged 18 years and over and four focus group discussions also conducted with adults. Part of this research examined Australians’ awareness of possible threats from malware (malicious software), the use of protections against harmful software, and views on whose responsibility it is to protect computers against malware.

Malware infections enable computers, and potentially tablets and smartphones, to be controlled remotely for illegal or harmful purposes without the users’ knowledge. Possible repercussions for internet users include the mass distribution of spam, hosting of phishing sites or identity theft.

This research provides a context for the ACMA’s activities relating to malware, notably the Australian Internet Security Initiative (AISI) under which participating internet providers—mainly internet service providers (ISPs) and universities—are notified of malware infections affecting their customers; and the ACMA’s Cybersmart program, which helps children and families to use the internet safely and securely.

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