More than half of Australians were into mobile computing as of May this year - social networking and conducting everyday business via smartphones or tablet computers, a new report said.
That usually is good news but it has a serious downside, according to web security expert Norton, stating in a report released on Thursday that the exploding wireless computer trend in the country generated more opportunities for cyber criminals to steal from Australians.
The local haul as of the end of 2011 is around $1.65 billion, the Norton report said, noting too that the loss was significant enough for the net-savvy Aussie considering that within the same period net misfits pilfered a whooping $US110 billion from victims around the world.
Between $200 and $300 were siphoned out by cyber crime operations from Aussies, who in the past few years were quick to migrate from traditional computing tools to the latest craze of mobile gadgets that delivered to them instant web access, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
Citing reports by Google, the U.S.-based publication said about eight out of 10 Australians were believed to rely mostly on mobile devices to log on the web - their activities ranging from checking emails, getting updates from Facebook or Twitter and shopping online.
The latter, Norton said, opens up windows for web criminals to conduct their 'business', well-aware that cash flows almost incessantly through mobile computing.
"People are targeting these devices because that's where the money is," Norton security expert Adam Palmer was reported by WSJ as saying on Friday.
Fans of mobile computing should be duly-informed that "criminals are moving away from traditional laptops and forms and moving into social network and mobile and tablet forms," Mr Palmer added.
And their illegal operations appear to be gaining traction as Australian victims of cyber crimes consistently rose to two-digits in the past year, partly due to the huge amount of mobile devices that were bought by local consumers, Norton said.
It is inevitable that people's lives would be governed in large amounts by downloadable apps offered by their gadgets, according to David Freer, Norton's vice president for its Asia Pacific operations.
"(But) people are nowhere near as aware that an app can steal money from you," Mr Freer noted.
He added that Aussies need to be extra-careful in safeguarding their personal information and password, data that can be stole through apps that were designed by hackers to collect and send back to its dispatchers.
Those were key recipes in the execution of identity fraud that in most cases lead to financial setbacks for victims, Mr Freer warned.
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