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  • 16 November 2012 17:32


Almost 30% of Australians don’t know how to identify a secure shopping site, according to McAfee’s New Holiday Shopping Study Cyber-Scrooges Work Overtime During Holiday Season; New Threats Hit Mobile, Email and the Web

SYDNEY, Australia, November 16, 2012 – McAfee, the world’s largest dedicated security technology company, today released findings from the company’s 2012 Holiday Shopping Study. The study, conducted online among 1005 Australian adults by Harris Interactive, investigates the online habits and behaviours of Australians, including those who indicate they will engage with the Internet and mobile devices while shopping this holiday season. The research shows the number of Australians planning to shop online this holiday season is set to be double that of 2011. In light of these findings, McAfee also exposes the Top 12 Scams of Christmas that criminals plan to rip off Aussies as they shop online this holiday season.

Of the countries surveyed (including Australia, the US and Canada), McAfee found that Australia has the highest smartphone and tablet ownership, with 69 per cent of Aussies using a smartphone, tablet or both. With this in mind, it’s more important than ever that Australians know how to shop safely online. • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Australians connect to free Wi-Fi on their device and while many recognise risks associated with public Wi-Fi, one in 10 believe there is no risk at all. • While almost one in three Aussies still don’t know how to identify a safe online shopping site, the most common way to spot a secure site is to look for the security icon (60%). • A third of Australians have personally fallen victim to an online scam (16%) or know someone who has.

More than 60 per cent of Aussies planning to shop online using their smartphone or tablet expect to use apps for shopping and/or banking during that time. While the vast majority of these users (82%) indicate they are at least somewhat concerned that their personal information could be stolen while using an app on their device, a greater proportion (84%) would be willing to share some personal information in order to receive an offer that is of value to them. • Over half would be willing to provide their name (56%) and age (55%). • Nearly four in 10 (38%) would be willing to provide their mobile phone number. • One quarter (25%) would be willing to provide their address. • Meanwhile, one in four Aussies don’t pay attention to permissions when downloading apps to their device.

“The number of Australians doing their Christmas shopping online is set to double this year and with that comes greater opportunity for cybercrooks looking to put a dampener on the silly season,” said Sean Duca, Enterprise Solutions Architect at McAfee Asia Pacific. “We have one of the highest rates of smartphone and tablet usage in the world so it’s up to companies like McAfee to ensure Aussies are aware of what to look out for and how to stay safe online.”

‘Tis the season for consumers to spend more time online - shopping for gifts. More than eight in 10 (83%) of Australians who plan on shopping online during the 2012 holiday season will use a personal computer, and 40 per cent will use a tablet (19%) or smartphone (30%). With so many Aussies planning to scour the web for the hottest gifts this season, here are the “12 Scams of Christmas,” the dozen most dangerous online scams to watch out for, revealed by McAfee.

1) Social media scams—Many of us use social media sites to connect with family, friends and co-workers over the holidays, and the cybercriminals know that this is a good place to catch you off guard because we’re all “friends,” right? Here are some ways that criminals will use these channels to obtain shopper’s gift money, identity or other personal information: • Scammers use channels, like Facebook and Twitter, just like email and websites to scam consumers during the holidays. Be careful when clicking or liking posts, while taking advantage of contests, ads and special deals that you get from your “friends” that advertise the hottest Holiday gifts (such as the new iPad Mini), exclusive discounts at local stores, holiday-related jobs postings, and your friends’ accounts being hacked and sending out fake alerts to all their “friends.” • Twitter ads and special discounts for popular gifts are especially prevalent during peak shopping and sales periods, and utilise blind, shortened links, many of which could easily be malicious. Criminals are getting savvier with authentic-looking social ads and deals that take consumers to legitimate looking websites. In order to take advantage of the deals or contests, they ask them for personal information that can obtain a shopper’s credit card number, email address, phone number or home address.

2) Malicious Mobile Apps—As smartphone users we are app crazy, downloading over 25 billion apps for Android devices alone! But as the popularity of applications has grown, so have the chances that you could download a malicious application designed to steal your information or even send out premium-rate text messages without your knowledge.

3) Travel Scams—Before you book your flight or hotel to head home to see your loved ones for the holidays, keep in mind that the scammers are looking to hook you with too-good-to-be-true deals. Phony travel webpages, sometimes using your preferred company, with beautiful pictures and rock-bottom prices are used to get you to hand over your financial details.

4) Holiday Spam/Phishing—Soon many of these spam emails will take on holiday themes. Cheap Rolex watches and pharmaceuticals may be advertised as the “perfect gift” for that special someone.

5) iPhone 5, iPad Mini and other hot holiday gift scams—The kind of excitement and buzz surrounding Apple’s new iPhone 5 or iPad Mini is just what cybercrooks dream of when they plot their scams. They will mention must-have holiday gifts in dangerous links, phony contests (example: “Free iPad”) and phishing emails as a way to grab computer users’ attention to get you to reveal personal information or click on a dangerous link that could download malware onto your machine.

6) Skype Message Scare—People around the world will use Skype to connect with loved ones this holiday season, but they should be aware of a new Skype message scam that attempts to infect their machine, and even hold their files for ransom.

7) Bogus gift cards—Cybercriminals can't help but want to get in on the action by offering bogus gift cards online. Be wary of buying gift cards from third parties; just imagine how embarrassing it would be to find out that the gift card you gave your mother-in-law was fraudulent!

8) Holiday SMiShing—“SMiShing” is phishing via text message. Just like with email phishing, the scammer tries to lure you into revealing information or performing an action you normally wouldn’t do by pretending to be a legitimate organisation.

9) Phony E-tailers– Phony e-commerce sites, that appear legitimate, try to lure you into typing in your credit card number and other personal details, often by promoting great deals. But, after obtaining your money and information, you never receive the merchandise, and your personal information is put at risk.

10) Fake charities—This is one of the biggest scams of every holiday season. As we open up our hearts and wallets, the bad guys hope to get in on the giving by sending spam emails advertising fake charities.

11) Dangerous e-cards—E-Cards are a popular way to send a quick “thank you” or holiday greeting, but some are malicious and may contain spyware or viruses that download onto your computer once you click on the link to view the greeting.

12) Phony classifieds—Online classified sites may be a great place to look for holiday gifts and part-time jobs, but beware of phony offers that ask for too much personal information or ask you to wire funds via Western Union, since these are most likely scams.

“The holidays are an exciting time and millions of us will be going online to shop for the best deals, book travel and stay in contact with friends via social networks,” said Sean Duca. “The first step in ensuring your personal details stay safe and secure at this busy time is to check your security protection – on your mobile devices as well as your PC.”

“Another way Australians can reduce the risk of coming across a cyber-threat is to be wary of offers that are too good to be true. They shouldn’t click on links or open attachments from people they don’t know, and should go directly to websites by typing the site’s URL in the web address bar.”

Additional Resources • For more information on the McAfee 12 Scams of Christmas List and Tips for Consumers to Stay Safe, go to: and • Web surfers should visit the McAfee Security Advice Center and Facebook page at for information on the latest threats, and tips on surfing safely.


Survey Methodology This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive via its Global Omnibus product on behalf of McAfee from September 25-October 3, 2012 among 1005 Australian adults age 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Matt Clark with DKC News at 212.981.5158 or

About McAfee McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), empowers businesses, the public sector and home users, to safely experience the benefits of the Internet. The company delivers proactive and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global Threat Intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping its customers safe.

Note: McAfee is a registered trademark or trademark of McAfee, or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. © 2011 McAfee All rights reserved. The product plans, specifications and descriptions herein are provided for information only, subject to change without notice, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied.

About Harris Interactive Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients—stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

Media Contact: Sabine Leroy Spectrum Communications 02 9469 5700

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