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Australians careless about online security
Australians careless about online security

Australians may be vigilant about protecting their passwords when using an ATM but they are not so careful when transacting online.

Research conducted PayPal Australia shows 65 per cent of Australians admit to being more careful with their PIN than their online passwords, leaving themselves open to internet fraud.

The survey of 1000 Australians found 47 per cent had ten or more online accounts but 67 per cent had only five or fewer passwords.

Another 22 per cent include personal information, such as nicknames, birthdays or pets' names, in their passwords, and 49 per cent only change their passwords when prompted by the system.

PayPal spokesman Adrian Christie said consumers had learned to be vigilant about safeguarding their PIN but did not apply the same behaviour online.

He said that, as fraud increased on the ATM, consumers had learned to protect their PIN by covering it with their hand when keying in their numbers.

"But if people aren't applying new smarts to new money forms, then they're leaving themselves at risk."

Mr Christie said people should have different passwords for each account, not use personal information.

They should also use a mix of special characters, numbers and upper-case letters to keep their accounts safe from hackers.

"One in four people use personal information in their passwords such as their dog's name, which is kind of alarming," he said.

While people have been advised not to write down their PIN numbers, Mr Christie said that may be the best way to remember online passwords.

However, it was advised to store the list away from your computer.