auDA Report: Positive impact of Internet dampened by cybersecurity fears

17 December 2021

Industry self-regulatory body for the .au domain, auDA, has released its inaugural Digital Lives of Australians 2021 Report. The report finds Australian consumers and small businesses benefit immensely from the Internet, but cybersecurity threats continue to pose a huge concern.

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The research asked 1,500 Australian consumers and 400 small business participants about their online activities, online concerns, who they turn to for advice, and how they hope to use the Internet in the future.  

The Digital Lives of Australians 2021 report found almost 90 per cent of Australians consider the Internet has a positive impact on their lives, and almost all small businesses (98 per cent) depend on the Internet as a tool for generating revenue and connecting with customers.  

However, it also revealed Australian consumers and small businesses lack confidence using the internet, with cyber security a top concern, highlighting an opportunity for greater education and support initiatives to boost the digital skills and confidence of Australians. 

“Despite these challenges, the overwhelming majority (86 per cent) of Australian consumers feel positively about the future of Internet and both consumers and small businesses see it remaining an integral part of their day-to-day lives or activities,” auDA Chief Executive Officer, Rosemary Sinclair AM, said.  

“In addition to delivering insights into how Australians use and rely on the Internet, auDA’s hope is this report will stimulate conversation and cultivate innovation within and between consumers, industry, business, government and academic institutions, and in turn enrich Australians’ online experiences.” 

Key small business findings  

  • 98 per cent of small businesses feel the Internet is important to their business and is an invaluable channel for generating revenue, and use the Internet every day 
  • 84 per cent value the Internet as an important channel for engaging with customers 
  • 22 per cent report they do not use the Internet more frequently because they are worried about being scammed or hacked 
  • 27 per cent have established cyber security practices or policies  
  • 31 per cent provide their staff with cyber security training  
  • Sole traders spend around $200 annually on cyber security, micro businesses $500 and small businesses $3,500. 

Key consumer findings 

  • 89 per cent of consumers feel that the Internet has a positive impact on their lives and has improved all aspects of their lives 
  • 58 per cent of working Australians could not perform their job without the Internet 
  • 46 per cent feel very confident online  
  • 84 per cent worry about the security of their personal information online, 81 per cent the privacy of their online activities, 75 per cent the risk of falling for an online scam 
  • 30 per cent fear being scammed or hacked  
  • Consumers could not cite a single authoritative or official source of information and support for cyber security, instead relying on friends and family (49 per cent) or information they can find via a search engine (37 per cent). 

How we can help 

For the first time, from 24 March 2022, Australians will be able to register Internet domain names directly before the .au, such as victorianchamber.au. In the lead up, the Victorian Chamber will host a webinar with auDA CEO Rosemary Sinclair, who will explain how the new system will work and what it means for your business’ online presence. Ms Sinclair will also share insights from the Digital Lives of Australians 2021 Report, including the top consumer and small business cyber concerns and challenges. If your business has a website, this webinar is relevant for you! 

Stay tuned for more information. 

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