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One million kiwis affected by cybercrime
Posted on 24-Feb-2018 13:58 | Filed under: News

More than one-third of New Zealand’s adult online population was affected by cybercrime in the past year according to the 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report released by Norton by Symantec.


The report, which spanned 20 countries, found that 978 million people were affected by cybercrime in 2017, one million of whom were in New Zealand. Nearly half of all New Zealanders (49 percent) have or know someone who has been impacted by an online security threat. Of those who have ever been a victim of cybercrime, 56 percent have been affected in the past year.


Globally, cybercrime victims share a similar profile: they are everyday people who use multiple devices whether at home or on the go, but have a blind spot when it comes to cyber security basics. This group tends to use the same password across multiple accounts or share it with others. Equally concerning, 39 percent of global cybercrime victims, despite their experience, gained trust in their ability to protect their data and personal information from future attacks and more than 20 percent believed they had a low risk of becoming a cybercrime victim.


Kiwi cybercrime victims lost more than NZ$177 million combined, and spent more than nine hours dealing with the aftermath. Even if people were able to recover some of their losses, the amount was minimal in comparison: at least 82 percent of Kiwis’ reported financial loss was not reimbursed.


Mark Gorrie, director, Consumer Business Unit, Pacific region, Symantec, says cybercrime is touching the lives of all New Zealanders and Kiwis could do more to protect themselves.


“People’s actions revealed a dangerous disconnect: Despite a steady stream of cybercrime sprees reported by media, too many people appear to feel invincible and skip taking even basic precautions to protect themselves,” said Mark. “This disconnect highlights the need for consumer digital safety and the urgency for consumers to get back to basics when it comes to doing their part to prevent cybercrime,” he added.


Millennials were the most common victims of cybercrime in New Zealand. Despite the availability of device protection technologies such as fingerprint ID, pattern matching and facial recognition, nearly half of millennials (49 percent) don’t have any security measures on their devices. They were also the most likely age group to share their passwords – half of all millennials have shared their smartphone passwords.


In fact, password sharing is rife in New Zealand with 51 percent of Kiwis sharing their passwords for at least one online account with others. People mostly share passwords to their connected home devices (38 percent), smartphones and laptops (both 35 percent). Kiwis may also be putting their information at risk by: writing their passwords down on a piece of paper (22 percent) and using the same passwords for all their online accounts and devices (19 percent). 16 percent have even shared the password for their online banking with another person, despite 58 percent worrying about their financial information being stolen online.


While most Kiwis report having some form of protection on their smartphones, laptops, desktops and tablets, 39 percent of those surveyed don’t have any protection on their smart home theatre devices and 31 percent don’t have protection on their gaming consoles.


Despite 86 percent of New Zealanders believing cybercrime should be treated as a criminal act, 16 percent believe stealing information online is not as bad as stealing property in ‘real life’. Further, 40 percent of Kiwis believe it’s sometimes acceptable to engage in morally questionable online behaviour in certain instances such as reading someone else’s emails without their consent (22 percent), sharing things they know are untrue on social media (14 percent) and putting software on someone’s machine to spy on them (12 percent).


People’s level of trust affects their behaviour when it comes to security. Kiwis who reported gaining trust in themselves and their security software were more likely to apply security updates when prompted. Kiwis were also more likely to gain trust in security software providers if they received a scam email which was flagged as such. However, they are not as trusting of some institutions and organisations. Over the past year New Zealanders lost trust in the ability of credit report companies that gather information without user consent (39 percent), social media platforms (37 percent) and the government (33 percent) to manage their data and personal information.


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