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Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report shows people willing to trade privacy for convenience
Posted on 28-Mar-2019 18:14 | Filed under: News

In today’s connected world, businesses are prime targets for cyber attacks and unintentional missteps can result in critical exposure of consumers’ sensitive personal information.


According to the 2018 Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report, from Norton LifeLock, a Symantec company, based on an online survey conducted by The Harris Poll of over 1,000 adults, just over two out of three New Zealanders (68 percent) are more alarmed than ever about their privacy. However, the majority  accept certain risks to their online privacy in exchange for convenience (75 percent) and many are willing to sell or give away certain personal information, such as their location (50 percent) and internet search history (45 percent), to companies.


In the age of information sharing, control is now at the heart of society’s privacy paradox – from who should have it to what the consequences should be when it is mishandled. A large majority (97 percent) believe it is important to require that companies give customers control of how their personal data is used. Nearly half (47 percent) believe it is absolutely essential. Adequate recourse is also expected when personal information is not protected, with 54 percent of people believing it is absolutely essential that companies be required to provide a way for consumers to report misuse of their personal data, or consequently be fined.


“Our cyber safety is inherently tied to trust,” said Mark Shaw, Technology Strategist, Symantec Asia Pacific. “Most people are aware their data is being captured from the websites they visit, the social media they share and the apps they use. And they trust their information is being properly secured. However, these same people are often unaware how and why data is captured and what companies do with it. The sheer amount of personal information being collected about us shows no signs of slowing and there is greater value placed on it than ever before.”


Over the last year alone, one in three New Zealanders (33 percent) were the victims of cyber crime, and 54 percent believe it’s likely they will experience cyber crime in the next year. As a result of cyber crime in the past year, losses totalled an estimated $101.2 million and 5.8 million hours lost dealing with the aftermath, with nearly one out of three (32 percent) spending a week or longer dealing with the problem.


Additional New Zealand findings include:


  • People view data protection as a right – not a privilege. Most New Zealanders are not willing to pay organisations to ensure protection of their personal information. That’s particularly true when it comes to social media providers, with 82 percent of consumers saying they are not willing to pay providers to ensure their personal information is protected when using them, compared to 76 percent for retailers, 71 percent for financial institutions, and 70 percent for healthcare institutions.
  • Despite concerns, some New Zealanders embrace data sharing: Many say they are willing to sell or give away certain personal data, including Internet search history (12 percent would give away for free, 33 percent would sell) and location (14 percent would give away, 36 percent would sell). Some are even willing to provide identification document information, such as driver’s license or passport information (10 percent would give away, 19 percent would sell).
  • Younger generations are more inclined to take action on social media accounts. 25 percent of New Zealanders ages 18-38 who have a social media account deleted it in the past 12 months due to privacy concerns, compared to only 13 percent of those who are 39-53 and 16 percent of those who are 54 and older.

Shaw adds, “Although consumers want greater control over their privacy and action taken against those that mishandle personal data, they want this control to come without hassle or cost, so they are willing to take risks in favour of convenience. Convenience continues to reign supreme when it comes to sharing personal data.”


There are several best practices consumers can follow to help safeguard against online threats:


  • Never open suspicious-looking emails: Cyber criminals send fake emails or texts that may look legitimate. The links in these emails or texts contain malicious software that can download malware and spyware. The software may be able to mine your device for personal information, which is then sent to a remote device where the attacker could sell the information on the dark web or use the information to commit identity theft.
  • Make use of a VPN on public Wi-Fi: Many public Wi-Fi connections are unencrypted. This could give cyber criminals a chance to snoop on data being sent and received by your device. If there are software vulnerabilities on your device, attackers can inject malware to help them gain access to your data. In some cases, attackers create fake Wi-Fi hotspots purporting to be legitimate networks.
  • Own your online presence: Carefully read the terms and conditions before opening an account or downloading an application, including social media accounts. Be sure to, set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing.
  • Get two steps ahead and manage your passwords: Switch on two-step verification or multi-factor authentication wherever offered to prevent unauthorised access to your online accounts. Always change the default passwords to something strong and unique on your devices, services, and Wi-Fi networks.



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