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Young New Zealanders concerned about unauthorized access to personal information
Posted on 1-May-2012 10:15 | Tags Filed under: News

Seventy percent of New Zealanders aged 18-34 years surveyed for the latest Unisys Security Index said they are extremely or very concerned about unauthorised access to their personal information, a result that has contributed to the highest level of overall concern reported in New Zealand since the study was launched in 2006.

Even so, 18-34 year old New Zealanders surveyed are more likely to use free public WiFi than any other age group, with almost half (45 percent) of respondents saying they have used free public WiFi in the last year.

In the survey, 15 percent of New Zealanders 18-34 year olds said they had performed work related activities on free public WiFi networks in the last year, twice as many as those aged 35 and over (7 percent).

The Unisys Security Index is a national survey of 543 adults, conducted in February 2012 by ConsumerLink, which provides insights into the New Zealand public’s sense of security in the areas of national, financial, personal and internet security.

The overall Unisys Security Index for New Zealand increased 3 points to 144 out of a possible 300 in the last year to reach its highest level since 2006. In particular, the internet and personal security indices are also the highest they have been in the history of the study, at 147 and 143 respectively.

Unauthorised access to, or misuse of, personal information was the top security concern for young Kiwis with 70 percent of New Zealanders aged 18-34 years old saying they were extremely or very concerned about this. This result is substantially higher than in Australia where just 44 percent of young Australians aged 18-34 years were seriously concerned.

The study also found Young Kiwis are the age group most concerned about their ability to meet financial obligations, with 51 percent of 18-34 year olds extremely or very concerned about this issue compared to 38 percent of 35-49 year olds and 27 percent of people aged 50 and over.

“It’s clear young people have embraced mobility, driven by the expanding range of WiFi-enabled mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets and the rapid proliferation of free WiFi access in high traffic public places such as cafes, airports, fast food outlets and shopping centres,” said Mr Brett Hodgson, Managing Director, Unisys New Zealand.

“The good news is that our young Kiwis seem to be aware of data privacy issues, with the majority concerned about unauthorised access to their information. However it is vital that they take suitable steps to protect the data they are accessing via the public WiFi network,” he said.

“Gen Y is helping to drive changes in the way we work by becoming more mobile. Employers need to update their security strategy to extend beyond the office and to cover employer-provided and employee-owned mobile devices. This requires a holistic approach to security that incorporates technologies, education and policies at every access point to the corporate network to prevent data breaches – both accidental and intentional,” said Mr. Hodgson.

“The need to better secure remote and mobile access has led to the development of new security measures. For example, ‘attribute-based access control’ uses a combination of information about the person seeking access – such as their location, what device they are using, whether the request is within their normal pattern of working hours, and how they have verified their identity – in order to determine what data is allowed to be accessed at that time. Or it may ask for additional proof of identity such as a fingerprint, before access is granted. This takes a very personalised approach to data access for mobile workers,” Mr Hodgson said.

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