Cyber crime costs New Zealand an estimated $625 million last year with more than 2,000 Kiwis affected every day by computer viruses and malware, credit card fraud, online scams, phishing and identity theft.
To combat this NetSafe has launched the first national Cyber Security Awareness Week (11 – 15 June 2012) and an online portal, Security Central, that will help New Zealanders identify and combat cyber crime.
Cyber Security Awareness Week and the dedicated website were officially launched at Parliament today by Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams.
Martin Cocker, Executive Director of NetSafe, says that cyber crime is more prevalent than it ever has been due to technology becoming more widespread and internet access becoming more universal.
“In the last couple of years more than 70% of New Zealanders have been the victims of some form of cyber crime – with the most common complaints being computer scams, fraud and viruses˛,” says Mr Cocker. “This doesn’t have to continue. There are some simple steps people can take to greatly improve their online security and that’s what this week is all about.”
Research undertaken last year in partnership with AVG and NetSafeł showed that more than half of Kiwis knew little or nothing about computer security risks and solutions and blamed a lack of time, money and useful sources of information.
The new online portal, www.securitycentral.org.nz, will provide consumers and small business owners with a free ‘one stop shop’ for learning more about cyber security.
Netsafe is focusing on four key messages during the week that, if implemented correctly, can help New Zealanders avoid potential cyber threats.
Mr Cocker says, “The first is to update your operating system and any software on your computer regularly to protect against malware and viruses.
“The second is to back up your files just in case you do face security issues, that way you don’t lose all those precious family photos and important business data.”
The third is to ensure you have strong and secure passwords – make sure you steer away from nicknames, the name of a pet or simple number sequences like 123456 that can be easily guessed. And the fourth is to ensure the wireless you are logged into – whether it is at home, work or at a cafe is secure.”
Mr Cocker added that Cyber Security Awareness Week and the online portal will give New Zealanders the confidence to deal with cyber crime effectively and hopefully reduce the damage it causes.