Cost of cybercrime falls, number of victims increase in NZ: report

Symantec's Norton Report 2013 finds that Kiwis risk their personal data and security when using social media sites by connecting to people they do not know and even sharing their social media passwords

The total cost of cybercrime in New Zealand has fallen to NZ$152 million from NZ$462 million in 2012, even as one million Kiwis became cybercrime victims compared to 900,000 in 2012, according to the recently released <i>Norton Report 2013</i> by Symantec.

“While globally, the cost of cybercrime is up, within New Zealand the cost is down quite significantly,” said Michelle Amery, country manager, Symantec New Zealand. “This is due to cybercriminals shifting tactics, perhaps as Kiwis become more aware of scams.

“Cybercriminals also use tactics where there is a lower cost per head to victims, as they believe scams like these have a higher chance of escaping notice.”

The survey also revealed that 27 per cent of respondents from New Zealand had experienced mobile cybercrime in the past 12 months, compared to 16 per cent in 2012, and around 26 per cent had lost their mobile devices.

“Mobile devices are creating a perfect storm for cybercriminals,” said Amery. “While adoption of mobile devices is high, awareness and willingness to take precautions against threats on these devices is low.”

Mark Shaw, technology strategist information security at Symantec added, “New mobile threats are cropping up each day. One recent example of this is mobile ransomware, where thieves install software on the device that locks the users out of their phone.

“According to the 2013 Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 18, most mobile threats are pretty invasive. Thirty-two per cent of mobile threats steal information from the user, 15 per cent track the user and 13 per cent send unwanted content to the user.”

The report also revealed that nearly two out of five Kiwi respondents (39 per cent) use their personal devices for work-related activities and close to half say their company does not have policies in place around the use of personal devices for work.

In addition, some 15 per cent save both their work and personal documents to the same online file storage account, and nearly one in 10 are sharing work information with friends and family via these sites.

“New Zealand organisations should have comprehensive security software on all devices and update security patches regularly. We’d also recommend that employers encourage employees to use strong passwords for all devices and change them regularly," Shaw told Computerworld NZ.

“In addition, it’s also important to develop security policies to manage mobile devices and ensure these policies are communicated to all employees. Finally, it’s important to communicate to staff to be extra careful with sharing personal information through the Internet, especially if they’re not using secure connection.”

The Norton Report also found that Kiwis risk their personal data and security when using social media sites by connecting to people they do not know and even sharing their social media passwords.

The survey was conducted between July and August 2013 in the form of online interviews with 13,022 adults, aged 18 to 64 from 24 countries. One thousand adult respondents were interviewed in the United States and India, and 500 in the other 22 countries, including New Zealand.

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