Top NZ virus revealed... What's killing your company?

What's the most prevalent malware family in New Zealand, and how can Kiwi businesses avoid it?

Failing to update Java software is the number one cause of privacy and security breaches online in New Zealand, according to international cyber security company F-Secure.

Across the wider A/NZ region, nearly half of all malware occur in old versions of Java or unpatched software; with a malware called Majava the most prevalent in both countries, resulting in around 400 infections per 10,000 people, new research reveals.

Identifying that one of the ten most prevalent malware families across A/NZ is called Sinowal, F-Secure such a virus targets the user names and passwords for online banking accounts.

F-Secure’s Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen says that now, more than ever, individuals and Kiwi businesses should be more cautious about securing sensitive information stored online, as malware threats have grown dramatically.

Internationally, F-Secure has seen a concerning rise in malware growth on the Android platform, from about 100 new families of mobile malware per quarter in 2013, to about 300 per quarter in 2014.

“Protecting your privacy online is critical, not only for individuals who are entitled to privacy as a human right, but also for businesses who store sensitive customer and employee information, as well as other commercially valuable data,” Hypponen says.

The global surge in cybercrime, the Australian government’s recent decision to review its current cyber-security strategy for the first time in six years, and the leaking of politically sensitive emails around the time of the New Zealand election, have all heightened concerns about the internet security environment in the Trans-Tasman region.

According to Hypponen, speaking ahead F-Secure's information sessions in Auckland this week, the first step to preventing cyber threats can be as simple as updating old software, a process that computer users often skip, whether because of lack of awareness or time.

“We hope these sessions will help individuals and businesses take back control of their right to privacy,” Hypponen adds.

“Without proper education about smart online habits, people and businesses face enormous risks, with the annual cost of cybercrime in Australia alone estimated at a staggering $1.65 billion.”

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the government estimates the cost of cybercrime to be in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars.

F-Secure has outlined the top five measures everyone should be taking to prevent cybercrime and protect sensitive online information.

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