19 Oct 2020

Complacency makes Kiwis more vulnerable to cyber attacks

11:14 am on 19 October 2020

The country needs to be serious about cyber protection as the volume and sophistication of financially-motivated cyber attacks has increased over the past six months, according to CERT NZ.

Hands on laptop writing code or using computer virus program for cyber attack

Photo: 123rf

The government agency helping organisations and individuals affected by cyber attacks said people need to become much more aware of the risks and take steps to protect their data and personal information.

"The Kiwi 'she'll be right' attitude won't cut the mustard anymore when it comes to cyber security," CERT NZ director Rob Pope said, adding the agency is getting about 1000 calls a month from victims of attacks.

"CERT NZ's incident data, and information provided by our global partners tells us that cyber attacks have become more sophisticated, persistent and harder to detect than ever before."

He said a password manager, two-factor authentication, updating devices, and checking privacy settings were basic steps to take.

Recent research by CERT found 87 percent of those surveyed thought safety and security of their personal information online was something important to them, however, 40 percent thought the precautions to protect online personal information was inconvenient.

Almost a third do not frequently check the privacy settings on their social media accounts and about the same number do not use two-factor authentication when logging into an online account, such as a code sent to a phone in addition to a password.

"It appears the majority of Kiwis know they should be cyber smart, but some are not acting on it," Pope said.

"The results are concerning. They reveal approximately a third of New Zealanders are more vulnerable to a cyber attack, meaning their data could be accessed and their identity stolen, enabling the attacker to conduct a range of criminal activities, including online fraud."

Advice on how to improve your cyber security habits is available on [www.cert.govt.nz. CERT NZ's website].