Cyber crime on the rise

More than one in four New Zealanders have experienced cyber crime in the past 12 months, a new report reveals.

Symantec's 2013 Norton Report, released today, found a general lack of security awareness when it came to using mobile devices contributed to the country's $152 million cyber-crime bill for the past 12 months.

The total cost of cyber-crime was down from the $462m it cost last year, but there were still one million Kiwi cyber-crime victims, up from 900,000 in 2012.

The report found 27 per cent of New Zealand survey respondents had experienced mobile cyber-crime in the past 12 months, compared to 16 percent last year.

It was also revealed approximately one in five survey respondents had lost their mobile device or had it stolen.

Symantec technology strategist Mark Shaw said New Zealanders' trusting nature was in part responsible.

"We probably trust people more than we should in some cases."

With the average cost to each victim being around $157, it was "not insubstantial", Mr Shaw said.

Lost phones contributed to cyber-crime through the lack of "some very basic security precautions", he said.

"Just under 50 per cent of those who actually responded weren't even applying any basic security precautions."

Symantec New Zealand manager Michelle Amery said mobile devices created a perfect storm for cyber-criminals, who achieved success by developing mobile-specific malware and scams, and taking advantage of lost and stolen phones.

Whenever consumers were online - on any platform - they ran the risk of becoming a victim of cyber-crime if the necessary security precautions were not taken, she said.

The report found Kiwis were taking major risks online when it came to utilising social media and blurring the lines between their work and personal devices.

The report also found New Zealanders were incredibly risky with their personal data and security when using social media websites.

Just over a quarter of the surveyed participants connected with people they did not know on social media, while one in four shared their social media passwords with someone else.

The over-sharing of information - whether on social media platforms or online file storage accounts - created a risk for businesses and consumers alike, Symantec Pacific spokesman David Mr Hall said.

"The more places work documents are saved and personal information is shared, the more avenues it creates for cyber-criminals to gain access to valuable business and personal information."

Tips for Staying Safe Online

* Install a comprehensive security suite for all devices and regularly update your security patches

* Use strong passwords and change them regularly

* Understand the rules and policies around using your personal devices at work and vice versa

* Take care with sharing personal information through the internet, unless it is a secure connection. Always check for "https" in the web address

* Check your credit card and bank statements regularly for any suspicious transactions and report them to your service provider, your financial institution and the police

How we compare

* 69 per cent of NZ adults have experienced cyber-crime in their lifetime, 61 per cent globally

* 46 per cent of NZ adults have experienced cyber-crime in the past 12 months, 41 per cent globally

* US$131 - average direct cost per NZ cybercrime victim in the past 12 months, US$298 globally

* 62 per cent of NZ mobile device users aren't aware security solutions for mobile devices exist, 57 per cent globally

- By Brendan Manning of APNZ

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