Cybercrime incidents dropping but increase in financial loss

Kiwis are urged to be vigilant online.

The number of cybercrime incidents has dropped, but the amount stolen from cyberscams is on the rise.

Latest figures show the number of incidents reported to CERT NZ has gone down by 14% since the last quarter, with 2001 incidents reported between April and June.

However, the direct financial loss from the most recent quarter went up by 5% for a total of $3.9 million stolen.

More than 32% of people reporting a loss had lost more than $1000, CERT NZ said.

A survey conducted in March by cybersecurity company NortonLifeLock tells a similar story, with 33% of respondents saying they had experienced cybercrime in the past 12 months alone.

The average amount of money lost was $135 and Kiwis spent an average of nearly five hours trying to resolve their issues, the poll found.

“The fact that one third of Kiwis surveyed have experienced cybercrime in the past year, shows that cybercriminals are increasingly taking advantage of our heightened digital footprint," said Mark Gorrie, NortonLifeLock's Asia Pacific senior director.

However, CERT NZ's August report on cybersecurity attitudes and motivations showed only 21% of Kiwis considered cybercrime to be a current life concern.

CERT NZ director Rob Pope says although the number of scams appears to be trending downwards, Kiwis should be vigilant.

“By reporting cyber security incidents to CERT NZ, New Zealanders are helping others from being impacted by giving us the indicators and understanding of how these attackers are working.”

CERT NZ has warned one particularly common tactic used by scammers in the last quarter was "phone spoofing". It involves the use of software to change a scammer's phone number to display another - such as a bank's number - on the potential victim's caller ID.

CERT NZ says Kiwis are losing "large sums of money" to this type of scam. Some are even being targeted more than once, due to scammers calling them back posing as the bank and offering to help them recover from the previous incident.

Pope said New Zealanders should be taking steps to protect themselves from fraudsters.

"The scammers are incredibly agile and adept and sophisticated in the way they apply their techniques."

He recommends having "very strong, long, unique passwords", regularly updating apps and software, and using two-factor authentication to protect sensitive information.


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