Symantec has today released its 2013 Norton Report, which found a general lack of security awareness when it comes to using mobile devices.
The report claims that that 27 percent of New Zealand survey respondents had experienced mobile cybercrime in the past 12 months, compared to 16 percent in 2012 and some 26 percent (approximately one in four) of survey respondents had lost their mobile device or had it stolen.
“Mobile devices are creating a perfect storm for cybercriminals,” says Michelle Amery, country manager, Symantec New Zealand.
“While adoption of mobile devices is high, awareness and willingness to take precautions against threats on these devices is low.
"At the same time, criminals are seeing success with developing mobile-specific malware and scams, and taking advantage of consumers’ lost and stolen phones.”
The report also revealed that Kiwis are taking major risks online when it comes to utilising social media and blurring the lines between their work and personal devices.
Symantec says all of these factors have contributed in bringing the total cost of cybercrime in New Zealand in the past 12 months to NZ$152 million (compared to NZ$462 million in 2012), with one million Kiwi cybercrime victims.
“While globally, the cost of cybercrime is up, within New Zealand the cost is down quite significantly,” Amery says.
“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 number of online victims in New Zealand has increased, indicating that cybercriminals are still making money from online fraud.
“Although the cost of cybercrime has gone down this year, far too many consumers are still succumbing to online threats and need to take steps to protect themselves.
"Every time consumers are online on any platform – mobile, social or cloud, they run the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime if they do not take the necessary security precautions."
Blurring Lines Between Work and Personal Devices
The Norton Report also reveals a continued blurring of lines across the work and personal lives of Kiwis.
Nearly two out of five survey respondents (39 percent) use their personal devices (desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets) 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. This puts both people and companies at greater risk.
“The blurring of the lines between work and personal devices creates entirely new security risks for businesses as cybercriminals have the potential to access even more valuable information,” says David Hall, Consumer and SMB Product Marketing Manager, Pacific Region, Symantec.
The Norton Report also found that New Zealanders are incredibly risky with their personal data and security when using social media websites.
The report revealed that just over a quarter of the surveyed participants connect with people they do not know on social media and one in four share their social media passwords with others as well.
In addition, some 15 percent of surveyed respondents save both their work and personal documents to the same online file storage account.
Furthermore, nearly one in 10 people are sharing their work information with their friends and family via these sites.
“Like we have seen with mobile devices, the oversharing of information, whether it is on social media platforms or online file storage accounts, is creating a risk for businesses and consumers alike," Hall adds.
"The more places work documents are saved and personal information is shared, the more avenues it creates for cybercriminals to gain access to valuable business and personal information."
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