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Kiwis dont care enough about cybersecurity

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has suddenly and dramatically increased New Zealand's reliance on digital devices and the internet.

Despite this, research from CERT NZ shows Kiwis are not adjusting their behaviours around cybersecurity fast enough, according to NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller.

Research by CERT NZ, the government entity that tracks cyber breaches, found 87% Kiwis New Zealanders acknowledge security of their personal information online is important but 40% say safeguarding their information is inconvenient.

According to the CERT NZ research, virtually a third of Kiwis do not regularly check the privacy settings on their social media accounts. Roughly the same number of people do not use two-factor authentication when logging into an online account.

"Even with increasing news reports about security issues such as ransomware, identity theft and hacks, people still do not think it will happen to them or their business," Muller says.

According to a recent global analysis of hacks and data breaches, it costs three million dollars on average for a company to recover from a successful hack.

"For most New Zealand companies this would mean the end of their business," Muller says.

"So, that is the real impact business owners need to urgently understand.

"Likewise, with personal cybersecurity," he adds,

"The effect can be devastating from loss of personal data and identity theft, to ransoms and direct monetary loss."

According to CERT NZ's quarterly data, thousands of New Zealanders and New Zealand businesses are subject to cyber blackmail and fraud every year due to their complacency around simple security measures.

"NZTech's advice, like CERT NZ's message, is do not be the 'it wont happen to me' victim," says Muller. 

"Use a password manager, keep your device software up to date and use two factor authentication to dramatically improve your security," he explains.

"It is that simple."
 
NZTech is bringing together business and government cybersecurity professionals for its annual New Zealand cybersecurity summit in Wellington next February to help create a more cyber safe New Zealand.

This week is NZ cyber smart week and the organisation says that whether we talk about it or not, cybersecurity threats are now pervasive across all New Zealand organisations networks.

According to Muller, cybersecurity is just like seatbelts.

"Once you start wearing one you realise how easy it is and how much safer you are," he says.