Unisys has released the latest edition of the Unisys Security Index saying, perhaps unsurprisingly, that New Zealanders’ concern about security issues is the highest it has been since the index was initiated in 2006.
What is perhaps surprising is how concern varies with age. “Young people aged 18-24 years are the most concerned age group (index of 169), with concern steadily dropping as age increases (down to an index of 142 for 45-54 year olds). Kiwis aged 45-54 years are the least concerned age group,” Unisys said.
“The overall Unisys Security Index for New Zealand is 154 out of 300, up from 137 compared to the last survey in 2014,” New Zealand recorded the ninth highest index of the 13 countries surveyed: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, UK and US.
Unisys says it on conducted online surveys of nationally representative samples of at least 1,000 adults in each country.
The top two security concerns for New Zealanders were identity theft and bank card fraud. Fifty five percent of New Zealanders are extremely or very concerned about unauthorised access to, or misuse of, personal information and 54 percent are similarly concerned about other people obtaining or using their credit/debit card details. These positions are unchanged from the 2014 report.
In third position, and showing the biggest increase since 2014, are concerns related to natural disasters, with 51 percent concerned about a serious event such as an earthquake, flood or epidemic, up from 39 percent in 2014.
John Kendall, director of border and national security programs at Unisys, said secure multifactor authentication, including biometrics, provides a strong deterrent to unauthorised access.
"Banks, retailers and governments wanting to move more of their transactions online can use innovative security measures as a point of difference and position themselves as safe organisations to do business with - not only in terms of preventing data breaches, but also in terms of minimising the impact on customers in a world where breaches are inevitable,” he said.
Kendall said IT could also address security concerns around natural disasters. “Our increasingly interconnected digital world also enables the development of ‘smart cities’ with interconnected and intelligent infrastructure that automatically detect, predict and respond to issues by initiating maintenance or redirecting traffic flow.
“In New Zealand where natural disasters from earthquakes to destructive weather are a very real and regular threat, there is a huge opportunity to harness these intelligent systems to predict and manage responses to better protect citizens and minimise impacts."
Stratus to ease security concerns
The Cyber Security Researchers of Waikato (CROW) team at the University of Waikato is aiming to alleviate New Zealanders’ IT security concerns through its Security Technologies Returning Accountability, Trust and User-centric Services in the Cloud (STRATUS) project.
Its stated aim is “to empower everyday computer users by giving them control of their data and offer cloud providers cutting-edge tools and services to sell.” The project’s leaders believe it will create a whole new industry and put New Zealand on the cloud security map