Poor password practices costing Kiwis megabucks

One third of adults affected by cybercrime

IT security company Symantec says New Zealanders, particularly millennials, have lax cyber security practices that have resulted in more than one-third of the adult online population being affected by cybercrime in 2017, and between them losing $177m.

The figures come from Symantec’s 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report, which covers 20 countries.

Mark Gorrie, director of Symantec’s Consumer Business Unit for the Pacific region said New Zealanders’ actions revealed a dangerous disconnect. “Despite a steady stream of cybercrime sprees reported by media, too many people appear to feel invincible and skip taking even basic precautions to protect themselves.

“This disconnect highlights the need for consumer digital safety and the urgency for consumers to get back to basics when it comes to doing their part to prevent cybercrime.”

Symantec said: “Millennials were the most common victims of cybercrime in New Zealand. Despite the availability of device protection technologies such as fingerprint ID, pattern matching and facial recognition, nearly half of millennials (49 percent) don’t have any security measures on their devices. They were also the most likely age group to share their passwords – half of all millennials have shared their smartphone passwords.”

It adds: “People mostly share passwords to their connected home devices (38 percent), smartphones and laptops (both 35 percent). Kiwis may also be putting their information at risk by: writing their passwords down on a piece of paper (22 percent) and using the same passwords for all their online accounts and devices (19 percent).

“Sixteen percent have even shared the password for their online banking with another person, despite 58 percent worrying about their financial information being stolen online.”

According to Symantec, cybercrime victims around the world share a similar profile. “They are everyday people who use multiple devices whether at home or on the go, but have a blind spot when it comes to cyber security basics,” it says.

“This group tends to use the same password across multiple accounts or share it with others. Equally concerning, 39 percent of global cybercrime victims, despite their experience, gained trust in their ability to protect their data and personal information from future attacks and more than 20 percent believed they had a low risk of becoming a cybercrime victim.”

Read more:US SEC calls for 'clearer' cyber risk disclosure from companies



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