One million Kiwis lost $177M to cyber crime in 2017

One million Kiwis lost $177M to cyber crime in 2017

New Zealanders spent over nine hours dealing with the aftermath

More than one-third of the adult online population in New Zealand was affected by cyber crime in 2017, impacting as many as one million Kiwis.

Representing almost a quarter of the estimated 4.7 million population, according to 2017 census figures, the victims lost more than $177 million combined, spending over nine hours dealing with the aftermath.

According to findings Norton by Symantec findings, nearly half of all New Zealanders (49 per cent) have or know someone who has been impacted by an online security threat.

Of those who have ever been a victim of cyber crime, 56 per cent have been affected in the past year.

“People’s actions revealed a dangerous disconnect,” Symantec director of consumer business, Mark Gorrie, said. “Despite a steady stream of cyber crime 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 cyber crime.”

The report, which spanned 20 countries, found that 978 million people were affected by cyber crime in 2017, one million of whom were in New Zealand.

Specific to New Zealand, millennials were the most common victims of cyber crime during the past 12 months.

Despite the availability of device protection technologies such as fingerprint ID, pattern matching and facial recognition, nearly half of millennials (49 per cent) 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,” Gorrie explained.

According to Gorrie, password sharing is “rife” in New Zealand with 51 per cent of Kiwis sharing passwords for at least one online account with others.

In general, people mostly share passwords to connected home devices (38 per cent), smartphones and laptops (both 35 per cent).

While most Kiwis report having some form of protection on smartphones, laptops, desktops and tablets, 39 per cent don’t have any protection on smart home theatre devices and 31 per cent don’t have protection on their gaming consoles.


Despite 86 per cent of New Zealanders believing cyber crime should be treated as a criminal act, 16 per cent believe stealing information online is not as bad as stealing property in “real life”.

Furthermore, 40 per cent of Kiwis believe it’s sometimes acceptable to engage in “morally questionable online behaviour” in certain instances such as reading someone else’s emails without their consent (22 per cent), sharing things they know are untrue on social media (14 per cent) and putting software on someone’s machine to spy on them (12 per cent).

Of interest to the channel, people’s level of trust affects their behaviour when it comes to security.

“Kiwis who reported gaining trust in themselves and their security software were more likely to apply security updates when prompted,” Gorrie added.

“Kiwis were also more likely to gain trust in security software providers if they received a scam email which was flagged as such.”

However, Gorrie said they are not as trusting of some institutions and organisations.

Over the past year New Zealanders lost trust in the ability of credit report companies that gather information without user consent (39 per cent), social media platforms (37 per cent) and the government (33 per cent) to manage their data and personal information.

The findings follow news that data breach notification is widely expected to become mandatory in New Zealand, positioning the channel as subject matter experts across the country.

As part of changes to the Privacy Act now being drafted by the Ministry of Justice, Privacy Commissioner John Edwards has recommended fines of up to $100,000 in the case of an individual and up to $1 million in the case of a body corporate being breached.

For more information regarding how the New Zealand channel views the potential introduction of new legislation, click here

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