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Security incident reports surge to a new high in latest half, reports CERT NZ

Security incident reports surge to a new high in latest half, reports CERT NZ

While COVID-19 has opened opportunities for scammers, most incidents reported were not pandemic related

Rob Pope (Cert NZ)

Rob Pope (Cert NZ)

Credit: Supplied

CERT NZ received a total of 3,102 incident reports between 1 January and 30 June, a 42 per cent increase on the same period last year. 

Overall, 1137 incidents were reported in the first quarter and 1967 in the second.

In April alone 820 incident reports were received, the greatest number of reports CERT NZ had received in any single month since it was established in 2017.

There was also a significant spike in scam and fraud reports during quarter two, with a 229 per cent increase in this type of incident reported from quarter one.

For instance, 487 reports were received about webcam email extortion scams in quarter two, up from just 34 in quarter one.  

While total financial losses for the six-month period was $7.8 million, the loss was significantly lower in quarter two, at $1.8 million compared with $6 million in quarter one.

“Although Covid-19 created opportunities for cyber attackers, the majority of incidents reported to us were not specifically about the pandemic,” said CERT NZ director Rob Pope.

Credit: Supplied

The latest report also suggests that New Zealanders may be becoming more vigilant online.

“The increase on reporting and reduction in financial loss could mean that New Zealanders are developing a heightened awareness of cyber security threats as we’ve become more dependent on digital services," Pope said.

For instance, the increase in webcam extortion reports could be due to more attackers taking advantage of the COVID-19 environment, or to more people being vigilant to these types of scam, Cert NZ said.

“It’s really important to maintain cyber smart habits," Pope said. "As we increasingly spend more of our lives online, attackers are constantly developing new and more sophisticated campaigns."


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