CERT NZ’s latest threat report shows that more than 500 cyber security incidents were reported by New Zealanders in the first quarter of this year.

CERT NZ Director Rob Pope says older people have been affected the most.

“New data analysis this quarter shows that this has been particularly harmful for victims in the over-55 age group who have reported losing more money than any other age group,” says Mr Pope.

Pope says that financial losses continue to be significant, with New Zealanders reporting almost $3 million lost directly to cyber security incidents between January and March this year.

The latest reporting also shows that phishing continues to impact New Zealanders more frequently than any other threat.

“Phishing email campaigns are one of the most common, prolific and successful cyber threats that we see,” says Mr Pope. “In quarter one there has been a real focus on taking down phishing websites where we can, including working alongside key partners such as banks and financial institutions whose brands are so often misrepresented in these campaigns.”

Pope says it’s insights like these that show the value of having a national CERT.

“Our role is not only helping specifically impacted individuals, but using the information from incident reports to help all Kiwis improve their cyber security.

“We use our data to support technical and non-technical people and organisations all over New Zealand. We do this in a range of ways, from working on new methods to disrupt models of attack to building outreach activities that help people take simple actions to protect themselves online.”

Netsafe has a few tips to keep older people – and indeed anyone – safe from scams:

  • Think twice when you’re unexpectedly contacted – even if the person says they’re from a legitimate organisation like the bank or your internet provider.
  • Don’t respond to phone calls or contact about your computer asking for remote access to fix it. No one is going to contact you out of the blue about a problem with your computer.
  • Legitimate organisations will never ask you for your passwords. Use good, strong passwords on online accounts – and don’t tell anyone what they are.
  • Keep your personal information secure. Think carefully before entering your details online, or giving them to someone.
  • If you’re using an online trading or booking website or app, don’t communicate or pay outside of the website or app.
  • If someone offers you money or another offer, but you have to make a payment up front, ignore it. This is a common tactic of scammers.
  • Don’t give money to people you have entered into a relationship or friendship with online.
  • Use a good antivirus and keep your software up to date. This will help to protect your device from someone trying to access it.
  • Be wary of unusual payment requests. Scammers try to use payments that can’t be traced such as pre-loaded debit cards, gift cards that can be used online, iTunes cards or money transfer systems.
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