CERT NZ received reports of over $5.3 million lost to cyber security issues in 2017, the government cyber security unit says.
“While loss is about more than dollars and cents, each quarter we continue to see a marked increase in the financial value of losses that people and organisations have experienced," CERT NZ Director Rob Pope says.
"In the last quarter of 2017, people reported $3.4 million in losses - more than double the financial losses reported in quarter three."
During 2017 there were 1,131 incidents reported to CERT NZ. Organisations reported $2,058,631 (60%) of losses in the fourth quarter. During the quarter nine incidents involved losses of over $100,000.
Mr Pope says the small business community is often targeted by cyber criminals through the use of invoice scams and phishing campaigns.
"This year we heard all too often that business owners thought they were too small to be a target and didn’t need to worry about cyber security issues. However, cyber criminals are indiscriminate in their targeting and anyone online can be affected."
Another key trend CERT NZ saw in 2017 was a rise in cryptocurrency scams, with attackers trying to take advantage of increased investment in cryptocurrencies in New Zealand. These types of scams resulted in nearly $265,000 in losses in quarter four alone.
“Our work on cryptocurrency scams shows CERT NZ’s connecting role: we gather intelligence from our international counterparts and work with other government agencies that are seeing the impacts of cryptocurrency scams across the financial and regulatory sectors. We combine this information with the incident reports we receive to provide actionable advice and insights for New Zealanders,” says Mr Pope.
Cryptocurrency scams operate by sending out emails or setting up fake websites advertising cryptocurrency investment opportunities with attractive returns. Some scams also offer direct sales of cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, litecoins, or other altcoins, which don't result in any transfer once the victim has paid.
CERT NZ was launched in April 2017 to provide assistance for New Zealanders experiencing cyber security issues and to deliver expert advice on protection from cyber security threats.