New Zealand Law Society - Cybercrime now said to be bigger than drug crime

Cybercrime now said to be bigger than drug crime

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At a global cost of around $600 billion a year, cybercrime is now bigger than the global drugs trade, Communications Minister Amy Adams says.

Ms Adams has released the results of research conducted by Colmar Brunton for Connect Smart week, running from 10 to 14 October 2016.

She says it indicates that 20% of New Zealanders have been affected by cybercrime in the last year, with this figure rising to 72% when spam and suspicious emails are included.

While the research results showed 76% of New Zealanders surveyed were proactively taking steps to manage their cyber security, this was down from 84% in 2014.

Only 17% of New Zealanders said they had received training or advice about cyber security at work. 

There had also been a drop in smart practice by people surveyed (although this may partly reflect differing coverage of surveys in each year). Fewer people were updating or installing security software (64% in 2016 compared to 70% in 2015), changing passwords (63% in 2016 compared with 68% in 2015), ensuring they were using a secure connection (57% in 2016 and 61% in 2015), and checking their social media settings (56% in 2016 compared to 60% in 2015).

The research was carried out with 1,000 New Zealand online users from 31 August to 7 September 2016. Two surveys were carried out in 2014 and 2015 - before and after cyber security weeks - while the 2016 survey contains responses from a survey before cyber security week only.

Some of the more detailed findings:

Have you or someone you know been affected by these cyber security issues in the last 12 months?

Security issue Happened to me Happened to someone I known
Received suspicious emails from an unknown person seeking money or personal identity details (often offering a prize or reward), ie, spam  67% 17%
Had a computer or smart phone damaged by a virus or malware 8% 26%
Had your email or social media (eg Facebook) account hacked 6% 26%
Been tricked into providing personal information by an email pretending to represent a company or your bank - often with a link to a fake website, ie, phishing 5% 10%
Had your bank account hacked or your credit card details stolen online 4% 10%
Had your computer locked by "ransomware" and received a demand for payment in order to restore the computer 3% 9%
Been tricked by an online scam or fraud, where you've lost money 1% 6%

Likelihood of being directly affected by cyber security issues in the past year

Group Proportion affected
Unemployed 61%
Over 60 years of age 63%
Female 67%
Household income under $50,000 67%
In employment (full- or part-time) 76%
Male 77%
Household income over $100,000 80%
Technical or skilled worker/trades person 83%