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Cyber crime cost New Zealand $6.5 million in three months, stats show

Cyber crime has cost New Zealand $6.5 million in the three months from April to June, way up on the previous quarter, statistics show.

The latest report from CERT NZ showed financial losses between April 1 and June 30, which were up on $1.7 million the previous quarter.

Of the 1197 reports of cyber crime in the second quarter, 21 per cent reported some type of loss.

Alongside financial losses at a quarterly high though, the incidents reported in quarter two were also impacting New Zealander’s day-to-day lives and business operations.

"It’s evident that cyber incidents can result in financial loss, however losing money is not the only impact businesses and individuals experience," CERT NZ Director Rob Pope said. "Cyber incidents can also result in other types of loss like data, reputational and operational." 

The Quarter Two report highlights a 38 per cent increase in ransomware attacks from the previous quarter.

Ransomware is a highly disruptive type of software that can get into a computer system and infect it. Once in, it encrypts files so they can't be read or accessed and demands a payment to unlock them. The attacks are mainly targeted at businesses through email attachments or out-of-date software vulnerabilities. 

Of the 160 ransomware attacks reported since CERT NZ launched, over 70 per cent reported some type of loss.

"Although there are some reports of financial loss, what we see from ransomware attacks are businesses reporting losses like customer information and operational capacity. Recovery from a ransomware attack can also be incredibly time consuming, affecting a business’s ability to carry out their usual services, and can damage their reputation," Mr Pope said, adding that CERT NZ strongly recommended not paying the ransom as it does not guarantee files will be recovered.

"The good news is that the risk of these attacks impacting you or your business can be easily mitigated with a few simple steps; updating your operating systems and software, backing up your files regularly and installing antivirus software can go a long way to help keep you safe online."

The Quarter Two report also shows New Zealanders of all ages are affected by cyber security incidents, with scams and fraud incidents making up 38 per cent of all incidents reported and accounting for 92 per cent of direct financial loss this quarter.

"The data we gather from these reports and others is vital as it helps us to understand the evolving threat landscape. The more we know about the types of incidents affecting New Zealanders, the more we can be there to help New Zealanders and their businesses stay safe online," Mr Pope said.

Anyone concerned about cyber security threats is asked to contact CERT NZ at www.cert.govt.nz or call 0800 CERT NZ, Monday to Friday, 7am – 7pm.

Source: istock.com