Scams and Ransomware Cost Kiwis $6.5m in 3 Months
New Zealand has reported the country’s highest ever recorded quarterly financial losses to cybercrime.
A report published yesterday by the government’s national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT NZ) revealed that $6.5 million in direct financial losses was reported nationwide in the second quarter of 2019.
CERT NZ’s findings show a marked increase in the number of cybersecurity attacks inflicted on businesses and individuals across the country between quarters one and two of this year.
A total of 1,197 incidents were reported in quarter two, a 21% increase over quarter one. Out of all the cybercrime reported in quarter two, 23% involved some type of financial loss.
More incidents—1,333—were reported in quarter four of 2018, but it was the period from April to June of this year that hit New Zealanders’ wallets the hardest.
“Scams and Fraud” was the highest reported category in quarter two, making up 38% of all reports. Of the 458 scam and fraud incidents recorded, 19% were related to buying and selling goods online.
In one case, an online shopper reported a fake website that was posing as a re-seller of an international clothing brand. The shopper was about to complete their transaction when they realized that the website URL didn’t use HTTPS and didn’t have any contact information, so they reported it to CERT NZ.
CERT NZ said: “We were able to quickly identify it was a scam website and worked with the hosting provider to have the site taken down, protecting other shoppers from the scam.”
Ransomware incidents increased 38% over the previous quarter. CERT NZ strongly advises against paying ransom demands, warning those affected that paying up doesn’t mean you’ll get the data back.
CERT NZ director Rob Pope said: “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.”
People aged 65 and over suffered the highest number of attacks, but there was little difference in the number of reported cybersecurity incidents affecting individuals in four categories covering the ages of 25 to 64.