By Rebecca Howard
Sept. 5 (BusinessDesk) - Financial losses stemming from cyber security incidents jumped in the June quarter along with the number reported to the New Zealand police.
Financial losses in the quarter reached $6.5 million, up from $1.7 million in the prior three months and $5.9 million in the December quarter, the Computer Emergency Response Team, or Cert NZ, said. The Crown agency, which is responsible for tracking, monitoring and advising on cyber security, registered 1,197 incidents in the quarter versus 992 in the March quarter.
Scams and fraud incidents jumped 41 percent from the prior three months. They made up 38 percent of all incidents reported and accounted for 92 percent of direct financial losses this quarter.
There were 458 reported scams and fraud, up from 325 in the prior quarter, almost half of which were extortion or blackmail efforts.
The next biggest category, relating to buying and selling goods online, accounted for 19 percent of all scam and frauds reported, it said.
Cert said there was also a 42 percent increase in the number of reports it referred to the New Zealand police largely due to the significant rise in the number of scam and fraud reports.
The $6.5 million of losses is the most reported to date, with almost $5 million of it reported by individuals.
Twelve losses were worth more than $100,000 and totalled $5.47 million. Of those, seven were reported by businesses, all of which suffered unauthorised or falsified transfers of money. Two of the four individuals were scammed when buying or selling online, one suffered an unauthorised transfer of funds and another was hit by an investment scam.
Unauthorised access of a cryptocurrency exchange accounted for 29 separate reports, totalling $62,000 in direct financial losses. However, recent media reporting suggested that losses could potentially reach NZ$20-to-30 million, making it one of New Zealand’s costliest cyber security incidents to date, the agency said.
Cert also reported a strong lift in suspicious network traffic with the number of incidents lifting to 65 from 26. The jump comes after the agency expanded the way it collects and extracts threat information from the international landscape.
According to Cert, suspicious network traffic is when an attacker attempts to find insecure points or vulnerabilities in networks, infrastructure or computers. Of the 65 incidents, 58 were found by Cert NZ.