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Don’t get bitten as broadband ‘unleashed’

NetSafe – The Internet Safety Group

Media Release

26th October 2006

Don’t get bitten as broadband ‘unleashed’

As broadband speeds increase today, NetSafe reminds New Zealanders to protect themselves and their information with a few simple security measures (the Net basics).

“Unleashed broadband is likely to increase the number of computers in New Zealand that are always connected to the Internet[1] - which means that unprotected computers can be compromised quicker than ever before” says Martin Cocker Executive Director of NetSafe –The Internet Safety Group.

A compromised computer can be infected with malware like viruses, worms or trojans - which can destroy data, allow your PC to be remotely controlled, or steal your private information.

NetSafe’s Martin Cocker says that “all computers that access the Internet should have the Net basics in place. The Net basics include an updated operating system, as well as firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. All of these need to be set to ‘automatically update’ themselves to ensure they are useful. Strong passwords are also key to protecting yourself and your computer from attack.”[2]

In welcoming the increased wider availability of broadband, Microsoft New Zealand’s Director of Innovation Brett Roberts says that “broadband is critical to improving the experiences that people have on the Internet. With improved access to more dynamic digital media online, consumers do have to be more vigilant with their safety while they are connected to the Internet. By following some key online safety basics, New Zealand computer users can amplify the value that their enhanced broadband connection will bring while enjoying a more secure online experience.”

“The upside of ‘Unleashing’ broadband is that it provides an opportunity for users to download security updates even faster than before. The downside is that it may also leave people more at risk from security threats online” says NetSafe’s Martin Cocker.

Symantec's most recent Internet Security Threat Report reveals that home users are the most targeted attack sector, accounting for 86% of all targeted attacks globally. The report finds that because home users are less likely to have established security measures in place, they are being increasingly targeted by attackers for identity theft, fraud or other financially motivated crime.

Symantec consumer sales manager, Simone Milne, says that a broadband connection means people are “always on” the Internet and so need to ensure they are protected at all times. The upside is that a broadband connection means it is faster and easier to download those security updates and software patches.

To coincide with the unleashing of broadband, NetSafe has released a step by step guide to the Net Basics which is available from www.netsafe.org.nz

ENDS

[1] Broadband means that computers are always linked to the Internet where as with ‘dial up’ a connection is made each time a user wants to do something online.
[2] A step-by-step guide to the Net basics is now available from the NetSafe website.

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