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NetSafe strengthens ties with NZ Police

NetSafe strengthens ties with NZ Police as cyber enabled crime losses top $500,000 in February 2014

NetSafe Incorporated is pleased to announce two new additions to its governance team that will strengthen the capability of the organisation as it deals with an increasing workload in 2014.

The Auckland-based non-profit has developed new internal processes to fully assess all enquiries and reports made to its staff via the organisation’s free telephone helpline service, email, Facebook and the Orb cyber crime reporting website.

In February 2014, NetSafe responded to 650 incident reports across a wide range of digital challenges - including scams and frauds, phishing attacks, malware infections, and online trading complaints - and requests for information from educators and the media.

Just over $541,000 in losses was reported during the month as New Zealanders fell victim to inheritance and car buying scams or had their email, social networking and internet banking accounts compromised. Small businesses were struck by ransomware infections and job seekers and employers reported cloned websites and identity fraud as money mule recruiters continued to target the country.

New NetSafe Board appointments

Steve Honiss, Officer in Charge of the Police National Cyber Crime Centre (NC3) has joined the NetSafe board to fill the vacancy left by former police commissioner Howard Broad’s resignation late last year.

Rick Shera, NetSafe Chair, said “The strong relationships NetSafe has with New Zealand Police and other law enforcement agencies have been founded on Howard Broad’s involvement right from the start. With Howard leaving the board, we are thrilled to have Steve join us to continue to build on those relationships, which are essential to NetSafe’s work”.

Measuring New Zealand cyber-enabled crime

The organisation is working to a new ‘Digital Challenges Model’[1] in 2014 as the areas of cyber crime, cyber security and cyber safety continue to converge.

Of the 650 incidents NetSafe staff responded to, almost one in four were referred by New Zealand Police with Kiwis from across the country dealing with a constantly evolving range of challenges.

“Police stations from Invercargill to Tokoroa are advising internet users to contact NetSafe as many of the scams we see reported are operated by individuals outside of the country,” said Martin Cocker, NetSafe’s Executive Director.

“Fighting cyber crime requires the coordination and cooperation of a number of organisations and agencies. Many perpetrators will reside offshore in countries where law enforcement varies from New Zealand, so we need to set realistic expectations about what can currently be achieved by enforcement agencies. At the same time, we must strive to develop new processes to prevent and combat cyber crime,” says Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Honiss.

Strong relationships with agencies and educators

NetSafe triages all reports made by New Zealanders and is able to advise on the likelihood of recovering money sent overseas. The non-profit provides tailored advice on safety and security challenges and can assist with common computer security issues.

“We refer all serious or high value incidents to our government and law enforcement partners whether that be reports of children being groomed online or significant patterns of fraudulent activities,” said Cocker. “All reports are collated and compared to look for patterns and opportunities for enforcement or education interventions”.

Claire Amos, Deputy Principal, Hobsonville Point Secondary School is the second new appointment as an advisor on the NetSafe board and will utilise her experience as an acknowledged leader in e-learning.

“Her passion and expertise will be invaluable to NetSafe as the New Zealand education sector adapts to the opportunities and challenges of a 21st Century learning environment and the introduction of the Network for Learning,” said Cocker.

“I look forward to working with Steve and Claire. In addition to the governance strength they add to the board, their expertise in two of the most critical areas of our work will be of great benefit to the NetSafe team.”

- ENDS -

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