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McAfee Finds Increase In Online Holiday Shopping Creates The Perfect Storm For Cybercrime

New Zealand Nov. 25, 2020 – McAfee Corp. (Nasdaq: MCFE) today announced findings from its 2020 Holiday Season: State of Today’s Digital e-Shopper survey, revealing that while consumers are aware of increased risks and scams via the internet, they still plan to do more shopping online – and earlier – this holiday season. Almost a third (32%) of New Zealanders note they are hitting the digital links to give gifts and cheer this year, despite 49% feeling cyber scams are more prevalent during the holiday season.

This disconnect is likely a product of the trend where 42% of New Zealanders are aware of the risks of cyber-crime but it isn’t top of mind or doesn’t impact their online activity. Also of concern is that a further 12% don’t think about their online activity as it relates to cyber-crime.

McAfee’s survey indicates New Zealand consumers are opening themselves to online threats as they live, work, play, and purchase through their devices more than ever, particularly as online shopping, in general, has increased. More than two in five (41%) New Zealanders state they are buying online more since the onset of COVID-19, with almost a third (30%) shopping online 3-5 days a week, and one in ten consumers (10%) even shopping online daily.

McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research team recently found evidence that online cybercrime continues to increase, with McAfee Labs observing 419 threats per minute in Q2 2020, an increase of almost 12% over the previous quarter. With activity set to rise from both consumers and criminals, there is an added concern of whether consumers are taking security threats as seriously as they should – with key differences seen across generational groups:

· 31% of 18-24-year-olds have fallen victim to an online scam, the highest amount of all age groups surveyed

· 18% of respondents between the ages of 18-24 don’t see the correlation between their online activity and cyber-crime, while 42% are aware but have made no changes to their online habits; compared to 3% and 28% of respondents over the age of 65 respectively

“If there is one thing about 2020 that is not going to change, it’s how busy we get during the holiday season,” said Alex Merton-McCann, McAfee’s Cyber Safety Ambassador for Australia and New Zealand. “We’re so consumed with planning Christmas events, ticking off our to-do lists and buying presents online that we often don’t have a minute to stop and think about whether we are taking unnecessary risks. And this is when it can all be too easy to fall victim to scammers on the prowl so it is now more important than ever to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and our loved ones this holiday season.”

Merton-McCann added, “The good news is that protecting your personal and financial information from holiday scams can be as simple as thinking before you click on any link. While online shopping may feel like second nature at this point, fighting the reflex to jump on that ‘too-good-to-be-true’ deal can be key to stopping phishing scams in their tracks. It’s always best to take the time to go directly to the source to verify an offer or shipment.”

The less-than-cautious approach is further seen when respondents are offered deals or discounts, with less than two in five (39%) of New Zealanders always checking to see if Black Friday or Cyber Monday emails and text messages sent are authentic and trustworthy. And while McAfee’s survey showed almost a fifth (19%) of New Zealanders plan to receive or purchase more online gift cards this year, over a quarter (28%) automatically assume gift card links are safe and don’t always take the necessary steps to ensure legitimacy - the negative implications are obvious.

In order to stay safe this holiday season, McAfee advises:

· Employ multi-factor authentication to double check the authenticity of digital users and add an additional layer of security to protect personal data and information

· Browse with caution and added security using a tool which protects devices against malware, phishing attacks and malicious websites like McAfee Total Protection

· Protect your identity and important personal and financial details from cyber criminals with a solution like McAfee Safe Connect that includes bank-grade encryption and private browsing services

2020 Holiday Season: State of Today’s Digital e-Shopper Survey Methodology:

McAfee commissioned 3Gem to conduct a survey of 750 adults over the age of 18 in New Zealand. between October 8-13, 2020.

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