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Kiwi Women More Concerned About Impact Of COVID-19 Than Men; Natural Disasters Top Security Concern

Kiwi Women More Concerned About Impact of COVID-19 Than Men; Natural Disasters Top Security Concern for New Zealanders – 2020 Unisys Security Index™ Finds

Women more concerned than men about health infrastructure, economic stability, family health and financial security in COVID-19 environment; overall security concerns for New Zealanders level out, but types of concern change

 New research from Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS) reveals New Zealand women are significantly more concerned than their male counterparts about the impact of COVID-19, according to the new 2020 Unisys Security Index™.

The longest-running snapshot of consumer security concerns conducted globally, the Unisys Security Index asked New Zealanders to assess their level of concern about how global health crises, such as the outbreak of the COVID-19 impacted the economic stability of New Zealand; their job security; their financial security; their family’s physical health; and New Zealand’s health infrastructure.

Overall, in the COVID-19 environment, New Zealanders were more concerned about the stability of the nation’s economy, health infrastructure and their family’s wellbeing than their personal health or data security. However, women expressed significantly higher levels of concerns for most areas and in particular the stability of New Zealand’s health infrastructure (61% of women seriously concerned vs 40% of men), the nation’s economic stability (63% of women vs 48% of men), family health (55% of women vs 41% of men) and financial security (47% of women vs 35% of men) .

“These findings indicate that the pandemic is causing women more stress than men, which is likely to be a reflection of their personal experience given the overrepresentation of women in frontline occupations1 such as healthcare – with nine in 10 nurses female2,” said Andrew Whelan, vice president, Commercial and Financial Sector, Unisys Asia Pacific, who is based in Wellington.

False sense of security: Only one in five (22%) Kiwis concerned about risk of a security breach while working from home (WFH), despite increasing cyber attacks

Despite data theft issues of bankcard fraud and identity theft ranking among the top concerns, the New Zealand public’s concern for the cybersecurity issues that contribute to such theft has decreased: 40% of New Zealanders are concerned about computer viruses and hacking, down from 48% in 2019, and 35% are concerned about online transactions, down from 39% a year ago. In addition, when assessing the concerns arising from the global pandemic only 22% of Kiwis were concerned about the risk of a security breach while working remotely, and 26% were concerned about the risk of being scammed.

“Consumers appear to be blasé about the dangers of being online – or simply distracted by their higher concern about national infrastructure and family well-being. This is a critical issue for organisations that underwent a rapid transformation to move to WFH models due to the pandemic. Meanwhile cyber-attacks in New Zealand are increasing – up 38% during 20193 even before the COVID-19 scams started. Understandably, people were more concerned about their ability to access health services should they or their family require them – and likely assumed their employer would take care of securing data and systems in the ‘new normal’ environment. However, for many organisations the first challenge was simply enabling their teams to work remotely,” said Ashwin Pal, director of security services, Unisys Asia Pacific.

“People are the weakest link in security. Shadow IT grows with every unauthorised app downloaded, even if well intentioned for remote collaboration - it might not be covered by the security rigour deployed across the rest of the organisation. Employers need to ensure their people have secure direct access to applications, are trained to identify and avoid malicious scams and phishing attacks designed to exploit the fears and distractions created by the pandemic, and can quickly isolate devices or parts of the network to minimise the extent of a breach – because breaches are inevitable,” Mr Pal warned.

Top Security Concerns Change in 2020: Return to Normality

The longest-running snapshot of consumer security concerns conducted globally, the Unisys Security Index measures concerns of consumers on issues related to national, personal, financial and internet security.

The overall measure of security concerns of the New Zealand public is 136 out of 300, the third lowest of the 15 countries surveyed. It has returned to recent normal levels, down from 143 recorded immediately after the Christchurch attacks in 2019.

In 2020, the top three security concerns are natural disasters, e.g. flood, hurricanes, bushfires or epidemics (47% of New Zealanders seriously concerned about this issue), bankcard fraud (44%) and identity theft (43%). The top security concerns have changed over the last 12 months. After the Christchurch attacks, concern about national security in relation to war or terrorism had jumped to the top of the list, but in 2020 it has returned to its previous position as the second lowest of the eight issues tracked.

In 2020, New Zealand women are more concerned about most types of security issues that are used to calculate the index, with a Unisys Security Index of 142 for women compared to 130 for men – 9% higher. In particular women are significantly more concerned about natural disasters, ability to meet financial obligations and their personal safety.

For more information visit www.unisyssecurityindex.co.nz.

1 – Statistics NZ – Women in the Workforce – https://www.stats.govt.nz/infographics/women-in-the-workforce-2017

2 – Ministry of Health – Health of the Health Workforce – https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/publications/health-of-health-workforce-2015-feb16_0.pdf

3 – CERT NZ – 2019 Report - https://www.cert.govt.nz/about/quarterly-report/

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