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NZ Facing Rampant Cybercrime Threats In 2021

New Zealand organisations and businesses are facing increasing and rampant cybercrime threats and the situation is getting worse, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.

Almost a million New Zealanders are falling victim to cybercrime every year, he says.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand just recently suffered a data breach and Australians are on high alert following a series of cyber-attack threats. An average of 164 cybercrime reports are made by Australians every day, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

NZTech is staging the biggest cyber risk event of the year in Wellington on February 24 and Muller says New Zealand organisations, businesses or Kiwi people are not immune to digital hacks and / or cyberattacks.

Ransomware has become the biggest threat, used by criminals to lock up people's systems and data and then demand a ransom in return for their release.

In the United States, agencies including the FBI have just warned their healthcare system is facing an increased and imminent threat of cybercrime.

Cybercriminals are unleashing a series of extortion attempts in the new frontier of crime aimed at locking up hospital information systems.

This could hurt patient care just as nationwide cases of the covid pandemic are spiking.

Kiwi businesses and organisations must act immediately to block future cyber hacks which is now costing New Zealand vast sums every year.

Kiwi businesses, government agencies and organisations are coming under a growing number of threats from cyberattacks.

The covid pandemic has increased New Zealand’s reliance on digital devices and the internet.

The world of cyber security and attacks are rife and CERT NZ, the government entity that tracks cyber breaches, says Kiwis are not protecting their digital systems, Muller says.

Between January and September 2020, CERT received 5712 reports of cyber incidents which resulted in $14.2 million direct financial loss. It’s likely that a lot more incidents occurred that were not reported.

“CERT NZ last year found 87 percent of Kiwis acknowledge online security is important, but 40 percent say safeguarding their information is inconvenient,” Muller says.

“Virtually a third of Kiwis don’t regularly check the privacy settings on their social media accounts. Roughly the same number of people do not use two-factor authentication when logging into an online account.

“Our New Zealand cyber security summit in Wellington next month includes key speaker Australian Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Tech Dr Tobias Feakin.

“With our event partner Conferenz, next month will be our sixth annual conference examining the latest cyber-attacks and preventions. Delayed last year due to covid the New Zealand cyber security summit is the largest gathering of cyber professionals in New Zealand, working together to protect New Zealand organisations,” Muller says.

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