Auckland – NetSafe is marking the second anniversary of their ‘Online Reporting Button’ website (www.theorb.org.nz) this week by publishing figures showing almost $1m in losses were reported due to cyber incidents.
New Zealanders made more than 1500 reports over the course of 12 months with financial losses rising to $982,690.
See also: New Zealanders report losing more than $750,000 from online incidents to NetSafe’s Orb website (12 August 2011)
The website is run in partnership with the Police, Customs Service, Commerce Commission, Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
“Online scams and fraud make up a large part of what’s being reported to NetSafe,” said Martin Cocker, NetSafe’s Executive Director. “In many cases we’ve been able to provide help and guidance to those affected – but time is a critical factor. Once you become suspicious, the quicker you make your Orb report the more likely it is that NetSafe will be able to help you.”
“There has been a decline in reports about cold calling technical support companies and a rise in the number of people having their online accounts hacked,” said Cocker.
“As well as suffering financial losses, many people are struggling to deal with the emotional turmoil and stress caused by online break-ins to their email and social networking accounts.”
See also: Hackers take nurse’s ‘identity’
“There’s also been a marked rise in the number of complaints about online trading, including penny auction sites,” said Cocker. “With more people now shopping online and looking overseas for bargains, many people have fallen victim to fake websites that never deliver the goods they’ve paid for.”
Trusting Kiwis also unlucky in love
Significant losses were again reported as romance and online dating scams with the sum involved almost doubling to more than $674,000.
“Our general advice to people echoes the simple steps we pushed during June’s Cyber Security Awareness Week: use strong, unique passwords for your important online accounts and be suspicious of spam or phishing messages which direct you to malicious or fake websites.”
“If you’re looking to buy online always be cautious of websites you haven’t dealt with before and if the price seems too good to be true take some time to research the company. Google their name and the words ‘review’ or ‘scam’ to see if other customers have had problems in the past.”
“Lastly, avoid sending money by wire transfer to people you don’t know and if you buy online use a credit card and discuss any problem transactions with your bank.”
Lowlights of the year
NetSafe’s analysis of the Orb reports shows patterns in the type of incidents reported:
- Cold calling computer ‘doctors’ were the number one issue for the second year running and continued to be reported by people around the country throughout the year
- Compromised accounts were a common problem with many people spending time and money to restore access and alert friends to scam or spam emails or chat messages being sent under their name
- The number of reports being made by Aucklanders and Cantabrians rose whilst Southland and Wellington saw steep falls in cyber incidents
- People continued to report phishing emails from banks and the IRD but were increasingly wise to these fake requests for login details
- There was a rise in the number of reports about online harassment and abuse on websites and social networking pages with NetSafe working to develop new relationships to improve safety
- The infographic below details some further key statistics. A larger print ready version of this image (2.5MB) is made available for media use
Report to the Orb and help others
NetSafe remains keen for people affected by a wide range of online incidents to report their experiences via the Orb website so the information can be used to improve cyber safety and security programmes.
“Our cyber security work this year was directly influenced by real life incidents reported by individuals across New Zealand,” said Cocker. “If more people tell us about these kind of issues, then NetSafe and our partners can better focus our resources on improving online safety and security.”
Help and advice from NetSafe
You can report your concerns about online incidents in one central location at www.theorb.org.nz. NetSafe will direct your report through to the partner best able to investigate or advise you.
– ENDS –
Media contact: Mark Cocker, Executive Director of NetSafe, 021 790 369
An infographic representing key data from the second year of the Orb’s operation is made available for media use: Orb infographic 2011/12 – Year 2 (2.5MB)
Explore the infographic data below using Zoom.it:
About the Orb
The orb website was launched by NetSafe in August 2010 to offer all New Zealanders a simple and secure way to report their concerns about online incidents. NetSafe works with partner agencies to direct reports through to the organisation best able to investigate or advise on various types of online incidents. These include scams and frauds, spam messages, objectionable material, privacy breaches and problems whilst shopping online.
NetSafe is an independent non-profit organisation that promotes confident, safe, and responsible use of online technologies. NetSafe promotes cybersafety and security and the concept of digital citizenship by educating and supporting individuals, organisations and industry on a range of issues.