SecurityBrief New Zealand logo
New Zealand's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Are they listening? Kiwis wary of smart devices

By Shannon Williams
Mon 2 Sep 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

New Zealanders are concerned their smart devices are listening in on their conversations, fearing organisations are extracting personal information from their digital footprints, according to new research from Unisys. 

The latest Unisys Security Index has found 40% of New Zealand smart device owners say they started receiving social media posts and ads about a topic they had recently talked about aloud, and almost two-thirds of this group say it concerns them. 

Just over a quarter (26%) report that while talking aloud, the virtual assistant in their smartphone or smart watch asked them for more information or to repeat themselves – even though they had not turned it on. 

Similarly, 23% say that while talking aloud, a voice-activated, home-based smart speaker had asked them for more information or to repeat themselves – even though they had not turned it on. 

In both cases, approximately half of people who experienced this say it concerns them.

“Voice-activated, command-driven digital assistants embedded in smartphones, smart watches or purpose-built devices such as smart speakers are now common," says Richard Amer, director for digital government, Unisys Asia Pacific.

"However, in an environment where New Zealanders are very aware of data security threats, many Kiwis are concerned that their passion for Internet of Things devices has made their personal conversations and activity vulnerable to being monitored and used in ways we did not intend,” he says. 

The 2019 Unisys Security Index research also found New Zealanders are selective about which situations they deem acceptable for an organisation to collect data from social media, online purchases, smartphones and wearable devices. 

Almost half of respondents (47%) support the government collecting this information to identify who is in the vicinity of a disaster. Yet only 20% support the government monitoring an individual’s travel patterns to plan roads and public infrastructure. Nearly four in 10 (38%) support airports and airlines collecting information to efficiently guide a passenger’s journey through an airport, but only 10% support an employer doing the same to monitor an employee’s location during the workday.

More than a third (36%) of New Zealanders do not support data collection in any of the situations above.

Similarly, public support varies for organisations sharing an individual’s personal information with other organisations, Unisys says. 

The highest support is for police sharing information with other law enforcement agencies within New Zealand (72%) or internationally (71%) to solve a crime. There is also strong support (67%) for doctors sharing a patient’s healthcare history with other healthcare providers the patient uses for a complete view of the individual’s health. 

Almost half of Kiwis (47%) support a government-administered proof-of-identity used to confirm a citizen’s identity to access commercial services such as a bank account. However, only 16% support banks sharing a customer’s financial data with another financial service provider to offer a single point of contact for multiple services.

“The top reason given by New Zealanders for not supporting their data being shared is that they want control over exactly who has access to their personal information," says Amer. 

"This is a clear concern around privacy, rather than one related to the ability of an organisation to secure the data. If organisations want to gain the public’s support to access and use information from their digital footprint, they must address three criteria: trust in the organisation involved, the purpose given for how the data will be used and the benefit to the individual," he explains. 

Kiwis take action after data breaches
The research reveals that New Zealanders’ high level of concern about data security puts organisations on notice that they risk not just losing data, but also losing business.

More than a quarter (28%) of New Zealanders say they experienced a data breach in the last year. The most common types of breaches were email hacking (8%) and various forms of identity theft: social media profile hijacked (7%), credit card details stolen (6%) and suspicious behaviour in their bank account (6%).

Many Kiwis took action against the organisations they hold responsible for not protecting their data against data breaches. Of those who suffered a data breach, 14% said they stopped dealing with the organisation, such as closing their account, 11% publicly exposed the issue via social media and 7% took legal action.

“Many Kiwis are taking action designed to hurt the organisation they trusted to hold their information as they hold the business or government agency responsible for not protecting their data," says Amer. 

"Closing accounts and public shaming drives customer loss and reputation damage – it’s a deliberate move by consumers to make their concerns heard. To build trust and public support, government and commercial entities must show they take these concerns seriously not only by securing data from attack, but also how in they use that data themselves,” he explains.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Employment
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Migration
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
Nozomi Networks
Nozomi Networks, Siemens reveal software integration
Nozomi Networks and Siemens have extended their partnership by embedding Nozomi Networks’ software into the Siemens Scalance LPE local processing engine.
Story image
Cybersecurity
NCSC advisory highlights poor security configurations
The GCSB's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has released a cyber security advisory identifying commonly exploited controls and practices.
Story image
Cybersecurity
BlackBerry offers Kaspersky replacement cybersecurity for the channel
BlackBerry advises that users of Kaspersky software in Australia and New Zealand undertake a rigorous risk analysis of their current security posture.
Story image
Ransomware
Ingram Micro Cloud adds Bitdefender solutions to marketplace
Ingram Micro Cloud has announced the expanded availability of Bitdefender solutions on the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security createa unified scanner for cloud native security
“By integrating more cloud native scanning targets into Trivy, such as Kubernetes, we are simplifying cloud native security."
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Datacom, Micro Focus, SnapLogic and VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 6-12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
RedShield leverages AWS to scale cybersecurity services
"Working with AWS gives RedShield the ability to mitigate significant application layer DDoS attacks, helping leaders adopt best practices and security architectures."
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity
CyberArk launches $30M investment fund to advance security
CyberArk has announced the launch of CyberArk Ventures, a $30 million global investment fund dedicated to advancing the next generation of security disruptors.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Managed service providers: effective scoping to avoid costly vendor pitfalls
Managed security services are outsourced services focusing on the security and resilience of business networks.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
SaaS
Maintaining secure systems with expectations of flexible work
Most office workers feel they've proved they can work successfully from home, and as much as employers try, things aren't going back to the way they were anytime soon.
Story image
SaaS
Rubrik Security Cloud marks 'next frontier' in cybersecurity
"The next frontier in cybersecurity pairs the investments in infrastructure security with data security giving companies security from the point of data."
Story image
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
ChildFund
ChildFund launches new campaign to protect children online
ChildFund says WEB Safe & Wise aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online while also empowering them to become digitally savvy. 
Story image
Supply chain
Jetstack promotes better security with supply chain toolkit
The web-based resource is designed to help organisations evaluate and plan the crucial steps they need to establish effective software supply chain security.
Story image
Microsoft
PwC NZ unveils new Cloud Security Operations Center
PwC New Zealand has unveiled its new Cloud Security Operations Center for the entire Microsoft technology stack.
Story image
Digital Transformation
How to modernise legacy apps without compromising security
At a time when digital transformation has become central to business, even the most important applications come with a ‘use-by’ date.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ForgeRock releases Autonomous Access solution powered by AI
ForgeRock has officially introduced ForgeRock Autonomous Access, a new solution that uses AI to prevent identity-based cyber attacks and fraud.
Story image
Malware
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Story image
Ivanti
Ivanti and Lookout bring zero trust security to hybrid work
Ivanti and Lookout have joined forces to help organisations accelerate cloud adoption and mature their zero trust security posture in the everywhere workplace.
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Qualys
Qualys updates Cloud Platform solution with rapid remediation
The new update is designed to enable organisations to fix asset misconfigurations, patch OS and third-party applications, and deploy custom software.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
How to ensure ethical deployment of AI implementations
The increase in automation and machine technology such as AI and machine learning has unlocked a whole new level of scale and service to organisations. 
Story image
Remote Working
How zero trust and SD-WANs can support productive remote working
The way people connect with applications and data has changed, users are remotely accessing resources that could be stored anywhere from a corporate data center to the cloud.
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Phishing
KnowBe4 celebrates reaching 50,000 customers worldwide
KnowBe4 has reached the milestone of 50,000 customers, adding nearly 2,500 in the first quarter of 2022 alone.
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Story image
Ransomware
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
AI-based email security platform Abnormal Security valued at $4B
"A new breed of cybersecurity solutions that leverage AI is required to change the game and stop the rising threat of sophisticated and targeted email attacks."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Updates from Google Workspace set to ease hybrid working troubles
Google Workspace has announced a variety of new features which will utilise Google AI capabilities to help make hybrid working situations more efficient and effective.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Hard numbers: Why ambiguity in cybersecurity no longer adds up
As cybersecurity costs and risks continue to escalate, CEOs continue to struggle with what their investment in cyber protection buys. Getting rid of ambiguity becomes necessary.
Story image
SaaS
Absolute Software expands Secure Access product offering
Absolute Software is enhancing its Secure Access product portfolio, enabling minimised risk exposure and optimised user experiences in the hybrid working environment.
Story image
BeyondTrust
BeyondTrust integrates Password Safe solution with SailPoint
BeyondTrust has announced the integration of BeyondTrust Password Safe with SailPoint identity security offerings.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Noname Security partners with Netpoleon to target API issues
Specialist API security firm Noname Security has appointed Netpoleon as its distributor in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
Phishing
Google reveals new safety and security measures for users
Google's new measures include automatic two step verification, virtual cards and making it easier to remove contact information on Google Search results.
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from IronNet
Michael Ehrlich joins us today to discuss the history of IronNet and the crucial role the company plays in the cyber defence space.