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Kiwis' security worries reach all-time high: What's fuelling the fear?

27 Jun 2017

New Zealanders are more worried about security than they have been in the last ten years, with identity theft and bank card fraud being the top two concerns.

The 2017 Unisys Security Index for New Zealand plots the country's index as 154 out of 300, a jump from 137 in the last survey conducted in 2014.

55% of Kiwis are extremely concerned or very concerned about unauthorised access to or misuse of personal information and 54% are concerned about access or misuse of credit card details.

John Kendall, director of border and national security programs at Unisys, says Identity is the common thread to both of these concerns.

"Anchoring our identity with secure multifactor authentication (including biometrics) provides a strong deterrent to unauthorised people accessing our personal information, our finances and the IT systems we depend upon," he comments.

He also says that the onus is also on providers who offer these services.

"Banks, retailers and governments wanting to move more of their transactions online can use innovative security measures as a point of difference and position themselves as safe organisations to do business with – not only in terms of preventing data breaches, but also in terms of minimising the impact on customers in a world where breaches are inevitable. Many banks already do this well, setting an example for retailers and government agencies to follow."

Women are more concerned than men when it comes to security and national disasters, and the 18-24 age group are the most concerned. Concern levels drop as age groups rise: Those aged between 45-54 are the least concerned.

New Zealanders are also concerned about crisis events. 51% are concerned about serious events such as earthquakes, floods and epidemics.

Kendall says that technology can help allay crisis concerns, particularly as smart cities become able to detect, predict and respond to issues through maintenance or redirecting traffic flow.

"In New Zealand where natural disasters from earthquakes to destructive weather are a very real and regular threat, there is a huge opportunity to harness these intelligent systems to predict and manage responses to better protect citizens and minimise impacts,” he adds.

The New Zealand index polled 1012 adults in April 2017. The Index also rated results from twelve other countries including Australia, Malaysia, the UK, US, Mexico, Germany and the Philippines.

Overall, the level of increased concern was echoed throughout the other countries in the study, which found that all but one had an increased level of concern.

“While the emerging markets of Philippines, Mexico, Malaysia, Brazil and Argentina recorded the highest index scores, the biggest increases are in the mature markets of Netherlands, Australia, U.S. and UK where concerns regarding digital security are top of mind," Kendall says.

To protect fragile consumer trust in today’s digital economy, organisations have to assume that they will eventually be breached and take immediate steps to minimise and contain the impact on themselves and their customers in order to gain and maintain that trust."

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