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

Online security a concern as screen addiction surges during COVID-19 lockdown

By Shannon Williams
Wed 25 Aug 2021

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is seeing more Kiwis become addicted to their screens, new research has revealed.

NortonLifeLock released a new global study examining consumers at-home online behaviours. The new findings from the New Zealand research show that more than one in three New Zealanders (36%) say they are addicted to screens. 

Despite many understanding the security risks involved, more than one in five connected device owners (22%) are not taking the proper actions to secure their devices, putting themselves and their families at risk of losing personal information.  

In the study, conducted online by The Harris Poll among more than 1,000 New Zealand adults, 48% of Kiwis surveyed say the amount of time they spend in front of a screen outside of education and work purposes has increased significantly during the pandemic. 

Consumers reported spending an average of 5.1 hours a day in front of screens outside of work or education, and for many, it is too much. More than 3 out of 5 New Zealanders (62%) admit that they spend way too much time looking at screens, and close to half (49%) say smartphones are the gadget that they are spending too much time on.  

About half of New Zealanders (52%) agree that the amount of time they spend in front of a screen negatively impacts their physical health and more than one-third (37%) say it negatively impacts their mental health. Close to one in four (22%) say that increased screen time during the pandemic has made them feel bad about their body or hurt their self-esteem, and more than two in five New Zealanders (42%) say it has made them less physically active. 

Respondents also noted that increased screen time during the pandemic has led them to experience increased anxiety or depression (16%), or has made them feel lonelier than ever before (14%). 

Shaun Robinson, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, says, "Research has shown that the impact of COVID-19 has negatively affected levels of mental and emotional wellbeing among New Zealanders.

"Wer ae also seeing heightened awareness of the value of focusing on mental health and people becoming more conscious of the behaviours and actions they can take to uplift our wellbeing."

Kevin Roundy, technical director and stalkerware specialist with Norton Labs, NortonLifeLocks research division, says, "Kiwis addiction to their devices has taken a toll on their physical and mental health during the pandemic, making people feel burnt out and unsure how to keep themselves safe from losing personal information.

"As we transition into a new normal and people travel outside the comfort of their homes, consumers will be facing more cyber safety risks with public WiFi access, outdated public computers, and potential identity theft," he says.

New Zealanders understand there are security risks that come from connected devices, with many believing it is very or extremely likely that a computer (57%) or smartphone (39%) will be hacked. 

Yet, when it comes to securing their devices, only around one in three device owners surveyed have denied permissions to apps on devices (38%), changed the default passwords on devices (37%),  or installed cybersecurity software to their devices (34%). Even fewer (21%) say they regularly update the device passwords as a way to secure their device(s).  

"New Zealand's cyber security landscape is rapidly changing, and recent attacks on businesses and institutions have made Kiwis realise that their online lives need protecting," says Mark Gorrie, senior director - APJ, NortonLifeLock.  

"Our data also show that New Zealand adults own 5.6 connected devices on average, that tells us that Kiwis need to think deeply about how they are protecting themselves from cyber criminals," he says.

"Keeping your devices and software updated, using multifactor identification or encrypting your files, and using technologies that provide set and forget device security are easy first steps to taking control of the security of your own data," Gorrie adds.

"It puts people on a path to living their digital lives safely and keeping their devices and data secured."

Additional findings from the 2021 Norton Cyber Safety Insights Report: Special Release Home & Family include: 

  • Millennial and Gen Z kiwis are more likely than their older counterparts to admit they overindulge on screen use, but they also recognise that it negatively impacts their physical and mental health. Younger adults surveyed (age 18-39) are more likely to admit they spend way too much time looking at screens (72% vs. 55% of those aged 40 and older), but they also are more likely to recognise that the amount of time they spend in front of screens negatively impacts their physical health (63% vs. 44%). Younger adults are also more likely to say the amount of time they spend in front of screens negatively affects their mental health (54% vs 25%).
  • New Zealand consumers surveyed tend to be reactive when it comes to dealing with protecting their connected devices. An overwhelming 90% of device owners say they would take action if one of their connected devices were hacked, most commonly changing the security settings or passwords (60%). One-third or more say they would reset the device (i.e., remove all personal data/reset to default) (37%) or install security software or increase pre-existing security software (33%). Slightly less say they would search online for help (30%) or ask their family member(s) or friend(s) for help (27%).   
  • New Zealanders feel conversations about online safety should start young. Around nine in 10 (89%) believe it's absolutely essential or very important for parents to teach their children about cyber safety, and nearly all New Zealand adults (97%) agree these conversations are more important now than ever before. Still, whether these conversations happen or not, more than three-quarters (79%) concede it is difficult for parents to keep children safe when they are online.  
  • Screen time wasn't all bad. For some New Zealanders, increased screen time during the pandemic has helped them feel connected (48%) and has been their way to unwind (45%). 
Related stories
Top stories
Story image
ABI Research
75% of 5G networks to advance to 5G-Advanced by 2030
5G-advanced is set to launch in 2025, and 75% of 5G networks will upgrade by 2030, according to ABI Research. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
Online bullying, harassment skyrockets since COVID outbreak
Harmful content reports have risen by over 25% since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, according to Netsafe.
Story image
Ransomware
Examining the future of ransomware threats with Vectra’s CTO
As customers' valuable data move to the cloud, so will ransomware. What is the current landscape and what do we need to know?
Story image
Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
LogRhythm updates SIEM Platform with latest innovations
LogRhythm has announced the launch of version 7.9 of the LogRhythm SIEM Platform and updates to LogRhythm NDR and LogRhythm UEBA.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Unknown connections: How safe is public WiFi in Aotearoa?
If it's not your own household WiFi, then who has control of your data and is your connection actually safe?
Story image
Gartner
Gartner's top recommendations for security leaders
"Leaders now recognise that major disruption is only one crisis away. We can’t control it, but we can evolve our thinking, philosophy, program and architecture.”
Story image
Malware
Colt launches new SASE Gateway solution with Versa
Colt Technology Services’ customers now have access to an integrated full SASE solution that brings together SD WAN and SSE features.
Story image
Trend Micro
5G network projects driven by improving security and privacy
Trend Micro's new study reveals the prospect of improved security and privacy capabilities are the main motivations behind private 5G wireless network projects.
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zscaler launches co-located data centres in Canberra and Auckland
The investment will offer public and private sector enterprises greater resilience in support of their zero trust cybersecurity posture.
Story image
Ransomware
Businesses unprepared to defend against ransomware attacks
Ransomware attacks continue to impact organisations worldwide with high costs, but businesses are still largely unprepared.
Story image
Oracle Cloud
Commvault, Oracle to deliver Metallic Data Management as a Service
"We are excited to partner with Commvault and enable our customers to restore and recover their most mission-critical cloud data."
Story image
Cybersecurity
How organisations can mitigate IoT and IIoT security risks
IoT and IIoT come with inherent risks because they are often deployed faster than they can be secured, putting organisations in danger of cyber threats. Here are tips on how to mitigate those risks.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Delinea’s Joseph Carson recognised with OnCon Icon Award
Delinea chief security scientist and advisory CISO Joseph Carson has been recognised as a Top 50 Information Security Professional in the 2022 OnCon Icon Awards.
Story image
Digital Transformation
What CISOs think about cyber security, visibility and cloud
Seeking to uncover the minds of CISOs and CIOs across Asia Pacific, my company recently asked Frost & Sullivan to take a snapshot of cloud adoption behaviour in the region.
Story image
Cloudera
Overcoming hybrid and multi-cloud challenges to drive innovation
Driven by improvements in technology, financial services companies have advanced both internal and external systems and processes, with the likes of digitisation, personalisation and risk management redefining the industry.
Story image
Data Protection
How secure is accounting software data in Aotearoa?
A recent Xero study found ICT spending for NZ businesses has increased 25% compared to pre-pandemic levels, so how safe is accounting software?
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zero trust security adoption rises 27% in just two years
A survey of WAN managers has revealed that multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are the top zero trust features implemented.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Solutions
Progress launches latest version of network visibility solution
In Flowmon 12 network solution, Progress has expanded its support for public cloud provider flow log monitoring and launched new features.
Story image
WatchGuard Technologies
Ransomware volume doubled 2021 total by end of Q1 2022
Ransomware detections in the first quarter of this year doubled the total volume reported for 2021, according to a new report. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
Blasé attitudes to cybersecurity by business a national risk
The largely unregulated state of cybersecurity in NZ, and consequential ambivalence of most businesses, risk hurting the country's trading prospects.
Story image
Ransomware
Secureworks reveals new information on BRONZE STARLIGHT threat group
New research from Secureworks has uncovered new information on the Chinese threat group BRONZE STARLIGHT and how they are using targeted ransomware to initiate complicated attacks.
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
Research
New study reveals 51% of employees using unauthorised apps
The research shows that 92% of employees and managers in large enterprises want full control over applications, but they don't have it.
Story image
Cybersecurity
FIDO Alliance releases guidelines for optimising UX with FIDO Security Keys
The new guidelines aim to accelerate multi-factor authentication deployment and adoption with FIDO security keys.
Story image
Web Development
Whitecliffe fosters careers for the future of tech
Do you want a career in Information Technology, Networking, Web Development, Software Development, or are you looking to upskill?
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Eight top DevSecOps trends to support IT innovation in 2022
The use of DevSecOps practices is growing, as it is increasingly seen as the best way to produce high-quality and secure code. So what are the current trends?
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Apple
Jamf introduces new content filtering solution for education providers
Jamf has announced the launch of Jamf Safe Internet, a new offering that looks to deliver a safe online experience to students while offering better management options for admins.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Vulnerable APIs costing businesses billions every year
Large companies are particularly vulnerable to the security risks associated with exposed or unprotected APIs as they accelerate digital transformation.  
Story image
Vendor
Forescout reveals top vulnerabilities impacting OT vendors
Forescout’s Vedere Labs has disclosed OT: ICEFALL, naming 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology vendors.
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Remote Working
RDP attacks on the rise, Kaspersky experts offer advice
"Given that remote work is here to stay, we urge companies to seriously look into securing their remote and hybrid workforce to protect their data."
Story image
HP Inc
Firmware attacks significant threat in age of hybrid work
Changing workforce dynamics are creating new challenges for IT teams around firmware security, according to new research.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Without trust, your security team is dead in the water
The rise of cyberattacks has increased the need for sound security that works across any type of business, but with any change, buy-in is essential. Airwallex explains why.
Story image
Compliance
Stock security features inadequate in face of rising risk
"Organisations must proactively find ways of identifying unseen vulnerabilities and should take a diligent, holistic approach to cybersecurity."
Story image
Compliance
SentinelOne integrates with Torq to empower security teams
"With Torq, security teams can extend the power of SentinelOne to systems across the organisation to benefit from a proactive security posture.”
Story image
Cybersecurity
Email threats spike 101%, remains a top attack vector
"Each year we see innovation in the threat landscape, but each year email remains a major threat to organisations."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Vectra AI named as AWS security competency partner
Threat detection and response company Vectra AI has announced that it has become an Amazon Web Services Security Competency Partner.
Story image
Cyber Criminal
Identity and access: the fight is on
Blue team defenders are used to protecting our data, applications, and users with access controls and other security mechanisms, which is why attacks like this are especially challenging when they target identity and access control systems.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Security driving customer identity & access management adoption
"CIAM allows businesses to embed a secure identity layer into their consumer and SaaS applications, facilitating secure, seamless end user experiences."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Tech and data’s role in the changing face of compliance
Accenture's study found that 93% of respondents agree or strongly agree new technologies such as AI and cloud make compliance easier.
Story image
Document Management
NZ's FileInvite raises $10M in latest investment round
FileInvite has raised $10 million in Series A investment to fast-forward the extinction of email for requesting and collecting documents online.