Archive for the ‘online security’ Category

Fewer Kiwi businesses under threat from internet than Aussie counterparts

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
Photo credit; elhombredenegro on Flickr

Photo credit; elhombredenegro on Flickr

About one out of every five Australian business IP addresses are subjected to Internet security threats every weekday, but that number falls to one out of every eight in New Zealand, according to new research from Deakin University and Trend Micro.

The report, Australia and New Zealand Web threat landscape, is based on monitoring of live Internet traffic between 29 September and 12 October 2013.

The research analysed 170 million Web requests issued from Australia and 20 million Web requests issued from New Zealand per day. There were 450,000 attempts to connect to malicious websites in Australia, compared with 40,000 attempts in New Zealand.

The research also found that, Australian business IP addresses were more likely to be at risk on weekends with approximately one in eight companies susceptible on Saturday and Sunday compared to only one in 13 New Zealand businesses during the weekend.

The United States is the biggest malicious Web hosting country targeting Australia and New Zealand while the Netherlands, Germany and other European Union countries were found to be targeting both countries, too.

To read more on this story, click here.

New Zealand businesses fall prey to hackers

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
Photo credit; Eliot Phillips on Flickr

Photo credit; Eliot Phillips on Flickr

Two New Zealand businesses lost “significant sums of money” after they placed orders with Chinese companies that fell victim to internet hackers, police in New Zealand said recently.

Both companies had good relationships with their Chinese suppliers for many years, paying deposits into international bank accounts for goods which they then  imported into New Zealand.

In both cases, the e-mail accounts of the Chinese suppliers had been hacked, resulting in the Kiwi companies inadvertently rerouting payments to the hackers.

“The New Zealand businesses received an e-mail asking them to transfer their usual deposit into a different bank account. When the businesses replied about why they have been asked to deposit money into an account that differs from the usual one, the companies were confirmed that the directions are correct,” the police said.

“The confirmation e-mail was a fraudulent message that has been sent by hackers who accessed the Chinese e-mail account,” said the police.

The crime had come to light after several weeks when the Chinese suppliers contacted the New Zealand importers to inquire why they had failed to pay their deposits.

To read more about this story, click here.

Majority of NZ money not in digital realm yet, but that’s changing

Friday, October 11th, 2013
Photo credit; Blaise Alleyne on Flickr

Photo credit; Blaise Alleyne on Flickr

New Zealanders spent $5.4 billion online last financial year according to Roy Morgan Research’s Digital Universe report, but despite that seemingly large number, Kiwi money largely remains outside the digital realm.

“The bulk of New Zealand’s net wealth is not yet in the digital universe,” Roy Morgan client services director Howard Seccombe says.

The reason for that is the baby boomers who have the wealth only deal in the fringes of digital technology. That will change over time as the boomers age out and the next generation who is more familiar with digital technologies take over.

Other findings from the report included:

  • This year’s survey shows 61% of New Zealanders are worried about their privacy,  up 11% from the survey carried out four years ago.
  • Smartphones have seen spectacular growth, with 1.4 million users. That’s a growth of 227% in four years.
  • Right now 39% of New Zealanders have smartphones.
  • The Roy Morgan numbers show smartphones amplify people’s digital behaviour. Smartphone owners are ten times as likely to shop online as non-smartphone owners, eight times as likely to bank online and nine times as likely to view video clips.
  • Roy Morgan notes a dramatic 20% decline in desktop ownership. This echoes the fall in traditional PC sales. Meanwhile tablets have grown 557% in the past four years.

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New Zealand businesses warned after major chain hit by phishing scam

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
Photo credit; elhombredenegro on Flickr

Photo credit; elhombredenegro on Flickr

NetSafe is warning businesses to be alert after a major retail chain was targeted by overseas cyber criminals in a well-planned phishing attack that attempted to convince store staff to install rogue software on their computers.

IT staff at the chain, which NetSafe would not name, said employees at one branch had downloaded malicious software into computers in the branch after being called by an individual claiming to work for the chain.

The caller identified himself as a senior member of the company and directed employees to a fake website that was designed to look like the chain’s official tech support site.

Staff at the store then downloaded a malicious program that tried to take over computers.

The company’s IT staff noticed what was happening and blocked further access to the fake website on all their systems before cleaning up and alerting all stores to the bogus caller, NetSafe’s cyber security programme manager Chris Hails said.

“The effort that has gone into creating a convincing fake website and the use of a real executive’s name is what concerns us,” Hails said.

“The website which delivered the malicious software was designed using the company’s branding, logo and corporate style and the criminals had gone to some effort to register a URL which contained the chain’s name.”

Hails said the retail chain had asked Netsafe to keep its identity confidential but wanted others to be aware of the scam.

“Although there were no losses, the company felt there was the potential for people to feel they couldn’t trust them anymore,” he said.

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New Zealand tech company makes jump to USA, ready to crack American market

Monday, September 30th, 2013
Photo credit; Jeff Gunn on Flickr

Photo credit; Jeff Gunn on Flickr

New Zealand company Mako Networks, which helps businesses protect themselves from cybercrime, has opened an office in San Francisco and is ready to take a run at the American market.

The international expansion for the Auckland-headquartered company is largely due to research and development grants from the government, as well as the government-sponsored Kiwi Landing Pad in San Francisco, which helps Kiwi tech companies get a foothold in the USA.

“The Kiwi Landing Pad has served as a great base to help us get established here in North America,” said Simon Gamble, Mako’s co-founder and president for North America, adding that in its 18 months at the site, the firm had managed to secure US clients during that time and was now ‘graduating’ into its own office.

“We have significant plans for the US market and this new office is a pleasing milestone for us.”

Mako, which was started out in 2000 as YellowTuna Networks, offers cloud-based network management and security systems for companies that process credit cards.

To read more on this story, click here.

New Zealand websites slow to respond to industrialised hacking

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

New Zealand businesses have been sluggish in responding to automated cyber attacks, leaving businesses of all sizes vulnerable, cyber security experts have said.

Modern hacking tools mean that cyber criminals can quickly and easily scan the internet for vulnerable websites and launch attacks and New Zealand is becoming a prime target, Mark Kraynak, senior vice president of US- headquartered data security company Imperva, said.

“Now that the bad guys can find anyone online, [things have] changed. They’ve figured out that the little guys are actually pretty good targets,” Kraynak said.

“It’s probably true that criminals weren’t paying much attention to New Zealand but it’s become easier for organisations to find places to attack here.”

Kraynak claims data attacks in New Zealand are ten times higher than in Australia, on a per capita basis and businesses from the largest banks down to the smallest online retailers are at risk because while other countries were diligent about beefing up online security, New Zealand lagged behind.

To read more on this story, click here.

Tips for protecting yourself from hackers

Monday, October 29th, 2012 has posted some tips for protecting yourself from being hacked.

The top tips are:

  • Do use strong passwords.
  • Don’t use the same password for everything.
  • Do make multiple back-ups of precious files.
  • Don’t use the same email address for everything.
  • Don’t use the one social service to log into everything.
  • Don’t choose easy-to-answer security questions.
  • Do enable two-factor authentication.

You can read more over at