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'Kiwis worried about cyber security but putting themselves at risk'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New research reveals New Zealanders are worried about their online security but most are not doing the simple things they know they should to protect themselves.

Kantar TNS has just released a wide ranging piece of research entitled ‘Navigating the Digital Labyrinth’ which lifts the lid on Kiwi attitudes to all things digital.

The research reveals that 46% of New Zealanders are worried about how easily their home network can be hacked and that figure rises to 58% of those aged over 60.

But Kantar TNS New Zealand Client Director Jonathan Pickup says Kiwis’ attitude to cyber security is a paradox.

"They are worried but our research also suggests that New Zealanders could be much more diligent when it comes to taking simple steps to protect themselves," he says.

This is underlined by the fact that while 84% describe themselves as security conscious, only 49% of New Zealanders are using anti-virus software. Only 19% change their passwords regularly, with 68% admitting this is something they should do more often. While 41% use different passwords for different sites, 47% know this is something they should do, but don’t. And just over a fifth of those surveyed review security settings regularly on sites they log into but almost 60% feel they should do so more often.

Mr Pickup says those numbers indicate Kiwis are not helping themselves when it comes to online security and this may be a sign of general complacency.

"Clearly most people are aware of the risks and understand many of the simple things they should be doing to protect themselves but don’t actually do them," he says.

Mr Pickup says there is no evidence to suggest that heavier internet users are more security conscious, with similar levels of inactivity reported among this group.

And while Kiwis’ online activity indicates they may be complacent when it comes to security, the research reveals they are sceptical when it comes to information online.

In the era of fake news, just 19% of New Zealanders say they trust the information they read online.

Facebook (29% trust) and Twitter (16%) were the most likely companies to be distrusted with mainstream service providers such as my main bank (85%), my main insurance provider (72%) and my electricity provider (70%) considered the most trustworthy.

But Mr Pickup says New Zealanders are certainly not moving away from most social media platforms despite the lack of trust in them.

Facebook is used by 71% of Kiwis daily, with 19% saying they use it less than a year ago and 34% confirming they use it more often. (Only YouTube has a higher net growth (9% using less, 39% using more), with Instagram at similar levels to Facebook. Twitter appears to be the country’s only declining social media platform with 4% using more and 9% using less.

"That presents a challenge to businesses and brands using Facebook and Twitter. While the audience is there, it is suspicious of information presented online, leaving brands to solve the problem of how to build trust in a non-trusting environment," Mr Pickup says.

Navigating the Digital Labyrinth was an online survey of a representative sample of 1296 New Zealanders during November and December 2018. The survey has a margin of error of + or - 2.7%.

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