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NZ cities at risk from online fraud - survey

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Who is most at risk of fraudulent credit card charges, stolen identities, email security breaches or lost personal data? AVG the distributor of the award-winning AVG anti-virus and Internet security software in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, today announced the results of a survey of online and mobile consumer behaviours in 10 major cities across New Zealand and Australia to uncover which is most likely to be "digitally duped".

AVG Technologies also conducted the survey in the US and UK and as a country, New Zealand had some of the lowest scores across the survey.

Of those surveyed in New Zealand, 59 per cent used more than one password online; 54 per cent do not use a password on their mobile device and of those that do, another 87 per cent have not changed the password in the past year. Even more revealing, 74 per cent don't take active measures to backup their phone's data - many relying on their provider to restore their contacts should an accident occur.

Many consumers are also unknowingly putting themselves at risk of falling victim to identity thieves, viruses and malware with bad PC habits and a lack of comprehensive protection. Of the more than 1,100 New Zealanders surveyed online:

� 30% don't back up the data on their PC

� 39% admit to sharing online passwords with at least one other person

� 18% have been fooled by a phishing scam

� 75% don't use an identity monitoring service

"Recent news demonstrates that consumers need to be more vigilant than ever about safeguarding the personal information sitting on their PCs and mobile devices," said Lloyd Borrett, <a href="http://www.avg.com.au/security-evangelist/">Security Evangelist</a> at AVG (AU/NZ). "Consumers are getting smarter about online threats but still fail to connect the dots when it comes to understanding that today's climate requires users to protect any device that is Internet enabled. At AVG, our goal is to help consumers stay ahead of cybercriminals by protecting their families with simple, yet powerful online protection for all online devices - your smartphone, tablet and PC."

The five cities at highest risk in New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom and U.S. are:

New Zealand

1. Auckland

2. Napier-Hastings Urban Area

3. Wellington

4. Hamilton Urban Area

5. Christchurch

Australia

1. Perth

2. Brisbane

3. Melbourne equal with Sydney

4. As above

5. Adelaide

U.K.

1. Edinburgh

2. Manchester

3. Birmingham

4. Liverpool

5. London

U.S.

1. San Antonio, Texas

2. Tampa, Florida

3. Atlanta, Georgia

4. Dallas, Texas

5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

While the threat is high for many in New Zealand, the report isn't all bad. AVG found 69 per cent use two or fewer credit/debit cards each month for online purchases and more than 66 per cent of Kiwis online are checking their online banking accounts at least once per week for errors. In addition to a high level of caution around personal finances online, 82 per cent also claim to have never been fooled by an email phishing scam within the past year.

To help consumers protect themselves even more, AVG also unveiled <a href="http://www.avg.co.nz/products/avg-internet-security/">AVG Internet Security 2012</a>, a nimble, high-performance Internet security suite that answers consumers' calls for simplicity, dependability and freedom of choice. Based on its connection-acceleration technology, light footprint and scanning speeds, AVG is at the forefront of security innovation and provides first-class protection without hampering today's connected consumer.

"AVG is committed to helping consumers protect themselves and the things they care about the most," said Borrett. "Computers and devices have become an extension of every individual at work and at play - and the more we protect these machines, the more we protect ourselves."

In addition to installing a free, robust anti-virus program on all your online devices, AVG (AU/NZ) recommends the following simple steps to minimise the risk of fraudulent charges, identity theft and personal data loss:

� Use one credit card with a low spending limit for all online purchases. Monitor this account regularly, and flag any inappropriate activity immediately to the bank or lending institution.

� Change passwords regularly, use variations for each online account, and never, ever share them with others.

� Back up data! Back up data on computers with external hard drives or a cloud-based solution, and don't forget about mobile devices, too.

� Protect data on the go - the more personal information shared via mobile devices, the more hackers will target these tools. AVG's free mobile security application, <a href="http://www.avg.co.nz/products/avg-for-smartphones/">AVG Mobilation</a> for Android smartphones and tablet computers not only adds protection from malware, it can remotely wipe the device if it is lost or stolen.

� Be wary of phishing scams. Never click on links in emails from banks, or other financial institutions - go directly to their URL and enter your log-in information from their homepage.

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