Story image

NZ growing target for cybercrime, especially ransomware

13 Apr 16

New Zealand is a growing destination for cybercrime, with the country now ‘over-represented- in ransomware and social media scams, and a growing target for a range of other threats.

Symantec’s latest Internet Security Threat Report, shows zero day vulnerability attacks became a weekly occurrence in 2015, with cybercriminals exploiting, stockpiling and reselling high-value vulnerabilities.

Mark Shaw, Symantec Pacific technology strategist, information security and New Zealand spokesperson, says the report shows New Zealand has increased in global rank across five out of six threat categories tracked: spam, phishing hosts, bots, network attacking and web attacking countries.

“The Symantec Internet Security Threat Report indicates New Zealand as an increasingly popular target for cybercriminals,” he says.

“As a ransomware target New Zealand ranked fourth in Asia Pacific and 21st globally with the average of 108 ransomware attacks per day.

“The country was also ranked 21st globally for social media scams,” he adds.

“We also have the eighth highest proportion of global phishing traffic,” Shaw says.

The Kiwi figures come as Symantec warns that cybercriminals are establishing professional businesses and adopting corporate best practices in order to increase the efficiency of their attacks against enterprises and consumers.

Kevin Haley, Symantec Security Response director, says advanced criminal attack groups now mirror the skill sets of nation-state attackers.

“They have well resourced and highly-skilled technical staff that operate during normal business hours – they even take weekends and holidays off,” Haley says.

“We are even seeing low-level criminal attackers create call center operations to increase the impact of their scams.”

Advanced professional attack groups are first to leverage zero-day vulnerabilities, using them for their own advantage or selling them to lower-level criminals on the open market. Once they are available in the open market they are quickly commoditised.

Symantec says the number of zero-day vulnerabilities discovered in 2015 more than doubled to 54, up 125% from the year before to a new record high.

Meanwhile, malware increased at a ‘staggering’ rate with 430 million new malware variants discovered last year.

“The sheer volume of malware proves that professional cybercriminals are leveraging vast resources in an attempt to overwhelm defenses and enter corporate networks,” Symantec says.

DigiCert conquers Google's distrust of Symantec certs
“This could have been an extremely disruptive event to online commerce," comments DigiCert CEO John Merrill. 
Protecting organisations against internal fraud
Most companies tend to take a basic approach that focuses on numbers and compliance, without much room for grey areas or negotiation.
Telesmart to deliver Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams
The integration will allow Telesmart’s Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams to natively enable external voice connectivity from within Teams collaborative workflow environment.
Jade Software & Ambit take chatbots to next level of AI
“Conversation Agents present a huge opportunity to increase customer and employee engagement in a cost-effective manner."
52mil users affected by Google+’s second data breach
Google+ APIs will be shut down within the next 90 days, and the consumer platform will be disabled in April 2019 instead of August 2019 as originally planned.
GirlBoss wins 2018 YES Emerging Alumni of the Year Award
The people have spoken – GirlBoss CEO and founder Alexia Hilbertidou has been crowned this year’s Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Emerging Alumni of the Year.
SingleSource scores R&D grant to explore digital identity over blockchain
Callaghan Innovation has awarded a $318,000 R&D grant to Auckland-based firm SingleSource, a company that applies risk scoring to digital identity.
IDC: Standalone VR headset shipments grow 428.6% in 3Q18
The VR headset market returned to growth in 3Q18 after four consecutive quarters of decline and now makes up 97% of the combined market.