Report shows depth of cyber crime

RACHEL THOMAS
Last updated 05:00 19/06/2014

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More than two in five New Zealand children have been harmed by cyber-crime during 2012 and 2013, and almost two in three children who are victims hide what they do online, a new report reveals.

Technology company Symantec announced its Norton Report: Family Edition, which surveyed 351 New Zealanders - 148 adults and 203 children.

It revealed 43 per cent of the children have been harmed by cyber-crime or were involved in a negative online situation during 2012-2013.

The report examined issues affecting children and parents in the digital age and looked at their online behaviours, attitudes and security habits with a focus on cyber-bullying.

It was released in time for Connect Smart Week, formerly Cyber Security Awareness Week, which ends on Sunday. Launched by the Government, the week promotes online security.

The report findings showed 57 per cent of children who were victims of cyber-crime admitted to hiding what they do online from adults.

More than twice as many Kiwi girls - 17 per cent - have been bullied online than boys - 8 per cent.

NetSafe director Martin Cocker said the report highlighted areas people were struggling with. He said the figures may have suggested girls were more affected because boys may be less likely to identify less significant incidents as cyber-bullying.

"Looking longitudinally, there's been similar rates between boys and girls."

The Harmful Digital Communications Bill, being considered by Parliament, is aimed at combating cyber-bullying. If it passes, cyber-bullying or inciting suicide online will become a criminal offence.

Connect Smart Week comes on the back of Fraud Awareness Week earlier this month, which warned users to be extra vigilant online as scams became sophisticated.

Assistant Police Commissioner Malcolm Burgess said electronic crime was a rapidly evolving area. "In the same way that people lock their cars and take care of their handbag or wallet, people need to ensure they take similar precautions online," he said.

Network specialist for Inspire Net, Dave Mill, said anything that could help the public be safer online and be aware of the dangers online was a good thing.

"In the past, hacking was generally done to be malicious but now it can have massive financial rewards."

For the latest cyber-security information and research on consumers' behaviour around digital security, visit connectsmart.govt.nz. rachel.thomas@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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- Waikato Times

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