Cyber crime touches one in 10 Kiwis

18:27, Mar 20 2014

More than one in 10 Kiwis have been touched by cyber crime, from dodgy online trades to credit card theft, a university study shows.

The vast majority of Kiwis, whatever their age, are engaging online but not without a few unpleasant digital run-ins, the Victoria University study indicates.

Of 467 people surveyed, about 17 per cent had photographs of themselves uploaded without their permission in the past 12 months.

Another 14 per cent had found malicious software on their computers, while 12 per cent had bought something online that had been "misrepresented".

People's age, ethnicity and education also had a big impact on their digital misadventures. Those over 45 were much more likely to unwittingly infect their computers with malicious software or have their credit card details stolen, although this was still rare.

Those under 35 were more likely to be caught out in dodgy online purchases.


People of an Asian ethnicity were most likely to have their computers hacked, while about one in three Maori surveyed had been misled over buying something online.

People with less education were likely to fall for scams and be less careful with their personal information.

The study was funded by the Department of Internal Affairs, which is managing the move towards e-government, and undertaken by Professor Miriam Lips, of the School of Government at Victoria University. The study was the first thorough look at Kiwis' internet habits, she said.

While it showed plenty of people ran into problems online, overall they were far less likely to be targeted with scams, credit card theft, or malicious software than overseas internet users, she said.

Fairfax Media