More New Zealanders adopting cyber security behaviours, but apathy also high – CERT NZ

Over half of all New Zealanders have experienced an online security attack in the last six months; as a result there's been a sharp uptick in the adoption of cyber security actions. Despite this, almost one in five still think that cyber threats won't affect them.

8 April 2024

CERT NZ's 2024 Cyber Security Behaviour Tracker has found that adoption of nearly every type of cyber security action had increased markedly.

“New Zealanders are starting to own their online security," said CERT NZ Senior Threat and Incident Response Coordinator, Sam Leggett.

"The survey showed 95% of respondents know they need to take responsibility for themselves when it comes to cyber security. This is essential in a world where so much of what we do is digital, and the kinds of threats we face continue to grow and change.”

"The good news is that people are now more likely to be doing those simple actions that can keep them secure online.”

The actions that had the highest uptake compared to the year before are:

  • verifying links before clicking them (increase of 21 percentage points),
  • keeping social media settings private (increase of 21 percentage points),
  • using a password manager (increase of 15 percentage points), and
  • using two-factor authentication (increase of 13 percentage points).

Those Kiwi who had suffered a 'severe or significant cyber threat' were almost twice as likely to adopt a new online security behaviour (59% compared to 37% for those who hadn't experienced a threat).

"Cyber attacks are increasing in frequency and sophistication. New Zealanders can’t assume that luck or common sense will keep them safe," said Leggett.

Unfortunately, some segments of the population are more apathetic to cyber security risks.

The research found 18% of respondents think they won't be affected. This is highest among younger New Zealanders (18-44 year-olds), who also place less importance on cyber security actions, leading to them doing significantly less to stay secure online.

"We know young New Zealanders are confident online, but this can lead to over-confidence when faced with an actual threat," said Leggett.

"Our challenge is figuring out how to overcome barriers like this, along with others where people feel they're already doing enough or simply forget."

CERT NZ's 2024 Cyber Security Behaviour Tracker [PDF, 1 MB]