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Smartphone cybercrime on the rise - report

Published: 7:53AM Monday May 27, 2013 Source: ONE News

A low mobile security uptake rate means that New Zealanders are easy targets for cyber criminals, report findings reveal.

According to the annual Norton Cybercrime Report, nearly half of all Kiwi smartphone users are failing to take basic precautions to secure their mobile devices.

The report, which has been released in conjunction with Cyber Security Awareness Week, found that while 50% of New Zealanders now use a mobile device to access the Internet, 45% of those users admitted that they do not take the basic step of securing their mobile device with a password.

Findings also revealed that while 41% of users have had a mobile device lost or stolen, only 9% reported wiping or locking their mobile phone after it went missing.

And even though reports of mobile malware increased by 58% in 2012, New Zealanders awareness of mobile security best practice is very low, with 63% of mobile device users unaware that mobile security solutions exist for their device, and only 16% reporting that they use a security solution.

Norton said that the most common forms of cybercrime carried out via a mobile device are fake banking apps, fraudulent purchases via stored credit card details, QR code malware and geolocation scams.

Concerningly, the report said that 59% of people who access the Internet on their mobile device either do not use secure payment methods or do not know about secure payments when making purchases via their device, yet 40% report feeling safe making purchases from mobile devices.

NetSafe Executive Director, Martin Cocker said that mobile cyber security in New Zealand is a serious issue and people should at the very least have a pin number on their phone.

He advises users to protect themselves by using strong passwords, secure wireless networks, back up files and to "think before you click".

Most common forms of mobile cybercrime:

1. Fake banking apps

2. QR Code Malware (malicious software used by fraudsters to disrupt phone operation)

3. Geolocation scams

4. Scamming contacts by phone

5. Fraudulent purchases via stored credit card details

6. Botnet on Android devices which generates spam sent from mobile phones

7. Inadvertently downloading a fake app which allows a remote device to send premium SMS from your phone