Criminals shift focus to social media

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Cops use social media to fight crimes

More social media users, especially those from New Zealand, are becoming victims of cybercrime, according to Norton’s annual cybercrime report.

Two-thirds of adult social media users had already been victimised by cyber criminals and this number will keep on rising if people do not educate themselves about this threat, said an internet security expert.

David Freer, Vice-President at Norton Asia-Pacific and Japan, said internet users were aware of the dangers contained in emails such as Nigerian scams, but failed to realise that savvy scammers have now switched gears.

Cybercriminals have shifted away from emails and are now targeting social media sites, explained Freer. Because these portals are now the popular medium for communication, many of the new threats are on these sites. Moreover, users tend to trust the links that are sent through these networks.

Overall, 16 per cent of New Zealand’s social media users have fallen victim to cyber criminals, while 13 per cent revealed that someone had illegally accessed their account, pretending to be them. Online scams are usually carried out for financial gain or to use someone’s identity to cause personal problems.

In the past year alone, more than 900,000 New Zealanders have been victimised by cyber criminals, with financial losses amounting to NZ$462 million (£234.21 million).

What is troubling is that the number of cybercrime cases has doubled. Hence, people need to take extra precautions in protecting themselves such as changing their passwords periodically. The survey interviewed 500 New Zealanders.


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