Exposed: Through the Lens of a Hacker showcases Kiwi scam victims, aims to combat shame

A new exhibition is shedding light on the emotional toll that comes with being a victim of a cyber-attack.

Exposed: Through the Lens of a Hacker showcases real New Zealanders who were the targets of scammers. Among them is Russell Brown, who was experiencing the worst time in his life when scammers targeted him.

"I had just come back from the hospital where my mother was very ill," Brown told Newshub.

"I was emotionally exhausted and here was a text saying there was an unauthorised login attempt to my banking app and to call urgently."

Brown is one of many New Zealanders sharing how they were scammed as part of the CERT NZ exhibition.

Sam Leggett, a senior analyst at CERT NZ, told Newshub: "This is all about bringing stories from real New Zealanders, bringing their real stories to light with the idea of trying to highlight the impacts and the risks to people about not getting our online security quite right."

William Chen was a victim of an impersonation scam - leaving him $800 out of pocket.

Tiana got caught up in an online phishing scam and lost over $300.

"We're trying to combat that stigma of embarrassment when you are a victim of these types of online incidents - in sharing your real story, you might help the next person stay safe," said Leggett.

It also hopes to show victims of online attacks they're not alone.

"I've been a computer journalist, I know the reason that the level of incidents of this kind of fraud doesn't get to the public is because people don't talk about it because they're ashamed," said Brown.

CERT NZ research found that any age group can be targeted.

"We know that it's often a younger group of people that feel confident online and as a result are actually less likely to take action to make themselves more secure online," said Leggett.

Exposed: Through the Lens of a Hacker opened on October 31 as part of Cyber Smart Week in hopes of dismantling the stigma that comes with being a victim of cybercrime - because no one is immune to scams.

The exhibition is running at the Tuesday Club in Auckland's CBD until Thursday, November 2.

CERT NZ's Cyber Smart Week runs until November 5 and will feature webinars and events, with a focus on raising the importance of being secure online.