Cyber criminals becoming 'more and more sophisticated' as data shows reported crime up

"Just hang up," Pope advised.
"Just hang up," Pope advised. Photo credit: Getty Images.

The number of cybercrimes being reported is up but financial losses are down, according to new data from CERT NZ.

In the three months to September reports to the government watchdog were up 53 percent compared to the previous quarter, but total losses on the same period were down 16 percent.

Victims of cybercrime lost $3.3 million.

CERT director Rob Pope said malware attacks were on the rise, including the recent FluBot text scam, which included a link in a text message that people were encouraged to click on.

"If we've seen anything over the last quarter, it's that the criminals behind these attacks are getting more and more sophisticated."

"The FluBot text malware scam is a good example of this, as the messages were changing as fast as we could report on them."

Phishing and credential harvesting remained the most common reported incident overall, accounting for two-thirds of all reports followed by scams and fraud and unauthorised access.

Financial loss was well down on this time last year when third quarter losses hit $6.4m.

Pope said financial loss was not the only loss victims faced, however.

"Headline numbers, they really don't tell the complete picture of the damage that these attacks are causing because it's also about data, it's about the psychological impacts of fears on people. It's about reputation and team's business confidence."

The number of tech scam calls rose from 45 to 72. This is where a scammer will call, pretending to be from a telco or large tech firm, and say there is a problem with your computer and request remote access to attempt to steal whatever they are after, including money from your bank account.

"Just hang up," Pope advised.

He encouraged people to report scams and other incidents, even if it was embarrassing, and encouraged people to create strong passwords for their online profiles.