IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

Vodafone warns customers as online scams increase due to COVID-19

By Shannon Williams
Tue 31 Mar 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Online scams are increasing with scammers taking advantage of the current COVID-19 outbreak, as internet usage increased by 20-50% during the lockdown period. 

In response, Vodafone New Zealand is urging its customers to be more vigilant on digital channels.

The telco provider says it has approximately 80 security experts who are monitoring and responding to constantly changing threats, plus an international network of more than 70 partner companies worldwide working to combat increased scam attempts. 

However, New Zealanders can play a large role in staying cyber safe from COVID-19 scams, it says.

Colin James, Vodafone NZ head of cyber security, has been a Netsafe board member since 2014 and works with other New Zealand organisations to respond at an industry level, as well as leading the company’s response for customers.

"It is unfortunate that at times like this there are global fraudsters who will take advantage of COVID-19 fears for malicious gain. Through our threat intelligence sources we have identified a number of scams that are currently on the rounds and our security teams are continually putting controls in place to block the content," James says.
 
"While we’re doing everything we can on our side, we also need New Zealanders to help protect themselves, and explain to friends and family why they need to be even more vigilant than usual,” he explains.

The Vodafone Consumer Insights Survey, conducted by Colmar Brunton in February, highlighted more than two-thirds (69%) of New Zealanders were concerned about their personal data being subject to a data breach, with consumers over 55 years old significantly more likely to be concerned (76%).

While 8 in 10 New Zealanders (80%) said they would stop using a product or service if they had privacy concerns – the vast majority (83%) of New Zealanders believed businesses, individuals and government are all equally responsible for ensuring security of personal data online – a message that Vodafone is trying to highlight as people spend additional time online during Level 4 lockdown.

“Scammers are opportunistic and will take advantage of any situation for their own gains. Sadly, the current COVID-19 situation has created a considerable avenue for them to exploit, as they prey on people’s fears or need for information. We urge New Zealanders to remain vigilant and check the sender of any messages closely as the first protection against scams," says James.

James highlights that there are three key COVID-19 related scams doing the rounds, which the industry including CERT has identified:

Text message scams
“There have been a number of reports of COVID-19 themed scam text messages that have a link that claims to direct people to testing facilities. Although these have come mostly out of Australia, there is no reason New Zealand related scams wouldn’t be started as well," he says. 

"The link contained in these messages is not legitimate and instead may install malware (malicious software) on your device that’s designed to steal your personal information, such as banking details.”

Phishing emails claiming to have updated COVID-19 information
“Intelligence from the UK has highlighted that individuals have been targeted by coronavirus-themed phishing emails, with infected attachments containing fictitious 'safety measures’. Instead of the attachments containing health information, it instead installs malicious software on your device that’s designed to steal personal information," says James.

“We’ve also been made aware of similar emails being circulated internationally that encourage people to fill in their email and password before they can get information on COVID-19. These are not legitimate, and instead are again an attempt to steal personal information," he says.

Fake coronavirus maps
“Security researchers have identified a number of campaigns where the attackers claim to have ‘coronavirus maps’ that people can download onto their devices," says James. 

"Instead, these maps contain malware, designed to steal sensitive information from the device it is downloaded onto, such as passwords.”

Other responses from the February 2020 Colmar Brunton data privacy survey include:

·       Almost half of New Zealanders worry about money being stolen from them (49%) – or their privacy being compromised (49%). 

·       Despite being concerned about privacy information, more than half of New Zealanders (53%) say they re-use passwords across multiple account.

“It’s important to never re-use passwords, no matter what the account. Re-using passwords makes it easier for scammers to access your personal information across multiple accounts. This is an industry-wide issue and not an easy one to solve, so everyone needs to play their part," James explains.

Martin Cocker, Netsafe CEO adds, “COVID-19 means people are relying more and more on their devices and the internet to stay connected. While in most cases this presents a great chance to stay socially connected, this unfortunately presents opportunities for scammers to exploit New Zealanders.

“There is no ethical line that scammers will not cross," he says. 

'We urge New Zealanders to do their due diligence, especially when it comes to online communications asking people to download programmes or input their passwords. Please remain vigilant and only download programmes and open emails from trusted sources.”

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
SaaS
Maintaining secure systems with expectations of flexible work
Most office workers feel they've proved they can work successfully from home, and as much as employers try, things aren't going back to the way they were anytime soon.
Story image
ChildFund
ChildFund launches new campaign to protect children online
ChildFund says WEB Safe & Wise aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online while also empowering them to become digitally savvy. 
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Trading up: It's time to swap core systems for flexible digital applications
This year will see more oranisations planning and commencing high tech renovations that will shake up the way they operate.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS announces new products amid cloud portfolio success
Analytics and AI company SAS is deepening its broad industry portfolio with offerings that support life sciences, energy, and martech.
Story image
Nozomi Networks
Nozomi Networks, Siemens reveal software integration
Nozomi Networks and Siemens have extended their partnership by embedding Nozomi Networks’ software into the Siemens Scalance LPE local processing engine.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
RedShield leverages AWS to scale cybersecurity services
"Working with AWS gives RedShield the ability to mitigate significant application layer DDoS attacks, helping leaders adopt best practices and security architectures."
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Sustainability
Power at the edge: the role of data centers in sustainability
The Singaporean moratorium on new data center projects was recently lifted, with one of the conditions being an increased focus on power efficiency and sustainability.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Managed service providers: effective scoping to avoid costly vendor pitfalls
Managed security services are outsourced services focusing on the security and resilience of business networks.
Story image
Apple
Apple previews new features for users with disabilities
Apple says new software features that offer users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health and communication, are set to come out later this year.
Softiron
For every 10PB of storage run on HyperDrive vs. comparable alternatives, an estimated 6,656 tonnes of CO₂ are saved by reduced energy consumption alone over its lifespan. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for a year.
Link image
Story image
Lightspeed
Lightspeed launches all-in-one marketing platform in A/NZ
ECommerce provider, Lightspeed has launched a new all-in-one marketing solution, Lightspeed Marketing & Loyalty in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
Apricorn
Data backup plans inadequate, data still at risk - study
The Apricorn 2022 Global IT Security Survey revealed that while the majority organisations have data backup plans in place, data for many are at risk.
Story image
Digital Transformation
The Huawei APAC conference kicks off with digital transformation
More than 1500 people from across APAC have gathered for the Huawei APAC Digital Innovation Congress to explore the future of digital innovation.
Story image
Digital Transformation
The impact of COVID-19 on healthcare environments and care delivery
The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionised the healthcare industry while overcoming staff shortages, social distancing requirements, and lockdowns.
Story image
Remote Working
How zero trust and SD-WANs can support productive remote working
The way people connect with applications and data has changed, users are remotely accessing resources that could be stored anywhere from a corporate data center to the cloud.
Story image
Sustainability
Grasping the opportunity to rethink the metrics of a sustainable data centre
A data centre traditionally has two distinct operations teams: the Facility Operations team, and the IT Operations team. Collaboration between them is the key to defining, measuring, and delivering long-term efficiency and sustainability improvements.
Story image
CRM
Zendesk announces new conversational CRM solutions
“The last few years have made it obvious that digital is the front door, convenience is paramount and relationships are anchored in conversations."
Story image
Wireless Nation
Wireless Nation, N4L provide 4G network to remote NZ schools
Wireless Nation and Network for Learning (N4L) have rolled out the Rural Connectivity Group’s (RCG) new 4G network to better connect three Chatham Islands schools.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
CFOs using digital workers and AI to prevent unnecessary loss
New technology is now allowing CFOs to use digital workers to automate their accounting processes, making it easier for them to avoid unnecessary losses.
Story image
Commerce Commission
ComCom appeals $2.25 million fine in Vodafone FibreX case
The Commerce Commission has filed an appeal in the High Court against a $2.25 million fine imposed on Vodafone NZ for its offending under the Fair Trading Act.
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Sustainability
Legrand unveils Nexpand, a data center cabinet platform
Legrand has unveiled a new data center cabinet platform, Nexpand, to offer the necessary scalability and future-proof architecture for digital transformation.
Story image
Supply chain
Jetstack promotes better security with supply chain toolkit
The web-based resource is designed to help organisations evaluate and plan the crucial steps they need to establish effective software supply chain security.
Story image
Malware
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Story image
Excel
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security createa unified scanner for cloud native security
“By integrating more cloud native scanning targets into Trivy, such as Kubernetes, we are simplifying cloud native security."
Story image
Qualys
Qualys updates Cloud Platform solution with rapid remediation
The new update is designed to enable organisations to fix asset misconfigurations, patch OS and third-party applications, and deploy custom software.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
Cybersecurity
NCSC advisory highlights poor security configurations
The GCSB's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has released a cyber security advisory identifying commonly exploited controls and practices.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Hard numbers: Why ambiguity in cybersecurity no longer adds up
As cybersecurity costs and risks continue to escalate, CEOs continue to struggle with what their investment in cyber protection buys. Getting rid of ambiguity becomes necessary.
Story image
Sisense
Data and analytics could be key to higher selling prices in APAC
Sisense's latest report has found that almost half of data professionals in APAC think customised data and analytics can create better selling prices for their products.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Workato
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
Microsoft
New Relic enters multi-year partnership with Microsoft Azure
New Relic has announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft to help enterprises accelerate cloud migration and multi-cloud initiatives. 
Story image
Customer experience
Research unveils precarious customer loyalty for retailers
New research has found customers are reassessing established brand loyalties as their priorities and behaviours shift.
Story image
Collaboration
Meadows exits Ingram Micro New Zealand on a good note
We look at the resignation of Danny Meadows from Ingram Micro's New Zealand Unified Communications & Collaboration business unit.