Online security

New Zealanders hit hard by trackers says new Norton study

Online tracking and related security threats have become increasingly prevalent in New Zealand, with research by NortonLifeLock revealing alarming statistics.

The company’s research lab says Norton technology blocked 6,327,788 cyber threats in the last quarter, with an average of 68,780 blocks per day between October and December.

The report also revealed that online trackers collect much more information than before, which increases the degree of risk.

Online trackers are capable of knowing up to 80% of users’ browsing history, and even if users clear their browser history every day, the company says it would only take an average of two hours to track down half of all online trackers.

“Although it is common knowledge that web trackers follow us around the Internet, our online privacy researchers were surprised to find that some online trackers know up to 80% of a person’s browsing history. user,” said Darren Shou, chief technology officer at NortonLifeLock.

Worldwide, the specific types of trackers and security threats intercepted by the company included 3.9 million phishing attempts, 221 million file threats, 1.4 million mobile threats and 253,063 ransomware attacks.

Most of these threats and trackers were closely tied to digital pop culture, with phishing scams disguised as products or merchandise offerings tied to hit shows like Squid Game causing a wide variety of problems.

Norton stressed the importance of communication within the global cyber community and warns that companies susceptible to breaches and tracing could face devastating long-term effects.

They say that despite 2021 with major data breaches and regarding hacks, the global cybersecurity community has generally worked together to share information and develop systems to help businesses and consumers.

They also warn that scammers are starting to increasingly use the Covid-19 pandemic as an anchor, with widespread Flubot smishing messages containing fake notices of upcoming package deliveries being the main culprit. .

Kiwis must also remain vigilant about how and where they obtain their information on Covid-19. Last year, Norton Labs identified a large percentage of coronavirus-themed apps that were actually malware.

Rogue apps and malware such as this could easily compromise personal data on a device, highlighting the importance of mobile device protection.

Discussing the research, Shou says he hopes it will inspire companies to think about how they use trackers and apps and consider security concerns.

“We hope these findings will inform online tracking and empower consumers to take back their privacy online,” he said.