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Unisys Security Index: New Zealanders’ Security Concerns Reach New Peak

Line of Defence Magazine, Winter 2017 

Detail from Unisys Security Index infographicDetail from Unisys Security Index infographic

 

The New Zealand public’s concern about security issues is the highest it has been in the last decade – according to the 2017 Unisys Security Index.

 

The overall Unisys Security Index for New Zealand is 154 out of 300, up from 137 compared to the last survey in 2014. It is the highest index since the research was first conducted in New Zealand in 2006. New Zealand recorded the ninth highest index of the 13 countries surveyed.

The Unisys Security Index is a global study that gauges the attitudes of consumers on a wide range of issues related to national, personal, financial and Internet security. The survey polled 1,012 adults in New Zealand during April 2017. The 13 countries surveyed are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Columbia, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, UK and US.

The top two security concerns for New Zealanders are identity theft and bank card fraud. 55 percent of New Zealanders are extremely or very concerned about unauthorised access to, or misuse of, personal information, and 54 percent of New Zealanders are similarly concerned about other people obtaining or using their credit/debit card details.

“More than half of New Zealanders are seriously concerned about identity theft and credit card/debit fraud. Identity is fundamental to addressing both of these issues. Anchoring our identity with secure multifactor authentication (including biometrics) provides a strong deterrent to unauthorised people accessing our personal information, our finances and the IT systems we depend upon,” said John Kendall, director of border and national security programs, Unisys.

“Banks, retailers and governments wanting to move more of their transactions online can use innovative security measures as a point of difference and position themselves as safe organisations to do business with – not only in terms of preventing data breaches, but also in terms of minimising the impact on customers in a world where breaches are inevitable. Many banks already do this well, setting an example for retailers and government agencies to follow,” said Mr Kendall.

The biggest jump in security concern for Kiwis is related to natural disasters, with 51 percent concerned about a serious event such as an earthquake, flood or epidemic occurring in New Zealand – up from 39 percent in 2014. It is the third highest concern for New Zealanders.

“The high level of concern regarding natural disasters is not surprising for New Zealand, but even here digital technology can help address this concern. Our increasingly interconnected digital world also enables the development of ‘smart cities’ with interconnected and intelligent infrastructure that automatically detect, predict and respond to issues by initiating maintenance or redirecting traffic flow.

“In New Zealand where natural disasters from earthquakes to destructive weather are a very real and regular threat, there is a huge opportunity to harness these intelligent systems to predict and manage responses to better protect citizens and minimise impacts,” said Mr Kendall.

According to the index, women are more security concerned than men (index for women is 159 vs 149 for men), particularly for national security and natural disasters. Young people aged 18-24 years are the most concerned age group (index of 169), with concern steadily dropping as age increases (down to an index of 142 for 45-54 year olds). Kiwis aged 45-54 years are the least concerned age group.

“The increase in the Unisys Security Index for New Zealand reflects the global trend where all but one of the countries involved in the last round of the survey in 2014 recorded increases,” said Mr Kendall.

“While the emerging markets of Philippines, Mexico, Malaysia, Brazil and Argentina recorded the highest index scores, the biggest increases are in the mature markets of Netherlands, Australia, U.S. and UK where concerns regarding digital security are top of mind. 

 

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