Reported phishing attacks up, but losses down, says CERT NZ

CERT NZ has issued its latest quarterly threat report -- for the three months to 30 June -- showing over 700 cyber security incidents were reported, the largest volume ever in a single quarter.

Phishing reports were up significantly: from 196 in the prior quarter to 455. CERT said the increase reflected closer collaboration with the financial sector, which had enabled it to get a better picture of the phishing campaigns targeting New Zealanders.

Three hundred and thirty seven phishing and credential harvesting reports came from the financial sector, 321 of which showed actors masquerading as well known New Zealand brands.

CERT said it continued to see phishing emails with attachments pretending to be Office 365 documents, and emails offering fake tax refunds.

However it said reported direct financial loss for the quarter were down 24 percent from quarter one, to $2.2m, and 68 percent of reported losses were for amounts below $500.

Sixty nine vulnerability reports were received over quarter one and two of 2018, 15 of which were handled under CERT's Coordinated Vulnerability Disclosure policy (CVD).

CERT NZ director Rob Pope said the rising number of reports demonstrated a growing level of trust in CERT NZ as a central front door for cyber security issues. “But the volume of incident reports is only one aspect of the work we do, and this quarter CERT NZ is pleased to be able to share deeper analysis and categorisation of reported vulnerabilities.”

CERT said that, in response to requests, it had provided a deeper analysis of vulnerabilities in its latest report. "We’ve broken vulnerability reports down by category, and will continue to refine the categories we use as our data set grows."

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