Are you a digital cowboy or cautious connector?

The New Zealand government is urging Kiwis to get online this week – to learn more about cyber security.

Amy Adams, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, launched Connect Smart Week today in an effort to raise awareness of cyber security and promote ways for people and businesses to protect themselves online.

The new Connect Smart website, also launched today, is the New Zealand government’s ‘front door’ to cyber security advice for home users, small business and schools.

The site includes a Digital Clan Quiz, sponsored by Telecom, which identifies five distinct ‘digital clans’ that fit different approaches to online security – from the wired in Digital Pacesetter, to the risk taking Digital Cowboy and on to the hesitant Cautious Connector.

While the quiz – which also provides tips and advice – may be lighthearted, new research has highlighted some less fun aspects of online life, including that despite more than 80% of Kiwis using the internet having experienced a cyber security breach, only 39% have changed their online behaviour as a result.

The research, commissioned by the National Cyber Policy Office (NCPO), part of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, also shows that despite understanding that cyber security attacks are a real threat, 26% of Kiwis don’t actually believe they’re at risk.

It also found that 35% of online Kiwis hardly ever change their passwords, and 34% don’t have passwords on their smartphones, despite the high risk of devices being misplaced or stolen.

“We live in a cyber society where the internet is constantly at our fingertips,” says National Cyber Policy Office director Paul Ash.

“Through a variety of online devices, we’re able to enjoy a raft of benefits, from online banking and shopping through to viewing our favourite television shows and movies.

“Connect Smart is about encouraging Kiwis to embrace those benefits, while also bearing in mind the inherent risks that come along with using the internet.”

Ash says it’s clear many New Zealanders aren’t taking basic measures to protect themselves online.

“Improving your cyber security does not have to be expensive or complicated. Taking basic steps like using strong passwords and ensuring your software is always up to date can help protect you and your personal information.

“Making yourself less vulnerable has a knock-on effect of helping protect all your contacts – your friends, your family and your business relationships.”

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