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Fewer incident reports as cybercrime spoils rise

Fewer reported cybercrimes but increased losses. Complaints return to pre-lockdown levels.

Cert NZ, the government’s Computer Emergency Response Team, says the number of reported online crime incidents in the last year was lower than last year. The organisation received 8,160 incident reports. That's down eight per cent from 2021.

Yet while reports were down, reported financial losses leapt 19 per cent to $20 million. That's the largest amount reported to Cert NZ in a single year.

The fall in the total number of reports was due to plummeting reports of malware incidents. These were down 88 per cent during the last year.

Meanwhile the numbers of phishing and credential harvesting incidents, scams and fraud; and unauthorised access were all up.

Take malware out of the picture and the number of reported incidents was up 15 per cent year on year.

There were 2,300 reports of scams and fraud in 2022. These cost New Zealanders more than $17 million.

Rob Pope, Cert NZ's director says: "...there were no large-scale campaigns targeting New Zealanders – such as the Flubot malware – in 2022. However, we did see smaller campaigns, such as unauthorised money transfer scams, that targeted individuals for large losses.”

Ransomware reports were at an all time high. Cert NZ says some of these were linked incidents where a single attack had a flow on to other organisations.

It's worth pointing out that Cert NZ's numbers are for reported cybercrime incidents. Not all crimes are reported. Indeed, not all cybercrimes are detected by the victims.

Kordia: Cyber-attacks hit over half of surveyed businesses

Kordia published its latest cybercrime research this week and says 55 per cent of NZ businesses surveyed were subject to a cyber-attack.

Phishing remains the most common attack. Kordia says it accounted for 37 per cent of attacks on businesses over the last year.

The company says close to one business in four saw commercially sensitive data or intellectual property accessed or stolen.

Older readers will know Kordia as the state-owned enterprise that span out of TVNZ to manage the national broadcast TV network. These days it offers technology services to businesses and specialises in cyber security.

Kordia cyber security tweet.

Telecoms complaints back to normal levels, same old issues

Close to 2000 complaints were made to the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution service in the second half of 2022. That's about the same as the number of complaints during the whole of 2021.

The TDR says that was a quieter year than usual because of the efforts made by the industry to support customers through the lockdowns. "Since then, our volumes are returning to normal in part due to the resumption of billing collections by phone and internet providers, but also due to the increased awareness efforts by TDR.

Customers' frustrations with the telecommunications industry haven't changed. The same issues are behind the complaints, in much the same order as before. Billing complaints are up five percent while service complaints are down 3.6 per cent.

The TDR says almost 97 per cent of issues are resolved during the first step of its process. "Of the 1,492 complaints that were resolved or closed during this period, three were settled by facilitation, 18 were resolved by mediated agreement and 29 required TDR’s adjudicators to make a decision."

  • The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum says it will soon begin consulting on updating the TDR’s constitution, terms of reference and customer care code.

Vodafone TV to close on March 31

It hung on for far longer than expected, but Vodafone TV will serve up its last video stream late on March 31.

Vodafone first announced it would close Vodafone TV in December 2021. The plan was to move customers to either a Sky TV satellite set-top box or a streaming box: the Sky Box or Sky Pod. Yet the pandemic, supply chain disruption and other unforeseen events meant these products took far longer than expected to reach the market.

In recent weeks Vodafone NZ has called customers who have yet to switch, encouraging them to place an order with Sky. It's likely many of them will simply switch to other streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Vodafone is asking customers to return their old set top boxes so they can be recycled.

Watercare uses Spark narrow-band IoT for loggers

Auckland's Watercare is rolling out IoT water meter loggers for commercial premises. The project aims to improve water management, save costs on manual reading and improve bill accuracy for commercial customers.

The water services company says the project has already helped identify a number of large leaks. This includes one at a school where the daily water use went from 6000 to 70,000 litres a day with no obvious signs of leakage.

Sepull takes Sky CTO role

Sky has hired former Air New Zealand chief digital officer Jennifer Sepal as its chief technology officer. She previously worked as CIO for USAA Financial Services, Kimberly-Clark and Honda Motor Corporation. She has also had senior advisory roles at IBM Global Consulting Services.

Sophie Moloney, Sky's chief executive said Sepull will lead the work for the company as it looks to it's next phase of technology transformation which will include ad-tech.

When the going gets tough, people buy fancy phones

Counterpoint Research says tougher economic times meant phone sales fell 12 per cent in 2022.

Yet, while the bottom fell out of the broader phone market, it was a different story at the high end. Premium phone (that's handsets that sell for more than around NZ$1000) sales were up one per cent during the year.

This means revenue from premium phone sales now accounts for more than half of all revenue (55 per cent). This is the first time the premium segment has dominated in financial terms. In unit terms premium phones account for one-in-five phones sold.

The picture is even brighter for the ultra-premium segment (that's phones that sell for around NZ$1800 and up). Counterpoint says this was the fastest growing part of the market with sales up 38 per cent year on year.

Counterpoint says the trends apply around the world, not only in the wealthier regions.

Apple winner

Apple was the biggest winner. Its premium phone sales were up six per cent. Counterpoint says it would have done better but for supply disruptions during the peak season. Apple was the main beneficiary of Huawei's decline in the Chinese market.

Samsung phone sales dropped five per cent in 2022. The company makes more profit selling its screens to Apple than it makes from its own phone sales.

iOS gaining on Android

Apple dominates the premium phone market. The iOS operating system is on three quarter of premium handsets.

Counterpoint says Apple earns the bulk of its growth as its existing customers upgrade. It says: "The stickiness of the iOS ecosystem with multiple devices and services is high. If an iPhone user also owns an Apple Watch or Mac, the individual’s next smartphone upgrade will likely be another iPhone."

The research company says Android's loss of market share in the premium phone segment is the reason Google entered the market with its Pixel phones. It also says Android could regain its share with the arrival of more folding phones.

Apple's share of the wider phone market has climbed in the last year but remains at 22 per cent compared with Android's 76 per cent market share. The remainder of the market is Huawei's Harmony OS.

IDC: Wearable device market poised for rebound

Research company IDC says the market for wearable devices will bounce back in 2023 after contracting in 2022. It forecasts 442.7 million devices will ship this year. That's up 6.3 per cent on last year's shipments.

The category includes headsets and earbuds, smart watches, wristbands and smart glasses.

IDC says it expects the first quarter of the year will see another year on year decline with the recovery coming later in the year.

At the moment there is an excess inventory of devices clogging distribution and sales channels. This is depressing shipments and, in the short term, it means lower average selling prices.

Once that clears, IDC expects the market to grow by an average of 5.4 per cent until 2027.

In other news...

Netflix says it plans to release 40 games this year and another 70 are in development. The company entered the games market in 2021 and offers 55 games today. Games are included as part of Netflix membership. They can be downloaded and played on phones and tablets. While today's focus is on mobile games, Netflix is working on delivering them from the cloud.

Government cybersecurity chief to lead spooks. Government chief information security officer Andrew Hampton has been promoted to director-general of security and chief executive of the Security Intelligence Service (SIS). (Reseller News)

Qantas pilots report the Chinese military is behind satnav and altimeter jamming in the Western Pacific and South China Sea. (The Register)

Tweet by Ross Coulthard about Qantas and Chinese military jamming in South China Sea.
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