Cyber criminals are seeing mobile devices as easy targets.
Last year, 16 per cent of New Zealand adults fell victim to social or mobile cybercrime. But even though the threats are increasing, fewer than half the population with mobile devices take the basic step of securing them with a password.
This week is Cyber Security Awareness Week and, to coincide with the launch, Norton has released mobile insights in its annual cybercrime report.
It found 59 per cent of people who access the internet on their mobile device do not use secure payment methods. But 40 per cent said they felt safe making purchases that way.
This year's Symantec internet Security Threat Report showed that mobile malware increased by 58 per cent last year, with 32 per cent of these threats attempting to steal information.
The report said online criminals and spammers were less interested in email than they were previously because of the increasing popularity of social media.
Hacking someone's social media page gives criminals many new ways to steal people's identities or personal information and infect their computers with malware.
There is no doubt that modern technology can make life easier but it also increases the risk of being targeted by unscrupulous individuals.
There are no borders to these crimes and they are often committed by someone halfway around the world.
They have an advantage over the majority of people who use smartphones or social networking websites because they have in-depth knowledge of the technology, how information is stored and how to access it.
This also helps them to devise new ways of scamming unsuspecting victims.
Most users, myself included, have a working knowledge of the technology they use but little insight into the complexities behind the applications.
The findings of the internet security threat report remind us that we need to be on our guard against the threats that arise when technology changes at a rapid pace.