The Government today launched its first Cyber Security Awareness Week in a bid to fight a crime estimated to have cost $625 million last year.

With more than 2000 people affected by cyber crime every day, the week has been designed to raise awareness among individuals and small businesses of cyber security risks, and the steps that can be taken to protect online information.

The week, developed by Netsafe in partnership with the Government, was launched at Parliament this morning by Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams.

"Cyber security is becoming increasingly important for New Zealanders, businesses and government. Cyber intrusions have the potential to impact on the reliability of critical infrastructure, government services, and the economy,'' Ms Adams said.


To coincide with the week, NetSafe also launched an internet safety website,

NetSafe director Martin Cocker said the idea behind the website was to condense information into one accessible website where the information would be vetted and could be trusted.

This week was about promoting basic steps New Zealanders could take which would make a big difference to security.

The great majority of hackings were due to weak passwords, not complicated intrusion hacking, Mr Cocker said.

"If we could encourage a lot of New Zealanders to really strengthen their passwords that would make a huge difference.''

NetSafe research found about 60 per cent of New Zealanders were concerned or very concerned about online security, he said.

Last year the Government launched the National Cyber Security Centre which provides enhanced protection for government and industry against advanced and sophisticated cyber intrusions.

The week runs alongside Australia's Cyber Security Awareness Week.

There are some basic things New Zealanders can do to improve cyber security, including having a good anti-virus programme, proper password protection, ensuring important data is backed up and securing wireless connections.