Six in 10 New Zealanders surveyed are concerned more about data theft than national security related to war or terrorism, according to the 2014 Unisys Security Index.
The areas of highest concern identified in the survey relate to data security and internet security, with 62 per cent of New Zealanders extremely concerned about unauthorised access to their personal information and other people obtaining their credit card details, 46 per cent concerned about computer security and 41 per cent concerned about shopping or banking online.
In comparison, only 33 percent of Kiwis are seriously concerned about national security in relation to war or terrorism.
The Unisys Security Index is an annual global study that provides insights into the attitudes of consumers on security-related issues. In New Zealand the study surveyed 511 adults in March 2014 and was conducted by Consumer Link.
"This year's Unisys Security Index shows that issues that impact us in our day to day lives are far more likely to be top of mind," said Steve Griffin, country manager, Unisys New Zealand.
"Kiwis have recently been impacted by a number of local and international data breaches -- both accidental and malicious. So it is no wonder that they are most concerned about unauthorised access to their personal information and financial details and are somewhat wary of Internet security and shopping online.
"These long held concerns show much more needs to be done to communicate to New Zealanders the security initiatives undertaken on their behalf by the organisations they deal with. The recently proposed changes to the New Zealand privacy legislation to include mandatory data breach notifications would increase the incentive for organisations to proactively identify and address potential data breach risks in order to protect the information in their care," Griffin said.
According to Unisys, while the overall security index for NZ has remained steady compared to 2013, concern about the ability to meet essential financial obligations recorded the largest change, up 9 percentage points to 39 per cent of adult New Zealanders.
"The results come as the Kiwi currency continues to strengthen on the back of global forecasts projecting higher New Zealand interest rates in 2014. Emerging signs of increasing worries about financial security issues are an important indicator of the national mood as the New Zealand economy enters a new stage," Griffin said.