The Government has refreshed its national Cyber Security Strategy, as it ramps up investment across its Ultra-Fast Broadband and Rural Broadband Initiative programmes.
The refreshed strategy was launched by Communications Minister Amy Adams with an Action Plan and a National Plan to Address Cybercrime.
“The Government is building infrastructure and investing $2 billion into our Ultra-Fast Broadband and Rural Broadband Initiative programmes because we want New Zealanders to engage in the digital economy,” Adams says.
“While New Zealand has benefited enormously from the innovations offered by technology, it has also led to new vulnerabilities.
“The threat to New Zealanders and the economy from cyber intrusions is real and growing, and there are serious implications for our economic wellbeing and national security.”
For Adams, the pace of change and emergence of new and complex threats mean constant vigilance is required.
“By refreshing the action plan each year we will keep pace with any emerging threats,” Adams adds.
While New Zealand has yet to experience a significant cyber attack, Adams claims that estimated economic losses last year alone reached $257 million.
According to research, 56 percent of New Zealand businesses experience an information technology security attack at least once a year and only 65 percent of businesses are confident that their IT security systems are effective.
“Unlike traditional threats, we need to understand that New Zealand’s geographical position offers no protection against cyber threats,” Adams adds.
“New Zealand is experiencing cyber incidents, including growing cybercrime, in the same way as countries around the world.
“The Government and private sector need to work together on cyber security.
"The private and public sectors must find ways to share information and expertise to address cyber security risks and this strategy relies on a close and active public-private partnership to ensure New Zealanders remain safe online.”
Adams says a key action in the new strategy is the development of a national CERT to reduce harm from cyber security incidents and improve New Zealand’s ability to deal with attacks.
The CERT will act as a single entry point for organisations or individuals needing assistance, and provide information to businesses, including small and medium enterprises, government and individuals so they can protect themselves from cyber threats.
“New Zealand’s key international partners each have a national CERT of some form, and creation of our national CERT brings us into alignment,” Adams adds.
Adams says the CERT is intended as a partnership between the public and private sectors, and will work with companies and government agencies depending on the nature of the issue.
As outlined by Adams, the Cyber Security Strategy contains four areas of work:
Cyber resilience is about the on-going protection of New Zealand’s most important information infrastructures
Cyber capability involves building the skills of New Zealanders, businesses and government agencies to protect themselves online, spearheaded by the Connect Smart public-private partnership
Addressing cybercrime will focus on building police capability to deal with cybercrime
International cooperation will allow New Zealand to maintain a voice internationally on the promotion of a free, open and secure cyberspace, and involves international engagement on cyber security issues.