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New Zealand intensifies focus on cybersecurity

New Zealand’s Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Hon Kris Faafoi recently announced that funding from Budget 2019, together with a revised Cyber Security Strategy they have just released, will intensify the Government’s focus on cybersecurity.

According to a recent press release, a lot of work went in to hearing what was needed and what was important to the cybersecurity community.

Talks also included how the Government will be able to help New Zealanders become confident and secure in the digital world.

The work they did resulted with the 2019 Strategy.

The Cyber Security Strategy

The new Cyber Security Strategy highlights four fundamentals for cyber security in New Zealand. These are:

  1. Partnerships are crucial
  2. People are secure and human rights are respected online
  3. Economic growth is enhanced
  4. National security is protected.

Of all values, the Minister finds “partnerships are crucial” to be the most important because neither the Government nor the private sector can do it alone.

Everyone should work together in order to keep individuals, businesses, community organisations and the private sector to thrive online.

Government funding

Moreover, the Minister shared that the Government had allocated NZ$ 8 million over the next four years to help implement the strategy.

This is on top of the NZ$ 9.3 million increased funding for CERT NZ.

As part of the Wellbeing Budget, the Government has funded a number of new or expanded initiatives to keep new Zealanders cyber secure and build a secure digital nation.

Two initiatives that directly support the new Cyber Security Strategy are funding to address emerging priorities and increased funding for CERT NZ to address growing demand for its services.

It is important to stress that a focus on cyber security is critical across society and the economy.

This is why the Strategy also sets out the Government’s priorities on cybercrime and how New Zealand will continue to champion a free, open and secure internet internationally.

New Zealand cybersecurity threats and incidents

The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) New Zealand and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and international sources continue to report an ongoing rise in the scale and sophistication of the cyber security threat.

Incidents reported to CERT NZ increased by 205% in 2018.

OpenGov Asia had earlier reported on CERT NZ releases cybersecurity report for Q4 2018, which highlights that New Zealanders are still losing staggering amounts of money despite ongoing efforts to raise awareness about online scams and fraud.

CERT NZ works to support businesses, organisations and individuals who are affected (or may be affected) by cyber security incidents.

Meanwhile, the National Cyber Security Centre recorded 347 incidents, largely affecting organisations of national significance in the 2017 financial year, with 39% of those incidents linked to state sponsored actors.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is part of the Government Communications Security Bureau that helps New Zealand’s most significant public and private sector organisations to protect their information systems from advanced cyber-borne threats.

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