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Rising Ransomware: New Zealand Responds with Guidelines

The New Zealand government has issued new guidelines for public service organisations and businesses to protect against ransomware cyber-attacks. This policy was taken in response to the recent rise of high-profile ransomware events in New Zealand and abroad.

Implementing layered defences to stop malicious activity at different points within networks, segmenting networks to limit access by attackers, and appropriately monitoring to enable prompt identification, investigation, and response to malicious activity is all part of the in-depth defence strategy that has been emphasised by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

“Preparation is the key to success, your organisation needs to practise defence in depth to protect your systems, and people from malicious cyber activity and to be prepared should an incident occur,” reads a statement on the NCSC website.

NCSC noted that attackers often exfiltrate important information before installing ransomware and encrypting data. Reviewing systems to discover where sensitive information is housed is recommended to help businesses reduce these risks. Personal information, passwords, and proprietary ideas are all examples of highly confidential data. Risks related to stolen data, such as the loss of commercially sensitive information, should then be evaluated. Layered defences are a recommended strategy for preventing attacks on a network at its perimeter and inside its various nodes.

Risks to customers’ and workers’ privacy and the security of information systems on your network and any businesses you deal with must be calculated. While it is possible to decrypt data while it is in transit, it is also possible to decrypt data while it is stored.

Organisations should also have tried and accurate incident management procedures and backup processes in place and re-emphasise security awareness training for employees. The NCSC advised that employees should be on the lookout for suspicious communications and be instructed to notify the organisation’s security personnel of any unusual network behaviour.

Checking for patches or upgrades to essential systems and conducting risk assessments to determine which risk mitigation tactics or security uplift initiatives should be prioritised during a ransomware event. Because new zero-day vulnerabilities are frequently identified, even if an organisation is up to date with patches and upgrades to critical systems, every business needs to be ready to handle an emergency because accidents happen.

The NCSC suggested organisations to examines incident management plan and offers guidance on addressing the issue internally. A solid, tried-and-true method is the backbone of efficient incident management. There should be clear lines of authority and accountability in your business so that everyone knows what to do in the event of an issue and when they should be informed.

It is also essential to review the company’s backup procedure. Having faith in the organisation’s ability to respond to and recover from a ransomware outbreak requires regular testing of backups. The organisation should understand and test the process of restoring backups to ensure it can be completed quickly.

Ransomware attacks are illegal and should be reported to the New Zealand Police by victims and their employers. The victim suggested asking for guidance and direction from CERT NZ when an attack occurs. Cyber security trends in New Zealand can be monitored with the help of incident reports sent to CERT NZ. If a Nationally Significant Organisation (NSO) or other government agency in New Zealand experiences ransomware, they should immediately contact the country’s National Cyber Security Centre and not pay the attackers’ demands.

Beforehand, NCSC issued guidelines for the use of personal social networking apps on work devices. The guidelines emphasise the dangers that social networking apps may present to government organisations. There are potential security flaws in both the social media profile and app, most notably concerning data kept on synced mobile devices.

When it comes to downloading and using social networking applications on official phones and other devices, New Zealand government agencies can obtain advice from the government’s cyber resilience advising service.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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