New state agency will marshal cyber-security resources

Communications Minister Amy Adams said a key initiative of the update is to set up a national CERT – an institution for the public and private sectors to go to for help or information about protecting themselves from cyber-threats.

The government plans to set up a new agency to marshal the nation's resources in dealing with cyber-security issues, which it estimates cost the country $257 million last year, Communications Minister Amy Adams says.

Launching a new cyber-security strategy, Ms Adams said a key initiative of the update is to set up a national CERT – an institution for the public and private sectors to go to for help or information about protecting themselves from cyber-threats. Among the ways the government says it has beefed up the nation's defences against cyber-attacks is through the Government Communications Security Bureau's 'Cortex' project, which disrupts advanced cyber threats to organisations of national significance in both the public and the private sector.

Ms Adams said the government is looking at a pilot project to extend that defence to internet service providers, something Prime Minister John Key floated this week in questions to the GCSB at a select committee hearing. The ISP pilot was shelved for a cheaper option when Cortex was first pitched to ministers, though the agency was told to liaise with Ms Adams as the communications minister and report back to Mr Key.

"It is not just the large or significant businesses that could benefit from the specialist cyber knowledge of GCSB; we are investigating through a pilot project where and how these kinds of advanced protections could be extended on a voluntary basis to a wider range of businesses through their ISPs," Ms Adams said in a speech at the strategy's launch in Auckland.

New Zealand's National Cyber Security Centre recorded 147 incidents in 2014, and expects to see more than 200 by the end of this year. Ms Adams said cyber-crime is estimated to have cost the country $257 million last year, though the strategy says that cost is difficult to calculate reliably.

In 2013, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet estimated cyber-crime cost New Zealand $625 million in its the regulatory impact statement for the Government Communications Security Bureau Act Review.

The new cyber-security strategy also aims to build people's understanding of cyber security, and raise police capability in dealing with cyber-crime.

The government will review the Crimes Act and other pieces of legislation to ensure they're fit for purpose in addressing cyber-crime.

(BusinessDesk)

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