National Cyber Security Centre open for cyber warfare protection

The National Cyber Security Centre opened yesterday.

Minister for Communications and Information Technology Steven Joyce said the global threat from cyber instrusions was real and growing, and that New Zealanders and the economy was not immune.

“Cyber security is becoming increasingly important for New Zealanders, businesses and government. Cyber intrusions have the potential to impact on the reliability of critical infrastructure, government services, and the economy.”

NBR reported earlier in the year that the government planned to release New Zealand’s Cyber Security Strategy, whose priorities included increased awareness and online security, protection of government systems and information and strengthened incident response and planning.

Speaking of incident response, China admitted earlier in the year to the existence of a 30-strong group of cyber soldiers called The Blue Army, according to The Next Web.  The group was tasked with improving the security of the country’s military forces and protecting the People’s Liberation Army from attack.

(Word to the wise, New Zealand’s Cyber Security includes assessing the need for a Cyber Emergency Response Team – who you gonna call?)

And the Pentagon was expected to release unclassified portions of its first formal cyber strategy, when it announced in May that computer sabotage enacted by another country could constitute an act of war, the Wall Street Journal reported.

This collective move toward greater cyber defence follows on from the Stuxnet attacks of 2010 where Iranian power plant control systems were sabotaged with the intent to cause damage to the plants, with reports that a foreign government was behind the computer worm.

Ultra Fast Broadband network took New Zealand’s connectivity to a new level, the Minister told NBR earlier in the year, and the Strategy was a response to a wider general threat.

He said the Strategy had been re-allocated the existing budget for the Government Communications Security Bureau but would be reviewed at a later stage.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) would have three main initial functions, the Ministry said, to provide advice and support, to detect and respond to sophisticated cyber threats and to coordinate and assist operation responses to major cyber events of national importance.

The NCSC would also absorb the function of the Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection.

The NCSC would be hosted within the Government Communications Security Bureau and was operational from yesterday, the Ministry said.

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