A new national cyber security unit will allow any New Zealander to report a suspected cyber threat – whether they’re an individual being targeted by online scam, or a business the subject of major hack.
The Computer Emergency Response Team will act as a single point of contact to triage all cyber security threats in New Zealand, from concerns over cyber bullying, to ransomeware targeting individuals to hand over money, to large-scale threats like corporate cyber attacks.
Launched by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the unit called CERT NZ will include an 0800 number and online reporting tools through website cert.govt.nz, for logging suspected or actual cyber security incidents.
“It is important that we strike a balance between innovation, security and privacy protection to ensure that all New Zealanders are secure, safe and confident online, in this increasingly digital world,” Bridges said.
The unit will sit at the centre of New Zealand’s cyber security architecture, he said. It would work with organisations like the police, the Department of Internal Affairs, Netsafe and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), and was part of a “global network” of similar organisations operating in other countries.
“We want to build a confident, secure and engaged online New Zealand as the ever-evolving digital world increasingly impacts on almost all aspects of our lives.
“CERT NZ will make it easier for people at work and at home to understand, prevent and recover from cyber security incidents,” Bridges said.
The setup of the unit was announced at the 2016 Budget, with Finance Minister Bill English allocating $22.2 million to its establishment.
Cyber threats were on the rise with 338 incidents affecting New Zealand organisations recorded in the 2015-2016 financial year – up from 190 the year prior.