A spate of ransom computer hacks has hit New Zealand businesses, but hackers could be doing worse damage behind the scenes.
Deloitte partner Anu Nayar said hackers could secretly compromise a computer to steal confidential information and manipulate systems for as long as they liked without being noticed.
Ransomware was typically a hacker’s last move when it had made the most of a business’s assets, he said.
Nayar said such a hack could cause any company to go under by destroying its reputation, and the Government needed to make more small businesses aware of it.
While increasing cyber attacks overseas raised the alarm for businesses here, Nayar said he wanted the Government to start promoting cyber security as a means to grow a business.
More business incubators for technology entrepreneurs creating cyber security products would reap economic benefits, he said. It had proved successful in Ireland, Israel and Singapore.
He called for more support of cyber education, the development of new learning programmes and encouragement to follow a career in the cyber security industry.
Nayar said the Government’s lack of support for cyber safety was not due to a lack of effort, it just needed to do more of what it had planned.
“It is not the lack of doing, as with anything we have to continue to evolve our thinking.”
Bridges said the Government’s cyber safety action plan was constantly reviewed and he was open to new initiatives as the risk of cyber attacks intensifies.