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Ability to access and share data may drive more cybercrime in 2022 - security firm

By RNZ, Mon 10 Jan 2022

Enabling data to move more easily between organisations will undoubtedly lead to more crime, says a cybersecurity firm. 

A bill is likely to go before parliament this year, that will allow consumers greater access to the information held about them.

Consumers can then share their data with third parties to get better deals and improve service.

But Palo Alto Networks regional vice president Sean Duca said this would give criminals more opportunities to gain illegal access to data.

"If we move into this world of really becoming dependent on these API's [application programming interface], we'll probably start seeing a whole bunch of misconfigurations that people potentially start to exploit as well."

The status quo, however, had resulted in unsafe data sharing and high costs involved with accessing useable data, according to a Cabinet paper released earlier this month.

"Without government intervention, expansion of arrangements for consumers to share their data will be inhibited and continue to be slow, and security and privacy concerns are likely to grow. New Zealanders will miss out on opportunities and benefits that consumers in other countries will increasingly take for granted," the paper said.

Duca said companies and individuals needed to be prepared for what the change would mean.

"We need to consciously keep on thinking about what are the crown jewels of our organisation, how do we protect that from someone stealing that information, preventing us from getting access to it, or disrupting and changing the integrity of that bit of information," he said.

"Every organisation should be thinking about that all the time."

Looking ahead, he said the proliferation of Bitcoin would further fuel cybercrime in 2022.

"We've seen this range of ransoms that have all been asked for in the form of some sort of cryptocurrency payment. So, obviously with that we've seen the rise of the cryptocurrency and the valuation of the cryptocurrency itself.

"Now all of a sudden, you've had people that have been launching these attacks for five or so years, so you've now got some people that are sitting on an extremely lucrative nest-egg... it gives them the ability to go off and procure services, infrastructure, maybe even build an army of people that could go off and perform these [illegal] operations and campaigns."

Regulators around the world would likely try and get involved with cryptocurrencies but the "genie was already out of the bottle", Duca said.

Cybersecurity was even more important with the rise of remote and flexible working spurred on by the pandemic, he said.

This story was originally published on RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission.

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