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Cybersecurity in New Zealand is not working, expert says

By Shannon Williams
Tue 15 Oct 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Cybersecurity in New Zealand is not working and cyber attacks are costing New Zealanders millions of dollars, according to NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller. 

Muller's statement comes after the recent cyber attack on a Wellington health organisation.

Wellington, Kapiti, and Wairarapa's primary health organisation (PHO) T Ora Compass Health has said up to a million New Zealanders could have their medical data in criminal hands after cyber attacks dating back to 2002. Their website was hacked in August, as part of a global cyber incident.

"Businesses and organisations must act to prevent future cyber hacks, which is now costing New Zealand vast sums annually," Muller says.

"Ironically, next week is New Zealand cyber smart week, a valiant effort by the government cyber agency, CERT NZ, to help raise awareness of the issues," he says. 

Hundreds of organisations are running cyber safety events and NZTech is hosting its annual New Zealand cyber security summit in collaboration with Conferenz on Wednesday.

"Security is not working in New Zealand, so what can we do?," says Muller. "This is an issue I will be asking at the summit. The alarming rise in phishing attacks, aided by the loss of personal data via breaches is now costing New Zealand and New Zealanders millions of dollars a year," he explains.

"This doesn't even start to measure the intangible losses such as our ability to trade safely in a global digital world," says Muller.

"If New Zealand wants to thrive in the digital era, we need to make cyber security a core foundation for our digital nation. Every single Kiwi needs to buy into this, because we are only as safe as our weakest link," he says.

"All Kiwis should make sure they are secure online. We should all support cyber smart week's simple security measures. No one is immune to a digital hack. We are all vulnerable to cyber attacks."

Theo Nassiokas, a leading global tech security expert, says New Zealand is most likely to face significant future cyber attacks, particularly as it is a member of the five-eyes alliance with the USA, the UK, Canada and Australia.

 The alliance shares classified foreign intelligence, including the cyber operations of state actors. Nassiokas, the former cyber and information security director at Barclays in Singapore, is the key speaker at the 2019 New Zealand cyber security summit in Wellington on Wednesday.

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