SecurityBrief New Zealand logo
New Zealand's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

GCSB and NZSIS bring new Minister up to speed with NZ's state of security

By Sara Barker
Wed 13 Dec 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The Government’s new Minister responsible for the GCSB and NZSIS, Andrew Little, has been briefed on his new role by the agencies, according to an unclassified and heavily redacted briefing document released publicly.

The Briefing to the Incoming Minister document includes the purpose of both the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS), as well as a look at the threat landscape, key international partnerships and agency functions.

Both agencies, along with the Security and Intelligence Group, work together as the New Zealand Intelligence Community (NZIC).

The briefing says that the NZIC started a ‘transformational change’ programme in 2016. The four-year project will focus on how to rebuild itself as a “modern, connected, customer-centric, and effective security and intelligence agencies that have earned the trust and confidence of New Zealanders”.

The briefing mentions four key national security threats, of which three are revealed in the unclassified document: cyber threats, violent extremism and espionage.

“New Zealand faces both direct and indirect cyber threats. Direct threats deliberately target New Zealand, such as cyber espionage targeting New Zealand government departments. Indirect threats include, for example, indiscriminate cyber operations that do not target New Zealand but can harm us nonetheless,” the briefing says.

Cyber threats mentioned in the briefing include NotPetya and WannaCry, as well as ‘indiscriminate phishing and scanning by state-sponsored actors’. The details are not revealed in the unclassified briefing.

 “In these instances, the impact on New Zealand was limited but the potential for future events of this kind to have a domestic impact is high.”

Violent extremism directly references the Islamic State of Iraq. It mentions that between 30-40 people have been listed on the NZSIS’s counterterrorism register at any one time.

Very little was revealed about the state of espionage in New Zealand, except for hints that show it is happening.

“Such activities in New Zealand over the past year have included attempts to access sensitive government and private sector information, and attempts to unduly influence expatriate communities,” the briefing states.

While little public information is revealed about the GCSB and NZSIS’s international partnerships, the briefing clearly states that they must act within New Zealand law, human rights obligations and the country’s national interests.

The briefing mentions the Five Eyes partnership, which has been a significant force in intelligence since World War II.

The GCSB’s Security Operations Centre explicitly states that it does not conduct mass surveillance on New Zealanders.

“New Zealand does not undertake any “mass surveillance” of New Zealanders, such as the active monitoring of emails, phone calls and internet use of the populations. We do not have the legal authority, capability or interest to undertake such activity. Both the 2015 Independent Review of Intelligence and Security in New Zealand, and the IGIS have looked at the matter and confirmed this to be the case.”

“The previous legal position, under the GCSB Act 2003, was that in pursuing its foreign intelligence function, GCSB could not do anything for the purpose of intercepting the private communications of New Zealand citizens or permanent residents, except where they were acting as agents or representatives of a foreign person or organisation. The ISA amends this position but puts in place strict warranting requirements before this can occur.”

As for the health of the GCSB and SIS as government agencies, the briefing describes GCSB as being an agency that provides fulfilling career options to its 400 employees.

It notes that in a recent staff engagement survey, the GCSB was positioned in the top 25% of public sector agencies, but there is still work to do in the areas of gender equality.

“While women are well represented in GCSB at senior level, and our gender pay gap is less than the wider State sector average, overall only 36% of our workforce is female. We recently agreed an action plan to increase female representation in GCSB and reduce our gender pay gap by half within a year,” the briefing notes.

The NZSIS is described as, “Now better positioned to deliver on investment committed in 2016, and meet the challenges of New Zealand’s evolving national security environment. The nature of our work, and the significant amount still to be done, mean however that risks will always remain.”

It has close to 300 full time equivalent staff, but is ‘less ethnically diverse’ than the wider Public Service.

The document goes on to explain many of the GCSB and NZSIS's core functions, concerns and achievements.

Read the unclassified Briefing to the Incoming Minister Responsible for the GCSB and SIS document here.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
Cybersecurity
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
SaaS
Maintaining secure systems with expectations of flexible work
Most office workers feel they've proved they can work successfully from home, and as much as employers try, things aren't going back to the way they were anytime soon.
Story image
Supply chain
Jetstack promotes better security with supply chain toolkit
The web-based resource is designed to help organisations evaluate and plan the crucial steps they need to establish effective software supply chain security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Managed service providers: effective scoping to avoid costly vendor pitfalls
Managed security services are outsourced services focusing on the security and resilience of business networks.
Story image
BeyondTrust
BeyondTrust integrates Password Safe solution with SailPoint
BeyondTrust has announced the integration of BeyondTrust Password Safe with SailPoint identity security offerings.
Story image
Cybersecurity
ThoughtLab reveals 10 best practices for cybersecurity in 2022
The benchmarking study reveals best practices that can reduce the probability of a material breach and the time it takes to find and respond to those that happen.
Story image
Nozomi Networks
Nozomi Networks, Siemens reveal software integration
Nozomi Networks and Siemens have extended their partnership by embedding Nozomi Networks’ software into the Siemens Scalance LPE local processing engine.
Story image
Cybersecurity
BlackBerry offers Kaspersky replacement cybersecurity for the channel
BlackBerry advises that users of Kaspersky software in Australia and New Zealand undertake a rigorous risk analysis of their current security posture.
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
How to ensure ethical deployment of AI implementations
The increase in automation and machine technology such as AI and machine learning has unlocked a whole new level of scale and service to organisations. 
Story image
ChildFund
ChildFund launches new campaign to protect children online
ChildFund says WEB Safe & Wise aims to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse online while also empowering them to become digitally savvy. 
Story image
Ransomware
Ingram Micro Cloud adds Bitdefender solutions to marketplace
Ingram Micro Cloud has announced the expanded availability of Bitdefender solutions on the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Updates from Google Workspace set to ease hybrid working troubles
Google Workspace has announced a variety of new features which will utilise Google AI capabilities to help make hybrid working situations more efficient and effective.
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
VPN
Palo Alto Networks says ZTNA 1.0 not secure enough
Palo Alto Networks is urging the industry to move to Zero Trust Network Access 2.0 because previous versions have major gaps in security protection.
Story image
Ransomware
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.
Story image
Remote Working
How zero trust and SD-WANs can support productive remote working
The way people connect with applications and data has changed, users are remotely accessing resources that could be stored anywhere from a corporate data center to the cloud.
Story image
Ransomware
Alarming surge in Conti Ransomware Group activity - report
A new report has identified a 7.6 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities tied to ransomware in Q1 2022.
Story image
Malware
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Datacom, Micro Focus, SnapLogic and VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 6-12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Apricorn
Data backup plans inadequate, data still at risk - study
The Apricorn 2022 Global IT Security Survey revealed that while the majority organisations have data backup plans in place, data for many are at risk.
Story image
Phishing
Google reveals new safety and security measures for users
Google's new measures include automatic two step verification, virtual cards and making it easier to remove contact information on Google Search results.
Story image
Qualys
Qualys updates Cloud Platform solution with rapid remediation
The new update is designed to enable organisations to fix asset misconfigurations, patch OS and third-party applications, and deploy custom software.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from IronNet
Michael Ehrlich joins us today to discuss the history of IronNet and the crucial role the company plays in the cyber defence space.
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
SaaS
Absolute Software expands Secure Access product offering
Absolute Software is enhancing its Secure Access product portfolio, enabling minimised risk exposure and optimised user experiences in the hybrid working environment.
Story image
Ransomware
Zerto unveils updates to ransomware recovery capabilities
"Organisations face increased risks from the volume and sophistication of ransomware attacks prevalent today."
Story image
SaaS
Rubrik Security Cloud marks 'next frontier' in cybersecurity
"The next frontier in cybersecurity pairs the investments in infrastructure security with data security giving companies security from the point of data."
Story image
Digital Transformation
How to modernise legacy apps without compromising security
At a time when digital transformation has become central to business, even the most important applications come with a ‘use-by’ date.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Hard numbers: Why ambiguity in cybersecurity no longer adds up
As cybersecurity costs and risks continue to escalate, CEOs continue to struggle with what their investment in cyber protection buys. Getting rid of ambiguity becomes necessary.
Story image
Cybersecurity
NCSC advisory highlights poor security configurations
The GCSB's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has released a cyber security advisory identifying commonly exploited controls and practices.
Story image
Phishing
KnowBe4 celebrates reaching 50,000 customers worldwide
KnowBe4 has reached the milestone of 50,000 customers, adding nearly 2,500 in the first quarter of 2022 alone.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
ForgeRock releases Autonomous Access solution powered by AI
ForgeRock has officially introduced ForgeRock Autonomous Access, a new solution that uses AI to prevent identity-based cyber attacks and fraud.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Noname Security partners with Netpoleon to target API issues
Specialist API security firm Noname Security has appointed Netpoleon as its distributor in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
Workato
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security createa unified scanner for cloud native security
“By integrating more cloud native scanning targets into Trivy, such as Kubernetes, we are simplifying cloud native security."