Story image

GCSB recognised for 'building trust & confidence' at IPANZ Awards

31 Jul 18

Deloitte has recognised The Government Communications Safety Bureau (GCSB)’s CORTEX cybersecurity initiative at the Institute of Public Administration 2018 Awards. The GCSB won the award for ‘Building Trust and confidence in Government’.

According to GCSB director-general Andrew Hampton, the award recognises the efforts staff make to build and maintain trusted relationships with New Zealand’s most significant organisations.

Hampton adds that the very nature of the GCSB means that most work must be carried out in secret. To do that, it needs strong public trust and confidence.

“While many New Zealanders are more familiar with our intelligence gathering work, the GCSB also has an important role to play in providing information assurance and cybersecurity services,” he says.

“I hope that this award helps to further demonstrate a significant turnaround in how the work of the Bureau is perceived and I am hugely proud of that.”

The CORTEX initiative was launched in 2014 to provide cyber protection to New Zealand’s government agencies and critical national infrastructure. Almost all organisations that were offered CORTEX access signed up to the initiative, Hampton says.

“To help quantify the economic benefits of CORTEX capabilities, we developed a model with the help of an international professional services organisation to assess the cost avoided by CORTEX capabilities preventing advanced cyber threats from causing harm,” Hampton says.

He also says that the cost avoidance model resulted in an estimated ‘gross reduced harm benefit’ of $39.47 million in 2016/2017.

“The ongoing delivery of our cybersecurity services requires us to continually demonstrate we are responsible stewards of our customers’ information – both to customers, and to the range of oversight bodies we are also accountable to.”

Hampton adds that the very nature of the GCSB means that most work must be carried out in secret. To do that, it needs strong public trust and confidence.

“While many New Zealanders are more familiar with our intelligence gathering work, the GCSB also has an important role to play in providing information assurance and cybersecurity services,” he says.

“I hope that this award helps to further demonstrate a significant turnaround in how the work of the Bureau is perceived and I am hugely proud of that.”

“We are currently planning for the next stage of delivering our cybersecurity services, with the roll out of a Malware Free Networks capability to a broader range of nationally significant organisations,” he concludes.

In May 2018 the GCSB concluded a pilot program of the Malware-Free Networks cyber defence with partner Vodafone.

At the time, Minister responsible for the GCSB Andrew Little revealed that the pilot program picked up a ‘significant volume’ of suspicious activity.

“There was a substantial increase in the volume of activity detected and disrupted when the Malware-Free Networks information was used in conjunction with the network operator’s existing cybersecurity capability,” he said.

The GCSB says that a broad range of organisations are being offered Malware-Free Networks.

“The GCSB, through its National Cyber Security Centre, engages with hundreds of nationally significant organisations across the country. The aim is that a significant proportion of those organisations will be offered the MFN service.”