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

NCSC report counts 338 recorded attacks on NZ’s ‘nationally significant organisations’

By Sara Barker
Mon 13 Mar 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

New Zealand’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) revealed the extent of cybersecurity attacks on our most ‘significant organisations’ last week, with 338 recorded and the true number sure to be much higher.

The new report, titled Unclassified Cyber Threat Report – 2015/16, showed that in the 12 months to June 30 2016, there were 338 attacks against New Zealand’s nationally significant organisations.

Lisa Fong, director of the National Cyber Security Centre for the GCSB, says the true amount of attacks is likely to be much larger. 

However, she says the increased threat detection is a good thing, as “The increase reflects both the increased detection of threats by our defensive capabilities and an increase in organisations’ self-reporting”, she says.

The report says that 169 of the security incidents involved the public sector; at least 73 involved the private sector. The rest were related to individuals, small business and undisclosed partner reporting. 

The NCSC also intervened with ‘hands-on, intensive incident response’ in 28 situations for 19 different organisations. Nine of those were private sector companies.

The report mention two undisclosed companies that have been hit by cyber attacks. In the first instance, a New Zealand business website was compromised and redirected browsers to a malware download. The attacks used a known vulnerability in an unpatched CMS.

In the second instance, the NCSC revealed that a New Zealand business may have been targeted by state-sponsored foreign cyber actors, using a ‘wateringhole attack’. The affected server had web shells that allowed an attacker to search, access and change files or webpages, as well as arbitrary command execution.

While the NCSC says it’s difficult to trace the attacks back to the perpetrators, it does so in highly classified situations.

“Official attribution increases the risk for malicious cyber actors for whom remaining undetected is important. Where attribution includes technical details, it can also enhance the security of others by providing technical leads. Public attribution can however pose risk to future detection of attacks, and in many instances entities are reluctant to publicly disclose that they have been the subject of compromise. The decision to release information publicly is taken after careful consideration and consultation where appropriate,” the report says.

The report says that the most common cyber threats are phishing, malware and denial of service (DoS) attacks.

A number of Government agencies have received phishing emails from state-sponsored actors, the report reveals.

“The phishing techniques reported to the NCSC demonstrate social engineering that would often be effective against New Zealand recipients. In some cases, the actors mimic email addresses of local organisations to improve credibility. These campaigns do not typically demonstrate much concern for detection and are the delivery mechanism for malware or to elicit users to provide credentials,” the report says.

In regards to malware, ransomware is the most common form, the report found.

“Ransomware has been a significant cause of financial harm for many New Zealand businesses and individuals. The NCSC has received reports of ransomware across a large number of victims from New Zealand’s private sector as well as individual New Zealanders. The NCSC also detects ransomware attempts against networks of national importance but their higher level of network security is typically enough to prevent infection or quickly remediate, and does not typically require a response,” the report says.

DoS and DDoS attacks have also been spotted, although generally unsuccessful.

“A common use of this attack vector is as a form of blackmail for a payment (typically of bitcoins). Only some DDoS blackmail actors actually follow through on their threats. Distributed Denial of Service operations have also been used by issue-motivated groups to try and achieve media attention. These have resulted in limited success,” the report says.

Fong says the threats the NCSC has identified targeting NZ firms match what is happening both on a domestic and global level.

NCSC recommends that 85% of threats can be prevented by:

  • Patching software and operating systems
  • Whitelisting only applications that are necessary
  • Minimising administrative privileges.
Related stories
Top stories
Story image
ABI Research
75% of 5G networks to advance to 5G-Advanced by 2030
5G-advanced is set to launch in 2025, and 75% of 5G networks will upgrade by 2030, according to ABI Research. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
Online bullying, harassment skyrockets since COVID outbreak
Harmful content reports have risen by over 25% since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, according to Netsafe.
Story image
Ransomware
Examining the future of ransomware threats with Vectra’s CTO
As customers' valuable data move to the cloud, so will ransomware. What is the current landscape and what do we need to know?
Story image
Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
LogRhythm updates SIEM Platform with latest innovations
LogRhythm has announced the launch of version 7.9 of the LogRhythm SIEM Platform and updates to LogRhythm NDR and LogRhythm UEBA.
Story image
Digital Transformation
What CISOs think about cyber security, visibility and cloud
Seeking to uncover the minds of CISOs and CIOs across Asia Pacific, my company recently asked Frost & Sullivan to take a snapshot of cloud adoption behaviour in the region.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Delinea’s Joseph Carson recognised with OnCon Icon Award
Delinea chief security scientist and advisory CISO Joseph Carson has been recognised as a Top 50 Information Security Professional in the 2022 OnCon Icon Awards.
Story image
WatchGuard Technologies
Ransomware volume doubled 2021 total by end of Q1 2022
Ransomware detections in the first quarter of this year doubled the total volume reported for 2021, according to a new report. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
How organisations can mitigate IoT and IIoT security risks
IoT and IIoT come with inherent risks because they are often deployed faster than they can be secured, putting organisations in danger of cyber threats. Here are tips on how to mitigate those risks.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zero trust security adoption rises 27% in just two years
A survey of WAN managers has revealed that multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are the top zero trust features implemented.
Story image
Cloudera
Overcoming hybrid and multi-cloud challenges to drive innovation
Driven by improvements in technology, financial services companies have advanced both internal and external systems and processes, with the likes of digitisation, personalisation and risk management redefining the industry.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Vulnerable APIs costing businesses billions every year
Large companies are particularly vulnerable to the security risks associated with exposed or unprotected APIs as they accelerate digital transformation.  
Story image
Cybersecurity
Email threats spike 101%, remains a top attack vector
"Each year we see innovation in the threat landscape, but each year email remains a major threat to organisations."
Story image
HP Inc
Firmware attacks significant threat in age of hybrid work
Changing workforce dynamics are creating new challenges for IT teams around firmware security, according to new research.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Without trust, your security team is dead in the water
The rise of cyberattacks has increased the need for sound security that works across any type of business, but with any change, buy-in is essential. Airwallex explains why.
Story image
Oracle Cloud
Commvault, Oracle to deliver Metallic Data Management as a Service
"We are excited to partner with Commvault and enable our customers to restore and recover their most mission-critical cloud data."
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Tech and data’s role in the changing face of compliance
Accenture's study found that 93% of respondents agree or strongly agree new technologies such as AI and cloud make compliance easier.
Story image
Data Protection
How secure is accounting software data in Aotearoa?
A recent Xero study found ICT spending for NZ businesses has increased 25% compared to pre-pandemic levels, so how safe is accounting software?
Story image
Gartner
Gartner's top recommendations for security leaders
"Leaders now recognise that major disruption is only one crisis away. We can’t control it, but we can evolve our thinking, philosophy, program and architecture.”
Story image
Cybersecurity
FIDO Alliance releases guidelines for optimising UX with FIDO Security Keys
The new guidelines aim to accelerate multi-factor authentication deployment and adoption with FIDO security keys.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Web Development
Whitecliffe fosters careers for the future of tech
Do you want a career in Information Technology, Networking, Web Development, Software Development, or are you looking to upskill?
Story image
Apple
Jamf introduces new content filtering solution for education providers
Jamf has announced the launch of Jamf Safe Internet, a new offering that looks to deliver a safe online experience to students while offering better management options for admins.
Story image
MSP
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CyberArk
Olly Stimpson joins us today to discuss the importance of MSP programmes and how MSP partners are experiencing success with CyberArk.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Blasé attitudes to cybersecurity by business a national risk
The largely unregulated state of cybersecurity in NZ, and consequential ambivalence of most businesses, risk hurting the country's trading prospects.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Unknown connections: How safe is public WiFi in Aotearoa?
If it's not your own household WiFi, then who has control of your data and is your connection actually safe?
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Eight top DevSecOps trends to support IT innovation in 2022
The use of DevSecOps practices is growing, as it is increasingly seen as the best way to produce high-quality and secure code. So what are the current trends?
Story image
Research
New study reveals 51% of employees using unauthorised apps
The research shows that 92% of employees and managers in large enterprises want full control over applications, but they don't have it.
Story image
Compliance
SentinelOne integrates with Torq to empower security teams
"With Torq, security teams can extend the power of SentinelOne to systems across the organisation to benefit from a proactive security posture.”
Story image
Ransomware
Secureworks reveals new information on BRONZE STARLIGHT threat group
New research from Secureworks has uncovered new information on the Chinese threat group BRONZE STARLIGHT and how they are using targeted ransomware to initiate complicated attacks.
Story image
Compliance
Stock security features inadequate in face of rising risk
"Organisations must proactively find ways of identifying unseen vulnerabilities and should take a diligent, holistic approach to cybersecurity."
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Solutions
Progress launches latest version of network visibility solution
In Flowmon 12 network solution, Progress has expanded its support for public cloud provider flow log monitoring and launched new features.
Story image
Microsoft
Digital innovation could shape the future of NZ - Microsoft
With cloud technologies available to more people around the world than ever before, it is not only businesses who will benefit from using them.
Story image
Document Management
NZ's FileInvite raises $10M in latest investment round
FileInvite has raised $10 million in Series A investment to fast-forward the extinction of email for requesting and collecting documents online.
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
Story image
Malware
Colt launches new SASE Gateway solution with Versa
Colt Technology Services’ customers now have access to an integrated full SASE solution that brings together SD WAN and SSE features.
Story image
Remote Working
RDP attacks on the rise, Kaspersky experts offer advice
"Given that remote work is here to stay, we urge companies to seriously look into securing their remote and hybrid workforce to protect their data."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Vectra AI named as AWS security competency partner
Threat detection and response company Vectra AI has announced that it has become an Amazon Web Services Security Competency Partner.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zscaler launches co-located data centres in Canberra and Auckland
The investment will offer public and private sector enterprises greater resilience in support of their zero trust cybersecurity posture.
Story image
Vendor
Forescout reveals top vulnerabilities impacting OT vendors
Forescout’s Vedere Labs has disclosed OT: ICEFALL, naming 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology vendors.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Security driving customer identity & access management adoption
"CIAM allows businesses to embed a secure identity layer into their consumer and SaaS applications, facilitating secure, seamless end user experiences."
Story image
Trend Micro
5G network projects driven by improving security and privacy
Trend Micro's new study reveals the prospect of improved security and privacy capabilities are the main motivations behind private 5G wireless network projects.