Cyber crime is continuing to evolve at alarming levels, with New Zealand seeing hundreds of attacks every day.
In response, Vodafone has joined forces with Unitec in a bid to combat these increasing threats.
The move will see the two organisations establish a joint cyber research facility and secondment programme.
Unitec's chief executive, Rick Ede, says the ability to combat cyber security threats must evolve in line with the criminals', whose tactics are becoming more sophisticated.
“New Zealand alone is seeing more than 100 ransomware attacks every day – a 160% increase since 2014,” says Ede.
“By the end of this year, there will be a global need for a further one million cyber security professionals, and six million by 2022,” he adds.
“A key outcome of this partnership will be to help raise the next generation of cyber security professionals, who will in turn help combat the rising threats to our online safety,” Ede explains.
Unitec has deliberately developed research capability in cyber security over recent years, and now hosts the only dedicated Centre for Cyber Security Research in New Zealand.
Vodafone, meanwhile, has stringent measures in place to protect itself and its customers from security breaches. Among these is the Cyber Defence Centre (CDC), a network monitoring system closely linked to Vodafone's Global Security Operations facilities, which ensures ready access to valuable threat intelligence.
Vodafone CEO Russell Stanners says partnering with Unitec, New Zealand's leader in cyber security research, is the “right thing to do”.
“Today cyber-crime globally is more profitable than the drug trade,” says Stanners.
“To counter what is effectively a security arms race requires a fast, hard, bullish response bringing all the right players together,” he says.
“As a global company, Vodafone brings commercial experience, expertise and threat information to the research table,” Stanners adds.
Under the agreement, Vodafone and Unitec will jointly commercialise any security product and service innovations that result during the partnership.