New Zealand’s Future in The Age of Cyber Attacks
In a burst of honesty, the New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau’s (GCSB) Director-General Andrew Hampton has revealed that New Zealand will be the next target of a massive cyber attacks. Hampton described New Zealand’s readiness with defending itself from cybercriminals as “reasonably secure”, however, due to the strong research and development of the threat actors from outside the country, nothing is 100% secure.
The GCSB has detected a minor security issue occurred recently to which they believe have originated from Kremlin (Russian government). The Director-General believes that the main target was not New Zealand, but certain computers in the country were affected if not directly targeted. The Director-General believes that the main target was not New Zealand, but certain computers in the country were affected if not directly targeted. “These events that have been called out over the last 24 hours, they actually have largely affected other countries. But the motivation for those attacks seems to be to cause disruption… to governments essentially. New Zealand has not experienced a significant cyber event in the way many other countries have. I think it’s possibly just a matter of time before we do,” explained Hampton.
Hampton is certain that psychological warfare exists between nations of the world today, to get themselves ahead of the country-wide espionage attempts between states. The malicious events that occurred observed by GCSB might be the start of the problem, which New Zealand authorities cannot ignore.
Duncan Garner, a popular political editor in the New Zealand-based Mediaworks NZ, added: “My view is that there’s a bunch of stuff that needs to be done at the high end about those state sponsored type of attacks, that’s what the bureau looks after. There’s a whole lot of stuff that businesses need to do using commercial products like that, but then there’s stuff home users have to do, the basic stuff, update your password.”
Hampton further stressed that New Zealand must have an internal audit in order to become ready for any eventual cyber attacks. “The GCSB has worked through a robust attribution process which strongly links four international malicious cyber incidents since 2015 to the Russian government. The nature of these campaigns is complex. The GCSB’s assessment found it was highly likely the Russian military General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) was behind the campaigns and that a number of cyber proxy groups associated with these incidents are actors of the Russian state. Such behaviour is unacceptable – it is counter to New Zealand’s vision for an open, safe and secure cyberspace. New Zealand organisations were not directly affected by these malicious cyber activities. We are, however, seeing a range of activity in New Zealand that contains indicators which can be linked to Russian state actors,” said Hampton.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern has seconded the desire of Director-General Hampton, and expressed confidence that there will be changes ahead that will keep the country’s computing infrastructure secure. “It’s important we call out those not following the international rule book, and this is an example of that. In this case we have attributed them to a particular actor, but we need to make sure we are ready no matter where it comes from,” Ardern stressed.