New measures to combat cybercrime outlined by Government

Justice Minister Amy Adams says new measures represent a 'step change' in the way New Zealand will combat cyber security ...
MAL LANGSDON/REUTERS

Justice Minister Amy Adams says new measures represent a 'step change' in the way New Zealand will combat cyber security threats.

A Computer Emergency Response Team will be assembled by the Government as part of a packet of measures to tackle cybercrime.

The Government also plans to establish an accreditation scheme that would mean small businesses with good cyber security practices could receive a "cyber security tick" that they could show off to customers and business partners.

Police will get more training to tackle cybercrimes such as online theft, extortion, fraud and "denial of service" attacks.

But Police Minister Michael Woodhouse warned such crimes were difficult to investigate and prosecute, so police' focus would remain on prevention.

Justice and Communications Minister Amy Adams said the Government would look over the Crimes Act and other laws to check they were effective in dealing with cybercrime, which she said cost the country an estimated $247 million in economic losses last year.    

Adams said the Computer Emergency Response Team or "CERT" would serve as the first point of contact for businesses and individuals seeking help and its creation would bring New Zealand into line with other developed countries.

"New Zealand's key international partners each have a national CERT of some form."

The CERT would be a partnership between the public and private sectors and would work with companies and government agencies, she said.

The establishment of a CERT has been widely anticipated since as long ago as 2008. At the moment the Government only tends to share intelligence on cybercrime with government agencies and organisations that are deemed critical to the economy.

The Institute of Directors last week called for the creation of an organisation that could help establish a wider dialogue, saying a CERT was the kind of organisation it had in mind.

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Chief executive Simon Arcus said one of the biggest advantages hackers had was that businesses tended to be reluctant to share information about attacks.

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Adams announced the Government's cyber security measures at an event at SkyCity in Auckland on Thursday, saying cybercrime could have a devastating impact.

"Individuals may lose all their stored data or have their information stolen. For organisations, cybercrime can ruin business reputations and result in major financial losses."

The Government was investing $2b improving broadband because it wanted New Zealanders to engage in the digital economy, she said.

"While New Zealand has benefited enormously from the innovations offered by technology, it has also led to new vulnerabilities.

"The threat to New Zealanders and the economy from cyber intrusions is real and growing, and there are serious implications for our economic well-being and national security," she said.

The cyber security accreditation system for small businesses would be modelled on Britain's Cyber Essentials scheme and small businesses would be involved in its design, she said.

New Zealand would hold a cyber security summit in Auckland next year, she said.

 - Stuff

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