Key ignored GCSB advice on hacking

PAUL EASTON
Last updated 08:48 03/07/2014

Relevant offers

Politics

Syrian ex-asylum seekers in Wellington urge Government to up refugee quota Refugee crisis: John Key softens on refugee quota New Zealand suspends aid to Nauru Why the tino rangatiratanga flag should be our national choice Green co-leader James Shaw outlines climate change plan John Key shifts stance on refugees as hospitable Kiwis make a point Maurice Williamson wasn't acting in his capacity as an MP? Pull the other one. Crown-iwi agreement on Auckland housing programme Inland Revenue hopes to get politics out of its $1b-plus overhaul They're not migrants, double the refugee quota now

The Government's spy agency advised Prime Minister John Key not to speculate on who had tried to hack Niwa's Wellington-based supercomputer.

Briefing papers given to Key by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) on May 24 told him it would be "very unhelpful and premature to speculate on where any potential threat is from".

Two days later, Key announced that the hacking attempt had come from a Chinese IP address, though he added that the true source of the attack could easily be masked.

Correspondence released under the Official Information Act by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce shows the attack was discovered on the evening of May 22, when a systems engineer working on the $12.7 million FitzRoy supercomputer at Greta Point spotted an "anomaly".

Action was taken to combat the attack, and analysis carried out to determine its impact.

Niwa - the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research - later said the unauthorised attempt to gain access was unsuccessful.

The computer went back online at 9.48pm on May 25, a heavily censored report from Niwa shows.

The GCSB told Key that specific threats were not usually discussed publicly, to protect vulnerable organisations.

"The priority is the integrity of the infrastructure," the briefing papers show.

An extra briefing provided to Key on May 28 was withheld as it was "likely to prejudice New Zealand's security". The National Cyber Security Centre, part of the GCSB, investigated the incident.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce said it was appropriate for Niwa to have contacted the NCSC.

"The NCSC will continue to offer support and advise NIWA on cyber security."

Niwa's supercomputer weighs in at 18 tonnes.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content