Calls for government to fund cyber-security

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 12:36 19/11/2012

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A non-profit company representing people involved in securing computer systems says New Zealand has "a problem with information security" and are calling for a helping hand from the Government.

In2security, whose directors claim the backing of upwards of 350 information technology professionals, today released a 58-page paper calling for a government-funded development scheme for the industry.

Among eight items on its wish-list are an apprenticeship scheme, training subsidies and an online portal.

Recent data security breaches, which include Work and Income's kiosk security scare, show businesses and the public sector are struggling to cope with the demands of a connected-by-default" society, it said.

In2security was established last year by British immigrants Adam and Laura Bell, both of whom emigrated from Britain 18 months ago and work for Auckland IT security firm Lateral Security.

Adam Bell said they decided to do something after the need for such a body was discussed at technology security conference Kiwicon.

"We have got a lot of community and business support. We have had help from Microsoft, and Auckland and Victoria universities have both chipped," Adam Bell said. Some security firms including Lateral had also contributed.

New Zealand had the chance to become a "global leader in the strategic development of information security professionals", their report said. "The days of 'learning by doing' and 'she'll be right' in systems security are over."

Labour communications spokeswoman Clare Curran last week introduced a private member's bill that would establish a "special commission of inquiry" into the Work and Income security lapse and "any other" similar breaches involving personal information stored by government agencies.

Curran hoped the bill might gets its first reading before Christmas after it was selected in a ballot and said she would be writing to other parties to seek their support.

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