NZTech has backed the government’s focus on the New Zealand cyber security strategy and action plan, as rogue cyber attacks continue to plague nations and businesses worldwide.
The government released its first report on the implementation this week, setting out progress under the four goals of the strategy - achieving cyber resilience; building cyber capability; addressing cybercrime; and enhancing international cooperation.
“New Zealand is making good progress to improve its cyber security, but with a rapidly evolving cyber threat, there is no room for complacency,” Communications Minister, Simon Bridges, said.
“We need to use technology in a secure way if we are to make the most of the opportunities provided by the digital economy.
"The government and the private sector must work together to drive improved cyber security across the economy.”
Following its official launch in December 2015 and in response to the update, NZTech CEO, Graeme Muller, said New Zealand needs to understand the “multi-dimensional nature” of cyber threats and key issues that government and private sector face.
“Cyber risks are a borderless challenge,” Muller said. “We are looking at national preparedness on cyber security issues at the forefront of leadership strategy across the country.
“The tech sector is working closely with the government on ensuring the cyber strategy is implemented as fast as possible. NZTech members are working across all of the elements of the action plan.”
Muller said NZTech tech is collaborating with the national cyber policy office on issues such as the security of the internet of things as it develops across the country.
“We want to ensure the cyber security of our national infrastructures, our businesses and people,” he added. “Cybercrime is rising and is increasingly being identified as a top threat to New Zealand, as criminals, rogue nations and others in the dark net seek to strike and disrupt at any moment.
“We must seek to reinforce our cyber security to ensure that our businesses and lives are safeguarded from damage and disruption that could wreak havoc if the right information gets into the wrong hands.”
Additionally, Muller observed that the technology industry is fast becoming a significant source of export revenues for the country accounting for at least $6.3 billion in exports last year.
As a result, Muller said for New Zealand to grow its economy through digital exports, it needs to have “trusted, reliable and secure” ICT environments.
“However, there is risk of a significant impact to the economy if individuals and organisations are reluctant to engage in the digital economy or avoid using technology to its full potential due to cyber security fears,” he cautioned.
“Small to medium enterprises, in particular, are seen as being most vulnerable to both actual threats and fears over perceived threats.
On the political front, Bridges said the government is leading an “ambitious program” of action to fulfil the vision of a “secure, resilient and prosperous” online New Zealand.
Consequently, areas of focus for 2017 include supporting the development of the country’s cyber security industry, working on the Cybercrime Plan, helping small businesses to protect themselves online and launching a national CERT.
“CERT NZ will open its doors next month as the central place for New Zealanders, businesses and government agencies to report cyber incidents,” Bridges added.
“It will provide trusted and authoritative advice on preventing cyber threats and responding to incidents and will work with CERTs in other countries on incidents that have cross-border implications.”