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New CERT NZ report shines a light on vulnerabilities

New CERT NZ report shines a light on vulnerabilities

Better data enables more granular reporting of Kiwi threat landscape

Opened last year, CERT NZ has quickly established itself as the go-to agency for cyber security

Opened last year, CERT NZ has quickly established itself as the go-to agency for cyber security

Credit: Dreamstime

The latest threat report released by CERT NZ shows 736 cyber security incidents, the largest volume so far for a single quarter, with 112 of those referred to the Police.

"The rising number of reports we are seeing demonstrates the growing level of trust for CERT NZ as a central front door for cyber security issues,” said CERT NZ Director Rob Pope.

CERT NZ's latest report includes deeper analysis and categorisation of reported vulnerabilities - 69 vulnerability reports were received over quarter one and two of 2018, with 15 handled under CERT NZ's coordinated vulnerability disclosure policy (CVD).

Vulnerability reports were received across a range of categories, including websites (54 per cent), authentication, authorisation and accounting (14 per cent), and networking (13 per cent).

Phishing scam reports were up significantly to 455 in the period from 1 April to 30 June, from 196 in the first quarter.

Incidents reported by category in Q2Credit: CERT NZ
Incidents reported by category in Q2

CERT NZ said the increase was the result of closer collaboration with the financial sector and has helped paint a better picture of the phishing campaigns constantly targeting New Zealanders.

Meanwhile, 68 per cent of the cyber security losses reported were for small amounts, typically less than $500 and, once again, those over 55 made up the largest age group reporting, accounting for three quarters of reported losses.

In one incident, CERT NZ received a report from an online e-commerce store that had repeatedly suffered breaches over the course of a year.

Those breaches led to customers being tricked into paying money into the attacker’s bank account, even though customers were using the store’s real website. In some cases, the attacker even sent customers goods to try and hide their activities.

Despite a specialist IT services company being hired to improve the website’s security, the attacker kept returning and compromising it.

“We were able to help them identify the key areas where their website’s security was falling short and to understand why these weaknesses hadn’t been resolved by their temporary and partial fixes,” said Pope. “With guidance from our team, they were able to take steps to resolve the weaknesses and keep the attacker out for good.

“It’s information from cases like this that enable us to create data-driven content that helps Kiwis stay resilient to cyber security threats."

The CERT NZ guide to securing business websites is available here.


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