SYDNEY (Reuters) – New Zealand said on Wednesday it would boost its cyber defences by setting up a lead agency to make it easier for the public and businesses to seek help during network intrusions.
The government would bring New Zealand’s Computer Emergency Response Team into its National Cyber Security Centre, which it said would help improve the response to cyber incidents.
“The cyber security threats New Zealand faces are growing in scale and sophistication,” Public Service Minister Andrew Little said in a statement.
“Having a single agency to provide authoritative advice and respond to incidents across every threat level is international best practice.”
About NZ$5.8 million ($3.61 million) of direct financial losses from cyber incidents were reported in the first quarter of this year, according to official data, though the government said the true scale of harm to the economy was underreported.
New Zealand has seen a rise in online break-ins recently prompting the country’s central bank in May to propose collecting financial data on cyber incidents to better understand cyber risks in the financial sector.
Last month, payments solutions provider Smartpay Holdings said it faced a ransomware attack, the latest in a flurry of cyber attacks on companies in New Zealand and neighbouring Australia.
($1 = 1.6067 New Zealand dollars)
(Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Sonali Paul)