New Zealand Law Society - Government boosts spending on cyber security

Government boosts spending on cyber security

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The Government will invest $20 million of operational funding over the next four years on a new national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to combat cyber-attacks and cybercrime, with an additional $2.2 million allocated for set up.

The increased spending on digital security in the 2016 budget "will enable a significant advancement in the country's cyber security infrastructure", Communications Minister Amy Adams says.

Ms Adams also announced the creation of an Advisory Board to help set up the CERT, and is calling for nominations.

Ms Adams says cybercrime cost the economy $257 million last year and affected more than 856,000 New Zealanders.

The CERT is an organisation that receives cyber incident reports, tracks cyber security incidents or attacks, and provides advice and alerts to its customers on how to respond and prevent further attacks.

CERTs also work closely with their international counterparts to prevent and respond to cybersecurity incidents, and address cybercrime.

"Our national CERT will be a key piece of New Zealand's cyber security architecture. It will be the central place for businesses and organisations to go to for help and information when they're experiencing cyber-attacks," says Ms Adams.

"It will help to protect critical infrastructure and the digital economy, and ensure New Zealanders can be secure, resilient and prosperous online.

CERT will initially be set up as a separate unit in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and is expected to be in operation in the first quarter of 2017.

"There is substantial experience in cyber security in the private and non-government sectors – and I intend to tap into that as CERT NZ will not reach its full potential without a strong voice representing our private sector guiding its establishment and operation.

The new CERT Advisory Board will have up to nine members, made up from a mix of cyber security experts from the private and public sectors. 

It will provide advice on the establishment, operation and longer-term organisational form of the CERT and the transition to this structure. The Board is also expected to build strong links with the key customers of the CERT, Ms Adams says. 

More information on the nomination process available here.