The New Zealand Intelligence and Security Committee Monday held its annual review, with cyberattacks being the primary concern across reports.
Director-General of the Government Communications Security Bureau Andrew Hampton labelled the peace and security of the region as a key focus of New Zealand intelligence and a 34 percent increase in malicious cyberattacks from “state-sponsored cyber actors.” However, there was a reduction in the number of significant incidents overall. Hampton discussed the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and how it drastically changed the landscape of warfare. He expressed concern that there may be a rise in cyberattacks as a result of the war, as malicious cyber activity has been an integral part of the war.
Acting Director-General of the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service Phil McKee called for more awareness regarding foreign interference and espionage and said these threats having the ability to undermine the democracy and values of the country. McKee stated that the best way for New Zealand to protect itself and prevent attacks is to increase awareness, both domestically and internationally. He also noted particular concerns about the harassment and threats against ethnic New Zealanders and professionals such as academics, government members and media who speak out about foreign governments.
This briefing follows the publication of the Cyber Threat Report in December 2022, which stated that the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reported two incidents in 2022 categorised as Category 2 or “Highly Significant.” One of these incidents was the cyberattack on a service provider which compromised data and systems. Among the organisations affected by this incident was Te Whatu Ora or Health New Zealand. This report also stated that the NCSC provided high levels of support and protection during the nation’s recent by-election and will assist again for the upcoming general election in October.