New Zealand concerned at North Korean cyber activity

The Director-General of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), Andrew Hampton says he is concerned at international reports which link North Korea to WannaCry.

WannaCry was a significant global ransomware campaign, launched in May 2017, which encrypted data and demanded a ransom payment to unlock computers in over 150 countries, and significantly affected the UK’s National Health Service.

“Cyber threat analysis from a range of sources, including the United States and the United Kingdom, attributes WannaCry to North Korean cyber threat actors,” Mr Hampton said.

“While New Zealand was not significantly impacted by WannaCry, we are not immune from this type of threat. In a globally connected world our relative geographic isolation offers no protection from cyber threats.

“We support the actions of our cyber security partners in calling out this sort of reckless and malicious cyber activity.

“In the 12 months from June 2016 to June 2017 nearly one third (122) of the 396 serious incidents recorded by the GCSB’s National Cyber Security Centre involved indicators that have previously been linked to state-sponsored actors.

“Cyber threats continue to increase, in part because of New Zealand’s global connectivity but also because the cost barriers are low, and getting lower, while the potential for harm is vast.

“The GCSB has two main functions, collecting intelligence in accordance with the Government’s priorities and providing cyber security and information assurance services to organisations of national significance, from both the public and private sector.

“As part of this work, the Cortex cyber security programme has been rolled out to a group of nationally significant organisations in the public and private sectors.

 “An independent assessment of the Cortex programme showed that over a 12 month period it has saved New Zealand’s most important organisations around $40 million in harm.”

A copy of the 2016-17 Unclassified Cyber Threat Report can be accessed here.

Media contact: media@nzic.govt.nz  (04) 462-9811