New Zealand's new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) officially opened Tuesday with the warning of the threat to the country's government agencies and other vital organizations of cyber attacks. Minister for Communications and Information Technology Steven Joyce said New Zealanders and the national economy were at risk from the "real and growing" global threat of cyber intrusions.
"Cyber security is becoming increasingly important for New Zealanders, businesses and government. Cyber intrusions have the potential to impact on the reliability of critical infrastructure, government services, and the economy," said Joyce.
The government's "New Zealand's Cyber Security Strategy," published in June, outlined initiatives to increase awareness and online security, to protect government systems and information, and to strengthen incident response and planning.
The NCSC was a key part of the strategy and would build on existing cyber security and information assurance capabilities to provide enhanced protection for government agencies, said Joyce.
Its three main initial functions were to provide advice and support to help develop secure networks; to detect and respond to sophisticated cyber threats; and to coordinate and assist operational responses to major cyber events of national importance.
"This is an important step in building New Zealand's capacity to protect against sophisticated cyber threats," said Joyce.
"New Zealanders will benefit from enhanced protection of government data and services, and critical national infrastructure, which will help to protect critical services."
The NCSC will be hosted within the Government Communications Security Bureau, one of New Zealand's main intelligence-gathering organizations.