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Connect Smart Newsletter

Hon Simon Bridges – Minister for Communications

I am pleased, as the new Minister for Communications, to take on Ministerial responsibility for cyber security policy and CERT NZ.

The Government has an ambitious Strategy to address the increasing risk to New Zealanders, businesses and government agencies, from cybercrime and other online threats. 

My emphasis is on enabling economic growth, including through digital innovation.  Cyber incidents cost our economy and reduce our competitive advantages.  

One of my early tasks in this new role is to release the first report on implementing the Cyber Security Strategy Action Plan.  You can expect to see this report shortly.

It demonstrates the range of actions underway to improve New Zealand’s cyber security. 

My number one cyber security priority is the establishment of a national CERT.  It will sit at the centre of New Zealand’s cyber security architecture as the first place to report cyber incidents and as an authority on preventing and responding to cyber threats.

CERT NZ will be operational in the first half of this year. 

New Zealanders with a cyber security issue will be able to report this to CERT NZ, which will then help them understand the problem or refer them to the most relevant organisation. CERT NZ will also share advice on preventing threats and mitigating incidents.

A national CERT is the internationally recognised primary point of contact for cyber security matters. CERTs also work closely with the international CERT network to prevent and respond to cyber security incidents and address cybercrime. 

Other priorities for 2017 include the establishment of a cyber credentials scheme to help small businesses improve their online security.  A taskforce – including representatives from academia and industry – has also been set up to help build New Zealand’s cyber security workforce. 

The Connect Smart partnership plays an important role in cyber security.  It is essential that the private and public sector work together to address this challenge to our national economy and security. 

I look forward to working with you to achieve a secure, resilient and prosperous online New Zealand.  

Hon Simon Bridges
Minister for Communications

Update from Paul Ash

Paul Ash, Director, National Cyber Policy Office

Welcome back to 2017!  A year on from the launch of New Zealand’s Cyber Security Strategy, we are continuing to work with partners on the Action Plan, including the Connect Smart programme.  As you can see from the message above, we started the year with a new Minister, Hon. Simon Bridges, in his capacity as Minister for Communications. 

This month Connect Smart is focused on ‘Promoting cyber security in the workplace’.  We have some ideas you can use to get your employees thinking about cyber security with our “Running a Connect Smart Campaign at Work” Tip Sheet and advice on using strong passwords.

 ‘Safer Internet Day 2017' was held this month on February 7.  This year the global theme was 'Be the change: unite for a better internet'.  This worldwide initiative aims to improve the safety of everyone online.  NetSafe released valuable new resources for the day – these are worth using (even though the day has passed) including when running a cyber security initiative at your workplace.

Over the next few months our upcoming newsletter topics will be:

  • March: Cyber security for Small Business
  • April: Ransomware
  • May: Simplifying cyber security
  • June: Protecting yourself against phishing

As always, we welcome partner input.  If you have content to share on these, or would like to include something in our monthly newsletter, do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

Finally, I would like to welcome a new Partner to the Connect Smart whanau – Protect WordPress.  We look forward to working with Protect WordPress and all the Connect Smart Partners in 2017.

Paul and the Connect Smart Team

Promoting cyber security in the workplace

Improving the digital security of your business is important – taking concrete steps can make a big difference in protecting your information and the information of your customers.

Security does not sit with the IT department alone.  IT teams and support services keep firewalls and other ICT security measures in place but people – staff and other users of your ICT systems – have a vital role to play. One of the most common ways that malware can make its way into files and programmes is through people’s behaviour – clicking on links or emailing information insecurely.

Here are a few tips about how to improve the cyber security awareness and capability of your team:

1. Back up work: Ask employees to protect their work by saving it in the correct place, and ensure the work is backed up to the workplace filing system, external hard drive or to the cloud (online storage platform). This can help you keep your information secure if you are locked out of your computer and unable to recover encrypted files.

2. Install updates regularly: Ensure that system updates are installed on all devices.  As well as improving system capability, and dealing with known errors, software updates include “patches” to prevent against the most recent threats, which will keep the whole system more secure.

3. Recognise suspicious emails: Teach employees how to identify suspicious emails, and if in doubt that it is always better to not respond and not click. Let employees know that they should forward any suspicious email on to their IT security team in case it is a phishing scam. For more advice on recognising phishing scams view the Connect Smart Phishing – Tip Sheet (PDF).

4. Strong and varied passwords: Have strong passwords across different accounts. Connect Smart recommends using strong passwords of 12 characters or more with a combination of lower case and upper case letters, numbers and special characters. Each different account should be secured with a different password particularly if it has important business information.

Our website has resources available to help you and your teams ‘Connect Smart.’ We encourage you to read and share these with your team:

  • Start a workplace conversation – Tip Sheet (PDF)
  • Running a Connect Smart campaign at work – Tip Sheet (PDF)
  • Phishing – Tip Sheet (PDF)
  • Ransomware – Tip Sheet (PDF)
  • Password – Tip Sheet (PDF) 

2017 Cyber Security Predictions

According to Connect Smart research, one in five (20%) New Zealanders were affected by cybercrime in the past year, rising to 72% when spam and suspicious emails are factored in. As Kiwis are increasingly online in their work and personal environments, these figures can be expected to increase if individuals and businesses don’t take active steps to manage their cyber security. It has been widely reported that cyber attacks are now more profitable than the global drug trade, with hackers becoming more clever and targeted in the way they create scams.

Connect Smart asked some of our Partners to provide insights into what cyber security trends they are seeing, and what might be heading our way in 2017.

Read more >

Microsoft: Overcoming online risks with 'digital civility'

To coincide with Safer Internet Day on February 7, Microsoft released its inaugural Digital Civility Index, based on a survey that examined people’s attitudes and perceptions about online behaviours and interactions.

Microsoft also released “digital civility” best practices for various groups within the broader internet community, including technology companies, educators and non-profit groups, as well as considerations for policy-makers.

Read more >

Upcoming events

  • 2017 NZTech Advance Government and Technology Summit: 28 February, Wellington
  • International Women's Day: 8 March
  • World Back-up Day: 31 March
  • NZLS Cyberlaw Conference: 4 April, Wellington
  • World Password Day: 7 May

Update devices weekly

Got a cyber security initiative?

Is your organisation running an initiative to improve cyber security?

Do you have any upcoming events, cyber security tips or expertise you want to share?

We would love to hear from you. Contact us here.

Know someone interested?

Contact us

Get in touch with a member of the team at Connect Smart

National Cyber Policy Office
Phone: +64 (4) 819-8200

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