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Aussie security survey pings reluctance to report incidents

Question of whether to create a New Zealand CERT under consideration

The first of a series of annual surveys of cybersecurity measures and attitudes in Australian businesses, commissioned by the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT) strikes a mostly optimistic note, finding the overwhelming majority of businesses take basic security precautions with their computer systems.

However, it finds cause for concern in lack of forensic precautions and a disappointing record of businesses reporting cybersecurity incidents to law-enforcement authorities or AusCERT itself.

The survey report cites case studies where such notification resulted in successful criminal charges being laid or in the CERT issuing forewarnings to vulnerable organisations who may be hit by an intrusion from the same source.

"These findings indicate that respondents are aware that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility," says the CERT. "Even where networks are secure at the perimeter, security is dependent on all staff being aware of vulnerabilities such as phishing attacks."

Questioned on any New Zealand plans for a similar survey and the often-canvassed need for a NZ CERT, the National Cyber Security Centre batted the query between itself and the National Cyber Policy Office and forwarded a statement, attributed to an unnamed spokesperson for the latter:

"The government takes cyber security seriously and in the past three years has set up the National Cyber Security Centre, established the National Cyber Policy Office and released the National Cyber Security Strategy.

"New Zealand does not have a national CERT. The New Zealand Cyber Security Strategy identified among its longer-term initiatives the need to work with interested parties to determine the need for a New Zealand CERT. The Strategy is currently being implemented - this question remains under consideration.

"The National Cyber Security Centre was established in September 2011. The Centre delivers a number of the functions typically performed by CERTs."


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