NZ GCSB condemns COVID-19 cyber attacks

New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) has condemned reported cyber attacks on critical infrastructure taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, but revealed the nation has been spared such attacks so far.

The intelligence agency’s Director-General, Andrew Hampton, called on all threat actors, including those linked to foreign nation states, to refrain from attack activity during the crisis.

“While we have not seen New Zealand’s critical infrastructure compromised by COVID-19 themed malicious activity, the targeting of such systems in any country at any time is unacceptable, and is particularly deplorable in the midst of the current global health crisis,” he said.

“We call upon all cyber actors to refrain from activity that may jeopardise national or international responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

While New Zealand’s critical infrastructure has not been compromised, Hampton said the GCSB has seen activity such as COVID-19 themed phishing campaigns seeking to exploit the public’s desire for information about the virus and the international effort to contain it.

The GCSB’s National Cyber Security Centre is advising New Zealand organisations to maintain a high level of cybersecurity resilience and awareness during the crisis.

Meanwhile, CERT NZ is providing information to New Zealand organisations and individuals about how to keep safe from COVID-19 related malicious cyber activity.

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