Cyber security entities from 14 Pacific nations have formed the Pacific Cyber Security Operational Network (PaCSON), with CERT NZ named as its inaugural chair.
CERT NZ and PaCSON representative Jamison Johnson says the countries in the network are Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
“As one of the newer cyber security response teams in the region, it’s a great opportunity to work alongside and support our Pacific colleagues. Other members of the Executive Committee include Tonga as Deputy Chair and Samoa as Incoming Chair,” Johnson says.
“As technological advances and greater connectivity give Pacific nations more access to the internet, cyber security challenges will only increase. Using New Zealand’s knowledge of, and access to, the global information security community, CERT NZ will play an important role in sharing knowledge between countries.”
CERT NZ is New Zealand’s Computer Emergency Response Team and supports businesses, organisations and individuals who are affected (or may be affected) by cyber security incidents. In 2017, New Zealanders reported losses of over $5.3 million from cyber incidents and Communications Minister Clare Curran has announced a comprehensive refresh of New Zealand’s approach to cyber security, releasing two cabinet papers detailing her proposed approach. The review will involve close collaboration with the private sector and citizens.
Curran has also extended the term of members of the CERT NZ Establishment Advisory Board by an additional six months. The Board is chaired Michael Wallmannsberger, who is Chief Information Security Officer at Air New Zealand and members of the Board are primarily drawn from the private sector, with representatives from organisations including ANZ, TradeMe, Datacom, and PwC.
In addition, New Zealand universities are becoming more active in offering cyber security courses at both undergraduate and post-graduate level.
Victoria University has launched a 100-level paper in cybersecurity, which it claims is the first in New Zealand, and which is designed to help address the “huge skills-shortage” in this area. Members of its Engineering and Computer Science School recently installed a permanent wireless network at the National University of Samoa in Upolu and as part of the deployment Victoria University staff ran workshops on cryptography and cybersecurity for staff and students.
Victoria University also offers cyber security education in Fiji through its partnership with CyberToa, a Wellington business specialising in cybersecurity solutions for government and the private sector.
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Meanwhile the University of Auckland has established the Cyber Security Foundry in Auckland and Wellington with the aim of forging greater ties with industry as it looks to create internship programmes with companies.