This security statement should have come from one of our political leaders

The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) tells us it has established clear links between the Russian government and a campaign of malicious cyber activity targeting overseas political institutions, businesses, media and sporting organisations.

The bureau  says  New Zealand organisations were not directly affected by these malicious cyber activities.

We are, however, seeing a range of activity in NZ that contains indicators which can be linked to Russian state actors. These incidents reinforce the need for NZ to have robust national systems to address cyber threats”.

Good to  know  the  GCSB  is on the  job,  but  Point of Order  wonders  why such  a statement,  with all  its  serious  international  implications, was left to the  GCSB’s director-general Andrew Hampton  to issue.

Surely  this is  a matter  which, because of those international implications, should  have come  from the  Prime  Minister?   Or  the  Deputy Prime Minister?   Or the  Minister of Foreign  Affairs  and  Trade?   Or even the  Minister  in charge of  Intelligence  Services?

Or  were  they  worried    they  would  step on  Vladimir Putin toes?

 Then  there is the timing of the  statement.

Hampton  says the GCSB has worked through a robust attribution process which strongly links four international malicious cyber incidents since 2015 to the Russian government

“The nature of these campaigns is complex. The GCSB’s assessment found it was highly likely the Russian military General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) was behind the campaigns and that a number of cyber proxy groups associated with these incidents are actors of the Russian state.  Our process considered material from our partners and our own cyber threat analysis.

“The United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre has today announced it assesses the GRU is behind this activity. This analysis is consistent with the GCSB’s”.

Hampton  goes on:

“These malicious cyber activities serve no legitimate national security interest. They were designed to negatively impact on the ability of people around the world to go about their daily lives free from interference.  Such behaviour is unacceptable – it is counter to NZ’s vision for an open, safe and secure cyberspace.

“NZ organisations were not directly affected by these malicious cyber activities.  We are, however, seeing a range of activity in New Zealand that contains indicators which can be linked to Russian state actors.

“These incidents reinforce the need for NZ to have robust national systems to address cyber threats. Initiatives such as the GCSB’s CORTEX cyber defence capabilities and the proposed expansion of the Malware-Free Networks programme help protect our nationally significant organisations.”

 The government is taking a fresh look at the current Cyber Security Strategy to ensure NZ is equipped to handle increasing cyber security threats.

Poimt of Order   wonders  which part of  the Coalition  Government is doing that.

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