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Budget 2019: Govt sets aside funds for new cyber security strategy

Thursday 30th May 2019

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The government will spend $2 million a year to support the roll-out of a cyber security strategy among a raft of new spending in the virtual space.

That’s in the shadow of a budget leak by the opposition National Party, which took advantage of deficient online policies at the Treasury.

Former communications minister Clare Curran kicked off a refresh of the strategy before her resignation last year, and was mulling the introduction of ‘naming and shaming’ foreign actors supporting major cyber-attacks.

While no announcement on the strategy has been made, the Government Communications Security Bureau has outed the nationality of players behind cyber-attacks.

New minister Kris Faafoi will lead the strategy, which “supports New Zealand’s response to the growing scope, scale and sophistication of cyber threats” and will be “done through providing funding to support activities that address cyber security threats and improve cyber security resilience.”

The funding is coming from Vote Prime Minister and Cabinet, starting from the 2020 financial year.

Separately, Parliamentary Service will get an extra $250,000 a year from 2020 to “enable a lift in cyber security capability to meet the expectations of customers and to protect systems from external threats.”

That comes after Australia’s federal parliament was hacked in February this year.

The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) New Zealand is also getting a funding boost of $2.2 million a year, plus a $560,000 capital allocation to meet its mandate.

“Delays in a range of security projects due to availability of partners and external providers of specialist technical support” led to an increased appropriation for the current year of $424,000, taking its appropriation to $6.3 million. That rises to $8.1 million from next year.

The country’s security and intelligence units got extra money to bolster national security in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack, with the GCSB getting an extra $39 million over the horizon, front-loaded over the next two years.

The outward facing intelligence unit has a budget of $180 million in the year just ending and $173.8 million for next year, before it drops to $144.6 million.

Meanwhile, the Security Intelligence Service gets an extra $11 million over the forecast period, taking this year’s budget of $83.6 million to $106.1 million in 2020. The SIS budget will fall back to around $85 million in the out-years.

(BusinessDesk)



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