Fry Up: Scary in cyberspace

Scary in outer space too

'Danger, danger, danger Will Robinson'

It can be scary in cyberspace, but rest assured the government has a strategy to deal with criminals and terrorists that prey on internet users.

We know this because on Tuesday it released a report called New Zealand’s Cyber Security Strategy.

This is clearly a Very Important Document because the New Zealand Coat of Arms has been placed on the left hand corner of its nicely decorated front cover. Also on the cover are two stock photos, one of which depicts a small child on a woman’s lap looking a bit worried while ‘Mum’ looks at a computer screen, the other photo is a close-up of the @ symbol.

Having read the 14-page report, Fry Up now knows why that small child appears to be nervous.

On page one ICT Minister Steven Joyce shares his concerns. “Criminals are increasingly using cyber space to gain access to personal information, steal businesses’ intellectual property, and gain knowledge of sensitive government-led information for financial or political gain or other malicious purposes. National barriers present no barrier.”


But it is OK, because on page 3 we learn that government units have been established to tackle “scams, spam, identity theft, electronic crime and critical national infrastructure protection.” Also there is NetSafe.


Don’t get too comfortable, them cyber criminals are smart fellas. On page five we are told about Cyber Espionage (here would be a good place to discuss Stuxnet and why it freaked out the cyber security experts), Hactivism (hey, didn’t that happen to the DIA website recently?), and, most chilling of all, Terrorist Use of the Internet (but wasn’t the world’s most wanted terrorist gunned down in a cave, found out because he didn’t have a internet connection?).


Having possibly established why we should care about cyber security, the report then lists a whole bunch of priorities and partnerships and, on page six, the need to “seek input from a wide range of stakeholders across government, industry and non-government organisations and academia”.


Page nine contains the killer sentence. “Work with interested parties to determine the need for a New Zealand CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team)”. That is the real kicker, that is the thing that could really make a difference. A NZCERT has been talked about for years. But it costs money and well, you know, the government isn’t too keen on spending just now.


If you are wondering, 'hm, what is the point of this report?' you are not alone. It lacks substance (for example on page eight it claims that a National Cyber Security Centre will be set up within the Government Communications Security Bureau; but what will this cost, who will staff it?). This is an important topic, New Zealand citizens are quite possibly at risk, it is a good thing that the government is taking the initiative by launching a cyber security strategy. Yet if this report was submitted by a secondary school student for NCEA level one assessment, it would quite likely get...


Government launches official cyber security strategy

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That is the sound of the first piece of Gen-i being sold off.

Infosys buys Gen-i software solutions practice

Scary in outer space too

The Fry Up video selection this week is highly scientific - it depicts an eruption on the Sun. Or as Gawker put it: "Sun lets off huge burp".

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