National Cyber ​​Security Center Reports Increase in Online Crime

Lisa Fong (National Cyber ​​Security Center)
Lisa Fong (National Cyber ​​Security Center)

Criminal cyber attacks targeting Aotearoa in New Zealand have exploded in numbers over the past year and have continued to gain in sophistication.

At Reseller News, Rob O’Neill writes: The National Cyber ​​Security Center reports an upsurge in criminal cyber attacks.

While the proportion of state-related malicious cyber activity has declined slightly from 30% last year, this is due to the higher proportion of recorded criminal incidents.

The report showed that there were 404 incidents affecting organizations of national importance in the year 2020/21, a 15% increase from last year.

These numbers reflect the NCSC’s focus on incidents affecting organizations of national significance in New Zealand and incidents that may have a national impact, meaning the numbers are only a small proportion. of the total incidents affecting New Zealand.

This matches the anecdotal evidence from New Zealand companies that they are now under constant attack.

When it comes to large-scale government and commercial systems, it is likely that attackers are already inside the systems awaiting an opportunity.

Daily crime rates are falling in most wealthy countries like New Zealand. There is a clear shift between activities such as risking your life with guns to rob a physical bank and going online to steal money. Computer fraud is on the increase everywhere.

Technology is not helping. Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, may not have been invented to pave the way for criminals, but it is being used by the underworld to move money. Drug gangs carry fewer suitcases full of banknotes and process more crypto transactions. Encrypted messaging services are used to communicate.

While these tools have legitimate uses, criminals have embraced them and are more dependent on them.

Ransomware remains the biggest threat. Criminals lock data or disrupt systems until victims pay them, almost always the transaction is in Bitcoin.

In the beginning, ransomware gangs targeted small businesses. It turned out that it was about learning their trade. Today they are targeting government departments, a DHB in New Zealand, police departments overseas.

They operate on an industrial scale and there are well-established digital supply chains in the underworld.

We know that most gangs are based in a few countries. Officials don’t like to talk about it because of diplomatic niceties. As a journalist, I can tell you that Russia, other parts of Eastern Europe and China are the main sources. We also know that some states turn a blind eye to this activity as long as the gangs focus on foreigners. There is evidence that criminal gangs and hackers are cooperating.

Governments have been slow to focus on tackling cybercrime. We can expect this change, but don’t expect the gangs to slack off.

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