New Zealand Central Bank Cyber Attack

The Reserve Bank New Zealand has reported that it suffered a "malicious and illegal breach” of one of its third-party data sharing application systems used by the bank and apologised to customers for some problems that the cyber attack caused, ordering an immediate independent investigation. "We are working closely with domestic and international cyber security experts and other relevant authorities as part of our investigation and response to this malicious attack," Governor Adrian Orr said in a statement issued on January 15th.

It is unclear when the breach took place, who was responsible, and in what country the file-sharing service is based. It will take time to understand the full implications of the breach, according to the bank.

“In addition to the forensic cyber investigation currently underway, we have appointed an independent third party to undertake a comprehensive general review of this incident. We will be as transparent and clear as possible as this progresses, and will release the review’s terms of reference shortly... The nature and extent of information that has been potentially accessed is still being determined, but it may include some commercially and personally sensitive information," the Bank said.

A detailed forensic cyber investigation is underway and the Bank is working directly with affected stakeholders whose information may have been breached. In its 2019 Financial Stability report, the RBNZ warned that cyber attacks  were on the rise in New Zealand and that  "More extreme events have a low probability but are still plausible.”

Several other major organisations in New Zealand have been attacked in the past year, notably including the New Zealand Stock Exchange which was  targeted by sustained distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks which halted trading for almost a week. In February of last year  the RBNZ reported that the expected cost of cyber incidents for the banking and insurance industry was between NZD80m ($58m) and NZD140m per year.

In its latest report, the New Zealand government agency CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) said cyber attacks in the country had increased 33% year-on-year.

RBNZ:       Bloomberg:      DW:       NBC:         Yahoo:         StraitsTimes:       

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