Cyber Summit Critical to Reducing Threats

Cyber-attacks are on the rise around the world, with healthcare and utilities the most targeted sectors. Organisations must not only defend against attacks but be able to recover quickly after a major disruption. 

Business leaders must embed cyber resilience across their organizations to protect against digital threats. The national cyber security summit will be held in Wellington early next year which is attracting huge interest already. 

With the recent ransomware and trojan attacks both here in New Zealand and in Australia, cyber security has been catapulted to the top of every business's to-do list. 

Although there have been high-profile cases that have hit the news, CERT New Zealand has noted that cyber-attacks were up 65 percent in 2020. The cyber security summit next February is being staged by NZTech and Brightstar. 

Business-critical activities have been disrupted, data has been compromised and the threat continues to evolve at a fast pace, said NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller. 

“This year alone, many providers of essential services including energy, healthcare, food, and transportation have been hit by ransomware attacks which crippled their operations and had cascading effects on critical functions that we rely on. 

“The covid pandemic has exposed even more opportunities and vulnerabilities. According to a recent report, there has been a 102 percent global surge in ransomware attacks compared to the beginning of 2020, and healthcare and utilities were the most targeted sectors. 

“By now, most businesses recognise that they have to invest significant amounts of cash and resources in cybersecurity. Collective global spending has now reached $145 billion a year and is predicted to exceed $1 trillion by 2035. 

“As the number and impact of cyber-attacks continue to rise, I believe we are not doing enough about cybersecurity.  

“No company has the resources to fix all cyber issues and not all fixes are equally important. It is only by starting to identify activities that are important to a business, and understanding how attacks could disrupt them, that one could start to prioritise the process of risk mitigation. 

“We’re at a crossroad where cyber resilience has become a defining mandate of our time, to anticipate future threats, withstand, recover from cyber-attacks, and adapt to future digital shocks,” said Muller. 

“We have high expectations when it comes to security in the physical world and the government, businesses and individuals invest in physical security at a much high rate than cyber security. 

“It is time to treat the security of our digital and physical worlds as equally important and invest appropriately as a nation.”