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Govt mulls cyber security awareness advisory group

The government is considering setting up an advice group on how to improve public awareness about the risks of cyber-security, as internet-based crime becomes increasingly prevalent.

Communications and IT Minister Amy Adams told the launch of the Netsafe Cyber-Security Awareness Week forum in Wellington the government is considering setting up an advisory group address the country's lack of nous when it comes to web-based security issues.

"One of the options that we're currently considering is the establishment of a cyber-security awareness advisory group, so that we can help continue to raise awareness nationally," Adams said.

The government estimates cyber-crime cost New Zealand $625 million over the past year, according to the regulatory impact statement for the Government Communications Security Bureau Act Review, prepared by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The RIS singled out cyber-security risks as one of the most dynamic parts in the intelligence sector.

The legislation has been tabled in Parliament in conjunction with changes to the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill to create a new formalised security regime for network operators.

The government has stepped up its commitment to fighting cyber-crime, with the establishment of the National Cyber Policy Office within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in last year's budget.

The initiative has been allocated $5 million over five years.

Adams said New Zealand is coming under an increasing number of cyber-attacks, with 149 instances of government information and critical infrastructure being at risk this year.

Cyber-crime has been targeting intellectual property and proprietary information, two growing drivers of New Zealand's economy, as well as consumer fraud, she said.

While the government needs to play its part, individuals and businesses also need to take responsibility in protecting themselves form cyber-crime, she said.

By Paul McBeth - BusinessDesk