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ITP News in Brief July 25th

Victoria MacLennan. 25 July 2022, 11:11 pm

I had a CSAC meeting today - Cybersecurity Advisory Committee - so it’s very topical the chapter highlighted this week (below) is also on Cyber Security. We live in increasingly complex times defending individuals, businesses - and actually our nation - from well resourced, coordinated and increasingly effective cyber attacks. Just this week in the media we learned how the Port of Los Angeles has called in the FBI cyber crime unit to help them defend against 40 million targeted attacks per month - now say that slowly, 40 million attacks per month!

I was also surprised to read this week “Research from Microsoft showed New Zealanders at home were targeted by and consumed 30% more Russian anti-Covid-19 propaganda than Australians or Americans”. Which ties in nicely to two reports highlighted in this post on Online Safety and Harm. 

On that note it’s been an interesting few days for me with an overwhelming outpouring of support for my stance on the use of Te Reo Māori drowning out the negative. Ngā mihi nui (thank you very much). More on this from me on Friday. 

Spotlight on Online Safety and Harm 

Te Mana Whakaatu – Classification Office - released a research report last month “What we were watching, New Zealanders’ views about what we see on screen and online.” A survey of 1201 New Zealanders including 200 young people aged 16-17, includes data insights and narrative form - and concludes “the harms are real, and we need to take action”. 

The report highlights consistently concerning themes throughout including - many thought it was hard to avoid harmful content online; and many people did not think the current system for regulating online content was working well to protect rangatahi (young people) and tamariki (children). 

Most telling are stats like - 83% of respondents are concerned about harmful or inappropriate content in social media, video-sharing sites and other websites; and one in three had seen content that directly promotes or encourages violence towards others. 

“The reality for New Zealanders – including our rangatahi – is that much of the material they see online is provided by global social media platforms.”

Netsafe - have this week released the Aotearoa New Zealand Code of Practice for Online Safety and Harm - in draft for consultation. This Code is co-developed with the largest industry players (those global social media platforms mentioned above) - Meta, Google, Microsoft, TikTok, Twitch and Twitter - and is described as “The Code is an evolution of existing industry principles and standards that aims to broaden efforts, transparency and accountability for online safety and harm.” The scope includes:

  • Child sexual exploitation and abuse
  • Cyberbullying or harassment
  • Hate speech
  • Incitement of violence
  • Violent or graphic content
  • Misinformation
  • Disinformation

There has been some pushback on this code, especially the role the global platforms have played in it’s development vs taking a community needs approach. Plus, I couldn’t see how to submit feedback but am on a quest to find out and will update with instructions. 

60 years of cybersecurity in New Zealand

Chapter 9 of From Yesterday to Tomorrow is written by successful Cyber Security entrepreneur Andy Prow. As Andy describes in his intro it’s a short chapter, he starts by correcting us plebs on language - no self respecting Cyber specialist would ever describe themselves as such, preferring “‘InfoSec’ (Information Security), ‘AppSec’ (Application Security), ‘OpSec’ (Operational Security), etc. No-one goes around with ‘Cybersecurity Expert’ on their business card, instead the industry is full of Hackers, Security Researchers, Penetration Testers, Auditors, SecOps, DevSecOps and Security Analysts.” - good to know!

Andy believes CyberSecurity is the single most important thing we need to get right in the next 60 years, noting the accelerated pace of digital transformation during our first year of Covid-19, our utter reliance on technology, and how this makes us collectively vulnerable to attacks, hacks, virus’ and other exploitations.

His conclusion really resonated with me describing the point of difference and opportunity we have as a sector here in Aotearoa - kaitiaki (care for our people and our place), integrity/trust and ingenuity/innovation!

“When I was at a New Zealand Story session recently with NZTE .. we looked at the three core value propositions of New Zealand, and how they relate to New Zealand tech. The three values are kaitiaki (care of our people and our place), integrity/trust, and ingenuity/innovation. When it comes to the cybersecurity sector then these are values that we can authentically own, build on and capitalize on.”

Finally - as this winter flu season / Covid resurgence hits, many of us are working from home again, to be honest it’s easier to stay warm with these winter weather bombs as well. In case you need a reminder on how to improve your video calls, the lovely talented Sandy Antipas released this short video today on pace and tone! Enjoy. 

Noho ora mai (Stay well, look after yourself, good bye) Vic



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