Cyberspace is essential to New Zealand's economic growth, productivity and security.
We rely on the internet for doing business, communicating, making transactions and storing data. Our national infrastructure depends upon cyberspace.
As people around the globe share information, communicate and trade with one another online, the growth of the internet continues to deliver massive social and economic change.
New Zealand's dependence upon cyberspace means that securing our networks, systems, programmes and data from attack or unwanted access is of vital and of increasing importance.
What are the threats?
As internet use grows, cyber threats do too. Unlike other security issues, our geographic isolation is no defence from people with criminal, hostile or offensive intentions in cyberspace. Potential cyber threats include:
- cyber espionage and intellectual property theft for political, economic and commercial advantage
- cyber terrorism or state-sponsored offensive action, such as the disruption of services or damage to critical infrastructure systems
- cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime like scams involving online trading, dating sites, fake investments or the theft of personal financial or identity data
- cyber vandalism or issue-motivated “hacktivism”, such as websites being defaced or their services interrupted for political purposes.
Our work in cyber security
The trans-boundary nature of cyberspace means we need to engage internationally in this space. Because cyber security and internet governance are relatively new issues, our discussions focus on detecting problems, building understanding and awareness, developing norms and "rules of the road" and identifying cooperative measures.
We participate in discussions on cyber security with other countries, at the United Nations, in regional forums and at multi-stakeholder forums like the Internet Governance Forum.
Sharing threat information and best practices with international partners helps New Zealand assess cyber threats and put in place systems to address them.
We also contribute to building international cyber security capability, especially in the Pacific.
International law and cyberspace
New Zealand is a champion of the international rules-based order, and of a free, open and secure internet. The application of international law to state activity online is a critical component of the framework of responsible state behaviour online. It is essential for maintaining international peace and stability.
On 1 December 2020, New Zealand issued a position statement on how international law applies to state activity in cyberspace.