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NetSafe backs new cybercrime unit

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/05/2016

Online security organisation NetSafe is backing the government's new $22 million one-stop cybercrime shop.

Prime Minister John Key confirmed funding for CERT, a computer emergency response team, on Thursday.

It will be the go-to agency for cybercrime and provide information about threats in real time, as well as co-ordinating countermeasures and working with similar overseas bodies.

NetSafe executive director Martin Cocker says CERT is "definitely a welcome announcement" and his organisation is a natural partner.

"Most countries have, or are considering, some form of CERT," he told NZ Newswire.

"Certainly, any country serious about becoming a successful digital economy has an agency providing CERT services."

Mr Cocker says CERT's funding "seems reasonable" but it's going to have to make its money work hard.

"They'll need to leverage support from other organisations in the cyber security space," he said.

Communications Minister Amy Adams says more than 856,000 New Zealanders are affected by cybercrime each year, and it cost at least $257m in 2015.

NetSafe reports an average 25 attacks a day.

The government describes CERT and a partnership with the private sector and NGOs.

It should be up and running in the first quarter of next year.

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