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New Zealand central bank hit by cyberattack

January 10, 2021

A hacker has potentially stolen commercially and personally sensitive information. The security breach is the latest to hit New Zealand in recent months.

Computer hacking
The bank warned that the frequency and severity of cybersecurity incidents were on the rise in New ZealandImage: picture alliance / Alexey Malgavko/Sputnik/dpa

On Sunday, New Zealand's central bank reported that it was responding with urgency to a "malicious" breach of one of its data systems.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) announced that a third-party file-sharing service used by the bank to share and store some sensitive information was illegally accessed.

RBNZ Governor Adrian Orr said the breach had been contained and the bank's main functions "remain sound and operational."

"We are working closely with domestic and international cybersecurity experts and other relevant authorities as part of our investigation and response to this malicious attack," Orr said in a statement.

"The nature and extent of information that has been potentially accessed is still being determined, but it may include some commercially and personally sensitive information," he said.

Cyberattacks on rise

It's unclear when the breach took place, who was responsible and in what country the file-sharing service is based. It willk take time to understand the full implications of the breach, according to the bank.

In a November 2019 Financial Stability report, the RBNZ warned that cybersecurity incidents were on the rise in New Zealand.

Several major organizations in New Zealand have been the target of cyberattacks in the past year. Last August, the New Zealand Stock Exchange had been targeted by sustained DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, halting trade for four consecutive days.

In its latest report, the government agency CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) said cyber attacks in the country had increased 33% year-on-year.

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mvb/mm (AFP, AP, Reuters)