World news – The IT system of the New Zealand Central Bank was breached in a cyber attack

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The Central Bank of New Zealand is working with cybersecurity experts to understand the ramifications of breaching a third-party file sharing system that is used to exchange and store information.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Te Pūtea Matua) announced indicated that the attack was not specifically aimed at them, and other users of Accellion’s file sharing system known as the File Transfer Application were also compromised.

The bank is working with cyber security experts to “Type and Extent the information that may have been accessed ”. The compromised data could « contain commercially and personally sensitive information. »

Adrian Orr, Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, said the breach has been contained and the bank is currently working to determine what information is affected. </ "We are working actively with national and international cyber security experts and other relevant authorities as part of our investigation," Orr said in a statement. "This includes the Government Communications Security Bureau's National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC), which has been notified and provides guidance and advice.

Further details of the attack were not available. « We recognize the public interest in this incident, » Orr added. « However, we are currently unable to provide further details. »

One reason the further details have not been released is so as not to prejudice the investigation and the measures taken to mitigate the violation, according to the Bank.

The bank said its main functions were not affected and it was still open to business. « Our core functions and the New Zealand financial system remain solid and Te Pūtea Matua is open to business, » Orr said. « This includes our market operations and the management of the cash and payment systems. »

The system was secured and taken offline while the investigation was ongoing, and the bank is communicating with system users through alternative ways to securely share data. « It will take time to fully understand the full implications of this breach and we are working with system users whose information may have been accessed, » it said.

The New Zealand financial sector was recently hit by a major attack on the stock market of the country hit by an unprecedented volumetric Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack last August. This attack was another example of cyber attackers breaching a third-party service.

Like central banks, exchanges are vital to a functioning economy, and even a brief outage can lead to economic chaos.

New Zealand’s NCSC released a report in November stating that « nationally significant organizations in the country continue to be the target of frequent cyber-attacks by a range of malicious actors ».

The report states that the NCSC recorded 352 cybersecurity incidents at nationally significant organizations from July 2019 to the end of June 2020, compared to 339 incidents in the past 12 months. 30% are related to government sponsored actors.

The NCSC noted that the number of incidents recorded was a small percentage of the total incidents in New Zealand and the New Zealanders. « This is because of our focus on helping nationally important organizations and responding to potentially impactful cybersecurity events, » the report reads.

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