GCSB expands cyber defence service

  • Hon Andrew Little

Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), Hon Andrew Little, has announced the agency will expand its Malware-Free Networks (MFN) cyber defence initiative.

“We live in an increasingly global and connected world in which reckless and malicious cyber activity poses a threat to our digital information and our economic wellbeing,” Minister Little said.

“To further help address this threat GCSB will offer its Malware-Free Networks cyber threat detection and disruption service to a broad cross section of New Zealand’s organisations of national significance.

“The decision to expand Malware-Free Networks follows a successful pilot with Vodafone and a small subgroup of Vodafone’s consenting customers.

“The pilot showed the Malware-Free Networks capability has the potential to disrupt a significant volume of malicious cyber activity. 

“There was a substantial increase in the volume of activity detected and disrupted when the Malware-Free Networks information was used in conjunction with the network operator’s existing cyber security capability.

“The GCSB already provides its CORTEX advanced cyber defence capabilities to a broad range of nationally significant organisations. Malware-Free Networks will be an additional service, providing an extra layer of protection to many more organisations.

“Expanding this service will significantly increase the range of organisations receiving the cyber defence services Government offers New Zealand’s organisations of national significance through the GCSB.”

Organisations of national significance were identified through a process led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. They include Government departments, key economic generators, niche exporters, research institutions and critical national infrastructure.

“I expect over the next two years a substantial number of New Zealand’s nationally significant organisations will have engaged with the GCSB on Malware-Free Networks,” Minister Little said.

The next step is for the GCSB to develop a plan on how it can work with telecommunications network operators to deliver the expanded service which is expected to take a couple of months.

The cost of the Malware-Free Networks expansion will be paid for out of the GCSB’s baseline. As with other GCSB cyber security capabilities, the Malware-Free Networks service is only provided to organisations who consent to receiving it.

More information about the Malware-Free Networks and CORTEX is available here.