itb-nz logo
Story image

What NZ can learn from the Baltimore cyberattack

21 May 2019

New Zealand can take lessons from Baltimore in the United States which until a few days ago, was offline following a ransomware cyberattack for more than a week, FintechNZ general manager James Brown says.

“What would the economic impact be if Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch went offline? It would probably run into billions of dollars.

“How would we react in New Zealand? Baltimore’s government rushed to take down most computer servers on May 7 after its network was hit by ransomware. Functions like 911 weren’t affected but after eight days, online payments, billing systems and email were still down.”

“No property transactions were conducted in the week following the attack, exasperating home sellers and real estate professionals in the city of more than 600,000. Most major title insurance companies prohibited their agents from issuing policies for properties in Baltimore,” Brown says.

The latest Baltimore attack comes just over a year after another ransomware attack slammed Baltimore’s 911 dispatch system, prompting a worrisome 17-hour shutdown of automated emergency dispatching.

In the attack last week, the hackers demanded 13 Bitcoins (about $92,000) by last Friday. Agents with the FBI's cyber squad are helping city technology employees try to determine the source and extent of the cyber attack.

Brown says small steps can be taken to minimise the impact of a cyber attack in New Zealand.

“Some basic actions should be put in place straight away. Companies should install, use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in their business and keep it updated.

“They should use a firewall for their internet connection and make backup copies of important business data and information – and back up often.”

“Businesses must control physical access to their computers and network components and secure their Wi-Fi networks. Companies should make sure their employees only have access to the data they work with and they should all regularly change passwords.”

“According to the Kaspersky Lab, the average annual cost of cyber attacks to small and medium-sized businesses was more than $US200,000 in 2014.”

“Most small businesses don’t have that kind of money lying around and, as a result, nearly 60 per cent of the small businesses victimised by a cyber attack in the US close permanently within six months of the attack.”

Many of these businesses put off making necessary improvements to their cybersecurity protocols until it was too late because they feared the costs would be prohibitive, Brown says.

Story image
ECI Software Solutions acquired by Leonard Green & Partners
"We are excited to welcome LGP as our new partner, and I am confident that this is the right choice for our future – and the future of our 1,700 employees and more than 22,000 customers.”More
Story image
Snowflake announces updates geared towards data mobilisation
"The new features announced today are another example of Snowflake's commitment to delivering the technology customers need to fully mobilise their data and achieve meaningful business value.”More
Story image
The ins and outs of cloud-native computing
For businesses and other organisations that want to get the most out of their approach to the cloud, cloud-native computing may provide the answer, writes Gigamon country manager for A/NZ George Tsoukas.More
Story image
Businesses struggling to achieve cloud migration in wake of COVID-19
Cloud adoption has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but businesses are struggling to meet their cost and performance needs due to migration challenges, new research finds.More
Story image
8x8 named as Challenger in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Contact Centre as a Service
According to 8x8 chief executive officer Vik Verma, the recognition also validates the company’s single-platform approach to contact centre innovation.More
Story image
Palo Alto Networks launches enterprise data loss prevention service
"As a single centralised cloud service, Palo Alto Networks Enterprise DLP can be deployed across an entire large enterprise in minutes with no need for additional infrastructure."More