New Zealand central bank’s data system hacked

Central Bank of New Zealand
Governor Adrian Orr of the Central Bank of New Zealand

New Zealand’s central bank said on Sunday that one of its data systems has been breached by an unidentified hacker who potentially accessed commercially and personally sensitive information.

A third party file-sharing service used by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to share and store sensitive information has been illegally accessed, the Wellington-based bank said in a statement.

Governor Adrian Orr said the breach has been contained, and the bank’s core 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,” Mr Orr said.

“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.”

The system has been secured and taken offline until the bank completes its initial investigations.

“It will take time to understand the full implications of this breach and we are working with system users whose information may have been accessed,” Mr Orr said.

The bank declined to answer emailed questions seeking more details.

It was unclear when the breach took place or if there were any indications of who was responsible, and in what country the file-sharing service is based.

Several major organisations in New Zealand have been the target of cyber interference in the past year, including the New Zealand Stock Exchange, which had its servers knocked out of public view for nearly a week in August.

Dave Parry, professor of computer science at Auckland University, told Radio New Zealand that another government is likely to be behind the bank data breach.

“Ultimately, if you were coming from a sort of like criminal perspective, the government agencies aren’t going to pay your ransom or whatever, so you’d be more interested probably coming in from a government-to-government level,” he said.

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