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Moving to digital safety

Kia ora,

When it comes to the cyber security conversation, metaphorically speaking we may have the ladder leaning against the wrong wall! If the ladder is on the wrong wall, then our efforts are misdirected and won’t lead us to improved security.

Protecting systems and data from breaches is all well and good, but every year the cost of cyber crime continues increasing. According to the latest report from CERT NZ, the agency responsible for tracking and reporting cyber security incidents, there were 7,935 reports in 2023 with $18.3 million in direct losses. It was great to see the Australian Government putting cyber security front and centre with their recent announcement – Company directors will be held to cyber governance standards.

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. As digital becomes more embedded in our physical world, the risk grows exponentially. Code and internet connectivity are now commonly embedded in medical devices, autonomous machines, cameras in transport systems, vehicles and across smart cities. Today, cyber security is increasingly an issue of human health and safety. 

Did you know that in a recent global review of cars, not one brand met the minimum cyber security standards and every brand failed the privacy standards.

An analogy I heard recently, compares our current situation to the early days of electricity usage in the 1900’s. Back then, there was a significant risk associated with using power – simply turning on a light could potentially lead to electrocution or house fires. However, today’s electricity systems are rigorously certified, ensuring safe operation across every component. 

The same applies with cyber security, so it’s time to shift the ladder! Let’s talk about digital safety. What do we need to do to ensure security and privacy by design? How can we ensure safer online services or internet connected devices? Should software be certified? In the age of AI, these are big complicated questions, but well worth discussing. The NZTech Board is currently establishing a sub-Board for Digital Safety to ensure our tech ecosystem is at the forefront of these discussions. If you would like to know more and be kept updated, please email me

Meanwhile, if you need to report an issue or need more information, please visit Netsafe, Aotearoa’s not-for-profit online safety charity and leading source of online safety tools and information.

Ngā mihi
Graeme Muller

Read the full news here: Moving to digital safety.

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