Cyberattacks could harm New Zealand economy


New Zealand’s central bank said cyberattacks could wipe off two to three percent of the banking and insurance industries’ profits each year, highlighting the need to counter threats.

Cyberattacks could cost an average of NZ$104 million ($66 million) for the banking sector and NZ$38 million ($24 million) for the insurance sector annually, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand estimated in a research bulletin published on Tuesday.

The estimate model indicated in any given year there is a five percent chance of costs exceeding NZ$2.3 billion a year.

“While that may sound manageable, these are annual costs and the cumulative impact over a five- or ten-year horizon would be significant,” the report said.

The state cyber security agency, CERT NZ, found more than 60% of cyberattacks on New Zealand organisations in 2018 targeted firms in the financial and insurance services sector, the report said.

“With the frequency and severity of cyber security incidents on the rise, the study highlights the importance of the financial sector remaining vigilant and managing cyber risks effectively,” the Reserve Bank said.

RBNZ was strengthening efforts to enhance resilience of the financial system, including risk management guidance and information sharing in collaboration with industry and other public organisations.