A 'matter of time' before New Zealand faces significant cyber attack - GCSB

The director-general of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) says it's only a matter of time before New Zealand faces a significant cyber attack.

Andrew Hampton called our security "reasonably secure", but considering the threats from overseas there was still more to be done.

The GCSB revealed on Thursday it had uncovered evidence of malicious cyber attacks linked to Russian's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).

Mr Hampton said none of the attacks actually focused on New Zealand, but it was still cause for concern.

"These events that have been called out over the last 24 hours, they actually have largely affected other countries," he said.

"But the motivation for those attacks seems to be to cause disruption... to governments essentially"

He called the attacks part of a "psychological warfare" campaign that aimed to sow disinformation and create uncertainty.

According to Mr Hampton, New Zealand hasn't had that kind of attack yet, but we have seen some malicious activity.

"New Zealand has not experienced a significant cyber event in the way many other countries have," Mr Hampton said.

"I think it's possibly just a matter of time before we do."

But when pressed by host Duncan Garner, he couldn't say that New Zealand was without vulnerability to attack.

"My view is that there's a bunch of stuff that needs to be done at the high end about those state sponsored type of attacks, that's what the bureau looks after," he said.

"There's a whole lot of stuff that businesses need to do using commercial products like that, but then there's stuff home users have to do, the basic stuff, update your password."