GCSB links 'malicious cyber activity' to Russian government

The New Zealand GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau) has uncovered links between malicious cyber activity and the Russian government.

It announced in a statement on Thursday it had uncovered a campaign of cyber activity targeting overseas political institutions, businesses, media and sporting organisations.

"The GCSB has worked through a robust attribution process which strongly links four international malicious cyber incidents since 2015 to the Russian government," said  Director-General Andrew Hampton.

"The nature of these campaigns is complex. The GCSB's assessment found it was highly likely the Russian military General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) was behind the campaigns and that a number of cyber proxy groups associated with these incidents are actors of the Russian state."

Mr Hampton said the attacks did not threaten national security but rather made it difficult for people to go about their daily lives.

"Such behaviour is unacceptable - it is counter to New Zealand's vision for an open, safe and secure cyberspace," he said.

"New Zealand organisations were not directly affected by these malicious cyber activities.  We are, however, seeing a range of activity in New Zealand that contains indicators which can be linked to Russian state actors."

Mr Hampton said such attacks made it clear New Zealand needs robust national systems to address cyber threats.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the revelations in a press conference on Thursday.

"It's important we call out those not following the international rule book, and this is an example of that," she said.

"In this case we have attributed them to a particular actor, but we need to make sure we are ready no matter where it comes from."