Following an anonymous tip-off to the Herald, Auckland-based IT services firm Lantech has confirmed it’s been hit by a cyberattack.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) features as a customer case study on Lantech’s website.
Neither party would comment on the cyberattack, with Lantech refusing to comment on individual customers and Fenz referring questions to the IT services company.
But asked to confirm, as a matter of public interest, if all Fenz IT systems were working, a spokesman for the emergency services said, “We can confirm all Fire and Emergency systems are operational.”
Earlier this afternoon, Lantech chief executive Ray Noonan told the Herald, “On May 29, Lantech experienced a cyber security incident impacting its vOffice platform with a limited number of customers impacted.
“As soon as Lantech became aware of this issue we engaged external specialist support, our investigations are in the early stages, and we have informed and are working with the relevant government agencies.
“We have communicated directly with the customers impacted by this event and are in contact with the office of the Privacy Commissioner.”
Asked if it was a ransomware attack, Noonan said, “We know that malicious actors can be aware of public statements about incidents. We are not prepared to provide additional comment on the nature of the incident and our response at this time.”
The past year has seen an increase in cyberattacks on IT services companies - particularly those that host managed services.
Brett Callow, a threat assessment analyst with NZ-based Emsisoft, said a breach of an IT provider could give an attacker access to many of its customers’ data.
In December, a ransomware attack on Wellington-based Mercury IT saw files hosted for health insurer Accuro, BusinessNZ, the NZ National Nurses Association and the Coroners Court compromised, among other clients.
In October last year, Justice Minister Kiri Allan ruled out making it illegal to pay a ransomware demand, telling the Herald the move - which some have seen as a potential circuit-breaker - would criminalise victims. Last month, Allan reiterated that stance.
Australia’s Budget 2023 saw A$46.5 million ($76.34m) earmarked to establish a Co-ordinator for Cyber Security to coordinate multi-agency efforts in the event of a cyber incident.
The Australian Budget also saw the e-Safety Commissioner’s annual funding quadruple with a A$131m injection. The equivalent agency here, Netsafe, has a budget of around $4m.
There was A$86.5m to establish a new National Anti-Scam Centre, which will include establishing Australia’s first SMS Sender ID Registry to help prevent scammers from imitating trusted brand names.
Those moves were not matched on this side of the Tasman with our Budget 2023.
Meanwhile, InternetNZ - the administrator for the .nz domain - has denied that recent staff changes contributed to an incident earlier this week that took multiple websites and apps offline. A routine annual upgrade of security keys went haywire, for reasons that InternetNZ is still trying to establish.