A cyber attack has blocked access to 14,500 coronial files and around 4000 post-mortem examination reports, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed this afternoon.
According to chief operating officer Carl Crafar, the attack did not target the ministry directly, but a third-party company that manages access to the information (now identified by the Privacy Commissioner).
“While the incident is related to an external supplier’s systems, the Ministry of Justice is working with the suppliers and other Government agencies, including the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Police, and CERT NZ to fully understand the extent of the issue,” Crafar said.
Although the attack has blocked the Ministry from accessing the data, there was no evidence at this stage that the data had been taken, Crafar added, although the possibility cannot be ruled out.
Crafar said the 14,500 files contain information related to the transport of dead people, while the 4000 post-mortem examination reports relate to files from Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Wellington, Horowhenua-Kāpiti, Nelson-Marlborough, Otago and Southland from March 2020 to last month.
“We are conscious that so-called malicious actors behind such activity can monitor public commentary on incidents of this nature so will not be providing more detailed information on our responses at this time.”
Anyone who thinks they may be affected can email email@example.com or dial 0800 638 924 from tomorrow.
A number of organisations had their websites affected in an attack today. The New Zealand Nurses Organisation and BusinessNZ confirmed they were affected, alongside the NZ Physiotherapy Board.
Late on Friday, health insurer Accuro also said its customer data could have been exposed in a cyber attack.