Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will attend a security and intelligence meeting with her British, Australian, and Canadian counterparts today amid accusations that Russia is behind cyberattacks on millions of computers around the world.
Ardern is seeking advice from the GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau) on whether New Zealand has been hit by the cyber attacks.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said yesterday she would be meeting Ardern, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for an intelligence partners meeting.
The countries are members of the five-nation Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partnership, which also includes the United States.
The leaders will reportedly meet ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in London.
Australia, the US and Britain allege hackers have infected computer routers and firewalls around the world in a cyber-espionage campaign targeting government agencies, businesses, critical infrastructure providers and the internet service providers (ISPs) supporting those sectors.
Speaking to reporters in Berlin following a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ardern said she was aware of the issue.
"I am awaiting advice from the GCSB on that. But as I say, we have attributed cyberattacks to Russia in the past and it's highly likely that a number of the issues that we've seen in New Zealand could be attributed that way in the future," Ardern said.
White House cybersecurity co-ordinator Rob Joyce said it was confident Russia had carried out a co-ordinated campaign "to compromise ... routers, residential and business - the things you and I have in our home".
GCSB director-general Andrew Hampton said today a joint US-British report had been made available to New Zealand organisations so they knew what to look for and could contact the GCSB if they were affected.
"This looks more like an attempt to establish yourself on someone else's system for the purpose of moving laterally across that system and into other systems for the purpose of exfiltrating data – espionage," he told RNZ.
In the 12 months to June 2017, 122 of the 396 serious incidents recorded by the GCSB's National Cyber Security Centre involved indicators previously been linked to state-sponsored actors.
Theresa May will today announce up to £15 million ($30m) to help Commonwealth countries strengthen their cyber-security capabilities and help to tackle criminal groups and states who pose a global threat to security.
She would announce it on the eve of Chogm, where leaders were expected to agree on the "Commonwealth Cyber Declaration", the world's largest and most geographically diverse inter-governmental commitment on cyber security co-operation, her office said in a statement.
"Cyber-attacks do not respect international borders. Supporting other countries to build their cyber resilience helps them prevent criminals and hostile state actors from operating online and targeting other countries. The declaration sets out for the first time a common vision for ensuring the internet remains free and open across the Commonwealth," the statement said.
It would commit members to raising national levels of cyber-security and increased co-operation.
A third of it would go to low- and middle-income Commonwealth members to carry out national cyber security capacity reviews before the next Chogm in 2020.
"I have called on Commonwealth leaders to take action and to work collectively to tackle this threat. Our package of funding will enable members to review their cyber security capability, and deliver the stability and resilience that we all need to stay safe online and grow our digital economies," May said.