Security partnership tackles cyber threats head on

Cyber threats are getting more sophisticated, but New Zealand’s top cybersecurity organisations are partnering to stop them in their tracks.

REANNZ, Cassini (part of the Bastion Security Group) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have joined forces on a service to deliver additional protection from cyber threats for the research and education sector. And, in a year of using threat intelligence feeds from the NCSC, around 5 million cyber threats have already been disrupted.

REANNZ, is an integral provider of infrastructure services to the research and education sector. Along with managing New Zealand’s high-performance national digital network (or NREN), this Crown-owned organisation helps its members – such as universities, research organisations, and government departments – to manage some of the risks associated with growing cybersecurity threats.

The organisation has just deployed Cassini’s cyber threat intelligence to block known malicious cyber threats from members’ networks. But, before getting started, it was important that REANNZ thoroughly tested the products internally across its own organisation.

Yeshaswini Ramesh, the Head of Network Operations at REANNZ, puts it like this: “Before implementing across the network, we trialled the solution on our own corporate network. We brought in Cassini as they offered us a great solution to integrate NCSC and Cert NZ feeds as well as rich reporting capabilities. The trial met all our expectations, enabling us to confidently deploy the disruption service across our network.

Cassini co-founder and Bastion Director Dean Pemberton says: “It was exciting to not just be helping one corporate but helping an entire sector. We moved from helping protect REANNZ staff to aiding many thousands of users – as well as their intellectual property.”

REANNZ’s Chief Executive, Amber McEwen, emphasises how partnership is critical to tackle complex threats such as these.

“Each year cyber threats across the globe are getting more sophisticated. Without adequate protections and a mature cybersecurity mindset, New Zealand’s research and education sector is vulnerable to these attacks. This initiative demonstrates how the public and private sector can work together to stop cybercriminals in their tracks. Together, we’re protecting the innovations and intellectual property of the research and education community from millions of cyber threats each year.”

James Fitzsimons, Director of Innovation and Product Development at Bastion Security Group and Cassini co-founder, says leaders are increasingly realising that cyber is a significant risk in this digital age.

“A successful cyber-attack can be an existential crisis for organisations. But there is a maturing mindset – New Zealanders are coming to realise the risk and are taking some very important steps on the journey to address them.”

Mark Spadafora, Chief Technology Officer, National Cyber Security Centre, says: “We always knew that having a capability like malware free networks (MFN) was an important way for us to scale our cyber defence services to a broader range of New Zealand organisations. Given the span of organisations in the REANNZ network, the deployment of MFN to help protect their environments is the embodiment of that vision and will contribute to raising cybersecurity resilience.”

REANNZ will respond to growing risks by continuing to add other protections, using intelligence from NCSC, and the expertise of organisations in the private sector, such as Cassini. Members can expect new protections to include the use of cyber-threat intelligence to block known malicious domains in the REANNZ DNS servers by mid-2024.

For more information about this initiative, or tailored support with cybersecurity for your organisation, please get in touch with the engagement team:

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