China outlines new plans for industrial cybersecurity - and other  cybersecurity news to know this month 

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China and New Zealand have both announced new plans to improve cyber security and resilience. Image: Unsplash/Adi Goldstein

Akshay Joshi
Head of Industry and Partnerships, Centre for Cybersecurity, World Economic Forum
  • This monthly round-up brings you key cybersecurity stories from the past month.
  • Top cybersecurity news: China to step up industrial cybersecurity; New cyber incident reporting rules for New Zealand banks; Microsoft says it continues to face attacks from Midnight Blizzard.

1. China plans to step up industrial cybersecurity

In late February, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information announced a plan to improve data security in the country's industrial sector. The plans aims to effectively negate 'major risks' by the end of 2026.

Measures include emergency drills that simulate ransomware attacks and data security training. They'll apply to more than 45,000 companies in the industrial sector.

"In response to frequent risk scenarios such as ransomware attacks, vulnerability backdoors, illegal operations by personnel, and uncontrolled remote operation and maintenance, we will strengthen risk self-examination and self-correction, and adopt precise management and protective measures," Reuters reports from the ministry's website.

2. New Zealand's central bank introduces new cyber reporting rules

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ), the country's central bank, has said banks must report major cyber incidents within 72 hours. It's part of wider plans to implement new cyber reporting requirements throughout 2024.

Accurate, timely information is essential, the RBNZ's Director of Prudential Policy, Kate Le Quesne, said in a statement. The bank worked closely with the country's financial markets regulator to develop shared reporting standards.

"We received useful feedback on ways to simplify and coordinate our processes with other agencies," Le Quesne said. Under the suggested rules, large banks will need to report all cyber incidents every six months, and others annually.

New Zealand last year set up a new agency to boost its cyber defences in response to a rise in incidents.


3. News in brief: Top cybersecurity stories this month

Microsoft has announced the availability of its AI-powered cybersecurity tool will be expanded from 1 April on a 'pay-as-you-go' model.

US President Joe Biden announced plans at the end of February to improve cybersecurity at US ports, which include an enhanced role for the Coast Guard. Meanwhile, the US federal government is warning state governors that foreign hackers are targeting water and sewage systems around the country.

Federal police in Canada reported an 'alarming' cyberattack at the end of February, but said operations weren't hit and there was no threat to safety.

Microsoft says it continues to respond to cyber attacks on its systems from Midnight Blizzard, including attempts to access source code repositories and internal systems. The tech giant said there's no evidence that any 'Microsoft-hosted customer-facing systems have been compromised. '

UnitedHealth Group, a major US health insurance company, announced that it has paid out over $2 billion to help health-care providers who have been impacted by the significant cyberattack last month on Change Healthcare, a company subsidiary.


How is the Forum tackling global cybersecurity challenges?

4. More about cybersecurity on Agenda

2023 saw a rise in ransomware attacks. Scott Sayce, Global Head of Cyber Insurance, Allianz Commercial, explores the trends that will drive cyberattacks and ransomware this year, including AI and skills shortages.

AI has numerous implications for cybersecurity, and these are still evolving. However, AI doesn't just pose a threat, it also has the potential to enhance cybersecurity, write the World Economic Forum's Giulia Moschetta and Joanna Bouckaert.

The global shortfall of cybersecurity workers has hit 4 million. To close it we need to get creative, says Alexander Riabov, Senior Communications Advisor at DAI Digital Frontiers - including taking lessons from Top Gun.

1. China plans to step up industrial cybersecurity 2. New Zealand's central bank introduces new cyber reporting rules3. News in brief: Top cybersecurity stories this month4. More about cybersecurity on Agenda

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