How to protect yourself from an online bomb threat
New Zealanders should not get scared by online threats of a bomb, a government-appointed expert says.
“If it’s a bomb and it’s coming to your house, you’ve got a real risk,” Professor John McTiernan, who is the chair of the New Zealand Council of Social Services and a specialist in cyber security, told a Senate inquiry on Tuesday.
New Zealanders must be vigilant about threats to their home and businesses, said Professor McTiernsons report.
He said a bomb threat against the state could amount to an act of terrorism.
In his report to the Senate inquiry, McTiernan warned that the government is failing to properly address threats to national security.
The New Zealand government is working on new legislation to strengthen the state’s ability to respond to threats to public safety, he said.
A draft of the bill that was tabled last year was withdrawn after a backlash by the opposition.
McTiernan said that the bill would not address online threats but would create a “new, greater level of protection” for the countrys public.
“In terms of the new law, it’s important to note that, unlike previous cyber threats, the law does not require a specific target or specific person to be identified,” McTiernz said.
“It does not make it an offence to make a threat or to share it with a member of the public.”
He said that although it could result in the same type of response as the threat of a deadly bomb, there are limitations.
For example, there is no requirement that a person must have the capability to make the threat or be able to share the threat, McLeptons report said.
McTierngs report also noted that a law would need to be introduced to make sure that cyber threats were not used as cover for an actual attack, as happened in the case of the 2007 Mumbai terror attacks, which claimed more than 160 lives.
But Professor McLeethan said that New Zealand was “not prepared to ignore” the risks posed by online attacks.
“I am not going to sit here and say that this will never happen,” he said, adding that the New Zealander government had to take “a lot of responsibility” for protecting its citizens.
Professor McLeighans report recommended that the Government work with other countries to create a new “Cyber Security Bill of Rights” to address cyber threats and protect the rights of citizens.