New Zealand's spy agency, Government Communications Security Bureau, has a new cyber attack defence system. GCSB director Ian Fletcher has revealed the intelligence agency will invest in the system to protect New Zealand from cyber warfare.

According to, Fletcher said he cannot say how Project Cortex works or which organisations will be under its protection. The spy boss has also refused to discuss the cost of the new system. The existence of Project Cortex was on the spotlight when Prime Minister John Key revealed the information following Kim Dotcom's "moment of truth" event in September.

The New Zealand government is scheduled to review the country's intelligence agencies and their legalities in 2015. Fletcher said GCSB is currently experiencing recruitment challenges amid a tight labour market.

He warned that the "barriers to entry" have become lower in spreading serious malware on the Internet as resources can be found either in the commercial or black market. Fletcher believes there is more critical infrastructure that would be vulnerable to an attack as the phone lines, power and banking systems are being controlled by internet protocol devices.

When asked more about Project Cortex, Fletcher only said that it is a set of tools rather than one product designed to protect crucial organisations and private sector from cyber attacks originating overseas. He has also declined to reveal the criteria organisations will have to meet before they will be protected by Project Cortex.

Fletcher has previously clarified that GCSB is not trying to be another cybersecurity company as it attempts to deal with the threats against a well-managed commercial organisations. The GCSB head said that the National Cyber Security Centre figures have shown an increase in the number of reported serious incidents every year. He believes the consistent rise in the number of reported incidents reflected the organisation's willingness to report the cyber attack. Radio NZ had reported a 60 percent increase in cyber attacks every year.

Compared to other countries, Fletcher said the number of cyber attacks in New Zealand remains at normal levels. When asked if Cortex could protect New Zealand organisations from the serious malware reportedly produced by North Korea, Fletcher said he genuinely does not have any idea but it remains a relevant issue.

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