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Media Release - Cyber Security CMM Review of the Cook Islands

21 JUNE 2022





Digital technologies and enhanced internet connectivity are increasingly important elements of daily life in the Cook Islands, particularly in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic which has led to a greater local dependency on digital services.

This has positioned cybersecurity as one of the key development and security challenges facing the Cook Islands which is why this week the government partnered with the Oceania Cyber Security Centre (OCSC) from Melbourne Australia to undertake a Cyber Security Capacity Maturity Model for Nations (CMM) Review. The CMM is a multi-dimensional review of the Cook Islands capacity to manage complex cybersecurity risks and is designed to help the country enhance its resilience to dangerous technological threats. It was designed by the Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre (GCSCC) at the University of Oxford who will continue to work as a collaborative research partner with OCSC throughout the review.

With a growing reliance on modern technology, the government recognises that a safe and secure digital environment is now a fundamental feature of island life. Cybersecurity is essential for protecting everything from citizens’ wellbeing to national emergency responses and even critical infrastructure. If the islands want to continue to grow their digital capabilities and experience the economic and social benefits of digitisation, then it is also vital that the country takes steps to modernise its cybersecurity capabilities at a pace equal to these developments.

Building a digitally resilient nation is a complex process that will require everyone to play their part in keeping the community safe. By adopting a holistic approach to cybersecurity and investigating all aspects of the problem, the CMM review is helping the Cook Islands to identify their own priorities for strengthening capacity and building resilience, providing a pathway forward for the next steps of the cybersecurity journey.

Led by Dr James Boorman, the review took place over 4 days and was the OCSC’s first overseas CMM mission since the beginning of the pandemic. Dr Boorman and his research team engaged with over 120 local decision makers and technical experts from: government, law enforcement, emergency response, criminal justice, education, civil society, and the business community. Participants were separated into several focus groups and asked to share their knowledge and understanding of the local cybersecurity context across a range of different portfolios and industries. Over the next three months the findings will be developed into a detailed report by OCSC which will then be handed to the government.

Enquiries to Jaewynn McKay; +682 55486

Photo caption: L-R Office of the Prime Minister staff - Pua Hunter (Director ICT), Ben Ponia (Chief of Staff) with Dr James Boorman who led the review and his associate Joe Fulwood.

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