NZ Fry Up: NZ tech body condemns Russia; No official advice on Kaspersky; Vodafone scores high in mobile benchmark; AA’s new CTO

New Zealand IT, tech, and telco news and views from our correspondent in the Central North Island.

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NZ tech body joins Russia war condemnation

Tech body IT Professionals New Zealand (ITPNZ) has joined the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) in condemning the actions of Russia in Ukraine.

As an active member of IFIP, ITPNZ said it agrees with the sentiments of a statement the IFIP board released last month expressing its deep shock at the events in Ukraine. In its statement, IFIP said it has deep ties in Ukraine, with its last in-person General Assembly hosted in Kyiv in September 2019. 

IFIP is an umbrella organisation of computer and ICT professional societies worldwide, it has a formal consultative partnership with UNESCO, and it is recognised by United Nations and other world bodies. 

ITPNZ is represented at IFIP board level by Elizabeth Eastwood and on technical committees and working groups by more than 20 New Zealand academics.

NZ intelligence agencies not blacklisting Russian software

Government agencies and other New Zealand organisations are being left to decide for themselves whether to use software from Russian companies, such as Kaspersky.

A spokesperson for the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has told Reseller News it does not “prescribe systems or software or hardware to be used by government agencies”.

This comes after Lakes District Health Board (DHB) said it was working with the Ministry of Health and the NCSC to determine whether removal of Kaspersky antivirus software was a New Zealand government requirement.

The DHB uses Kaspersky software to protect its clinical servers but said a replacement product will be installed if removing the Russian product was required.

Kaspersky has been blacklisted by the US Federal Communications Commission. In 2017, Kaspersky software was banned for being used use in US federal information systems due to concerns about Kaspersky’s links to the Russian government.

The NCSC does however recommend that nationally significant New Zealand organisations “consider their security posture, exercise readiness, and monitor for relevant cybersecurity developments” due to the potential for increased malicious cyber activity following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The message seems to be “User beware!”.

AA announces new CTO

The Automobile Association (AA) has appointed Phil Coster as its new CTO. Coster joins the AA after eight years as CIO of Mitre 10 and will officially take up the AA role within the next few months. With more than 25 years of IT experience, Coster was previously CIO at the Ezibuy Group, and has held various roles at Vector, ACP Media and Coca-Cola Amatil.  

While at Mitre 10 Coster led a programme of change to improve operational and organisational efficiency across its retail network.

The AA said Coster’s ability to transform IT and business functions will deliver value for the association and improve the customer experience of its members. “He is adept at focusing on the practical application of technology in areas such as insights, supply chain optimisation, cybersecurity, and digital transformation and holds a philosophy of leveraging technology to help people perform their jobs smarter not harder,” said AA CEO Nadine Tereora.

Vodafone New Zealand comes out top in benchmarking survey

Vodafone New Zealand’s mobile network scored the highest overall in an independent mobile network benchmarking survey by Accenture’s mobile benchmarking unit, Umlaut.

Vodafone achieved an overall score of 797 out of 1000, while 2degrees scored 760 and Spark 751, also outperformed its rivals in tests for the quality of data and voice services.

Umlaut said it analysed the network performance of New Zealand’s mobile networks measuring smartphone voice and data performance based on extensive drive tests covering 6,700km across the country. This included major cities as well as smaller towns and connection roads. It also gathered data from crowdsourced-based tests, which it said covered 97.6 % of the country’s population areas.

For voice services, Vodafone scored 240 out of 300, while 2degrees and Spark each scored 201.

The scores for data performance were closer with Vodafone’s 356 out of 450, 2degrees 352, and Spark 340.

However, Spark led on crowdsourced quality scoring at 210 out of 250. Vodafone scored the lowest at 201, with 2degrees achieving 207.

umlaut benchmarking graph Umlaut

Accenture’s Umlaut mobile benchmarking unit scored mobile performance of New Zealand’s mobie carriers.

Umlaut’s methodology focused on customer-perceived network quality. All mobile operators were notified of the certification window, but none were aware of the route the testers would take around New Zealand.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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