CyberWatch: Australia

Insight on how cyber risk is being mitigated and managed in Australia and across the globe.

 

1
The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics – skating on thin ice when it comes to cybersecurity?
2
Cybersecurity is only one part of security – a filing cabinet could be your highest risk
3
Facebook wants you to know that it’s accountable for your privacy
4
Fitness tracking app reveals US army secrets?
5
US Government reaches for data stored on foreign soil
6
Tech giants scramble as gigantic vulnerability revealed
7
The co-existence of open data and privacy in a digital world
8
Malware with your coffee? Starbucks customers sent to the virtual mines… to find bitcoins
9
Is nothing safe? New malware targets industrial control systems
10
One-third of US businesses suffer data breaches: How will you protect yourself?

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics – skating on thin ice when it comes to cybersecurity?

By Cameron Abbott and Samantha Tyrrell

McAfee, a cybersecurity company, reported that organisations associated with the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games suffered security breaches as part of a hacking campaign in January. In a second chapter to this story, organisers have recently confirmed that Olympic servers were the subject of a cyberattack during the opening ceremony last Friday.

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Cybersecurity is only one part of security – a filing cabinet could be your highest risk

By Cameron Abbott and Harry Crawford

No matter how much you spend on cybersecurity technology, data breaches can occur in the most basic ways, for example by leaving an old filing cabinet lying around. This demonstrates the need for a holistic approach to information security.

Recently, highly confidential government papers were discovered inside two locked filing cabinets that were purchased at a second-hand furniture shop in Canberra. What likely happened was a public servant overseeing an office clean up unwittingly sold the filing cabinets containing state secrets to the furniture shop.

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Facebook wants you to know that it’s accountable for your privacy

By Cameron Abbott and Samantha Tyrrell

Facebook has always been confronted with privacy-related scrutiny, including being the respondent in the proceedings that ultimately brought down the EU-US privacy shield. On 28 January 2018, Facebook revealed its “privacy principles” to users for the first time. Via a series of educational videos and a ‘Privacy Check Up’ function, Facebook has shared the core principles it uses to guide its approach to privacy. Facebook will also roll out a new hub which will allow users to more easily control their privacy settings.

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Fitness tracking app reveals US army secrets?

By Cameron Abbott and Allison Wallace

 

Sometimes you don’t need a “hack” to have a cybersecurity issue.  The locations of several US military bases in the Middle East seem to have been inadvertently revealed through US soldiers’ use of fitness tracking devices, and the fitness tracking app Strava. Read More

US Government reaches for data stored on foreign soil

By Cameron Abbott and Harry Crawford

A significant case for digital privacy is currently before the US Supreme Court, with the US Justice Department fighting it out against Microsoft in a bid to gain access to emails held on Microsoft’s servers in Dublin. The US Justice Department is seeking to use a search warrant to access the emails in Ireland in a drug trafficking case. If a precedent is set which allows the US government to access data stored on foreign soil, that could have a significant impact on privacy rights on a global scale.

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Tech giants scramble as gigantic vulnerability revealed

By Cameron Abbott and Harry Crawford

In one of the largest cybersecurity scares in history, researchers revealed two CPU vulnerabilities for practically all computers manufactured in the last two decades which could allow hackers to gain access to stored data.

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The co-existence of open data and privacy in a digital world

By Cameron Abbott, Keely O’Dowd and Giles Whittaker

Earlier this week researchers from the University of Melbourne released a report on the successful re-identification of Australian patient medical data that formed part of a de-identified open dataset.

In September 2016, the researchers were able to re-identify the longitudinal medical billing records of 10% of Australians, which equates to about 2.9 million people. The report outlines the techniques the researches used to re-identify the data and the ease at which this can be done with the right know-how and skill set (ie someone with an undergraduate computing degree could re-identify the data).

At first glance, the report exposes the poor handling of the dataset by the Department of Health. Which brings into focus the need for adequate contractual obligations regarding use and handling of personal information, and the need to ensure adequate liability protections are addressed even where the party’s intentions are for all personal information to be de-identified. The commercial risk with de-identified data has shown to be the equivalent of a dormant volcano.

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Malware with your coffee? Starbucks customers sent to the virtual mines… to find bitcoins

By Cameron Abbott and Harry Crawford

“Free” Wi-Fi isn’t necessarily so. The Wi-Fi provided in a Starbucks store in Buenos Aires was recently discovered to be planting malware onto customer’s laptops. This is another lesson in how cybersecurity can affect even the most innocuous corner-store businesses.

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Is nothing safe? New malware targets industrial control systems

By Cameron Abbott and Harry Crawford

I’m sure I saw this in Die Hard 4 but “life imitates art”.   A new type of malware has been discovered in a very rare field of operation for hackers: attacking industrial control systems. Cybersecurity firm FireEye has been tight-lipped in detailing the attack, but has indicated that it was against “a critical infrastructure organization” which inadvertently caused operations to shut down. The attack is also reminiscent of the infamous “Stuxnet” virus that was used against Iranian nuclear power plants in 2010. Read More

One-third of US businesses suffer data breaches: How will you protect yourself?

By Cameron Abbott and Harry Crawford

A recent survey has shown that nearly one-third (29%) of US businesses experienced a data breach in the previous year.

The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, part of global reinsurer Munich Re, conducted the survey which shows that 8 in 10 affected businesses spent at least $5,000 to respond. 27 percent of the businesses spent between US$5,000 and US$50,000 to respond to the data breach and 30 percent spent between US$50,000 and US$100,000, and a considerable portion spent even more than that. The costs were not only directly financial, with two-thirds of the affected businesses reporting their reputation was negatively impacted.

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