Australians are suffering more than ever to various cyber scams, with the ACCC’s ninth annual Targeting Scams Report confirming the ACCC received more than 200,000 scam reports costing a total of roughly $340 million during 2017, a $40 million increase from 2016. Whilst this increase is attributed to a variety of different cyber scams, including investment scams which totalled $64 million, an increase of more than 8%, the second largest contributor to the $340 million total losses was from dating and romance scams which amounted to $42 million. The search for love clearly has its costs. With the average loss suffered per victim totalling $6500, these losses are not inconsequential and continue to push cybersecurity into the forefront of both individuals and businesses daily activities.
By Cameron Abbott and Georgia Mills
The Australian Defence Department granted IBM Australia a $4 million, 3 year contract for the provision of its Watson cognitive computing infrastructure. The platform provides a cognitive, artificial intelligence and machine learning capability for use by Defence and is only the second on-premises instance of Watson globally.
Matt Smorhun, Assistant Secretary for the ICT Strategy Realisation Branch at the Department of Defence said they decided to “just buy this thing” and then work out how it was going to fit into the organisation later. (Which did strike us as a rather strange approach to spending tax payers dollars – but congrats to the IBM sales person who pulled that off!)
Recent news reports have revealed that Facebook has been hit with another data scandal.
The anonymised data of approximately 3 million Facebook users has reportedly been published on a poorly protected website. This data was originally collected via a Facebook quiz app called “myPersonality”. The myPersonality app was developed as part of the “myPersonality project” run by academics at the University of Cambridge’s The Psychometrics Centre.
Up to 8000 clients of Family Planning New South Wales have been affected by a ransomware attack on the NGO’s website. No the sort of records people every want to see disclosed.
The website was hacked on ANZAC Day, with the personal information of clients who had contacted FPNSW in the past 2 and a half years compromised – including details such as names, contact details and reasons for enquiries.
Digital Rights Watch, an organisation with the aim of upholding digital rights, yesterday released its State of Digital Rights Report. The Report focuses on and makes recommendations about digital privacy in Australia including metadata retention.
The Report is endorsed by several human rights organisations, including the Australian Privacy Foundation, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Amnesty International Australia, the Human Rights Law Centre and Save the Children Australia.
In the US, several attempts at class actions for those affected by a data breach have failed challenges in early procedural stages. In Dieffenbach v. Barnes & Noble, Inc., 887 F.3d 826 (7th Cir. Apr. 11, 2018), the Seventh Circuit allowed a data breach class action to survive the pleadings stage. At the same time, the Court indicated that the plaintiffs may have a tough time proving their claims on the merits or establishing that class certification is warranted. At the end of the day, the Dieffenbach decision may prove to be less of a boon and more of a bust for plaintiffs in data breach class actions. Although it may provide a means to get into court, the decision makes clear that obtaining a favorable outcome may be a “difficult task.” For a full summary of the Dieffenbach decision please see our client alert here.
Cameron Abbott and Georgia Mills
The UK Information Commissioner has ordered UK-based firm Cambridge Analytica to hand over all the personal information it holds about an American academic, confirming the right of people to access the personal data held about them by a UK firm. The academic initially approached Cambridge Analytica for it to explain what information it had gathered on him, and later complained to the Commissioner that the consulting firm had failed to share the entirety of its data on him nor explained how it accumulated the information it held.
It is a technology so innocuous that it hardly gets a second thought: electronic hotel key cards have been replacing the humble lock and key for over two decades. A recent study by Finnish security researchers has revealed a vulnerability in the technology. The discovery came as a result of the researchers’ obsession over many years to solve a mystery of how a laptop was stolen from a hotel room without leaving a trace. (Small consolation that it cannot have been easy to do given how long it took!)