CyberWatch: Australia

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

 

1
The Defence Department’s $4 million investment in Cognitive Computing
2
US Department of Homeland Security unveils five point strategy to combat cyber risk
3
Another Facebook app leaves anonymised data of 3 million users potentially exposed
4
Family Planning NSW the latest victim of cyber attacks
5
Report says Digital Rights are Human Rights
6
US Court signals that proving data breach class actions will be difficult
7
UK Information Commissioner Orders Cambridge Analytica to Hand Over American’s Personal Data
8
Internet of Things security flaw – key card locks vulnerable
9
Facebook to release “clear history” tool
10
Drive to Expand Australian Cyber Spy Powers

The Defence Department’s $4 million investment in Cognitive Computing

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!)

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US Department of Homeland Security unveils five point strategy to combat cyber risk

By Cameron Abbott and Sarah Goegan

This week, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its Cybersecurity Strategy. The five “pillar” strategy will be executed by the DHS over the next five years, and aims to improve national cybersecurity risk management.

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Another Facebook app leaves anonymised data of 3 million users potentially exposed

By Cameron Abbott and Keely O’Dowd

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.

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Family Planning NSW the latest victim of cyber attacks

By Cameron Abbott and Allison Wallace

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.

 

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US Court signals that proving data breach class actions will be difficult

By Andrew C. Glass, David D. Christensen, Cameron Abbott and Matthew N. Lowe

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.

UK Information Commissioner Orders Cambridge Analytica to Hand Over American’s Personal Data

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.

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Internet of Things security flaw – key card locks vulnerable

Cameron Abbott, Warwick Andersen, Rob Pulham and Georgia Mills

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!)

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Facebook to release “clear history” tool

By Cameron Abbott and Keely O’Dowd

Facebook collects data on every “like” button you click on a website and the websites you visit that use Facebook pixel code.

At the F8 Conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook will release a new tool that will enable Facebook users to see and delete identifying information that Facebook has collected about them from other websites and apps. This new “clear history” tool will also allow users to turn off having this information stored with their Facebook account.

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Drive to Expand Australian Cyber Spy Powers

By Warwick AndersenRob Pulham and Georgia Mills

Australia’s military cyber spy agency, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), could soon be receiving radical new espionage powers to monitor Australian citizens for the first time. If approved, the ASD may be able to secretly access the digital information of Australians including emails, health data, bank records, and text messages.

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