Category: Managing Threats & Attacks

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Hotel Industry Payment Systems Under Attack
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10 Considerations for Developing a Data Breach Response Plan
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Operation Resilient Shield
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Quick Tips for Entities Looking to Protect Against Cyber Breaches

Hotel Industry Payment Systems Under Attack

By Cameron Abbott and Meg Aitken

Stayed at one of Hilton Worldwide Holdings’ (Hilton) hotels between 18 November – 5 December 2014 or 21 April – 27 July 2015? Check your bank statement.

Within the same week, both the Hilton and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (Starwood) have discovered the point-of-sale terminals at a number of hotels across the globe have been infected with malware.

The malicious malware has enabled hackers to pinch the credit and debit card information of Starwood and Hilton customers, however there is apparently no evidence that personal contact information provided as part of the hotels’ guest-reservation system or loyalty rewards program was stolen.

While the attack on Starwood was confined to 54 of its hotels in North America, the Hilton attack affected the chain’s hotels globally, including Australian establishments. The number of cards compromised has not been revealed by either hotel.

Starwood and Hilton hotels are not the only luxury hotel chains to be affected by data hacks in 2015. The Mandarin Oriental and Trump International have also reported data security breaches involving intrusive malware this year. In the case of Starwood the hack occurred over eight months without detection showing how sophisticated some of these attacks are.

Starwood’s media release can be found here. Hilton’s media release can be accessed here.

10 Considerations for Developing a Data Breach Response Plan

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

A quick response to a data breach is key to mitigating its impact. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) recommends that all entities have a data breach response plan in place and has recently released draft guidance on how to develop such a plan.

The guidance recommends that the plan include setting out the actions to be taken in the event of a breach and the team members involved in those actions. Here are some questions for your organisation to consider based on the OAIC’s draft guidance to developing a data breach response plan.

1. What constitutes a data breach?

2. What actions should your staff take?

3. Who is a member of the response team?

4. When does a breach needs to be escalated to senior management?

5. Who is responsible for contacting and managing any affected individuals?

6. Who decides whether to contact law enforcement or regulators?

7. How are records of data breaches kept?

8. How will you identify and address any weaknesses in data handling that contributed to a data breach?

9. Are there any steps your cybersecurity insurance policy requires you to follow?

10. How will you test your response plan?

The OAIC’s Guide to developing a data breach response plan Consultation draft can be found here.

Operation Resilient Shield

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

The US and UK are set to launch Operation Resilient Shield later this month. Operation Resilient Shield is a cybersecurity exercise to test each country’s readiness to withstand a serious attack designed to steal financial information and disrupt financial systems. Banks and government agencies in both countries will be involved.

As with the UK’s previous large scale cybersecurity exercise in 2013, Operation Waking Shark II, not a lot of detail about the operation has been released. The UK Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) will be overseeing the operation and is thought to be focusing on communication between the two governments and the participating banks as well as amongst the participating banks themselves.

The joint UK US operation was originally announced in January 2015 by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama as part of an agreement between the two countries to develop cybersecurity cooperation principles.

Quick Tips for Entities Looking to Protect Against Cyber Breaches

By Jim Bulling

Research in Australia and overseas suggests that most cyber breaches can either be prevented or the impact of any attack can be significantly limited by a range of low cost and easy to implement measures. These include the following:

  • Username and password standards should be sophisticated.
  • Administrative and privileged access should be controlled.
  • Undesirable applications should removed.
  • Automated patching tools and processes should be used.
  • Data should be backed up regularly.
  • Access to mobile devices should require authentication and data should be encrypted.
  • Anti virus software and filters should be used.

Research released by the Australian Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) indicates that at least 85% of the cyber intrusions that the DSD has responded to would have been mitigated had organisations implemented the above strategies.

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