CyberWatch: Australia

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

 

1
OAIC releases draft guide for conducting big data activities
2
Yes it can cost you your job…even if you are the boss!
3
Were you a LinkedIn member in 2012?
4
Former High Court judge Michael Kirby calls for privacy laws to deal with serious invasions of privacy
5
Hacked accounts anyone?
6
SWIFT’s assessment of Distributed Ledger Technologies
7
Australian Government releases Cyber Security Strategy
8
Privacy Commissioner releases a Guide to deal with data breaches
9
Event: Learn With Us – Update on Cybersecurity
10
Bangladesh Bank considers legal action against the NY Fed in Hollywood-esque hack

OAIC releases draft guide for conducting big data activities

By Cameron Abbott and Simon Ly

Last week the OAIC released their consultation draft Guide to big data and the Australian Privacy Principles, with feedback on the Guide open until 26 July 2016.

The main purpose of the Guide is to facilitate big data activities while protecting personal information (being information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable). The Guide addresses issues such as notice and consent, retention minimisation and use limitation in regards to such data. Whilst not legally binding, the Guide will be referred to by the Privacy Commissioner in undertaking its functions under the Privacy Act.

One of the key aspects dealt with in the Guide is that entities should consider undertaking big data activities on an anonymised manner by de-identifying personal information. If so, this has the favourable outcome that such data will not be considered personal information so accordingly less onerous obligations apply under the Privacy Act to such data. Of course, if this is the case it also lessens the chance that personal information will be compromised should a data breach occur (speaking of which, we note OAIC’s April 2016 guide to deal with data breaches). However, in our experience most of our clients want to analyse and then drill down to take actions or campaigns in relation to a then identified group of customers.

The Guide also highlights how big data interacts with the APPs as well as discussing other related concepts, such as “privacy by design” frameworks. For more information, you can access the OAIC’s consultation draft Guide here.

Yes it can cost you your job…even if you are the boss!

By Cameron Abbott and Giles Whittaker

The CEO of Austrian aerospace parts maker FACC, has been fired following a cyber fraud that cost the company 42 million euros (AUD $65 million). FACC also fired their CFO in February soon after the cyber fraud.

Executives are being held responsible for business’ cybersecurity measures, and while FACC declined to comment on the details of Walter Stephan’s shortcomings, their supervisory board concluded that Walter Stephan had “severely violate his duties, in particular in relation to the fake president incident”. It is likely that this violation is in reference to a lack of adequate cybersecurity procedures or protections, which would be considered essential for most businesses in this technologically integrated era.

So how was it done? The technique used to deceive FACC into handing over their money is known as a ‘fake president incident’. To put it simply, the hackers sent an email to an employee posing as the CEO, and requested that funds be transferred to a specified account for a fake acquisition project. It would appear the board figured it shouldn’t have been that easy.

More information about this cyber fraud can be found in an article by reuters.

Were you a LinkedIn member in 2012?

By Cameron Abbott and Simon Ly

Following on from the well-publicised 2012 data breach, LinkedIn today announced that a data set relating to that hack containing over 100 million LinkedIn emails and passwords has now been released to the public. It appears at this stage that the hacker is trying to sell the emails and passwords on a dark web illegal marketplace.

At the time of the 2012 data breach, LinkedIn informed members to change their passwords. If you did and your details are part of the 100 million member details released, this is less problematic for you. However, the major caveat is that if you have been using that stolen password for your many other online accounts, it could open a can of worms for the hacking of more valuable accounts that you might hold.

For more updates, see LinkedIn’s official release here.

Former High Court judge Michael Kirby calls for privacy laws to deal with serious invasions of privacy

By Cameron Abbott and Simon Ly

In a recent speech and comments made to Fairfax Media, former High Court of Australia judge Michael Kirby has taken aim at the current state of Australia’s privacy law regime in regards to serious invasions of privacy such as “revenge porn” and the kinds of privacy breaches often associated with the press.

Mr Kirby called upon the NSW parliament to legislate to protect its citizens in order to push the federal government to create a national standard. Mr Kirby’s comments follows the March 2016 report released by the NSW parliament titled “Remedies for the serious invasion of privacy in New South Wales” where the Upper House committee made a series of recommendations that a statutory cause of action be introduced in NSW that would enable people who have suffered a serious invasion of privacy to commence a civil action.

Taking an international view, this issue took the attention worldwide recently when then-ESPN reporter Erin Andrews was secretly filmed nude by a stalker while in her hotel room. Since then, Erin Andrews settled a claim with the hotel operator after having been awarded $55 million in March 2016.

For more information, please see NSW’s report here, which the government is expected to respond to by 5 September 2016.

Hacked accounts anyone?

By Cameron Abbott and Giles Whittaker

Have you been hacked? If you are the user of a Google, Yahoo or Microsoft e-mail account then it is a possibility. Alex Holden, the founder and Chief Information Officer of Hold Security who discovered the hack has identified 272.3 million account credentials have been stolen. The majority of these accounts are users of Mail.ru which is Russia’s most popular e-mail service.

57 million Mail.ru account credentials had been hacked and Mail.ru “are now checking any combinations of usernames/passwords match users’ e-mails and are still active”, from initial checks there were no live combinations.

Google and Yahoo are yet to provide any response.

This recent hack, which was performed by a young Russian hacker who is more determined to become famous than rich from his recent efforts after only asking for 50 roubles (less than $1) for the entire dataset, is one of the biggest collection of stolen credentials since the attacks on major US banks and retailers two years ago. The information which was stolen, as suggest by Holden in an interview with Reuters is “potent [and] it is floating around in the underground…which can be abused multiple times.”

Some of the stolen credentials include those for employees of large US banking, manufacturing and retail companies. When considering that 22 percent of big data breaches come from stolen online credentials (according to a recent survey of 325 computer professional) and hacks of this nature typically allow for further break-ins or phishing attacks by accessing the contacts of each hacked account, the domino effect of a hack such as this is substantial. Furthermore, individuals that like to re-use their preferred passwords across multiple accounts have exposed themselves to additional hacks.

So what is the take away message? According to Will Harwood, founder and Chief Technology Officer of Silicon SAFE, the solution as he told Infosecurity is to put the “password data in a dedicated hardware supported database that only allows data to be stored and compared, never revealed.”

For more of Will Harwood’s security suggestions and the Infosecurity article click here.

To read more about Alex Holden’s discovery of the Russian hacker click here.

SWIFT’s assessment of Distributed Ledger Technologies

By Cameron Abbott and Giles Whittaker

SWIFT and Accenture released their new paper into how Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs) could be used in financial services. The outcome of their assessment highlighted 8 key gaps between industry requirements and the current DLT solutions. The 8 critical factors to be addressed before widespread adoption of DLT’s include:

  1. strong governance;
  2. data controls;
  3. compliance with regulatory requirements;
  4. standardisation;
  5. identity framework;
  6. security and cyber defence;
  7. reliability; and
  8. scalability.

The potential use of these technologies is still unclear according to Fabian Vandenreydt the Head of Securities, Innotribe and the SWIFT Institute. However SWIFT has committed to working with the industry to identify areas in which the technology can provide the greatest benefit.

For more information about SWIFT’s position on DLTs or to download a copy of the paper visit here.

Australian Government releases Cyber Security Strategy

By Cameron Abbott and Giles Whittaker

Cybersecurity appears to be a new popular expenditure, particularly in Australia, as Malcom Turnbull announces his government’s new Cyber Security Strategy initiative budgeted to cost $230 million over 4 years in addition to the $400 million allocated in the 2016 Defence White Paper over 10 years.

So what do we get for all that money? The government has announced their 5 themes of action over the next 4 years which includes:

  1. a national cyber partnership;
  2. strong cyber defences;
  3. global responsibility and influence;
  4. growth and innovation; and
  5. a cyber smart nation.

This will include the funding to establish a Cyber Security Growth Centre through a National Innovation and Science Agenda. The Growth Centre is intended to serve as an innovation hub which will identify and prioritise cybersecurity challenges and identify opportunities for Australia to build globally competitive commercial solutions.

Cybersecurity is grabbing global attention and the Turnbull government has appointment their first Cyber Ambassador. The role of the Cyber Ambassador will be to identify opportunities for practical international cooperation and ensure Australia is situated to take advantage of new commercial opportunities.

Small businesses are often left exposed to hackers due to a lack of resources allocated to cybersecurity and, are targeted for their potential provide a back door to other companies, are often targeted. Turnbull’s no business left behind strategy sees small businesses being allocated $15 million in grants to have their systems tested and improved by The Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers (CREST).

For further information access the government’s plan here.

Privacy Commissioner releases a Guide to deal with data breaches

By Cameron Abbott, Rob Pulham and Simon Ly

On 11 April 2016, the Privacy Commissioner released a guide to deal with issues associated with data breaches. This is aimed at entities regulated by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) in order to assist them with complying with the Australian Privacy Principles.

When (and it is likely to be a matter of when and not if) your entity is subject to a data breach, whether it be through your system being hacked or if devices are lost or stolen, it is important that you are equipped to deal with it. It is important to get in front of such problems and have pre-prepared action plans given that it is likely that the first 24 hours will be the most crucial in determining your level of success in dealing with a data breach. Data breaches can be expensive, both in a monetary and reputational sense.

In the guide, the Privacy Commissioner highlighted that a written data breach response plan is an important tool to help deal with such issues. Such a plan should include:

  • actions to be taken if a breach is suspected, discovered or reported by a staff member, including escalation measures;
  • the members of the data breach response team; and
  • the actions the team are expected to take.

Such a plan needs to be regularly reviewed and updated, with all relevant staff kept up to date so that they know what actions they are expected to take.

The Privacy Commissioner suggests the following four steps to be taken when a data breach is discovered:

  1. contain the breach and do a preliminary assessment;
  2. evaluate the risks associated with the breach;
  3. develop a plan for notifying affected individuals and consider what information should be in any notification; and
  4. determine steps to be taken to prevent future breaches.

For more information, please feel free to contact us. You can find out more information on practical steps you can take here.

Event: Learn With Us – Update on Cybersecurity

2016 is shaping up to be another big year for developments in cybersecurity and privacy.

We finally expect to see mandatory data breach reporting laws introduced into Australia; there are continuing developments in relation to the US/EU “Safe Harbor” framework and its proposed replacement the “Privacy Shield”; ever-growing connectivity between “Internet of Things” devices; hackable cars; self-driving cars; and of course our favourite topic, drones.

Not to mention the increasing usefulness of data analytics and the steady migration of data into the “cloud”, along with data breaches that have become too prolific to list.

Join Cameron Abbott, Partner, and Rob Pulham, Senior Associate, in our Melbourne office Thursday 14 April 2016 12.45pm to 2.00pm for our annual update on all things cybersecurity and privacy, where we will:

  • highlight some of the key developments over the past 12 months
  • consider how your business should be placed to handle issues that are regularly arising in practice
  • look forward to the (near) future and what it may bring.

Lunch will be provided. We hope you can join us – please register here.

CPD/CLE points:
You can claim one substantive law CLE point for your attendance at this session.

Bangladesh Bank considers legal action against the NY Fed in Hollywood-esque hack

By Cameron Abbott and Simon Ly

In a story that would make an excellent plot to a sequel to Ocean’s 13, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has been the target of a successful major cyber hack. Part of the targeted attack was an attempt to steal nearly $1 billion from Bangladesh Bank’s account.

If anyone would be well protected it would be the NY Fed, right? Well, while they were able to block some 30 transactions, 5 were successful, resulting in $81 million being stolen from Bangladesh Bank’s account.

The NY Fed has released a statement outlining that its systems were not breached, but instead pointing to SWIFT, a member-owned cooperative relied upon by banks to authenticate international monetary transactions. In response, a SWIFT representative stated that it “reiterates that the SWIFT network itself was not breached”. For its part, the NY Fed agreed that it “viewed this as a major lapse on the part of FRB NY”.

It will be fascinating to see how this he-said she-said blame game plays out. The current state of events is that the Bangladesh Bank is engaging legal counsel to establish grounds for recompense.

It goes without saying that these mind boggling figures and the nature of the attack emphasise that no one is immune from attacks. Next time someone tells you that it can’t happen to your organisation – remember this example.

For more information, please see Bloomberg’s report here.

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