Tag: data protection

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To encrypt or not encrypt? That is the question
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Is Microsoft giving us a window to our personal data?
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Australian organisations hit by thousands of significant cyber incidents
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Brexit and Data Protection
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Yes it can cost you your job…even if you are the boss!

To encrypt or not encrypt? That is the question

By Cameron Abbott and Ella Richards

In response to the new controversial anti-encryption laws, Australian tech heavyweights have banded together to kick and scream over the restrictive implications the laws are already having on their industry.

Quick history lesson; the Assistance and Access Bill permit law enforcement to demand companies running applications such as Whatsapp to allow “lawful access to information”. This can be through either decryption of encrypted technology, or providing access to communications which are not yet encrypted. These ‘backdoors’ are intended to provide the good guys with the opportunity to fight serious crime, however there’s serious fear that in reality, these doors could throw out privacy or let in unwanted guests.

While the legislation states that backdoors should only be created if it doesn’t result in any ‘systemic weakness’; this is yet to be defined in a concrete and informative way. Industry points out that once created any such measure has the potential to be exploited by others. There is no such thing as a “once” only back door.

There is little doubt that this will end up in litigation as larger industry players challenge the abstract concepts in the legislation against the reality of their technology.

StartupAUS, an industry group of tech executives, have made several recommendations to amend the legislation. Even though they’re not holding their breath for any significant changes, they’re demanding more transparency around the requirements. Their recommendations include scrapping the requirement for an employee to build capabilities to intercept communications, tightening the scope of ‘designated communication providers’, giving oversight on how companies will be targeted and increasing what constitutes a ‘serious offence’.

Australia’s legislative response to the problem faced by law enforcement is one of the most heavy handed in the democratic world, and now has the world of technology companies with their significant impact on our economy watching the latest debate on reforms with great concern.

Is Microsoft giving us a window to our personal data?

By Cameron Abbott and Allison Wallace

We often blog on this page about personal information being breached, data being hacked, systems being compromised – and tell cautionary tales of the difficulties businesses can experience if they experience a data breach.

So what if there was a good news story? A way to know what information there is out there about you, so that if it is compromised, you can take control? Microsoft may just be working on such a solution.

Multiple websites (see here and here) have now reported on Microsoft’s “Project Bali” – which, although still in a private testing phase is accessible to a lucky few, by invite only.

The Project Bali website reportedly describes the tech giant’s project as “a new personal data bank which puts users in control of all data collected about them” and will allow users to “store all data (raw and inferred) generated by them ..[and] to visualise, manage, control, share and monetise the data”.

It is reported that the project was borne from a Microsoft Research paper in 2014 that delved into the concept of “Inverse Privacy” – allowing consumers to access the data that any given business holds about them, increasing transparency, something consumers value.

In theory, Project Bali seems like a good antidote to the increasing number of privacy incursions we are seeing (such as this and this). However, whether the idea is commercialised and becomes publicly available, only time will tell. We will keep you posted.

Australian organisations hit by thousands of significant cyber incidents

By Cameron Abbott and Rebecca Murray

The Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) 2016 Threat Report has revealed that Australian businesses and government have been subject to more than 15,000 significant incidents that they know of. Read the report here. They were the first to admit that given reporting is optional they cannot really determine the full impact.

Due to the current reporting regime, the ACSC has had to rely on data from callouts to CERT Australia (the national first responder to cyber incidents) to assess the extent of the problem in the private sector. CERT Australia responded to 14,804 incidents from the private sector from June 2015 to June 2016. Of those callouts, 418 involved systems of national interest and critical infrastructure. The banking, finance, energy and communications sectors were the most heavily targeted.

While the Government has introduced a bill to mandate serious data breach notification that is set to be passed in the near future (find out more about the bill here), until then, we will continue to go mostly unaware of damaging malicious cyber activity launched against Australian organisations because the private sector largely refuses report these incidents.

Brexit and Data Protection

Linked article by Andrew W. Gilchrist, Arthur Artinian, Andrew R. Danson, Philip J. Morgan, Daniel L. Clyne

As part of K&L Gates continued coverage of the issues raised by Britain’s exit of the EU (see our dedicated Brexit Hub here), our European colleagues have made an assessment of the post-Brexit landscape with respect to UK’s data protection laws.

Although there will be no immediate impact (given it is expected that it will take at least 2 years before any Brexit is finalised), companies should begin to consider what legal framework may apply in the post-Brexit world. For more information, please see 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.

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