Author - Michelle Chasser

US Government charges two Russian spies for 2014 Yahoo data breach
Australian data breach notification law passes both houses of Parliament
The biggest cyber security threats experienced by Australian organisations
Mandatory data breach notification legislation up for discussion
APRA raising the bar on Cybersecurity
10 Considerations for Developing a Data Breach Response Plan
Operation Resilient Shield
Top Five Cybersecurity Insurance Tips
Cybersecurity Risk Management – Financial Services Entities Required to Act
Cyber Insurance is Only a (Small) Part of the Solution

US Government charges two Russian spies for 2014 Yahoo data breach

By Cameron Abbott and Giles Whittaker

US federal authorities have charged 4 men – including 2 Russian spies – in regards to the massive 2014 Yahoo data breach that resulted in the stolen data of over 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014.

It is speculated that the Russian government used the information obtain to conduct a range of espionage activities, including the targeting of “Yahoo trade secrets that contained, among other data, subscriber information including users; names, recovery email accounts, phone numbers and certain information required to manually create or “mint,” account authentication web browser “cookies” for more than 500 million Yahoo accounts” according to an indictment.

In addition to the above Alexsey Belan – a 29 Latvian born Russian national – was able to steal financial information such as gift cards and credit card numbers from webmail accounts and used the accounts to profit from earning commissions on fraudulently redirecting a subset of Yahoo’s search engine traffic.

As the frequency and severity of cyber attacks increase, Director of the FBI James Comey identified the priority “to pierce the veil of anonymity surrounding cyber crimes,” and that US national security authorities “are shrinking the world to ensure that cyber criminals think twice before targeting U.S. persons and interests.”

The biggest cyber security threats experienced by Australian organisations

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

The Australian Government Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has released its 2015 Cyber Security Survey: Major Australian Businesses. 149 organisations across a number of sectors, including banking and finance, defence and energy, responded to the survey which provides some interesting insights into cyber security activity and concerns for the future.

According to the survey the top 10 cyber security incidents experienced by respondents on their networks in the previous 12 months were:

  1. ransomware (72%)
  2. malware (66%)
  3. targeted malicious emails (59%)
  4. virus or worm infection (30%)
  5. theft of mobile devices and laptops (30%)
  6. trojan (27%)
  7. remote access trojans (20%)
  8. unauthorised access (25%)
  9. theft or breach of confidential information (23%)
  10. unauthorised access to information from an outsider (17%)

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Mandatory data breach notification legislation up for discussion

By Jim Bulling, Cameron Abbott, Michelle Chasser and Meg Aitken

The Attorney-General’s Department has released for discussion, an exposure draft bill regarding mandatory reporting of serious data breaches. Notification requirements will apply to companies and information subject to the Privacy Act.

Under the proposal, a company would have up to 30 days after it is aware of a breach, or ought reasonably to be aware of a breach, to assess whether a data breach is a ‘serious data breach’. A serious data breach occurs if:

  1. there is unauthorised access or disclosure of information; and
  2. there is a real risk of serious harm to any of the individuals to whom the information relates.

When considering whether there is a real risk of serious harm to an individual the draft legislation lists a number of factors that should be considered including:

  1. the kind of information;
  2. whether the information is in a form that is intelligible to an ordinary person;
  3. whether the information is protected by security measures;
  4. the kinds of person who could obtain the information;
  5. the nature of the harm; and
  6. any mitigation steps taken by the company.

If the company determines that a serious data breach has occurred, it must notify the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and the affected individuals as soon as practicable. The draft legislation also gives the OAIC additional powers to direct companies to undertake notification.

The proposal has a number of differences from the previous attempts to legislate mandatory data breach reporting which were made in 2013 and 2014. Most notably, previously the trigger for notification involved a belief that there had been a data breach, the current draft requires a company to be aware, or when it ought reasonably to be aware, of a breach. Additional types of specific harm are included in the current draft, however, this is unlikely to have a major impact in practice.

Currently, data notification is only mandatory for unauthorised access to eHealth information under the My Health Records Act 2012. However, the OAIC operates a voluntary data breach notification scheme which also uses the real risk of serious harm notification threshold.

The exposure draft and accompanying discussion paper can be found here. Submissions are due by 4 March 2016.

APRA raising the bar on Cybersecurity

By Jim Bulling

At the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) conference held in Brisbane in the last week of November, Stephen Glenfield, APRA’s General Manager of the South West region indicated that an area of significant interest for APRA during 2016 would be the extent to which superannuation funds were prepared for cybersecurity risks.

Mr Glenfield indicated that APRA would be conducting a thematic review of superannuation funds during 2016 which was designed to provide APRA with much more detailed information about the processes that superannuation fund trustees were putting in place to protect their funds and their members from cybersecurity breaches.

As thematic reviews carried out by APRA are usually precursors to further regulatory or prudential reform, this announcement should alert superannuation funds to expect more comprehensive regulatory requirements in relation to the cybersecurity risks in the near future.

It is expected that APRA will be particularly interested in understanding how superannuation fund risk management frameworks address cybersecurity risks and how trustee boards are involved in the oversight of cybersecurity risk management. A likely focus of the reviews will be investigating the measures which superannuation funds have established to:

  • identify critical assets and data
  • protect such assets and data
  • promptly detect when breaches have occurred
  • respond to breaches including communications and reporting
  • recover from breaches including reinstatement of systems and learnings from incidents.

This initiative comes on the back of ASIC’s release during March of this year of its Report 429 on Cyber Resilience and underlines how Australia’s financial system Regulators are becoming much more concerned about cybersecurity risks.

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.

Top Five Cybersecurity Insurance Tips

By Jim Bulling and Roberta Anderson

The increased risks posed by cybersecurity breaches has meant that many organisation are looking to insurance to address some of the exposure. But cybersecurity insurance is still new and there are things which companies wishing to purchase cybersecurity insurance should look out for. Here are five tips if you are considering obtaining or renewing a cybersecurity insurance policy.

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Cybersecurity Risk Management – Financial Services Entities Required to Act

By Jim Bulling

It seems clear following the release in March this year of ASIC Report 429 Cyber Resilience, that all Australian Financial Services Licensees and superannuation funds are currently required to include in their risk management framework measures aimed at addressing the risks posed by cybersecurity breaches.

In addressing the risks ASIC recommends that the U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) framework is a relevant risk management tool. The NIST standards set out the key objectives of an appropriate risk framework:

  • identify the critical assets and governance processes
  • protect critical assets
  • detect breaches and incidents
  • responses to breaches and incidents
  • recovery and reinstatement of systems.

You can download a copy of the framework here

These objectives will need to be merged into the existing financial services policy frameworks which financial services entities already have in place.

Cyber Insurance is Only a (Small) Part of the Solution

By Jim Bulling

Insurers in the U.S. and Europe are forecasting that the market for cyber insurance will grow exponentially in the next five years as more companies look to beef up protection against malicious cyber attacks.

While the insurers see a significant new market emerging, there are signs that they are wary of the risks and this is impacting on premiums and the limitations being placed on cover. There are a number of insurers offering cyber cover in the Australian market and companies looking for additional protection would be well served by closely examining the terms of the proposed cover to ensure it extends to the more significant cyber risks and does so in a way that complements rather than overlaps the existing insurance program which an organisation has in place (eg Public Indemnity , Directors and Officers Liability, Crime and Property).

It is also worth noting that insurance should only be seen as one component of an organisation’s risk management processes around cybersecurity. A leading insurance broker has suggested that investment in technology is the most important factor in reducing the risk profile while the contribution from insurance is much more modest and to be effective needs to be accompanied by investment in technology.

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