Tag:data breach

U.S. data breaches reached record high in 2016: Report
Privacy Commissioner investigates alleged sale of telco customer information
Mirai Botnet knocks Liberia offline
Report finds average cost of data breach reaches $4 million
Were you a LinkedIn member in 2012?
Privacy Commissioner releases a Guide to deal with data breaches

U.S. data breaches reached record high in 2016: Report

By Cameron Abbott 

According to a report highlighting findings from the Identity Theft Resource Center and CyberScout:

  • Data breaches in the U.S. reached an all-time high in 2016, with the number of breaches tracked reaching 1,093, a 40% increase from the year earlier
  • The financial services industry accounted for only 52 of the breaches, or 4.8%, making it the least hit of the five industries tracked. Business, healthcare, education and the government and military were hacked more than the financial services industry
  • For the eighth consecutive year, hacking, skimming and phishing were the main drivers of data breaches, representing 55.5% of all reported incidents. Many were due to CEO phishing in which sensitive data is exposed
  • While consumers and businesses are constantly warned to pay close attention to their email, breaches that used email and the internet as a way to hack people only accounted for 9.2% of all the hacks, while employee error was responsible for 8.7% of the hacks.

This isn’t the first data set to show that data breaches surged in 2016. According to Gemalto’s Breach Level Index, in the first six months of 2016, data breaches rose 15%, and the number of compromised data records jumped 31% compared to the previous six months. The findings also revealed that 64% of all data breaches involve identity and personal data theft.

Privacy Commissioner investigates alleged sale of telco customer information

By Cameron Abbott and Allison Wallace

Australia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim is making enquiries into allegations that the personal information of customers of three Australian telcos is being sold online.

Fairfax uncovered an alleged rort involving ‘corrupt insiders’ at the offshore call centres of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, which has allegedly seen details including customers’ addresses, dates of birth and billing statements leaked to at least one private company in India, which is then allegedly selling the information for up to $1000.

Commissioner Pilgrim has said in a statement that he is working to determine what further action may need to be taken.

All three telcos have also released statements, reiterating that they take the privacy of their customers seriously. Vodafone and Optus have met with the AFP, which has now passed the matter on to Indian authorities.

Mirai Botnet knocks Liberia offline

By Cameron Abbott and Rebecca Murray

After launching attacks on security expert Brian Krebs and the servers at Dyn, it appears as though the Mirai botnet has knocked the entire country of Liberia offline. Yes the country.  Given the paucity of protections on the Internet of Things with even weaker controls on adequate passwords, Mirai has a powerful base to co-opt and launch from.  That said a country is no mean achievement, albeit only with a population of 4.5 million and fewer than 10% of its citizens having internet access, the target was a small one. However, it is possible this attack is only the beginning for a new display of Mirai botnet’s capabilities. The attack peaked at a 500Gbps, a relatively modest figure when compared with the Dyn and Brian Krebs attacks.

Judging from the quick succession of recent attacks, we won’t be waiting long before we see another target of this highly effective botnet. Forbes has covered this in more detail here.

Report finds average cost of data breach reaches $4 million

By Cameron Abbott and Giles Whittaker

A report sponsored by IBM and conducted by the Ponemon Institute found that the average cost of a data breach has grown to $4 million, up 29% from 2013. The survey also found cybersecurity incidents continued to witness growth in both volume and sophistication, with 64% more security incidents reported in 2015 than the preceding year. According to the study, the companies lose $158 per compromised record. Also not surprisingly, breaches in highly regulated industries were even more costly. For instance, healthcare breaches reached $355 per record – a full $100 more than in 2013.

Read the full report conducted by the Ponemon Institute here.

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.

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.

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