Category Archives: Data policy

CLOUDSEC 2017: Game of Thrones Hack Tells Us IP Theft is Still a Major Risk

by Ross Dyer

It’s difficult to even discuss data breaches today without referencing the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). With less than a year to go, it is a major area of focus for UK IT leaders keen to avoid mandatory breach notifications and potentially astronomical fines. Yet breaches aren’t all about the customer data governed by the GDPR, as HBO found out this week. Hackers have reportedly made off with 1.5TB of data from the US TV network, uploading a script from an upcoming Game of Thrones episode and two full episodes.

It’s a good example of why IP theft-related risk should be just as big a driver of improving cybersecurity as attacks targeting customer data. Fortunately, attendees at this year’s much anticipated CLOUDSEC event will have some great learning opportunities designed to help them bolster defences against just such attacks. Continue reading

Brexit or No Brexit, CISOs Must Plan Now for New European Data Laws

by Bharat Mistry

The enforcement date for the long-awaited European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was announced this week: 25 May 2018. Now there are many reasons why UK CISOS might want to look the other way when they hear that news. Two years, after all, seems like a very long time away. It’s also very tempting to delay any compliance efforts until after the EU referendum, which could very well go the way of Brexit. The received logic is that this would let IT departments up and down the country off the hook for GDPR compliance.

But that’s a dangerous game to play. It’s likely that even in the event of a ‘Leave’ vote, the UK would be forced to align its data protection laws with the EU. So the message is still very much: “Brexit or no Brexit, IT leaders must start planning now for the GDPR.” Continue reading

Qatar Bank Breach Lifts the Veil on Targeted Attack Strategies

by Simon Edwards

News emerged this week of an alleged data breach at the Qatar National Bank. On the face of it, it’s yet another large multi-national with inadequate security getting hacked and exposing the details of its customers. But on closer inspection the details revealed in the data dump tell us more – that the hacker was using the breached bank data to build up profiles on specific individuals in order to launch follow-on attacks.

It’s another fascinating insight into the shadowy world of cybercrime which should remind us all, businesses and individuals, that personal information is a valuable online commodity that should be protected at all times. Continue reading

Two Years and Counting: Why IT Leaders Need to Wise Up Now to the EU GDPR

by Bharat Mistry

Last week, the much-anticipated European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) passed its final regulatory hurdle. There’s no going back now: on 4 May 2018 all UK organisations will be bound by the new laws – which introduce a series of rigorous requirements designed to enhance privacy protections for EU citizens and harmonise rules across the region.

But with potential fines of 4% of annual turnover for transgressors, how many UK IT leaders really know what they need to do to comply? Concerning new figures from Trend Micro suggest widespread ignorance of the new laws is putting organisations right in the firing line.

Heads in the sand
The GDPR will introduce several key changes, which UK organisations need to start thinking about now. May 2018 might sound a long way off, but it’s little more than 700 working days away. Key among these new elements are:

  • Mandatory appointment of data protection officers for large firms
  • Mandatory breach notification within 72 hours of an incident
  • Fines of €20m or 4% annual global turnover – whichever is higher
  • Right to be forgotten
  • Right to data portability
  • Multinationals will only need to report to one national privacy regulator – in the country they’re headquartered

So exactly how low is awareness of the forthcoming regulation among IT leaders? Worryingly, a fifth (20%) of those Trend Micro spoke to in a new piece of research are still unaware of its existence. Of those that are, nearly a third (29%) don’t think that the regulation will apply to their organisation, or are unsure. Even worse, a quarter of IT leaders (26%) don’t know how much time they have to become compliant, and nearly one in 10 don’t know what steps to take to do so.

Getting ready for 2018
The truth is that the regulation is far from prescriptive in what it requires from organisations and their IT departments. It demands they do business a certain way in order to better protect the privacy rights of their customers, but doesn’t specify particular data loss prevention tools, or encryption technologies, for example. On the one hand this presents challenges for the IT department. But it is also designed to encourage a more holistic approach to information security, which fits with a best practice, strategic approach.

With that in mind, here are just a few steps organisations should be thinking about now, in order to prepare for May 2018:

  • Conduct a data audit to find out what data you hold and how you are using it
  • Classify data according to sensitivity and your organisation’s risk appetite
  • DLP technologies can help prevent accidental and deliberate data leaks
  • Staff awareness and user education training programs to focus on data protection
  • Restrict number of privileged accounts and roll-out strong authentication (eg 2FA) for those accounts
  • Regular pen testing to check the resilience of systems to attack
  • Develop an incident response plan to ensure you can report within 72 hours. Involve key stakeholders including legal, HR, PR teams etc
  • Advanced server-side technologies like Deep Security can help lock down risk across physical, virtual and cloud environments from a single console