For all the panic it caused, WannaCry looks finally to have been contained by organisations round the globe. But this isn’t the time to forget about it and move on. There are valuable lessons to be learned about this attack, why it was so successful and what can be done to prevent it happening again. The unpalatable truth is that many of those organisations caught out by WannaCry earlier this month could face punitive fines if the same kind of thing happens again in a year’s time.
That’s right: the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is coming, adding a whole new level of urgency to firms realising they need a major cybersecurity overhaul after WannaCry. Continue reading →
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 →
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
It’s been a busy time for data breaches. First in late March the database of the Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC) was ransacked in what could be the biggest government breach in history. And then just days later, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca was attacked and 11.5 million documents leaked to the press detailing the shadowy offshore tax arrangements of many current and former world leaders.
The repercussions of these two incidents will be felt for months or even years to come. If ever there was a fortnight to remind CISOs of the value of best practice data protection, it was the one just gone. Continue reading →