Lessons from #CensusFail
In the lead up to what was meant to be the digitalisation of the largest survey in Australian history, privacy concerns were front and centre. A number of Senators and even former NSW Deputy Privacy Commissioner Anna Johnston, publically refused to provide their personal details.
Government Ministers and senior bureaucrats made the usual comforting noises. Then #CensusFail happened.
Shortly after opening last night the Census website was taken down at 7.30 pm after four separate attacks. #CensusFail
Given the hype about data security and privacy in the lead-up, we have to take the ABS’s word that it was indeed a cyber attack and not poor IT infrastructure that brought the system down.
This is hugely embarrassing to the ABS. Indeed as I write there is no guarantee the census will be successfully completed on time. But taking a longer view the cyber attack does leave some big questions marks over the confidence the public can have in the ABS’s (and other Commonwealth Departments’) ability to safely deliver online services. #CensusFail
Can the Commonwealth deliver online services in a secure way that will not compromise the safety of the public’s most intimate and confidential information?
As a cyber security provider to over 70 local governments around Australia, InfoTrust has deep understanding of the cyber security environment faced by governments in Australia. Based on that experience we’d recommend the ABS and the Commonwealth ask three big questions.
First, has the ABS attributed enough priority and resources to ensuring the security of their environment?
Second, has the ABS considered every eventuality of a Cyber Attack and undertaken penetration testing to test its ability to block and mitigate the impact of an attack?
Finally, what holistic security strategy has been implemented to cover off not only technical controls, but also process and staff training.
These are important questions. They must be addressed with urgency and serious intent. But they are not rocket science.
As is often the case with cyber security, getting the basics right takes you a very long way towards protecting your assets and reputation.
Mimecast recently released its State of Email Security Report for 2021. The fifth edition of its annual report used interviews with over twelve hundred of information technology and cybersecurity professionals across the globe to gather vital cybersecurity insights. The report offers an insight into the latest email threats along with advice on how to build cyber resilience and mitigate the risks of email-borne attacks.
Cyber attacks and data breaches have been commonplace in the news headlines for some time now. Although a warning from the media is certainly helpful, there is so much more that can be done when it comes to threat intelligence sharing. Threat intelligence sharing is an important part of the global cybersecurity community effort to tackle cybercrime and should form a part of every organisation’s cybersecurity strategy. Sharing cyber threat intelligence enables organisations to make informed decisions about their cybersecurity, building more effective and robust cyber defences.
One of my favourite annual reports to read is the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. It’s packed full of insights about the threat landscape and security leaders, in my opinion, should read this report to get a pulse on what’s happening in cyber-scape.
After all, as cyber leaders, we are here to stop breaches – so the insights gained from real cyber incidents and breaches is gold in learning how to tighten up our defences.
All businesses, large and small, are under increasing pressure to demonstrate that they are managing the risk of cyberattacks. This means having the right processes and controls in place to identify risks and vulnerabilities, protect information, as well as detect, respond, and recover in the event of cybersecurity incidents. As such, many businesses are turning to certification authorities and security frameworks to demonstrate privacy and security best practice and achieve compliance with regulatory bodies. System and Organisation Controls (SOC 2) is one such compliance framework that can help organisations to create a structured approach to cybersecurity.
As we operate in an increasingly digital world, every business collect, store, and share more and more data. And, amongst that data is personal information. With the OAIC marking this year’s Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) from Monday 3 May to Sunday 9 May 2021, it’s time for us all to review how we protect our customers’ personal information.
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