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My Health Record data misuse penalties raised

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The Australian government is set to increase the maximum penalties for improper use of My Health Record data, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced on Wednesday morning.

Under the changes, the maximum jail term will increase from two to five years, the maximum fine for individuals will jump from AU$126,000 to AU$315,000, and private health insurers will not be able to access health or de-identified data.

Employers will also not be able to use health information or de-identified data to discriminate against employees or potential employees.

“Importantly, employers or insurers cannot simply avoid the prohibition by asking the individuals to share their My Health Record information with them,” Hunt said.

Parents who have restricted access to a child, or are a potential risk to a child or person associated with the child, will not be allowed to become an authorised representative.

Hunt added that a review will be conducted into whether parents should have default access to the health records of their children aged between 14 and 17.

“Currently, a young person aged 14 and over can take control of their My Health Record at any time by removing their parents’ access to their record,” Hunt said.

The changes arrive in response to a Senate inquiry into My Health Record, which called for access controls to be applied by default, stronger restrictions on using My Health Record data for secondary uses, and the opt-out window extended for another year.

In a dissenting report, government senators said access controls would represent a “serious implementation challenge for many Australians”, particularly those “who did not (or could not) want to receive their PIN online”.

“Asking for a PIN, and requiring consumers to remember their PIN, will interrupt the clinical workflow and impede use of the record … both the clinician’s and the consumer’s time will be wasted while the consumer attempts to remember or locate their PIN,” they wrote.

“The proposal would also in practical terms effectively return the My Health Record to an opt-in participation model.”

The same senators also rejected the call for data to not be made available for secondary use without the individual’s explicit consent.

“We do not support this recommendation, as this would be inconsistent with the government’s general opt-out approach to My Health Record,” they wrote.

Australians who do not want a My Health Record automatically created for them can opt out until November 15. Records will not be created until a month later, due to the need to reconcile paper form opt-outs.

Speaking at Senate Estimates last month, the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) said the opt-out rate is under 5 percent, and 1.147 million Australians had chosen to remove themselves from the system.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information last month showed that ADHA had no detailed policy or process for releasing My Health Record data to support regulatory and legal requests.

The only internal policy guidance appears to have been the agency’s commitment, stated publicly, not to release data except “where the agency has no discretion”, such as when responding to a court order.

Related Coverage

My Health Record access controls used only 214 times in million record trial

Individual document controls were used only 10 times during the electronic health record trial.

My Health Record opt-outs now sit at over 1.1 million

An additional 200,000 Australians have opted out, but it is sitting under ADHA’s 5 percent target.

Senate inquiry recommends locking down My Health Record by default

A comprehensive review of Australia’s centralised digital health record has recommended extending the opt-out period by another 12 months while privacy controls are significantly tightened.

My Health Record privacy amendments ‘woefully inadequate’: Labor

An Australian senate committee has recommended passing the My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018, but Labor senators have lashed out at the government’s “stubborn refusal” to fix further problems.

My Health Record justifications ‘kind of lame’: Godwin

Australia has spent billions of dollars for ‘nothing really useful’, according to leading internet policy commentator Mike Godwin, and the proposed anti-encryption laws are ‘inhumane, wrong, anti-democratic’.

Privacy advocates have failed to engage on My Health Record

Many of the concerns about Australia’s centralised digital health records are real, but the abstract, hand-wavey arguments aren’t persuading people outside the digital privacy bubble.

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GigaOm Radar for DDoS Protection

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With ransomware getting all the news coverage when it comes to internet threats, it is easy to lose sight of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks even as these attacks become more frequent and aggressive. In fact, the two threats have recently been combined in a DDoS ransom attack, in which a company is hit with a DDoS and then a ransom demanded in exchange for not launching a larger DDoS. Clearly, a solid mechanism for thwarting such attacks is needed, and that is exactly what a good DDoS protection product will include. This will allow users, both staff and customers, to access their applications with no indication that a DDoS attack is underway. To achieve this, the DDoS protection product needs to know about your applications and, most importantly, have the capability to absorb the massive bandwidth generated by botnet attacks.

All the DDoS protection vendors we evaluated have a cloud-service element in their products. The scale-out nature of cloud platforms is the right response to the scale-out nature of DDoS attacks using botnets, thousands of compromised computers, and/or embedded devices. A DDoS protection network that is larger, faster, and more distributed will defend better against larger DDoS attacks.

Two public cloud platforms we review have their own DDoS protection, both providing it for applications running on their public cloud and offering only cloud-based protection. We also look at two content delivery networks (CDNs) that offer only cloud-based protection but also have a large network of locations for distributed protection. Many of the other vendors offer both on-premises and cloud-based services that are integrated to provide unified protection against the various attack vectors that target the network and application layers.

Some of the vendors have been protecting applications since the early days of the commercial internet. These vendors tend to have products with strong on-premises protection and integration with a web application firewall or application delivery capabilities. These companies may not have developed their cloud-based protections as fully as the born-in-the-cloud DDoS vendors.

In the end, you need a DDoS protection platform equal to the DDoS threat that faces your business, keeping in mind that such threats are on the rise.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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GigaOm Radar for Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) Solutions

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The security information and event management (SIEM) solution space is mature and competitive. Most vendors have had well over a decade to refine their products, and the differentiation among basic SIEM functions is fairly small.

In response, SIEM vendors are developing advanced platforms that ingest more data, provide greater context, and deploy machine learning and automation capabilities to augment security analysts’ efforts. These solutions deliver value by giving security analysts deeper and broader visibility into complex infrastructures, increasing efficiency and decreasing the time to detection and time to respond.

Vendors offer SIEM solutions in a variety of forms, such as on-premises appliances, software installed in the customers’ on-premises or cloud environments, and cloud hosted SIEM-as-a-Service. Many vendors have developed multi-tenant SIEM solutions for large enterprises or for managed security service providers. Customers often find SIEM solutions challenging to deploy, maintain, or even operate, leading to a growing demand for managed SIEM services, whether provided by the SIEM vendor or third-party partners.

SIEM solutions continue to vie for space with other security solutions, such as endpoint detection and response (EDR), security orchestration automation and response (SOAR), and security analytics solutions. All SIEM vendors support integrations with other security solutions. Many vendors also offer tightly integrated solution stacks, allowing customers to choose the solutions they need most, whether just a SIEM, a SIEM and a SOAR, or some other combination. Other vendors are incorporating limited EDR- or SOAR-like capabilities into their SIEM solutions for customers who want the extra features but are not ready to invest in multiple solutions.

With so many options, choosing a SIEM solution is challenging. You will have to consider several key factors, starting with your existing IT infrastructure. Is an on-premises SIEM the right choice for you, or do you want a cloud-based or hybrid solution? Which systems and devices will be sending data to your SIEM, and how much data will it need to collect, correlate, analyze, and store? You should also consider the relative importance of basic capabilities and advanced features, bearing in mind that the basic capabilities may be considerably easier to deploy, maintain, and operate. Will your IT and security teams be able to deploy, maintain, and operate the solution on their own, or should you look for managed services to handle those tasks?

This GigaOm Radar report details the key SIEM solutions on the market, identifies key criteria and evaluation metrics for selecting a SIEM, and identifies vendors and products that excel. It will give you an overview of the key SIEM offering and help decision-makers evaluate existing solutions and decide where to invest.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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Key Criteria for Evaluating a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Solution

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Although ransomware is making all the headlines today, it’s not the only kind of attack that can intrude between you and your customers. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, in which a target website is overwhelmed with spurious traffic, have become increasingly common.

Websites and online applications have become critical to how businesses communicate with their customers and partners. If those websites and applications are not available, there is a dollars and cents cost for businesses, both directly in business that is lost and indirectly through loss of reputation. It doesn’t matter to the users of the website whether the attacker has a political point to make, wants to hurt their victim financially, or is motivated by ego—if the website is unavailable, users will not be happy. Recent DDoS attacks have utilized thousands of compromised computers and they can involve hundreds of gigabits per second of attack bandwidth. A DDoS protection platform must inspect all of the traffic destined for the protected site and discard or absorb all of the hostile traffic while allowing legitimate traffic to reach the site.

Often the attack simply aims vast amounts of network traffic at the operating system under the application. These “volumetric” attacks usually occur at network Layer 3 or 4 and originate from compromised computers called bots. Few companies have enough internet bandwidth to mitigate this much of an attack on-premises, so DDoS protection needs to be distributed to multiple data centers around the world to be effective against these massive attacks. The sheer scale of infrastructure required means that most DDoS platforms are multi-tenant cloud services.

Other attacks target the application itself, at Layer 7, with either a barrage of legitimate requests or with requests carefully crafted to exploit faults in the site. These Layer 7 attacks look superficially like real requests and require careful analysis to separate them from legitimate traffic.

Attackers do not stand still. As DDoS protection platforms learn to protect against one attack method, attackers will find a new method to take down a website. So DDoS protection vendors don’t stand still either. Using information gathered from observing all of their protected sites, vendors are able to develop new techniques to protect their clients.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

Continue Reading

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