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My Health Record had 42 data breaches in 2017-18 but no ‘malicious’ attacks: ADHA

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(Image: ADHA)

Australia’s troubled My Health Record recorded 42 data breaches between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has said in its 2017-18 annual report [PDF].

Three of the breaches were reported to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and involved one breach of unauthorised access due to an incorrect Parental Authorised Representative being assigned to a child, and two breaches due to suspected Medicare fraud that resulted in the potential fraudster seeing records without authority.

ADHA also said 17 breaches were found from the Department of Human Services identifying intertwined records where two or more people have been using the same Medicare record, and 22 breaches from attempted Medicare fraud where unauthorised claims appeared incorrectly in the My Health Record of affected users.

“There have been no purposeful or malicious attacks compromising the integrity or security of the My Health Record system,” ADHA said.

The Department of Human Services had corrected the records in all instances, ADHA said.

The My Health Record operator said as of July 27, 2018, almost one quarter of Australians had a record.

“In 2017–18 the Agency, as System Operator, registered 935,206 people for a My Health Record,” it said. “There were a total of 42,877 cancelled registrations during the year.”

ADHA said 221,580,930 documents were uploaded to the system in 2017-18, and 798,000 people accessed their records through its portal in that time frame.

As of June, ADHA reported connecting 178 of the country’s 208 private hospitals to My Health Record, and 815 of Australia’s 1,108 public hospitals to the system.

Australians have until January 31 to opt-out of the national health record system or they will have a record created for them if they do not already have one.

By October 19, 1.147 million had removed themselves from the system, but ADHA said it was happy with the result.

In the wake of the annual report, Labor has reiterated its call for OAIC to review the system, and hit out at the AU$20 million deficit that ADHA reported.

“After spending 2018 focused on tearing down his own Prime Minister, Minister Hunt must now focus on delivering a My Health Record that is secure and on budget,” Shadow Health Minister Catherine King said in a statement.

ADHA said in its annual report that it had created a privacy team to “embed privacy within the functions and culture of the agency”.

“Maintaining community trust in the privacy and security of the My Health Record system is imperative to the success of the program,” ADHA wrote. “The privacy team takes a proactive, privacy by design approach to managing the development and operation of the My Health Record system.”

It was reported in November that its director of privacy had resigned over privacy concerns.

The same month, the government announced it would increase the maximum penalties for improper use of My Health Record data.

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,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said at the time.

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.

Related Coverage

Rushed My Health Record changes still missing the point

The Australian government seems obsessed with pushing everyone into its centralised digital health records system before they’ve even finished working out the rules. Why is that?

My Health Record data misuse penalties raised

Employers have been barred from using health data to discriminate against current or potential employees.

My Health Record opt-out officially extended to January 31

The House of Representatives has agreed that delete now means delete.

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’.

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Defeating Distributed Denial of Service Attacks

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It seems like every day the news brings new stories of cyberattacks. Whether ransomware, malware, crippling viruses, or more frequently of late—distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. According to Infosec magazine, in the first half of 2020, there was a 151% increase in the number of DDoS attacks compared to the same period the previous year. That same report states experts predict as many as 15.4 million DDoS attacks within the next two years.

These attacks can be difficult to detect until it’s too late, and then they can be challenging to defend against. There are solutions available, but there is no one magic bullet. As Alastair Cooke points out in his recent “GigaOm Radar for DDoS Protection” report, there are different categories of DDoS attacks.

And different types of attacks require different types of defenses. You’ll want to adopt each of these three defense strategies against DDoS attacks to a certain degree, as attackers are never going to limit themselves to a single attack vector:

Network Defense: Attacks targeting the OS and network operate at either Layer 3 or Layer 4 of the OSI stack. These attacks don’t flood the servers with application requests but attempt to exhaust TCP/IP resources on the supporting infrastructure. DDoS protection solutions defending against network attacks identify the attack behavior and absorb it into the platform.

Application Defense: Other DDoS attacks target the actual website itself or the web server application by overwhelming the site with random data and wasting resources. DDoS protection against these attacks might handle SSL decryption with hardware-based cryptography and prevent invalid data from reaching web servers.

Defense by Scale: There have been massive DDoS attacks, and they show no signs of stopping. The key to successfully defending against a DDoS attack is to have a scalable platform capable of deflecting an attack led by a million bots with hundreds of gigabits per second of network throughput.

Table 1. Impact of Features on Metrics
[chart id=”1001387″ show=”table”]

DDoS attacks are growing more frequent and more powerful and sophisticated. Amazon reports mitigating a massive DDoS attack a couple of years ago in which peak traffic volume reached 2.3 Tbps. Deploying DDoS protection across the spectrum of attack vectors is no longer a “nice to have,” but a necessity.

In his report, Cooke concludes that “Any DDoS protection product is only part of an overall strategy, not a silver bullet for denial-of-service hazards.” Evaluate your organization and your needs, read more about each solution evaluated in the Radar report, and carefully match the right DDoS solutions to best suit your needs.

Learn More About the Reports: Gigaom Key Criteria for DDoS, and Gigaom Radar for DDoS

The post Defeating Distributed Denial of Service Attacks appeared first on GigaOm.

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Assessing Providers of Low-Power Wide Area Networks

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Blog Title: Assessing Providers of Low-Power Wide Area Network Technology

Companies are taking note of how Low-Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) can provide long-distance communications for certain use cases. While its slow data transfer rates and high latency aren’t going to be driving any high intensity video streaming or other bandwidth-hungry situations, it can provide inexpensive, low power, long-distance communication.

According to Chris Grundemann and Logan Andrew Green’s recent report “GigaOm Radar for LPWAN Technology Providers (Unlicensed Spectrum) v1.0,” this growing communications technology is suitable for use cases with the following characteristics:

  • Requirement for long-distance transmission—10 km/6 miles or more wireless connectivity from sensor to gateway
  • Low power consumption, with battery life lasting up to 10 years
  • Terrain and building penetration to circumvent line-of-sight issues
  • Low operational costs (device management or connection subscription cost)
  • Low data transfer rate of roughly 20kbps

These use cases could include large-scale IoT deployments within heavy industry, manufacturing, government, and retail. The LPWAN technology providers evaluated in this Radar report are currently filling a gap in the IoT market. They are certainly poised to benefit from the anticipated rapid adoption of LPWAN solutions.

Depending on the use case you’re looking to fulfill, you can select from four basic deployment models from these LPWAN providers:

  • Physical Appliance: This option would require a network server on-premises to receive sensor data from gateways.
  • Virtual Appliance: Network servers could also be deployed as virtual appliances, running either on-premises or in the cloud.
  • Network Stack as a Service: With this option, the LPWAN provider fully manages your network stack and provides you with the service. You only need devices and gateways to satisfy your requirements.
  • Network as a Service: This option is provided by mobile network operators, with the provider operating the network stack and gateways. You would only need to connect to the LPWAN provider.

Figure 1. LPWAN Connectivity

The LPWAN providers evaluated in this report are well-positioned from both a business and technical perspective, as they can function as a single point of contact for building IoT solutions. Instead of cobbling together other solutions to satisfy connectivity protocols, these providers can set up your organization with a packaged IoT solution, reducing time to market and virtually eliminating any compatibility issues.

The unlicensed spectrum aspect is also significant. The LPWAN technology providers evaluated in this Radar report use at least one protocol in the unlicensed electromagnetic spectrum bands. There’s no need to buy FCC licenses for specific frequency bands, which also lowers costs.

Learn More: Gigaom Enterprise Radar for LPWAN

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The Benefits of a Price Benchmark for Data Storage

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Why Price Benchmark Data Storage?

Customers, understandably, are highly driven by budget when it comes to data storage solutions. The cost of switching, upkeep and upgrades are high risk factors for businesses, and therefore, decision makers need to look for longevity in their chosen solution. Many factors influence how data needs to be handled within storage, including data that is frequently accessed, or storing rarely-accessed legacy data. 

Storage performance may also be shaped by geographic location, from remote work or global enterprises that need to access and share data instantly, or by the necessity of automation. Each element presents a new price-point that needs to be considered, by customers and by vendors.

A benchmark gives a comparison of system performance based on a key performance indicator, such as latency, capacity, or throughput. Competitor systems are analyzed in like-for-like situations that optimize the solution, allowing a clear representation of the performance. Price benchmarks for data storage are ideal for marketing, showing customers exactly how much value for money a solution has against competitor vendors.

Benchmark tests reinforce marketing collateral and tenders with verifiable evidence of performance capabilities and how the transactional costs relate to them. Customers are more likely to invest in long-term solutions with demonstrable evidence that can be corroborated. Fully disclosed testing environments, processes, and results, give customers the proof they need and help vendors stand out from the crowd.

The Difficulty in Choosing

Storage solutions vary greatly, from cloud options to those that utilize on-premises software. Data warehouses have different focuses which impact the overall performance, and they can vary in their pricing and licensing models. Customers find it difficult to compare vendors when the basic data storage configurations differ and price plans vary. With so many storage structures available, it’s hard to explain to customers how output relates to price, appeal to their budget, and maintain integrity, all at the same time.

Switching storage solutions is also a costly, high-risk decision that requires careful consideration. Vendors need to create compelling and honest arguments that provide reassurance of ROI and high quality performance.

Vendors should begin by pitching their costs at the right level; they need to be profitable but also appealing to the customer. Benchmarking can give an indication of how competitor cost models are calculated, allowing vendors to make judgements on their own price plans to keep ahead of the competition. 

Outshining the Competition

Benchmark testing gives an authentic overview of storage transaction-based price-performance, carrying out the test in environments that imitate real-life. Customers can gain a higher understanding of how the product works in terms of transactions per second, and how competitors process storage data in comparison.

The industry-standard for benchmarking is the TPC Benchmark E (TPC-E), a recognized standard for storage vendors. Tests need to be performed in credible environments; by giving full transparency on their construction, vendors and customers can understand how the results are derived. This can also prove systems have been configured to offer the best performance of each platform.

A step-by-step account allows tests to be recreated by external parties given the information provided. This transparency in reporting provides more trustworthy and reliable outcomes that offer a higher level of insight to vendors. Readers can also examine the testing and results themselves, to draw independent conclusions.

Next Steps

Price is the driving factor for business decisions and the selection for data storage is no different. Businesses often look towards low-cost solutions that offer high capacity, and current trends have pushed customers towards cloud solutions which are often cheaper and flexible. The marketplace is full in regard to options: new start-ups are continually emerging, and long serving vendors are needing to reinvent and upgrade their systems to keep pace. 

Vendors need evidence of price-performance, so customers can be reassured that their choice will offer longevity and functionality at an affordable price point. Industry-standard benchmarking identifies how performance is impacted by price and which vendors are best in the market – the confirmation customers need to invest.

 

The post The Benefits of a Price Benchmark for Data Storage appeared first on GigaOm.

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