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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.

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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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Phish Fight: Securing Enterprise Communications

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Yes, much of the world may have moved on from email to social media and culturally dubious TikTok dances, yet traditional electronic mail remains a foundation of business communication. And sadly, it remains a prime vector for malware, data leakage, and phishing attacks that can undermine enterprise protections. It doesn’t have to be that way.

In a just released report titled “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” GigaOm Analyst Simon Gibson surveyed more than a dozen enterprise-focused email security solutions. He found a range of approaches to securing communications that often can be fitted together to provide critical, defense-in-depth protection against even determined attackers.

Figure 1. GigaOm Radar for Email Phishing Prevention and Detection

“When evaluating these vendors and their solutions, it is important to consider your own business and workflow,” Gibson writes in the report, stressing the need to deploy solutions that best address your organization’s business workflow and email traffic. “For some it may be preferable to settle on one comprehensive solution, while for others building a best-of-breed architecture from multiple vendors may be preferable.”

In a field of competent solutions, Gibson found that Forcepoint, purchased recently by Raytheon, stood apart thanks to the layered protections provided by its Advanced Classification Engine. Area 1 and Zimperium, meanwhile, are both leaders that exhibit significant momentum, with Area 1 boosted by its recent solution partnership with Virtru, and Zimperium excelling in its deep commitment to mobile message security.

A mobile focus is timely, Gibson says in a video interview for GigaOm. He says companies are “tuning the spigot on” and enabling unprecedented access and reliance on mobile devices, which is creating an urgent need to get ahead of threats.

Gibson’s conclusion in the report? He singles out three things: Defense in depth, awareness of existing patterns and infrastructure, and a healthy respect for the “human factor” that can make security so hard to lock down.

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When Is a DevSecOps Vendor Not a DevSecOps Vendor?

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DevOps’ general aim is to enable a more efficient process for producing software and technology solutions and bringing stakeholders together to speed up delivery. But we know from experience that this inherently creative, outcome-driven approach often forgets about one thing until too late in the process—security. Too often, security is brought into the timeline just before deployment, risking last minute headaches and major delays. The security team is pushed into being the Greek chorus of the process, “ruining everyone’s fun” by demanding changes and slowing things down.

But as we know, in the complex, multi-cloud and containerized environment we find ourselves in, security is becoming more important and challenging than ever. And the costs of security failure are not only measured in slower deployment, but in compliance breaches and reputational damage.

The term “DevSecOps” has been coined to characterize how security needs to be at the heart of the DevOps process. This is in part principle and part tools. As a principle, DevSecOps fits with the concept of “shifting left,” that is, ensuring that security is treated as early as possible in the development process. So far, so simple.

From a tooling perspective, however, things get more complicated, not least because the market has seen a number of platforms marketing themselves as DevSecOps. As we have been writing our Key Criteria report on the subject, we have learned that not all DevSecOps vendors are necessarily DevSecOps vendors. Specifically, we have learned to distinguish capabilities that directly enable the goals of DevSecOps from a process perspective, from those designed to support DevSecOps practices. We could define them as: “Those that do, and those that help.”

This is how to tell the two types of vendor apart and how to use them.

Vendors Enabling DevSecOps: “Tools That Do”

A number of tools work to facilitate the DevSecOps process -– let’s bite the bullet and call them DevSecOps tools. They help teams set out each stage of software development, bringing siloed teams together behind a unified vision that allows fast, high-quality development, with security considerations at its core. DevSecOps tools work across the development process, for example:

  • Create: Help to set and implement policy
  • Develop: Apply guidance to the process and aid its implementation
  • Test: Facilitate and guide security testing procedures
  • Deploy: Provide reports to assure confidence to deploy the application

The key element that sets these tool sets apart is the ability to automate and reduce friction within the development process. They will prompt action, stop a team from moving from one stage to another if the process has not adequately addressed security concerns, and guide the roadmap for the development from start to finish.

Supporting DevSecOps: “Tools That Help”

In this category we place those tools which aid the execution, and monitoring, of good DevSecOps principles. Security scanning and application/infrastructure hardening tools are a key element of these processes: Software composition analysis (SCA) forms a part of the development stage, static/dynamic application security testing (SAST/DAST) is integral to the test stage and runtime app protection (RASP) is a key to the Deploy stage.

Tools like this are a vital part of the security layer of security tooling, especially just before deployment – and they often come with APIs so they can be plugged into the CI/CD process. However, while these capabilities are very important to DevSecOps, they can be seen in more of a supporting role, rather than being DevSecOps tools per se.

DevSecOps-washing is not a good idea for the enterprise

While one might argue that security should never have been shifted right, DevSecOps exists to ensure that security best practices take place across the development lifecycle. A corollary exists to the idea of “tools that help,” namely that organizations implementing these tools are not “doing DevSecOps,” any more than vendors providing these tools are DevSecOps vendors.

The only way to “do” DevSecOps is to fully embrace security at a process management and governance level: This means assessing risk, defining policy, setting review gates, and disallowing progress for insecure deliverables. Organizations that embrace DevSecOps can get help from what we are calling DevSecOps tools, as well as from scanning and hardening tools that help support its goals.

At the end of the day, all security and governance boils down to risk: If you buy a scanning tool so you can check a box that says “DevSecOps,” you are potentially adding to your risk posture, rather than mitigating it. So, get your DevSecOps strategy fixed first, then consider how you can add automation, visibility, and control using “tools that do,” as well as benefit from “tools that help.”

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High Performance Application Security Testing

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This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research. It is hosted by an expert in Application and API testing, and GigaOm analyst, Jake Dolezal. His presentation will focus on the results of high performance testing we completed against two security mechanisms: ModSecurity on NGINX and NGINX App Protect. Additionally, we tested the AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF) as a fully managed security offering.

While performance is important, it is only one criterion for a Web Application Firewall selection. The results of the report are revealing about these platforms. The methodology will be shown with clarity and transparency on how you might replicate these tests to mimic your own workloads and requirements.

Register now to join GigaOm and sponsor NGINX for this free expert webinar.

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