Last month in Australia there was massive data breach with one of the leading telcos, Optus. They were subject to one of Australia’s biggest customer cyber security hacks in decades, with up to 9.8m people at risk of financial crime due to the breach. This has resulted in a large-scale review of cyber security not only in the retail telecommunication space but more broadly across many other sections including the banks.
The hack is a stark reminder that the criminals of 2022 are probing large corporations for weaknesses in their IT systems in search of data. The value of data collection and analysis continues to increase in an information-driven economy, and our reliance on banking online and the digital storage of information and data exposes the finance industry to similar hacks themselves.
Those Impacted by the Optus hack
Optus clients were not the only people affected by the recent breach. Past customers have been caught up the breach too, after it was revealed that the company stores customer data for a period of 6 years after they have left.
What Do We Do?
For the Optus breach and comparable scenarios, the government has nominated Scamwatch which is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) as the first port of call. The website provides consumers and businesses with critical information on how to recognise, report and avoid cyber attacks including digital scams.
This is useful but from a government perspective, cyber security is quickly becoming a very complex maze, with a myriad of different government organisations to contact regarding different types of theft and fraud.
How Did We Get Here?
The way we communicate, consume information, work and carry out financial transactions have all been revolutionised by the Internet. It seems many of us were in a mad rush for digital transformation and the government sector is experiencing significant challenges in relation to this. A lack of in-house expertise means policies and practices are ineffective in coping with the rate of change.
Where Will We End Up?
Most disasters are usually followed by reform and this is no exception. Optus was not allowed to communicate directly with financial institutions to warn them of customers’ potential exposure. This will now change with new regulations allowing affected companies to share information with financial institutions to assist in preventing or responding to cyber security breaches. Optus’ data was also kept unencrypted which means it was easily accessed and read, so clearly greater cyber security is required by these large organisations to help protect customers’ information.
The finance industry is no stranger to cyber attacks, and banks are obvious targets. S&P just released a report stating that “Asia-Pacific banks have been hacked before, and they will be hacked again”. They suggest that as, “Asia-Pacific financial institutions are increasingly on the cloud, sharing client data with a fintech firm, or relying on third-party service providers… with the addition of each new partner into a digital system, hackers get a new point of entry”. Regulators in the region need to focus on avoiding such attacks. S&P suggest Asia-Pac needs “collaboration, and cross-border information sharing to build cyber resilience across entities to prevent systemic risk.”
Interesting Singapore Data
- The entire national anthem is printed on the back of the $1000 note in microprint
- English is the main working language in Singapore
- There are 160+ local and foreign commercial banks
- The time zone in Singapore has changed 6 times since 1905, most recently syncing with Malaysia in 1982
- There are more than 350 bus routes and almost 5,000 bus stops
- The Rain Vortex at Jewel Changi Airport is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall
Venue of interest: Margo, Hong Kong
Hong Kong is an amazing metropolis with energy, stunning views, and mouth-watering cuisine. Food is an important part of its culture, which is reflected by the 3-6 courses that can be served for lunch alone at Margo, on Queens Road Central.
You will notice the charm of Margo as soon as you walk in. With a maximum of 7-8 tables, guests are able to enjoy personal service while appreciating a tasty contemporary menu. There is a range of options including set menus between 3 and 6 courses. Enjoy a 3 course menu from as little as HK$500 (AUD$100/SGD$90) with the benefit of multiple selections for each course. Margo will not leave you disappointed.