Security Market Segment LS
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 11:57

Saucy public servants exposed – targets for cyber criminals

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And you thought public servants led dull, colourless lives. Cyber criminals are out to provide otherwise – unless you pay.

That is according to Chris Pogue, Nuix’s Senior Vice President of cyber threat analysis and also and a member of the US Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force. Nuix is an Australian owned company that produces a software platform for indexing, searching, analyzing and extracting knowledge from unstructured data, with applications that include digital investigation, cybersecurity, e-Discovery, information governance, email migration and privacy. The software platform is used by organizations in more than 45 countries.

It was in the news recently when it was revealed that its platform had been used to sift through the massive 11.5 million ‘Panama Papers” totalling over 2.6 terabytes of data containing nearly five million emails, three million database files, two million PDFs, one million images, 320,166 text documents and 2,242 other unclassified files.

“Nuix technology was an indispensable part of our work on the Panama Papers investigation, as it has been with Offshore Leaks and many of our other in-depth investigative stories,” said Gerard Ryle, Director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

So back to those saucy public servants.

Following last year’s Office of Personnel Management data breach in the US which saw nearly 22 million public servants’ personal records stolen, Pogue has warned Australian Government departments and their employees need to be prepared for a similar incident occurring here. He says cyber criminals are increasingly trying to steal confidential Government personnel records and with that comes the greater risk of victims being blackmailed through ransomware and other extortion tactics.

Pogue says organisations can reduce the risk of employees being blackmailed by doing more to protect their critical-value data and the limited ways in which criminals can access, gather and remove that data from their network.

“Technology has significantly increased the risk of public servants being held to ransom which could seriously compromise important Government policy decisions,” said Pogue. “Cyber criminals are getting a lot more sophisticated in the way they steal employees’ personal information which can then be used to coerce individuals to pass on sensitive Government data.

This is concerning as people may not be aware that breaches are happening, leading to extortion and compromise as employees follow demands to prevent their personal details being exposed. Organisations can minimise attacks and ransom threats by taking a more holistic view to cyber security instead of just relying on perimeter cyber solutions which have become largely ineffective.

Pogue is having high level cyber security briefings with Government, national security agencies, and departmental officials, as well as corporate stakeholders. He will be speaking at the Australian Cyber Security Centre Conference this week.

Nuix has been working closely with Government and corporate organisations around the world, to help them develop integrated policy and technology frameworks for cybersecurity. The Australian company employs global cyber security and intelligence experts like Pogue to provide intelligence and breach response, technology and training for the world’s top intelligence and security agencies, financial institutions, corporations and government departments. These include INTERPOL, the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Department of State, the United Nations, NATO and the Australian Department of Defence.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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