Friday, 17 May 2019 04:56

ACCC blames CMS error for publishing merger info early Featured

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ACCC blames CMS error for publishing merger info early Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has blamed "a flaw in its website content management system" for publishing information about the proposed merger between TPG Telecom and Vodafone Hutchison Australia a day before it was supposed to be made public.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the ACCC said it had investigated the incident, adding that the merger information became public while it was being input into the back-end of the mergers register.

A third-party user tried to access the existing web page while it was being updated and this led to the new information going live for eight minutes before it was noticed and taken down, the ACCC said.

While the ACCC said it had rectified the issue by patching the Drupal software that it uses, there is no indication in the vulnerabilities list for this CMS about any flaw that causes this kind of stuff-up.

“We apologise unreservedly for this unfortunate and serious incident,” ACCC chief operating officer Rayne de Gruchy said.

“The ACCC has successfully managed highly market-sensitive commercial information for decades and this is the first time, to our knowledge, that a merger decision has been released in this manner.

“We have thoroughly reviewed all of the processes and information technology systems that led to this error, and we want to assure our stakeholders this incident will not be repeated.”

TPG's share price dropped sharply after the news of its proposed merger with VHA being opposed by the ACCC.

The two companies have taken the ACCC to court to challenge the decision.

Contacted for comment, a Drupal spokesman said the project was researching the situation.

"One idea I can share is the list of vulnerabilities in contributed modules," he said. "Most Drupal sites have a mix of contributed modules and even some custom code. It's possible a vulnerability like they describe could be in a contributed or custom module."

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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