Co-authors Peter Coroneos and Michael Parker said in a statement that the fallout from the poor management of the breaches included senior executive resignations, parliamentary inquiries, loss of customers, significant share price, revenue and business valuation reductions, litigation, damages and compensation orders and general lingering brand damage from an increasingly distrustful public.
Coroneos is a former leader of the Internet Industry Association and is now regional head of the non-government organisation, Cyber Security Advisers Network. Parker is a brand management and communications professional and is managing director of Praxis Communication.
Their book, Cyber Breach Communication Playbook, analyses the 14 breaches and finds that they scored as follows: C (1 case); C-minus (3 cases); D (3 cases); D-minus (3 cases); and Fail (4 cases).
- the scale of the breach;
- the sensitivity of the information compromised;
- the time taken to report the breach;
- any evidence of a cover-up;
- the time taken for management acceptance of responsibility;
- how predictable and preventable the breach was;
- the degree of public backlash; and
- where appropriate, notice and redress for affected individuals.”
The breaches the pair studied were:
- Australian Bureau of Statistics – 2016 online census;
- Australian Electoral Commission – 2016 election electronic voting security flaws;
- Geoscience Australia July 2018 – national audit office report;
- PageUp People – 2018 job applicants data breached;
- Uber 2017 – 57 million records including 1 million Australian passengers and drivers;
- Republican National Convention 2017 – 198 million voter records exposed by cloud error;
- Equifax 2017 – 143 million personal records stolen;
- JP Morgan and Chase – 7 million customer records exposed;
- TalkTalk 2015 – UK telco 150,000 customer records breached;
- Ticketmaster – 2018 breach exposing financial details;
- Target – supply chain breach of its point of sale systems;
- Verizon 2017 – 14 million customer records exposed;
- Yahoo! – largest ever reported data breach; and
- Ashley Madison – the infamous 2015 dating site hack.
“Systemic failures are adding to fears that information is not longer safe even in the hands of major brands or government databases”, said Coroneos
“It borders on inexcusable that organisations should run for cover after a breach. Even if you’re not the direct cause, finger pointing and blame shifting are not winning strategies.
“Our sense is that a culture of denial still persists, particularly where a major breach hasn’t yet occurred. Every new poorly-handled breach inflames end user demands for greater accountability and more laws.
"But we shouldn’t have to have to wait for laws to dictate our trust processes. Businesses who rely on the Internet have a collective interest in moving to best practice. Trust is fragile and ephemeral — it shouldn’t be taken for granted."