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Sony hack revives Oz disclosure debate

Calls for disclosure laws and security guidelines

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The Sony PlayStation network breach has revived Australia’s dormant security disclosure debate.

Rob Forsyth, A/NZ managing director of Sophos, says the government must legislate for mandatory disclosure, noting that it has been proposed in a large number of privacy recommendations. If personally identifiable information is lost, he said, companies must notify both the general public and the individuals whose information has been stolen.

He told ABC radio programme The World Today that the theft of address and birth date details – and possibly credit card numbers, although Sony currently maintains that there is no evidence that these were compromised in the breach – highlights Australia’s lack of a disclosure regime.

“Sony was not quick to notify people that there had been a breach of security,” RMIT lecturer and computer networking specialist Dr Mark Gregory told the same programme, even though the speed with which the network was shut down demonstrated that Sony was aware of the problem before it went public.

He backed Forsythe’s call for a disclosure regime: “Government needs to legislate a proper regime for this,” he said.

Dr Gregory also called on the government, via the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), to establish “best practice” security guidelines that companies can follow. ®

Update: According to journalistic chatter on Twitter, reports are starting to surface of $10 charges appearing against credit cards attached to PlayStation Network accounts. While unconfirmed at this time, the rumours could at least force Sony to make a firm statement as to whether card data was stolen in the breach. ®

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