Feeds

Big biz told to reveal hack attacks

Investors need to know about compromises, says SEC

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Publicly listed companies in the US have been asked to disclose when they've been hacked, according to new guidance issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The market regulator has let firms know that they can no longer hide cyber attacks if that attack could cause financial damage to the company or make the financial information available to potential investors misleading.

Here's the formal language on the guidance:

Registrants should address cybersecurity risks and cyber incidents in their MD&A [management discussion and analysis] if the costs or other consequences associated with one or more known incidents or the risk of potential incidents represent a material event, trend, or uncertainty that is reasonably likely to have a material effect on the registrant’s results of operations, liquidity, or financial condition or would cause reported financial information not to be necessarily indicative of future operating results or financial condition.

The new guidelines come at a time that more and more prominent and trusted companies become the victims of cybercrime.

Just this week, Sony warned users about a massive brute-force attack against PlayStation and Sony network accounts, of which 93,000 were compromised. And that came just a few months after the whole PlayStation network had to be shut down after a hack attack.

More worryingly, major bank Citigroup was breached in June and the data of 360,000 accounts was exposed.

High-profile hacks like these and the cyber attacks on Google, the US Air Force and the International Monetary Fund have got mere punters worried about security, but the poor old investors are even more concerned because they might lose some money by buying shares in cyber-vulnerable companies.

US Senator Jay Rockefeller had asked the SEC to issue the guidelines to help investors make more informed decisions.

"Intellectual property worth billions of dollars has been stolen by cyber criminals, and investors have been kept completely in the dark. This guidance changes everything," Rockefeller said in a statement, according to Reuters.

"It will allow the market to evaluate companies in part based on their ability to keep their networks secure. We want an informed market and informed consumers, and this is how we do it."

A spokesperson for the Financial Services Authority in the UK told The Register that cyber attacks "would come under our listing rules, which state that companies have to disclose material information". So there's no specific guidance on hacks, but anything that might affect a firm's financials should be disclosed. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.