Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Streaming server blocking Part 2

Just to update on the FAPL blocking order impact in March 2017 vs key pirate sites it looks like either the process has not really started yet or there is a technical issue.

See a 3 minute overview here

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Directors liability for cyber and data breach

Barely a day passes when there is no fresh news of another data breach. In the digital age information is like money and therefore worth stealing. It now matters when information that is valuable is handled without due care as it can be spread around the world to large numbers of people with ease.

We are at the start of understanding the extent of the financial liabilities in this area as cases such as the massive Yahoo breach work its way through the system. To get a sense of the scale of possible liabilities see the Yahoo class action suit here

The cynics might argue that the response of business Directors and Boards to the cyber threat falls into three main buckets;

1.       Do nothing and blame the IT people if there is a data breach (most common).
2.       Do something (get it minuted) and blame the IT people if there is a data breach.
3.       The experienced IT people persuade the Directors / Board to invest in a smart bit of kit that generates amazing graphics, goes ping a lot and then blames the vendor of the kit that looks good and goes ping if it goes wrong. Job done and blame shifted nicely.

The scope of this post is to identify the potential legal pressure points that put liability directly onto the Directors and Board of Company for cyber breach and therefore progress the nature of the debate in this area.

Directors have always owed legal duties to companies of which they are Directors. The Companies Act 2006 codified these into seven separate duties.

Two of the duties are particularly relevant;

Section 172 – duty to promote the success of the company.
Section 174 – duty to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence.
Under 174 in particular the high profile nature of cyber risk is likely to make it necessary, to meet the test of reasonableness, that proper care is taken to protect information.

Beyond the fairly general duties of the Companies Act we also have the Data Protection Act which is soon to become the GDPR. The Data Protection Act (and its 8 core principles) is the key legislative framework in the cyber area and with the new GDPR coming into force next year the maximum fines are rocketing from a maximum of £500k to 4% of turnover.

Section 61 of the DPA makes it clear that when an offence under the DPA has been committed and it can be attributable to the neglect of a Director then “he as well as the body corporate shall be guilty of that offence”.

Potentially therefore could Directors be liable for up to 4% of the turnover of the companies they work for under the GDPR?

The ICO seems keen to ensure that data protection and its sub-set of cyber security become a mainstream board issue and therefore when the next TalkTalk happens it may well not be enough to point the finger at the IT people, say you can barely switch on a computer and rapidly exit stage left.

Directors of companies which process sensitive personal data (which includes CCTV) are going to need to take a much more robust approach to personal data management and cyber risk under the new GDPR regime to avoid finding themselves exposed personally.

Some simple steps to reduce liability for Directors could include;

1.       Have a data protection officer who understands the risks and regulatory framework.
2.       Have a simple written data protection and cyber policy regularly communicated and updated.
3.       Insist on an independent digital audit to check for glaring weaknesses and vulnerabilities across all 8 principles of the DPA – not just security.
4.       Ensure extra care is taken with any sensitive personal data.
5.       Independently audit your data supply chain / hosting providers.

6.       Don’t collect data you don’t need. You may be building a bigger liability than asset.

Monday, 20 March 2017

FAPL streaming server blocking order impact on live piracy levels - review 1

To follow up in respect of  the new blocking order obtained by the FA Premier League which came into force on the 18th March Klipcorp IP ran our systems over the 3.00pm kick off FAPL games on the 18th to monitor impact.

Klipcorp looked at the main high audience pirate sites and the conclusion must be that either the enforcement of the order has not started (perhaps not enough time to give notice to the hosting providers) or there is a material technical issue at this point.

All the core sites were offering uninterrupted coverage of the full game and a sequence of screen grabs can be seen here.



We will run our systems again over the next few weeks to determine if any changes have taken place.

The order runs to the end of this FAPL season (22nd May) so a couple of months to judge impact.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

FA Premier League takes extra step to fight piracy - admission that DMCA is not working

Very interesting order from Justice Arnold this week in which, for a period from this Saturday to the end of this FAPL season, will require the main UK ISP's to block certain streaming server IP addresses which stream FAPL content live. The blocking will occur in real time based on information provided by a technical provider to the FAPL to the ISP's.

The FAPL have experimented with blocking orders before but previously they were aimed at websites and despite arguments to the contrary were fairly easily avoided using proxies.

Contained within the judgement were the following comments;

1. The problem of illegal streaming is getting bigger
2. The audiences are large
3. DMCA notices are not effective with non-compliant operators

Of the 3 criteria being used to justify the blocking one was kept confidential to minimise risk of circumvention  but the other two are;

1. FAPL and its contractor must reasonably believe that the server has the sole or predominant purpose of enabling or facilitating access to infringing streams of Premier League match footage.
2. FAPL and its contractor must not know or have reason to believe that the server is being used for any other substantial purpose.

Collateral damage is a key issue therefore.

Ian Mill QC instructed by DLA Piper acted for the FAPL.

Klipcorp IP will monitor the effectiveness of this approach this Saturday and report back on initial effectiveness levels.

If this approach works it will be a major step forward in dealing with piracy and hats off to the FAPL for taking the risk of failure here.

Areas likely to provide a technical challenge are;

Deliberate concealing or spoofing of the source video stream IP address leading to blocking of the wrong IP
Rapid automated switching of IP address between different hosts
Unanticipated collateral damage.


 More information early next week.


Thursday, 19 January 2017

The limits of consent to the use of personal data

When does yes really mean yes ? That is a very broad subject but it becomes very specific in the context of data protection.

The areas of data protection, cyber security and IP protection in the Digital Age generally are very much in the news. They are a slightly splintered area of law falling variously under the Data Protection Act 1998, the Computer Misuse Act 1990, Investigatory Powers Act 2016, Freedom of Information Act 2000, Human Rights Act 1998  and the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988 as amended and updated by various WIPO treaties.

A key tension is the balance between an individual’s right to privacy and protection of their personal data and IP balanced against the often quoted desire of the state to keep us safe. The rapid growth of the internet, computing power and increased storage capacity allow for unprecedented data collection and processing.

Generally hackers make the news and highlight security shortcomings leading to the Information Commissioners Office becoming involved. However serious breaches of Data Protection law occur without a hacker anywhere to be seen through the illegal use of data provided voluntarily.

In the case of the RSPCA (until recently taking some very aggressive positions in respect of private prosecution) they were collecting personal data from donors who were presented with the following notice;

“The RSPCA may allow other organisations whose aims are in sympathy with our own or whose offers will benefit animal welfare to contact our supporters, if you do not wish to hear from them please tick the box”

It seems that the RSPCA then decided this was carte blanche to use the data collected very broadly indeed and participated in a data sharing scheme called “reciprocate” without knowing who the other parties in the scheme were. They also provided data to wealth screening companies and participated in data matching and telematching schemes. On a few occasions they also released data on individuals who had opted out.

This was brought to the attention of the new Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham via the press and unsurprisingly after a 9 month investigation serious breaches of the Data Protection Act were identified. A monetary penalty was issued of £25,000 but criminal charges could have been brought.

The Data Protection Act has at its heart 8 key principles of Data Protection with the first 2 being that personal data must be processed fairly and lawfully and that, crucially in this case, shall be obtained for a specified purpose and used consistently with that purpose. Generally to be lawful consent must have been obtained in respect of the purpose.

The Commissioners view was that the initial notice was too vague and ambiguous and did not provide data subjects with sufficient information. Consent must be freely given, specific and informed. Just ticking any old box does not do it.  Therefore the data subjects had not consented and therefore the data processing was illegal.

The Data Protection Act covers all personal data (with certain limited exemptions) which includes names, addresses and even IP addresses. Generally consent must be sought to process that data so everybody is going to need to take great care when collecting data to ensure proper consent has been obtained and also that if the person collecting the data (the data controller) decides to use the data for another purpose to seek fresh consent.

The world of big data is going to struggle a bit with this but perhaps has consoled itself that currently the maximum fine from the ICO is capped at £500,000. Fatal for an SME probably but merely a deduction for a large corporate. However new legislation proposes a fine of 4% of turnover.

Of the 8 principles of Data Protection only 1 is directly concerned with security of data (principle 7). Organisations and individuals need to devote resources to ensure the legal collection and management of personal data as well as making sure appropriate security is in place to avoid substantial fines and potential criminal prosecution.


Personal data collected which requires consent can only be lawfully used in ways which derive directly from the consent given. It has been said that personal data is like money and if so when you provide your personal data to a third party it is analogous to a loan on specific terms for a specific purpose.

Friday, 6 January 2017

2016 - how secure do you feel (about your data) ?

With thanks to Lewis Morgan, blogger in residence at IT Governance, for putting together a list of breaches in 2016 that he was aware of. Notable by it's absence is the alleged hack of the US Elections which was possibly the Russians, or possibly the Democrats or possibly Elvis Presley from beyond the grave.

In any event it certainly shows that the hackers look to have the upper hand at the moment.

2016 Cyber Attacks & Data Breaches

US health insurer Centene loses 950,000 people’s records

Asda website leaves customer details vulnerable for 677 days

Etihad Airways investigating data breach dating back to 2013

Wendy’s Probes Reports of Credit Card Breach

Bitcoin Worth $USD 6 Million Stolen

Hackers have stolen €50 million from an aerospace parts manufacturer

Linux Mint hacked – lone attacker creates botnet

Lincolnshire Council forced to use pen and paper after ransomware attack

@ChileanCrew Hacks, Leaks Details for 300,000 Chilean Citizens Looking for State Benefits

9000+ Department of Homeland Security staff have their details leaked by hacker

3,000 Tidewater Community College workers victimized in W-2 scam

Attacker compromises information of 250K in Bailey’s data breach

Cyber criminals steal $25 million from Russian banks via phishing attack

Rosen Hotel chain was hit by credit card-stealing malware for 17 months

Minecraft community lifeboat suffers data breach affecting seven million members

CoinWallet Bitcoin Trader Shuts Down Following Data Breach

93.4 million Mexicans at risk after voter database breach

BeautifulPeople.com Leaks Very Private Data of 1.1 Million ‘Elite’ Daters — And It’s All For Sale

ShapeShift loses $230,000 in bitcoin data breach – ex-employee to blame

Trump Hotel chain suffers data breach again

MySpace and Tumblr hit by ‘mega breach’

117 million hacked LinkedIn email addresses and passwords put up for sale

Kiddicare customers at risk after data spills from test server

EPISD employee accounts hacked, money stolen

Payroll vendor employee falls for phishing scam, all clients’ W-2 data involved

1.4 Billion Yen Stolen From 1,400 Japanese ATMs

154 million voter records exposed, revealing gun ownership, Facebook profiles, and more

77K accounts of Financial Giant, State Farm, leaked due to DAC Group Hack

Muslim Match dating website hack exposes more than half a million intimate messages

45 million records from over 1100 Verticalscope.com domains and communities hacked and leaked

51 Million iMesh Passwords Dumped Online

Personal info on 7.93 million people feared leaked

King’s counselling department breaches students’ privacy

Athens Orthopedic Clinic to begin notifying patients of hack

WikiLeaks Put Women in Turkey in Danger, for No Reason

10 million customer’s data leaked from online shopping site

‘Warframe’ Hacked, Details on 775,000 Players Traded

Illinois online voter registration portal hacked, information compromised

Omegle, the Popular ‘Chat with Strangers’ Service Leaks Your Dirty Chats and Personal Info

Data for 6 Million Minecraft Gamers Stolen from Leet.cc Servers

SCAN Health Plan notifying members of unauthorized access to their information

Dominican Hospital notifies patients whose PHI was sent to wrong health plan

Epic’s forums hacked again, with thousands of logins stolen

Turkish Hackers Launch Second Cyber-Attack on Killeen’s Website

Defense university computers hacked, ‘information secure’

Olympics: Hackers attack Russian whistleblower’s doping account

Florida Bar Association hacked, members’ data leaked

6.6 million plaintext passwords exposed as site gets hacked to the bone

Russian hackers leak Simone Biles and Serena Williams files

Russian internet giant Rambler.ru hacked, leaking 98 million accounts

Login details for 800,000 Brazzers users leaked

MarsJoke ransomware targets the government and K-12 educational sector

A single ransomware network has pulled in $121 million

Medical marijuana patients’ personal information found in trash pile

Security Firm Tries Desperate Solution to Alert Company of Data Leak

Hacker grabs over 58 million customer records from data storage firm

Hutchinson Community Foundation falls victim to data breach

DDoS attack against DNS provider knocks major sites offline

Whoops: Pro-Donald Trump super PAC publishes donor credit card numbers

Hackers stole credit card data from Republican website for 6 months

Department of National Defence investigating possible hack of its recruiting site

Over 412 million ‘adult’ accounts exposed – including 15 million deleted ones

Ransomware attack targets Seguin dermatology practice

Report holds Hitachi responsible for debit card data theft

Thieves Use Skimmers on ATMs in Four NYC Hospitals

Madison Square Garden Company Alerts Customers of Payment Card Data Breach

Data of 34 million Keralites leaked in massive breach

85 million login details stolen from Dailymotion

Joan Jett’s BlackHeart Records leaks thousands of files online

KFC warns 1.2 million Colonel’s Club loyalty scheme members of data breach after website hacked

Japanese hosting company Kagoya hacked; credit card data stolen

ThyssenKrupp secrets stolen in ‘massive’ cyber attack

Yahoo’s billion account database for sale on the black market

Thursday, 8 December 2016

New UK Information Commissioner shows her teeth issuing fines for wealth screening to RSPCA and BHF

What on earth has been going on at the RSPCA ? Assumed to be a quiet backwater for helping out animals in distress it became a vehicle for what looked like politically motivated criminal cases and now has been found to have been breaking the law with very aggressive data profiling or "wealth screening" without consent in order to generate income.

All credit to Elizabeth Denning, the new head of the  ICO, for the bravery to take this organisation on as they would not immediately fit into the category of data villain.

One of the areas of breach was the sharing of data in a group with others (unidentified) called "reciprocate". Effectively when agreeing to share data (or not) with the RSPCA they took it as carte blanche to share your personal data with everyone.

Perhaps up to now Data Protection has been seen as a box ticking exercise with many government agencies relying on blanket exemptions and busily building databases.

However as the Alan Lord case showed there are no blanket exemptions and each case must be considered on its merits. The rights of data subjects to request information via a subject access request will need to be taken even more seriously now.

A new attitude at the ICO should send a warning shot across the bows of both government and big business who have been harvesting and processing personal data without getting proper consent and being clear about the purpose.