What can we learn from the General Electric Breach?
General Electric Breach? In a surprising announcement Fortune 500 technology giant General Electric (GE), an organisation that should have this all sown up, disclosed that personally identifiable information of current and former employees, as well as beneficiaries, was exposed in a security incident experienced by one of GE’s service providers. Shock, Horror, Information Security in the supply chain yet again.
GE says in a notice of data breach filed with the Office of the California Attorney General that Canon Business Process Services (Canon), a GE service provider, had one of their employees’ email accounts breached by an unauthorized party in February. The filing is available here.
“We were notified on February 28, 2020 that Canon had determined that, between approximately February 3 – 14, 2020, an unauthorized party gained access to an email account that contained documents of certain GE employees, former employees and beneficiaries entitled to benefits that were maintained on Canon’s systems,”
the notification says
GE also states that the sensitive personal information exposed during the incident was uploaded by or for current and former GE employees, as well as “beneficiaries entitled to benefits in connection with Canon’s workflow routing service.”
Having read the notice, Peter, our CEO has this to say:
“Yet another example of an organisation that should know better has been breached by a third party in the supply chain. What is really surprising is the volume of categories of information that have been disclosed. According the GE filing, direct deposit forms, driver’s licenses, passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, medical child support orders, tax withholding forms, beneficiary designation forms and applications for benefits such as retirement, severance and death benefits with related forms and documents, may have included names, addresses, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, bank account numbers, passport numbers, dates of birth, and other information contained in the relevant forms we all disclosed.
What should you be doing?
So what should be done in order to prevent these breaches occurring in the first place?
“For the average business, a solid supplier due diligence program is essential. Your Cyber Security is only as strong as the weakest link. Time and time again we are seeing breaches of businesses through their supply chain. So, start by asking the suppliers the tough questions and look to verify their security credentials. At a minimum, your suppliers should have a Cyber Essentials Plus certificate.
Having a check list of security credentials for your suppliers is important. Ask for updates on a regular basis and remember to always validate what the suppliers are telling you. Do not be scared to vote with your feet. It is your business on the line when they fail to protect your and your clients information.
Peter has been in the Information Security world since 1999 and in IT in general since 1996. His work history contains a unique blended balance between the development of exceptional technical capabilities and business knowledge. Peter is a proud father of twins and enjoys GT endurance racing on the weekends.
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