Cathay Pacific execs grilled over data breach ‘crisis’

Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific chairman John Slosar and CEO Rupert Hogg attend a panel hearing at Hong Kong’s Legislative Council to answer questions about the recent data breach that affected millions. (AFP)
Updated 14 November 2018
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Cathay Pacific execs grilled over data breach ‘crisis’

  • Cathay said late last month that about 9.4 million passengers’ personal data had been accessed without authorization
  • It said an airline restructuring had been completed and it planned to hire 1,800 staff this year

HONG KONG: Cathay Pacific Airways said on Wednesday it is working with 27 regulators in 15 jurisdictions to investigate a data breach that affected millions of passengers, as Hong Kong lawmakers grilled executives over how it handled the incident.
The executives did not answer repeated questions about whether the airline would compensate all affected customers or if it might face a hefty fine under new European Union privacy regulations, saying it was “too early” to comment.
Cathay has come under mounting criticism after it said late last month that about 9.4 million passengers’ personal data had been accessed without authorization, seven months after it became aware of the breach.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the breach or what the information might be used for, but Cathay said there was no evidence so far that personal information had been misused.
“The incident is a crisis,” company Chairman John Slosar told the committee. “It is the most serious one the airline has faced.”
Slosar again apologized for failing to protect customers’ data and said he regretted that the company could not investigate the attack more quickly.
Shares of Cathay, which slid to a nine-year low after news of the data leak last month, were up more than 4 percent on Wednesday, beating a flat broader market.
Cathay said in a document submitted to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council that it first detected suspicious activity on its network in March and that the attack continued in the following months and expanded in scope.
The airline then took until mid-August to conclude which passenger data had been accessed, according to the document, and it completed the identification of the personal data that pertained to each individual passenger on Oct. 24.
Slosar said that in future Cathay would instantly disclose any similar issues to the authorities.
The company denied the data breach was a result of layoffs at its IT department last year.
Cathay said an airline restructuring had been completed and it planned to hire 1,800 staff this year.
It also said it has spent over HK$1 billion ($127.7 million) on IT infrastructure and security over the past three years.


Oil rises on US-Iran tensions, but trade war concerns weigh

Updated 21 May 2019
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Oil rises on US-Iran tensions, but trade war concerns weigh

  • There are expectations producer club OPEC will continue to withhold supply this year
  • President Donald Trump on Monday threatened Iran with ‘great force’ if it attacked US interests in the Middle East

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose on Tuesday on escalating US-Iran tensions and amid expectations that producer club OPEC will continue to withhold supply this year.
But gains were checked by concerns that a prolonged trade war between Washington and Beijing could lead to a global economic slowdown.
Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $72.24 per barrel at 0534 GMT, up 27 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $63.36 per barrel.
“Escalating tensions between the US and Iran, in addition to signs that OPEC will continue its production cut, drove oil higher,” said Jasper Lawler, head of research at futures brokerage London Capital Group.
US President Donald Trump on Monday threatened Iran with “great force” if it attacked US interests in the Middle East. This came after a rocket attack in Iraq’s capital Baghdad, which Washington suspects to have been organized by militia with ties to Iran.
Iran said on Tuesday that it would resist US pressure, declining further talks under current circumstances.
The tension comes amid an already tight market as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other producers have been withholding supply since the start of the year to prop up prices.
A meeting has been scheduled for June 25-26 to discuss the policy, but the group is now considering moving the event to July 3-4, according to OPEC sources on Monday, with its de-facto leader Saudi Arabia signaling a willingness to continue withholding output.
Price gains were constrained by pressure on financial markets, which have this week been weighed down by worries that the United States and China are digging in for a long, costly trade war that could result in a broad global slowdown.
Singapore, seen as a bellwether for the health of the global economy, on Tuesday posted its lowest quarterly growth in nearly a decade of 1.2 percent year-on-year. Growth in Thailand, a key Asian emerging market, also slowed to a multi-year low.