Privacy watchdog criticizes Cathay Pacific over 2018 data breach

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Airbus A330-300 passenger plane takes off near a Taiwanese national flag at Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan. (Reuters)
Updated 06 June 2019

Privacy watchdog criticizes Cathay Pacific over 2018 data breach

  • The data breach compromised 860,000 passport numbers and about 245,000 Hong Kong identity card numbers
  • Cathay Pacific shares slumped to nine-year lows after the October announcement

HONG KONG: Airline Cathay Pacific has been found to have not followed data protection principles in relation to the security of passengers’ personal data, Hong Kong’s privacy watchdog said in a report published on Thursday.
Last October Cathay said data on about 9.4 million of its passengers had been accessed without authorization, adding that it had discovered suspicious activity on its network in March 2018 and that investigations in early May last year had confirmed that certain personal data had been accessed.
The breach compromised 860,000 passport numbers and about 245,000 Hong Kong identity card numbers, Cathay had reported.
Cathay Pacific shares slumped to nine-year lows after the October announcement.
In Thursday’s report the commissioner for personal data, Stephen Kai-yi Wong, criticized the airline for “lax” data governance, pointing at its failure to identify common vulnerabilities and put in place measures to plug them.
“Cathay adopted a lax attitude toward data governance, which fell short of the expectation of its affected passengers and the regulator,” he said, adding that the airline had retained Hong Kong identity card numbers of affected passengers longer than necessary.
A statement from the airline said it was assessing the commissioner’s report, which ordered Cathay to appoint an independent data security expert to overhaul its personal data storage systems and chalk out a clear data-retention policy among other measures.


Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

Updated 16 September 2019

Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

  • The Houthi attacks hit two Aramco sites and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply
  • President Donald Trump said Sunday the US was ‘locked and loaded’ to respond to the attacks

HONG KONG: Oil prices saw a record surge Monday after attacks on two Saudi facilities slashed output in the world’s top producer by half, fueling fresh geopolitical fears as Donald Trump blamed Iran and raised the possibility of a military strike on the country.
Brent futures surged $12 in the first few minutes of business — the most in dollar terms since they were launched in 1988 and representing a jump of nearly 20 percent — while WTI jumped more than $8, or 15 percent.
Both contracts pared the gains but were both still more than 10 percent up.
The attack by Tehran-backed Houthi militia in neighboring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, hit two sites owned by state-run giant Aramco and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply.
Trump said Sunday the US was “locked and loaded” to respond to the attack, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”
Tehran denies the accusations but the news revived fears of a conflict in the tinderbox Middle East after a series of attacks on oil tankers earlier this year that were also blamed on Iran.
“Tensions in the Middle East are rising quickly, meaning this story will continue to reverberate this week even after the knee-jerk panic in oil markets this morning,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
Trump authorized the release of US supplies from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, while Aramco said more than half of the five million barrels of production lost will be restored by tomorrow.
But the strikes raise concerns about the security of supplies from the world’s biggest producer.
Oil prices had dropped last week after news that Trump had fired his anti-Iran hawkish national security adviser John Bolton, which was seen as paving the way for an easing of tensions in the region.
“One thing we can say with confidence is that if part of the reason for last week’s fall in oil and improvement in geopolitical risk sentiment was the news of John Bolton’s sacking ... and thoughts this was a precursor to some form of rapprochement between Trump and Iran, then it is no longer valid,” said Ray Attrill at National Australia Bank.