National CyberSec Coordinator to investigate HWL Ebsworth cyber breach

Australian National Cyber Security Coordinator, Darren Goldie, has declared his intention to seek briefings from Australia’s Department of Home Affairs and HWL Ebsworth on the status of the response to the high-profile cyber breach of the legal firm.

Goldie, who was appointed to the cybersec Coordinator role last month, has said this case would be his first order of business, recognising that a number of government entities were impacted by the HWL Ebsworth incident resulting in the release of sensitive personal and government information.

In May, the law firm reported the breach to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) under the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme and on 9 June. HWL Ebsworth advised the Department of Home Affairs that documents relating to Departmental files were included in the breach it had experienced.

At the moment, HWL Ebsworth is working with the Department to address the impacts arising from the incident; the company is also working with the OAIC to meet relevant obligations under the Privacy Act 198.

I am actively engaging with HWL Ebsworth to understand the complete picture of this incident, including how their private industry clients have been impacted, as the data analysis continues,” the National Cyber Security Coordinator said in the press release.

“Impacted entities are commencing the process of notifying affected individuals about the impacts the data breach has had on their information, and to meet their relevant obligations under the Privacy Act 1988.”

“Additional coordination meetings are occurring to address issues for HWL Ebsworth’s broader client base. We will work to ensure the lessons from this incident are shared so that we can continue to collectively bolster our responses to cyber incidents.”