Second Course Exam for Free – ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001 & EU GDPR

I just wanted to inform you that, at the end of September, Advisera launched “Second Course Exam for Free” promotional campaign. The campaign will start on September 22, and end on September 29, 2022.

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Take the ISO 9001 course exam and get the ISO 14001, ISO 13485, or 45001 course exam for free

Take ISO 27001 course exam and get the EU GDPR course exam for Free

Take the ISO 27001 course exam and get the EU GDPR course exam for free

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French data protection authority says Google Analytics is in violation of GDPR

French data protection authority says Google Analytics is in violation of GDPR

French data protection authority says Google Analytics is in violation of GDPR

The French national data protection authority, CNIL, issued a formal notice to managers of an unnamed local website today arguing that its use of Google Analytics is in violation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, following a similar decision by Austria last month

The root of the issue stems from the website’s use of Google Analytics, which functions as a tool for managers to track content performance and page visits. CNIL said the tool’s use and transfer of personal data to the U.S. fails to abide by landmark European regulations because the U.S. was deemed to not have equivalent privacy protections.

European regulators including CNIL have been investigating such complaints over the last two years, following a decision by the EU’s top court that invalidated the U.S.’s “Privacy Shield” agreement on data transfers. NOYB, the European Center for Digital Rights, reported 101 complaints in 27 member states of the EU and 3 states in the European Economic Area against data controllers who conduct the transatlantic transfers.  

Privacy Shield, which went into effect in August of 2016, was a “self-certification mechanism for companies established in the United States of America,” according to CNIL. 

Originally, the Privacy Shield was considered by the European Commission to be a sufficient safeguard for transferring personal data from European entities to the United States. However, in 2020 the adequacy decision was reversed due to no longer meeting standards. 

An equivalency test was used to compare European and U.S. regulations which immediately established the U.S.’s failure to protect the data of non-U.S. citizens. European citizens would remain unaware that their data is being used and how it is being used, and they cannot be compensated for any misuse of data, CNIL found. 

CNIL concluded that Google Analytics does not provide adequate supervision or regulation, and the risks for French users of the tool are too great.

“Indeed, if Google has adopted additional measures to regulate data transfers within the framework of the Google Analytics functionality, these are not sufficient to exclude the possibility of access by American intelligence services to this data,” CNIL said. 

The unnamed site manager has been given a month to update its operations to be in compliance with GDPR. If the tool cannot meet regulations, CNIL suggests transitioning away from the current state of Google Analytics and replacing it with a different tool that does not transmit the data. 

The privacy watchdog does not call for a ban of Google Analytics, but rather suggests revisions that follow the guidelines. “Concerning the audience measurement and analysis services of a website, the CNIL recommends that these tools be used only to produce anonymous statistical data, thus allowing an exemption from consent if the data controller ensures that there are no illegal transfers,” the watchdog said. 

source: https://


GDPR Practitioner Guide

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GDPR compliance without the complexity

GDPR Toolkit

Most management systems, compliance, and certification projects require documented policies, procedures, and work instructions. GDPR compliance is no exception. Documentation of policies and processes are vital to achieve compliance.

ITG GDPR Documentation Toolkit gives you a complete set of easily customizable GDPR-compliant documentation templates to help you demonstrate your compliance with the GDPR’s requirements quickly, easily, and affordably.

“Having recently kicked off a GDPR project with a large international organisation I was tasked with creating their Privacy Compliance Framework. The GDPR toolkit provided by IT Governance proved to be invaluable providing the project with a well organised framework of template documents covering all elements of the PIMS framework. It covers areas such as Subject Access Request Procedure, Retention of Records Procedure and Data Protection Impact Assessment Procedure helping you to put in practice policies and procedures to enable the effective management of personal information on individuals. For anyone seeking some support with their GDPR plans the toolkit is well work consideration.”

– Chris Prantl

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66% of Workers Risk Breaching GDPR by Printing Work-Related Docs at Home

Two-thirds of remote workers risk potentially breaching GDPR guidelines by printing out work-related documents at home, according to a new study from Go Shred.

The confidential shredding and records management company discovered that 66% of home workers have printed work-related documents since they began working from home, averaging five documents every week. Such documents include meeting notes/agendas (42%), internal documents including procedure manuals (32%), contracts and commercial documents (30%) and receipts/expense forms (27%).

Furthermore, 20% of home workers admitted to printing confidential employee information including payroll, addresses and medical information, with 13% having printed CVs or application forms.

The issue is that, to comply with the GDPR, all companies that store or process personal information about EU citizens within EU states are required to have an effective, documented, auditable process in place for the collection, storage and destruction of personal information.

However, when asked whether they have disposed of any printed documents since working from home, 24% of respondents said they haven’t disposed of them yet as they plan to take them back to the office and a further 24% said they used a home shredding machine but disposed of the documents in their own waste. This method of disposal is not recommended due to personal waste bins not providing enough security for confidential waste and therefore still leaving employers open to a data breach and potential fines, Go Shred pointed out.

Most concerning of all, 8% of those polled said they have no plans to dispose of the work-related documents they have printed at home, with 7% saying they haven’t done so because they do not know how to.

Source: 66% of Workers Risk Breaching GDPR by Printing Work-Related Docs at Home via Infosecurity Magazine

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‘2019 is the year of enforcement’: GDPR fines have begun

The Information Commissioner’s Office levied fines against British Airways and Marriott International for violating the GDPR.

Source: ‘2019 is the year of enforcement’: GDPR fines have begun – Digiday

British Airways faces $230 million fine over GDPR breach

Marriott Faces GDPR Fines: A DPO and CISO Discussion

Steps to GDPR Compliance

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5 ways to avoid a GDPR fine

After the ICO issues $450 million of GDPR fines in a week, be sure you’re not next.
Source: 5 ways to avoid a GDPR fine

GDPR For Consultants – Training Webinar


What You Need to Know about General Data Protection Regulation

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How to write a GDPR data breach notification procedure – with template example

Discover how to write a GDPR data breach notification procedure to help you with your GDPR compliance. Including a free template example. Read now

Source: How to write a GDPR data breach notification procedure – with template example – IT Governance Blog

Personal data breach notification procedures under the GDPR

Organizations must create a procedure that applies in the event of a personal data breach under Article 33 – “Notification of a personal data breach to the supervisory authority – and Article 34 of the GDPR – “Communication of a personal data breach to the data subject.

Help with creating a data breach notification template

The picture above is an example of what a data breach notification might look like – available from the market-leading EU GDPR Documentation Toolkit – which sets out the scope of the procedure, responsibilities and the steps that will be taken by the organization to communicate the breach from:

  • Data processor to data controller;
  • Data controller to supervisory authority; and
  • Data controller to data subject.


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Privacy notice under the GDPR


A privacy notice is a public statement of how your organisation applies data protection principles to processing data. It should be a clear and concise document that is accessible by individuals.

Articles 12, 13 and 14 of the GDPR outline the requirements on giving privacy information to data subjects. These are more detailed and specific than in the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

The GDPR says that the information you provide must be:

  • Concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible;
  • Written in clear and plain language, particularly if addressed to a child; and
  • Free of charge.

Help with creating a privacy notice template

The privacy notice should address the following to sufficiently inform the data subject:

  • Who is collecting the data?
  • What data is being collected?
  • What is the legal basis for processing the data?
  • Will the data be shared with any third parties?
  • How will the information be used?
  • How long will the data be stored for?
  • What rights does the data subject have?
  • How can the data subject raise a complaint?

Below is an example of a customisable privacy notice template, available from IT Governance here.

GDPR Privacy Notice Template - Example from the EU GDPR Documentation Toolkit

Example of the privacy notice template available to purchase from IT Governance

If you are looking for a complete set of GDPR templates to help with your compliance project, you may be interested in the market-leading EU GDPR Documentation Toolkit. This toolkit is designed and developed by expert GDPR practitioners, and has been used by thousands of organisations worldwide. It includes:

  • A complete set of easy-to-use and customisable documentation templates, which will save you time and money and ensure GDPR compliance;
  • Helpful dashboards and project tools to ensure complete GDPR coverage;
  • Direction and guidance from expert GDPR practitioners; and
  • Two licences for the GDPR Staff Awareness E-learning Course.

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Six Essential Data Protection and Privacy Requirements Under GDPR

By Leighton Johnson, CISA, CISM, CIFI, CISSP

With the advent of the European Union (EU) deadline for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU 2016/679 regulation) coming up on 25 May 2018, many organizations are addressing their data gathering, protection and retention needs concerning the privacy of their data for EU citizens and residents. This regulation has many parts, as ISACA has described in many of its recent publications and events, but all of the efforts revolve around the protection and retention of the EU participants’ personal information. The 6 main areas for data protection defined in this regulation are:

  1. Data security controls need to be, by default, active at all times. Allowing security controls to be optional is not recommended or even suggested. “Always on” is the mantra for protection.
  2. These controls and the protection they provide must be embedded inside all applications. The GDPR view is that privacy is an essential part of functionality, the security of the system and its processing activities.
  3. Along with embedding the data protection controls in applications, the system must maintain data privacy across the entire processing effort for the affected data. This end-to-end need for protection includes collection efforts, retention requirements and even the new “right to be forgotten” requirement, wherein the customer has the right to request removal of their data from an organization’s storage.
  4. Complete data protection and privacy adds full-functional security and business requirements to any processing system in this framework for data privacy. It provides that business requirements and data protection requirements be equally important during the business process.
  5. The primary requirement for protection within the GDPR framework demands the security and privacy controls implemented are proactive rather than reactive. As its principal goal, the system needs to prevent issues, releases and successful attacks. The system is to keep privacy events from occurring in the first place.
  6. With all of these areas needed under GDPR, the most important point for organizations to understand about GDPR is transparency. The EU wants full disclosure of an organization’s efforts, documentation, reviews, assessments and results available for independent third-party review at any point. The goal is to ensure privacy managed by these companies is not dependent upon technology or business practices. It needs to be provable to outside parties and, therefore, acceptable. The EU has purposely placed some strong fine structures and responses into this regulation to ensure compliance.

Having reviewed various organizational efforts in preparation for GDPR implementation, it has been found that it is good practice to look at these 6 areas for all the collected and retained data, not just EU-based data. This zero-tolerance approach to data breaches is purposely designed to be stringent and strong. Good luck to all in meeting and maintaining the data privacy and security requirements of GDPR.

Steps to EU GDPR compliance


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How ISO 27001 can help to achieve GDPR compliance


By Julia Dutton

Organizations have until 25 May 2018 to comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Those who have studied the Regulation will be aware that there are many references to certification schemes, seals and marks. The GDPR encourages the use of certification schemes like ISO 27001 to serve the purpose of demonstrating that the organisation is actively managing its data security in line with international best practice.

Managing people, processes and technology

ISO 27001 is the international best practice standard for information security, and is a certifiable standard that is broad-based and encompasses the three essential aspects of a comprehensive information security regime: people, processes and technology.  By implementing measures to protect information using this three-pronged approach, the company is able to defend itself from not only technology-based risks, but other, more common threats, such as poorly informed staff or ineffective procedures.

By implementing ISO 27001, your organisation will be deploying an ISMS (information security management system): a system that is supported by top leadership, incorporated into your organisation’s culture and strategy, and which is constantly monitored, updated and reviewed.  Using a process of continual improvement, your organisation will be able to ensure that the ISMS adapts to changes – both in the environment and inside the organisation – to continually identify and reduce risks.

What does the GDPR say?

The GDPR states clearly in Article 32 that “the controller and the processor shall implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk, including inter alia as appropriate:

  1. the pseudonymisation and encryption of personal data;
  2. the ability to ensure the ongoing confidentiality, integrity, availability and resilience of processing systems and services;
  3. the ability to restore the availability and access to personal data in a timely manner in the event of a physical or technical incident;
  4. a process for regularly testing, assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of technical and organisational measures for ensuring the security of the processing.”

Let’s look at these items separately:

Encryption of data is recommended by ISO 27001 as one of the measures that can and should be taken to reduce the identified risks.  ISO 27001:2013 outlines 114 controls that can be used to reduce information security risks.  Since the controls an organisation implements are based on the outcomes of an ISO 27001-compliant risk assessment, the organisation will be able to identify which assets are at risk and require encryption to adequately protect them.

One of ISO 27001’s core tenets is the importance of ensuring the ongoing confidentiality, integrity and availability of information.  Not only is confidentiality important, but the integrity and availability of such data is critical as well. If the data is available but in a format that is not usable because of a system disruption, then the integrity of that data has been compromised; if the data is protected but inaccessible to those who need to use it as part of their jobs, then the availability of that data has been compromised.

Risk assessment

ISO 27001 mandates that organisations conduct a thorough risk assessment by identifying threats and vulnerabilities that can affect an organisation’s information assets, and to take steps to assure the confidentiality, availability and integrity (CIA) of that data. The GDPR specifically requires a risk assessment to ensure an organisation has identified risks that can impact personal data.

Business continuity

ISO 27001 addresses the importance of business continuity management, whereby it provides a set of controls that will assist the organisation to protect the availability of information in case of an incident and protect critical business processes from the effects of major disasters to ensure their timely resumption.

Testing and assessments

Lastly, organisations that opt for certification to ISO 27001 will have their ISMSs independently assessed and audited by an accredited certification body to ensure that the management system meets the requirements of the Standard. Companies need to regularly review their ISMS and conduct the necessary assessments as prescribed by the Standard in order to ensure it continues protecting the company’s information. Achieving accredited certification to ISO 27001 delivers an independent, expert assessment of whether you have implemented adequate measures to protect your data.

The requirements to achieve compliance with ISO 27001 of course do not stop there.  Being a broad standard, it covers many other elements, including the importance of staff awareness training and leadership support.  ISO 27001 has already been adopted by thousands of organisations globally, and, given the current rate and severity of data breaches, it is also one of the fastest growing management system standards today.

Related articles:

Read more about ISO 27001 and the GDPR >>>>
GDPR Documentation Toolkit and gap assessment tool >>>>
Understanding the GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation >>>>


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GDPR essentials and how to achieve compliance


The GDPR will replace these with a pan-European regulatory framework effective from 25 May 2018.  The GDPR applies to all EU organizations – whether commercial business or public authority – that collect, store or process the personal data (PII) of EU individuals.

Organizations based outside the EU that monitor or offer goods and services to individuals in the EU will have to observe the new European rules and adhere to the same level of protection of personal data. This potentially includes organizations everywhere in the world, regardless of how difficult it may be to enforce the Regulation. Compliance consultant must know the following 9 tenants of the GDPR.


  • Supervisory Authority – A one-stop shop provision means that organizations will only have to deal with a single supervisory authority, not one for each of the EU’s 28 member states, making it simpler and cheaper for companies to do business in the EU.


  • Breach Disclosure – Organizations must disclose and document the causes of breaches, effects of breaches, and actions taken to address them.


  • Processor must be able to provide “sufficient guarantees to implement appropriate technical and organizational measures” to ensure that processing will comply with the GDPR and that data subjects’ rights are protected. This requirement flows down the supply chain, so a processor cannot subcontract work to a second processor without the controller’s explicit authorization. If requested by subject you must cease processing and using his or her data for some limited period of time.


  • Data Consent – The Regulation imposes stricter requirements on obtaining valid consent from individuals to justify the processing of their personal data. Consent must be “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the individual’s wishes”. The organization must also keep records so it can demonstrate that consent has been given by the relevant individual. Data can only be used for the purposes that data subject originally explicitly consented. You must obtain and document consent for only one specific purpose at a time.


  • Right to be forgotten – Individuals have a right to require the data controller to erase all personal data held about them in certain circumstances, such as where the data is no longer necessary for the purposes for which it was collected. If requested by subject, you must erase their data on premises, in apps and on devices.


  • Data portability – Individuals will have the right to transfer personal data from one data controller to another where processing is based on consent or necessity for the performance of a contract, or where processing is carried out by automated means


  • Documentation – The Regulation requires quite a bit of documentation. In addition to the explicit and implicit requirements for specific records (especially including proof of consent from data subjects), you should also ensure that you have documented how you comply with the GDPR so that you have some evidence to support your claims if the supervisory authority has any cause to investigate.


  • Fines – Major noncompliance of the law will be punishable by fines of up to either 4% or €20 million of group annual worldwide turnover.


Data protection by design – Organization must ensure data security and data privacy across cloud and endpoints as well as design their system and processes that protects from unauthorized data access and malware.  Specifically, organizations must take appropriate technical and organizational measures before data processing begin to ensure that it meets the requirements of the Regulation. Data privacy risks must be properly assessed, and controllers may use adherence to approved codes of conduct or management system certifications, such as ISO 27001, to demonstrate their compliance.


How to improve information security under the GDPR

Although many businesses understand the importance of implementing the right procedures for detection, report and investigate a data breach, but not many are aware of how to go about this effectively, especially during implementation phase.


Seven steps that can help you prevent a data breach:

  1. Find out where your personal information resides and prioritize your data.
  2. Identify all the risks that could cause a breach of your personal data.
  3. Apply the most appropriate measures (controls) to mitigate those risks.
  4. Implement the necessary policies and procedures to support the controls.
  5. Conduct regular tests and audits to make sure the controls are working as intended.
  6. Review, report and update your plans regularly.
  7. Implement comprehensive and robust ISMS.


ISO 27001, the international information security standard, can help you achieve all of the above and protect all your other confidential company information, too. To achieve GDPR compliance, feel free to contact us for more detail on implementation.

Related articles on GDPR and ISO 27k

The GDPR and Personal Data…HELP! from Cloud Security Alliance

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Data flow mapping under the EU GDPR

As part of an EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance project, organisations will need to map their data and information flows in order to assess their privacy risks. This is also an essential first step for completing a data protection impact assessment (DPIA), which is mandatory for certain types of processing.

The key elements of data mapping

To effectively map your data, you need to understand the information flow, describe it and identify its key elements.

1. Understand the information flow

An information flow is a transfer of information from one location to another, for example:

  • From inside to outside the European Union; or
  • From suppliers and sub-suppliers through to customers.

2. Describe the information flow

  • Walk through the information lifecycle to identify unforeseen or unintended uses of data. This also helps to minimise what data is collected.
  • Make sure the people who will be using the information are consulted on the practical implications.
  • Consider the potential future uses of the information collected, even if it is not immediately necessary.

3. Identify its key elements

Data items

  • What kind of data is being processed (name, email, address, etc.) and what category does it fall into (health data, criminal records, location data, etc.)?


  • In what format do you store data (hardcopy, digital, database, bring your own device, mobile phones, etc.)?

Transfer method

  • How do you collect data (post, telephone, social media) and how do you share it internally (within your organisation) and externally (with third parties)?


  • What locations are involved within the data flow (offices, the Cloud, third parties, etc.)?


  • Who is accountable for the personal data? Often this changes as the data moves throughout the organisation.


  • Who has access to the data in question?


The key challenges of data mapping

  • Identifying personal data Personal data can reside in a number of locations and be stored in a number of formats, such as paper, electronic and audio. Your first challenge is deciding what information you need to record and in what format.
  • Identifying appropriate technical and organizational safeguards The second challenge is likely to be identifying the appropriate technology – and the policy and procedures for its use – to protect information while also determining who controls access to it.
  • Understanding legal and regulatory obligations Your final challenge is determining what your organisation’s legal and regulatory obligations are. As well as the GDPR, this can include other compliance standards, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and ISO 27001.Once you’ve completed these three challenges, you’ll be in a position to move forward, gaining the trust and confidence of your key stakeholders.


Data flow mapping

To help you gather the above information and consolidate it into one area, Vigilant Software, a subsidiary of IT Governance, has developed a data flow mapping tool with a specific focus on the GDPR.


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GDPR Documentation Toolkit and gap assessment tool

Data Protection / EU GDPR Toolkits


Use this gap assessment tool to:

  • Quickly identify your GDPR compliance gaps
  • Plan and prioritize your GDPR project

EU GDPR Compliance Gap Assessment Tool


Accelerate your GDPR compliance implementation project with the market-leading EU GDPR Documentation Toolkit used by hundreds of organizations worldwide, now with significant improvements and new content for summer 2017:

  • A complete set of easy-to-use and customizable documentation templates, which will save you time and money, and ensure compliance with the GDPR.
  • Easy-to-use dashboards and project tools to ensure complete coverage of the GDPR.
  • Direction and guidance from expert GDPR practitioners.
  • Includes two licenses for the GDPR Staff Awareness E-learning Course.

EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Documentation Toolkit

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EU GDPR: Does my organization need to comply?

By Chloe Biscoe

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law that will harmonize data protection in the European Union (EU) and will be enforced from May 25, 2018. It aims to protect EU residents from data and privacy breaches, and has been introduced to keep up with the modern digital landscape.

Who needs to comply with the GDPR?

The GDPR will apply to all organizations outside of the EU that process the personal data of EU residents.

Non-compliance can result in hefty fines of up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 million $23.5 million) – whichever is greater.

Organizations that are compliant with the new Regulation will also find that their processes and contractual relationships are more robust and reliable.

What do US organizations need to do to comply with the GDPR?

The transition period for compliance with the GDPR ends in May 2018. This means that organizations now have less than ten months to make sure they are compliant.

For US organizations, the most significant change concerns the territorial reach of the GDPR.

The GDPR will supersede the current EU Data Protection Directive. Under the current Regulation, organizations without a physical presence or employees in the EU have one main compliance issue to deal with: How to legally transfer data out of the EU. The EU–US Privacy Shield provides such a mechanism for compliance.

Almost all US organizations that collect or process EU residents’ data will need to comply fully with the requirements of the GDPR. US organizations without a physical EU presence must also appoint a GDPR representative based in a Member State.

Save 10% on your essential guide to the GDPR and the EU–US Privacy Shield

EU GDPR & EU-US Privacy Shield – A Pocket GuideAugust’s book of the month is the ideal resource for anyone wanting a clear primer on the principles of data protection and their new obligations under the GDPR and the EU–US Privacy Shield.

Alan Calder’s EU GDPR & EU-US Privacy Shield – A Pocket Guide explains in simple terms:

  • The terms and definitions used within the GDPR and the EU-US Privacy Shield
  • The key requirements
  • How to comply with the Regulation


Data Protection / EU GDPR Toolkits


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400 Million Twitter Users’ Scraped Info Goes on Sale!

The sample data seen by shows that the sold information also includes records on top celebrities and political figures, such as Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bollywood’s Salman Khan.

On December 23, 2022, a threat actor going by the handle “Ryushi” claimed to sell more than 400 million Twitter users’ personal details on BreachedForums, a cybercrime and hacking forum that surfaced as an alternative to the now-seized Raidforums.

As seen by, the sample data attached to the post contains private email addresses, usernames, follower counts, creation dates, and, in certain cases, the user’s phone numbers.

400 Million Twitter Users' Scraped Info Goes on Sale!
Post from the threat actor (Image credit: Waqas –

The sample data also contains a variety of well-known user accounts including New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ethereum cryptocurrency founder Buterin, Indian actor Salman Khan and cybersecurity reporter Brian Krebs. 

It is worth mentioning that the latest data leak came just one month after a hacker leaked the contact and personal details of over 5.3 million Twitter users online. Both the earlier and latest incidents are now being investigated by Irish authorities.

The threat actor stated in the post that the data had been “scraped via a vulnerability” but did not specify any further details.

Further, they openly advised the CEO of the social media giant, Elon Musk, that he should buy this data directly from the hacker instead of “paying $276 million USD in GDPR breach fines like Facebook did” but does not specify a price at which the data is being sold.

400 Million Twitter Users' Scraped Info Goes on Sale!

Offering to conduct the “deal” through a middleman, the threat actor states, “After that, I will remove this thread and will not sell this info again. And data won’t be sold to anyone else, which will stop a lot of celebrities and politicians from Phishing, Crypto scams, Sim swapping, Doxxing, and other things that will make your users lose trust in you as a company and thus stunt the current growth and hype.”

Researchers who have seen the sample data believe that this alleged data leak is the result of an API flaw which allowed the threat actor to search any email addresses or phone numbers and return a Twitter profile.

This attack followed only months after Twitter entered into a consent order with the US Federal Trade Commission binding it to maintain a privacy and information security program for the next two decades.

The agreement ended a federal investigation into Twitter’s use of phone numbers and email addresses for advertising purposes when they were collected to be used for multi-factor authentication. Twitter also paid a $150 million civil penalty.

Therefore, if this data breach is verified, the impact on Twitter would be drastic both financially and socially. At the time of writing, the data was still up for grabs.

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Best practices for implementing a company-wide risk analysis program

The associated risk management programs are also constantly evolving, and that’s likely due to outside influences such as client contract requirements, board requests and/or specific security incidents that require security teams to rethink and strengthen their strategy. Not surprisingly, CISO’s today face several dilemmas: How do I define the business impact of a cyber event? How much will it cost to protect our company’s most valuable assets? Which investments will make the business most secure? How do we avoid getting sidetracked by the latest cyber breach headline?

A mature risk analysis program can be thought of as a pyramid. Customer-driven framework compliance forms the base (PCI/ISO frameworks required for revenue generation); then incident-driven infrastructure security in the middle (system-focused security based on known common threats and vulnerabilities); with analysis-driven comprehensive coverage at the pinnacle (identification of assets, valuations, and assessment of threat/vulnerability risk).

risk analysis

How do you kickstart that program? Here are five steps that I’ve found effective for getting risk analysis off the ground.

Determine enterprise-specific assets

The first step is determining what is critical to protect. Unlike accounting assets (e.g., servers, laptops, etc.), in cybersecurity terms this would include things that are typically of broader business value. Often the quickest path is to talk with the leads for different departments. You need to understand what data is critical to the functioning of each group, what information they hold that would be valuable to competitors (pricing, customers, etc.) and what information disclosures would hurt customer relationships (contract data, for instance).

Also assess whether each department handles trade secrets, or holds patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Finally, assess who handles personally identifiable information (PII) and whether the group and its data are subject to regulatory requirements such as GDPR, PCI DSS, CCPA, Sarbanes Oxley, etc.

When making these assessments, keep three factors in mind: what needs to be safe and can’t be stolen, what must remain accessible for continued function of a given department or the organization, and what data/information must be reliable (i.e., that which can’t be altered without your knowledge) for people to do their jobs.

Value the assets

Once you’ve identified these assets, the next step is to attach a value. Again, I make three recommendations: keep it simple, make (informed) assumptions, and err on the side of overestimating. The reason for these recommendations is that completing a full asset valuation for an enterprise would take years and wouldn’t ever be finished (because assets constantly change).

Efficient risk analysis requires a more practical approach that uses broad categories, which can then be prioritized to understand where deeper analysis is needed. For instance, you might use the following categories, and assign values based on informed assumptions:

  • Competitive advantage – the items/processes/data that are unique to your company and based on experience. These are items that would be of value to a competitor to build on. To determine value, consider the cost of growing a legitimate competitor in your dominant market from scratch, including technology and overhead.
  • Client relationships – what directly impacts customer relationships, and therefore revenue. This includes “availability” impacts from outages, SLAs, etc. Value determination will likely be your annual EBIT goal, and impact could be adjusted by a Single Loss Exposure.
  • Third-party partnerships – relating to your ability to initiate, maintain or grow partner networks, such as contractors, ISPs or other providers. When valuing, consider the employee labor cost needed to recruit and maintain those partners.
  • Financial performance – items that impact your company’s ability to achieve financial goals. Again, valuation might equate to annual EBIT.
  • Employee relations – the assets that impact your ability to recruit and retain employees. Valuation should consider the volume of potential losses and associated backfill needs, including base salaries, bonuses, benefit equivalencies, etc.

Determine relevant threats, assess vulnerability, and identify exposures

When it comes to analyzing risk from threats, vulnerabilities and exposures, start with the common security triad model for information security. The three pillars – Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability (CIA) – help guide and focus security teams as they assess the different ways to address each concern.

Confidentiality touches on data security and privacy; it entails not only keeping data safe, but also making sure only those who need access, have it.

Integrity reflects the need to make sure data is trustworthy and tamper-free. While data accuracy can be compromised by simple mistakes, what the security team is more concerned with is intentional compromise that’s designed to harm the organization.

Availability is just what it sounds like – making sure that information can be accessed where and when needed. Availability is an aspect of the triad where security teams need to coordinate closely with IT on backup, redundancy, failover, etc. That said, it also involves everything from secure remote access to timely patches and updates to preventing acts of sabotage like denial of service or ransomware attacks.

In undertaking this part of the risk assessment, you’re using this security triad to determine threats, and then identifying exposure and assessing vulnerability to better estimate both the potential impact and probability of occurrence. Once these determinations are made, you’re ready for the next step.

Define risk

AV = assigned Asset Value (quantitative/qualitative) as identified above.
EF = the Exposure Factor, a subjective assessment of the potential percentage loss to the asset if a specific threat is realized. For example, an asset may be degraded by half, giving an EF of 0.50.

From this we can calculate the Single Loss Expectancy (SLE) – the monetary value from one-time risk to an asset – by multiplying AV and EF. As an example, if the asset value is $1M, and the exposure factor from a threat is a 50% loss (0.50) then the SLE will be $500,000.

Risk definition also takes this one step further by using this SLE and multiplying it by a potential Annualized Rate of Occurrence (ARO) to come up with the Annualized Loss Expectancy (ALE). This helps us understand the potential risk over time.

When working through these figures, it’s important to recognize that potential loss and probability of occurrence are hard to define, and thus the potential for error is high. That’s why I encourage keeping it simple and overestimating when valuing assets – the goal is to broadly assess the likelihood and impact of risk so that we can better focus resources, not to get the equations themselves perfectly accurate.

Implement and monitor safeguards (controls)

Now that we have a better handle on the organizational risks, the final steps are more familiar territory for many security teams: implementing and monitoring the necessary and appropriate controls.

You’re likely already very familiar with these controls. They are the countermeasures – policies, procedures, plans, devices, etc. – to mitigate risk.

Controls fall into three categories: preventative (before an event), detective (during) and corrective (after). The goal is to try to stop an event before it happens, quickly react once it does, and efficiently get the organization back on its feet afterward.

Implementing and monitoring controls are where the rubber hits the road from a security standpoint. And that’s the whole point of the risk analysis, so that security professionals can best focus efforts where and how appropriate to mitigate overall organizational risk.

Security Risk Management: Building an Information Security Risk Management Program from the Ground Up

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77% of security leaders fear we’re in perpetual cyberwar from now on

Rethinking Warfare Concepts in the Study of Cyberwar and Security

A survey of cybersecurity decision makers found 77 percent think the world is now in a perpetual state of cyberwarfare.

In addition, 82 percent believe geopolitics and cybersecurity are “intrinsically linked,” and two-thirds of polled organizations reported changing their security posture in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Of those asked, 64 percent believe they may have already been the target of a nation-state-directed cyberattack. Unfortunately, 63 percent of surveyed security leaders also believe that they’d never even know if a nation-state level actor pwned them.

The survey, organized by security shop Venafi, questioned 1,100 security leaders. Kevin Bocek, VP of security strategy and threat intelligence, said the results show cyberwarfare is here, and that it’s completely different to many would have imagined. “Any business can be damaged by nation-states,” he added.

According to Bocek, it’s been common knowledge for some time that government-backed advanced persistent threat (APT) crews are being used to further online geopolitical goals. Unlike conventional warfare, Bocek said, everyone is a target and there’s no military or government method for protecting everyone. 

Nor is there going to be much financial redress available. Earlier this week Lloyd’s of London announced it would no longer recompense policy holders for certain nation-state attacks.

Late on Friday, Facebook agreed in principle to settle a US lawsuit seeking damages for letting third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, access the private data of users. The terms of the settlement have yet to be finalized.

Googlers uncover Charming email scraping tool

Researchers at Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) have detailed email-stealing malware believed to be from Iranian APT Charming Kitten.

The tool, which TAG has dubbed Hyperscrape, is designed to siphon information from Gmail, Yahoo! and Outlook accounts. Hyperscrape runs locally on the infected Windows machine, and is able to iterate through the contents of a targeted inbox and individually download messages. To hide its tracks, it can, among other things, delete emails alerting users to possible intrusions.

Not to be confused with Rocket Kitten, another APT believed to be backed by Iran, Charming Kitten has been hijacking accounts, deploying malware, and using “novel techniques to conduct espionage aligned with the interests of the Iranian government” for years, TAG said. 

In the case of Hyperscrape, it appears the tool is either rarely used, or still being worked on, as Google said it’s only seen fewer than two dozen instances of the software nasty, all located within Iran. 

The malware is limited in terms of its ability to operate, too: it has to be installed locally on a victim’s machine and has dependencies that, if moved from its folder, will break its functionality. Additionally, Hyperscrape “requires the victim’s account credentials to run using a valid, authenticated user session the attacker has hijacked, or credentials the attacker has already acquired,” Google said.

While its use may be rare and its design somewhat restrictive, Hyperscrape is still dangerous malware that Google said it has written about to raise awareness. “We hope doing so will improve understanding of tactics and techniques that will enhance threat hunting capabilities and lead to stronger protections across the industry,” Google security engineer Ajax Bash wrote. 

Security professionals can find the indicators of compromise data for Hyperscrape in Google’s report.

French agency may investigate Google – again

A French governmental agency that has twice fined Google over violations of data privacy regulations and the GDPR has been tipped off by the European Center for Digital Rights (NOYB) about another potential bad practice: dressing up adverts to look like normal email messages.

According to NOYB, Google makes ads appear in Gmail user’s inboxes that appear to be regular emails, which would be a direct violation of the EU’s ePrivacy directive, as folks may not have technically signed up or consented to see this stuff.

“When commercial emails are sent directly to users, they constitute direct marketing emails and are regulated under the ePrivacy directive,” NOYB said. 

Because Google “successfully filters most external spam messages in a separate spam folder,” NOYB claims, when unsolicited messages end up in a user’s inbox it gives the impression it was something they actually signed up for, when that’s not the case.

“EU law already makes it quite clear: the use of email, for the purpose of direct marketing, requires user consent,” NOYB said, referencing an EU Court of Justice press release [PDF] from 2021 that outlines rules surrounding inbox advertising.

“It is quite simple. Spam is a commercial email sent without consent. And it is illegal. Spam does not become legal just because it is generated by the email provider,” said NOYB lawyer Romain Robert.

France’s Data Protection Authority (CNIL) has ruled in opposition to Google’s past behavior before. In February, Google was found to be breaching GDPR regulations by transmitting data to the US. Google has also been fined by the French Competition Authority for not paying French publishers when using their content.

NOYB said in its complaint [PDF] to CNIL that, because it accuses Google of violating the ePrivacy directive and not GDPR, the watchdog has no need to cooperate with, or wait for, the actions of other national data privacy authorities to decide to fine or otherwise penalize the American web giant. 

Nobelium is back with a new post-compromise tool

Microsoft security researchers have described custom software being used by Nobelium, aka Cozy Bear aka the perpetrators of the SolarWinds attack, to maintain access to compromised Windows networks.

Dubbed MagicWeb by Redmond, this malicious Windows DLL, once installed by a high-privileged intruder on an Active Directory Federated Services (ADFS) server, can be used to ensure any user attempting to log in is accepted and authenticated. That’ll help attackers get back into a network if they somehow lose their initial access.

Microsoft noted that MagicWeb is similar to the FoggyWeb malware deployed in 2021, and added that “MagicWeb goes beyond the collection capabilities of FoggyWeb by facilitating covert access directly.” 

This isn’t a theoretical malware sample, either: Microsoft said it found a real-world example of MagicWeb in action during an incident response investigation. According to Microsoft, the attacker had admin access to the ADFS system, and replaced a legitimate DLL with the MagicWeb DLL, “causing malware to be loaded by ADFS instead of the legitimate binary.”

MagicWeb is a post-compromise malware that requires the attacker to already have privileged access to their target’s Windows systems. Microsoft recommends treating ADFS servers as top tier assets and protecting them just like one would a domain controller. 

Additionally, Microsoft recommends domain administrators enable Inventory Certificate Issuance policies in PKI environments, use verbose event logging, and look out for Event ID 501, which indicates a MagicWeb infection. 

Redmond said organizations can also avoid a MagicWeb infection by keeping an eye out for executable files located in the Global Assembly Cache (GAC) or ADFS directories that haven’t been signed by Microsoft, and adding AD FS and GAC directories to auditing scans. 

Anti-cheat software hijacked for killing AV

It turns out role-playing game Genshin Impact’s anti-cheat software can be, and is being, used by miscreants to kill antivirus on victims’ Windows computers before mass-deploying ransomware across a network.

TrendMicro said it spotted mhyprot2.sys, the kernel-mode anti-cheat driver used by Genshin, being used kinda like a rootkit by intruders to turn off end-point protection on machines. The software is designed to kill off unwanted processes, such as cheat programs.

You don’t have to have the game installed on your PC to be at risk, as ransomware slingers can drop a copy of the driver on victims’ computers and use it from there.

It has the privileges, code signing, and features needed by extortionists to make their roll out of ransomware a cinch, we’re told. TrendMicro recommends keeping a look out for unexpected installations of the mhyprot2 driver, which should show up in the Windows Event Log, among other steps detailed in the link above. ®

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ITG is offering bestselling implementation guides free with each toolkit purchase

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Organisations Must Invest in Cyber Defences Before It’s Too Late

We’ve all been feeling the effects of inflation recently. Prices rose by 8.2% in the twelve months to June 2022, with the largest increases being seen in electricity, gas and transport prices.

Meanwhile, the cost of renting commercial property continues to rise, despite the decreased demand for office space amid the uptick in remote work.

It should be obvious why costs are on the rise; substantial disruption remains related to COVID-19, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted supply chains and interest rates have been raised several times this year.

The Bank of England says that the causes of rising inflation are not likely to last, but it has warned that the prices of certain things may never come down.

Clearly, then, rising costs are not simply a temporary issue that we must get through. We must instead carefully plan for how we will deal with increased costs on a permanent basis.

One apparent measure is to look at ways your organisation can cut costs. For better or worse, the most likely targets will be parts of the business that don’t contribute to a direct return on investment.

However, before you start slashing budgets, you should consider the full effects of your decisions.

Take cyber security for example. It’s already notoriously underfunded, with IT teams and other decision makers being forced to make do with limited resources.

According to a Kaspersky report, a quarter of UK companies admit underfunding cyber security even though 82% of respondents have suffered data breaches.

The risk of cyber security incidents is even higher in the summer months, when staff holidays mean that cyber security resources are even more stretched than usual.

What’s at stake?

The global cost of cyber crime is predicted to reach $10.5 trillion (£8.8 trillion) in the next three years, more than triple the $3 trillion (£2.5 trillion) cost in 2015.

We’ve reached record numbers of phishing attacks, with the Anti-Phishing Working Group detecting more than one million bogus emails last quarter. Meanwhile, there were more ransomware attacks in the first quarter of 2022 than there were in the whole of 2021.

These are worrying signs for organisations, and an economic downturn will only make cyber criminals more determined to make money – especially as they know their targets are focusing on cutting costs.

But it’s not just the immediate costs associated with cyber attacks and disruption that organisations should be worried about. There are also long-term effects, whether that’s lingering operational disruption, reputational damage or regulatory action.

Consider the ongoing problems that British Airways faced after it suffered a cyber attack in 2018. It took the airline more than two months to detect the breach, creating enduring difficulties and ultimately resulting in a £20 million fine.

The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office), which investigated the incident, found that British Airways was processing a significant amount of personal data without adequate security measures in place, and had it addressed those vulnerabilities, it would have prevented the attack.

There were several measures that British Airways could have used to mitigate or prevent the damage, including:

  • Applying access controls to applications, data and tools to ensure individuals could only access information relevant to their job;
  • Performing penetration tests to spot weaknesses; and
  • Implementing multi-factor authentication.

In addition to the fine, British Airways settled a class action from as many as 16,000 claimants. The amount of the settlement remains confidential, but the cost of the payout was estimated to be as much as £2,000 per person.

Remarkably, the penalty and the class action represent a case of strikingly good fortune for British Airways. Had it come earlier, it would have been at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when airlines were severely affected, and were it any later, it would have come during a period of massive inflation.

It’s a lesson that other organisations must take to heart. The GDPR is being actively enforced throughout the EU and UK, so organisations must ensure compliance.

Failure to do so will result in unforeseen costs at a time when every precaution must be taken to reduce costs.

Invest today, secure tomorrow

It’s long been accepted that it’s a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ you will suffer a cyber attack. When you do, you’ll have to invest heavily in security solutions on top of having to paying remediation costs.

In times of uncertainty, you need your services to be as reliable as possible. The challenges your organisation will face in the coming months as a result of falling consumer confidence are enough to deal with without having to contend with cyber crime and its inevitable fallout.

Investing in effective cyber security measures will enable your organisation to make the most of its opportunities in straightened circumstances.

You can find out how you can bolster your organisation’s defences quickly and efficiently with IT Governance’s range of training courses.

We want to help our customers get the most from their cyber security training this August.

Book any classroom, Live Online or self-paced training course before the end of this month and automatically receive:

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How to choose the most appropriate training

How to select the most appropriate ISO training

How to choose the most appropriate training

When implementing and maintaining a management system, it becomes vitally important to ensure that you have acquired adequate knowledge of the standard to ensure success. It does not matter if you are considering ISO 27001:2013 for information security, ISO 9001:2015 for quality management, or ISO 14001:2015 for environmental management, gaining the necessary knowledge about the standard requirements is an important first step to implementing. However, it can be difficult to pick the right course.

Below is a table explaining the different training courses available, including duration and suggested participants:

How to select the most appropriate ISO training

Which course should you choose?

So, with all of the training course options available, how do you pick the right course? This is very much dependent on which role you will play in the implementation and maintenance of the management system.

Here is a bit about the different types of courses to help you decide:

  • Foundations course – Do you just need to understand the basics of the ISO standard? Then the foundations course might be what you want. This course becomes invaluable if you will have expert assistance for your implementation, but need to have a good overall understanding of the requirements. For instance, if you will have a consultant, but want to know what to do when they are done, then an overall understanding of the ISO standard could be enough knowledge.
  • Data protection officer course – With the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governing how personal information needs to be protected, you will want to have a main person in charge of meeting this regulation: the data protection officer. If this will be you, then the EU GDPR data protection officer course is what you need to understand the ins and outs of this regulation and what it means for your business.
  • Internal auditor course – All management systems include a process for your organization to perform an audit of your processes internally to your organization to confirm for yourself that your processes are happening as you planned them to. If you will be one of the internal auditors who will perform these process audits, then this course will help you to understand not only the requirements of the standard, but also the requirements of how to perform a process audit to confirm conformity and find opportunities for improvement in your organization.
  • Lead implementer course – The main person in charge of implementing the management system needs more than just a passing understanding of the standard requirements. If this will be you, then the lead implementer course will give you a more in-depth knowledge of what the standard requires, as well as knowledge of how to implement the requirements at your organization with practical tools to help. If you are going to be a consultant for others, this course is also an invaluable tool, with certification an option to demonstrate your competence.
  • Lead auditor course – With the ISO management system standard, many companies will choose to apply for certification as an independent method to demonstrate their compliance with the standard. This process is done by auditors from a third-party, independent certification body who will confirm that the processes you have implemented meet the requirements of the ISO standard. The auditors who will perform these audits need to pass the examination for lead auditor certification. If you are performing internal audits for a company, this training can also be beneficial, as it allows you to understand the training taken by the certification auditors.

Find the training that is right for you

Remember, when picking the training, you should first think about how you will apply the knowledge to ensure you choose the most suitable training for your current or future role. You don’t want to finish training only to find that how you are intended to apply your newfound skills is incompatible with the knowledge gained, as you may then need to re-take additional training for the new role. Choose the right training from the start, and you can be better assured that your utilization of the knowledge will be better applied, and your management system implementation will be easier.

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