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Tighter data privacy regimes demand action: four considerations for cybersecurity

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Tighter data privacy regimes demand action: four considerations for cybersecurity

 By John Vladimir Slamecka, Region President, EMEA, AT&T

The end of May ushered in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Companies now need to have stricter policies and processes related how they collect, use and store personal data.

There will be heavy penalties for GDPR violations. The new law sets stricter requirements on for example user consent, information to be provided to the user and stricter requirements on implementation of data protection measures. Data controllers have to disclose personal data breaches to regulators within 72 hours of becoming aware of a personal data breach.

International companies need to comply with the new regimeif they want to have access to the EU market of 500 million people.

What you can do: four recommendations to reassess security readiness

Now is the time to safeguard your business for the long term and reassess your security processes as part of data protection readiness. As part of your reassessment, try this four-point security checklist.

  1. Conduct a cyber security risk audit and assessment

Anaudit helps determine your current cybersecurity investments. A risk assessment will evaluate your security infrastructure and controls relative to the cybersecurity threat from emerging technologies and new hacking techniques. This could include the Internet of Things, mobility and cloud security. A gap analysis can also help you understand where you are versus where you want to be.

Two-thirds of organizations do not conduct regular cyber risk assessments[1].Regular reviews are crucial for the success of your business.

  1. Set up a threat alertplatform

Every end-point, such as an IoT device or mobile device is a potential entry point.And each has different security implications. The key is to build an integrated threat-analytics platform for all end-points. This platform needs to have a built-in, always-on security approach.

You can use threat analytics to study the ecosystem and ensure you are safe at all times.

An automated system that detects and responds to threats is important for audit and compliance procedures. A feed-back loop between your internal cybersecurity operations is ideal. Combined with a flexible risk management strategy, it can evolve based on daily threat activity and response.

  1. Get support from your service providers

To help protect sensitive data and apps that reside in your network, you need to work with your service providers. You should have full visibility of your network traffic and be able to authenticate legitimate users while blocking suspicious activity.

Today, an increasing number of companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to support their customers. AI tools can detect anomalous behavior and zero-day attacks. It helps to overcome the challenge of limited security resources.

  1. Organize ongoing staff training

People are still the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. Cybersecurity attacks affected nearly 80% of organizations in the past year; but only 61% mandated security training for staff[2].

Every member of your organization needs to be aware of new types of security threats. Building a security culture takes time and effort and this sort of ongoing conversation with a top down approach is essential.

At the same time, threats are getting more sophisticated. From casual intruders to well-funded criminal organizations, hackers are increasingly using big data analytics to search for threat vectors. They are also using AI for social engineering attacks, such as phishing, to steal sensitive data and credentials. Daily cybersecurity events now number in the millions[3], and we should expect ransomware, malware and other attacks to continue to escalate. The focus has to be on changing user behavior and putting in place the right procedures to counter these attacks.

[1]2017 AT&T Global State of Cybersecurity

22017 AT&T Global State of Cybersecurity

3AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Report: Mind the Gap: Cybersecurity’s Big Disconnect

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Oil prices steady as lockdowns curb U.S. stimulus optimism

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Oil prices steady as lockdowns curb U.S. stimulus optimism 1

By Noah Browning

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices were steady on Monday as support from U.S. stimulus plans and jitters about supplies competed with worries about demand due to renewed lockdowns to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

Brent crude futures for March rose 7 cents, or 0.1%, to $55.48 a barrel by 1210 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for March was up 5 cents, or 0.1%, at $52.32.

“Sentiment was buoyed by expectations for a blockbuster coronavirus relief package … (but) the tug of war between stimulus optimism and virus woes is set to continue,” said Stephen Brennock of broker PVM.

U.S. lawmakers are set to lock horns over the size of a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package proposed by new President Joe Biden, financial stimulus that would support the economy and fuel demand.

European nations, major consumers, have imposed tough restrictions to halt the spread of the virus, while China reported a rise in new COVID-19 cases, casting a pall over demand prospects in the world’s largest energy consumer.

Barclays raised its 2021 oil price forecasts, but said rising cases in China could contribute to near-term pullbacks.

“Even though the pandemic is not yet slowing down, oil prices have good reasons to start the week with gains,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen from Rystad Energy.

Supply concerns have offered some support. Indonesia said its coast guard seized an Iranian-flagged tanker over suspected illegal fuel transfers, raising the prospect of more tensions in the oil-exporting Gulf.

“A development that always benefits prices is the market turbulence that conflicts create,” Tonhaugen added.

Libyan oil guards halted exports from several main ports in a pay dispute on Monday.

Output from Kazakhstan’s giant Tengiz field was disrupted by a power outage on Jan. 17.

(Editing by David Goodman and Edmund Blair)

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Dollar steadies; euro hurt by vaccine delays and German business morale slump

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Dollar steadies; euro hurt by vaccine delays and German business morale slump 2

By Elizabeth Howcroft

LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar steadied, the euro slipped and riskier currencies remained strong on Monday, as currency markets were torn between optimism about U.S. stimulus plans, and the reality of slow vaccine rollout and the economic impact of lockdowns in Europe.

Market sentiment had turned more cautious at the end of last week as European economic data showed that lockdown restrictions to limit the spread of the virus hurt business activity, dragging stocks lower.

The safe-haven dollar declined gradually overnight, and riskier currencies strengthened. It then recovered some losses after European markets opened, and was at 90.224 against a basket of currencies at 1152 GMT, flat on the day.

On one hand, market sentiment is supported by hopes for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus plans, as well as the expectation that central banks will continue to provide liquidity.

But, in Europe, the extent of the risk appetite was limited by a lack of progress in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine as well the economic impact of lockdown measures.

German business morale slumped to a six-month low in January, surprising market participants who had expected the survey to show a rise.

“It’s very much a case of hopes for the future against the reality of the first quarter of this year which is going to still prove to be fairly troubled,” said Jeremy Stretch, head of G10 FX strategy at CIBC Capital Markets.

“For now at least, the optimism that we’re hoping for has been somewhat delayed and that has taken a little bit of steam out of the euro and just put a little bit of support back in the dollar but ultimately I think it is still a case of those high-beta commodity currencies, reflation currencies, will continue to perform well,” he said.

Analysts expect a broad dollar decline during 2021. The net speculative short position on the dollar grew to its largest in ten years in the week to Jan. 19, according to weekly futures data from CFTC released on Friday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve meets on Wednesday and Fed Chair Jerome Powell is expected to signal that he has no plans to wind back the Fed’s massive stimulus any time soon – news which could push the dollar down further.

“The process of tapering QE is likely to be a gradual process which could last throughout 2022, and then potentially be followed by the first rate hikes later in 2023,” wrote MUFG currency analyst Lee Hardman.

“In these circumstances, we continue to believe that it is premature to expect the US dollar to rebound now in anticipation of policy tightening ahead, and still see scope for further weakness this year,” he said.

The euro was down around 0.1% against the dollar, at $1.2153 at 1207 GMT. At the European Central Bank meeting last week, President Christine Lagarde said the bank was closely watching the euro. The euro surged 9% last year versus the dollar and reached new two and a half year highs earlier in January.

But despite this verbal intervention, traders remain bullish on the euro, expecting the bar for a rate cut to be high.

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar, which is seen as a liquid proxy for risk, was up 0.2% at 0.7726 versus the U.S. dollar at 1208 GMT.

The New Zealand dollar was up 0.5%, while the commodity-driven Norwegian crown was up 0.2% the euro.

The safe-haven Japanese yen was flat on the day at 103.815 versus the U.S. dollar.

Graphic: USD, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/qmypmyjdxpr/USD.png

(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft, editing by Ed Osmond and Chizu Nomiyama)

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Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific warns of capacity cuts, higher cash burn

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Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific warns of capacity cuts, higher cash burn 3

(Reuters) – Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd on Monday warned passenger capacity could be cut by about 60% and monthly cash burn may rise if Hong Kong installs new measures that require flight crew to quarantine for two weeks.

Hong Kong’s flagship carrier said the expected move will increase cash burn by about HK$300 million ($38.70 million) to HK$400 million per month, on top of current HK$1 billion to HK$1.5 billion levels.

Hong Kong is set to require flight crew entering the Asian financial hub for more than two hours to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks, the South China Morning Post reported last week, citing sources.

“The new measure will have a significant impact on our ability to service our passenger and cargo markets,” Cathay said in a statement, adding that expected curbs will also reduce its cargo capacity by 25%.

The airline, in an internal memo seen by Reuters, requested for volunteers among its crew who could fly for three weeks, followed by two weeks of quarantine and 14 days free of duty, adding it will be a temporary measure and not all its flight will require such an operation.

“We continue to engage with key stakeholders in the Hong Kong Government,” the memo said.

In an emailed response to Reuters, a Hong Kong government spokesperson said: “In the light of the evolving pandemic situation locally and internationally, the Government will keep reviewing and refining the arrangements applicable to different categories of exempted persons, including air crew, with reference to all relevant considerations.”

Separately, a company spokeswoman said the airline could not detail the impact on vaccine transport specifically in terms of cargo shipments.

The aviation industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as many countries imposed travel restrictions to contain its spread.

In December, Cathay’s passenger numbers fell by 98.7% compared to a year earlier, though cargo carriage was down by a smaller 32.3%.

(Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney and Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong; Editing by Bernard Orr, Arun Koyyur and Mark Potter)

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