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DP World Attack ‘Stark Reminder’ About Prioritizing Cyber Spend: Australia Watchdog

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Australia’s markets regulator wants companies and directors to prioritize cyber resilience, warning it will take action against businesses that fail to make reasonable investments to protect themselves.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission Chair Joe Longo said this month’s cyberattack on DP World Plc is a “stark reminder” that firms must invest in cyber resilience and be adequately prepared.

“If things go wrong, ASIC will be looking for whether company directors and boards took reasonable steps, and made reasonable investments proportionate to the risks that their business poses, to be prepared for this kind of attack,” Longo said in prepared remarks ahead of a speech in Melbourne on Tuesday. “And if we have reason to believe those steps were not taken, and directors did not act with reasonable care and diligence, we will act.”

Australian Securities and Investments Commission Chair Joseph Longo; Photo credit: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

DP World, one of the world’s largest port operators, is slowly working through a backlog of more than 20,000 freight containers piled up at Australian ports and labor strikes further impeded a return to normal operations. Australia has been hit with a wave of high-profile incidents in the past 18 months, including on health insurer Medibank Private Ltd. and telecommunications giant Optus.

Pensions focus

The regulator is also monitoring the performance of Australia’s A$3.5 trillion ($2.3 trillion) pension sector, known locally as superannuation. Longo will use his Tuesday address to warn the industry is poised to take enforcement action against misconduct in the sector. ASIC says 3.5 million Australians will retire in the next decade, with at least A$750 billion of funds shifting from the accumulation phase to the retirement phase.

“Poor marketing, distribution and advice practices leave consumers in sub-optimal investment choices, resulting in poor investment returns,” Longo said in the prepared remarks. “We will take strong action to protect consumers against conduct that is not efficient, honest and fair in this sector.”


Copyright 2023 Bloomberg.


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