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New regulations to hold companies to account for security breaches

Information Regulator chairperson advocate Pansy Tlakula says new regulations should be in place by December, which will hold companies responsible for not having the appropriate security procedures in place.

FILE: Information Regulator chairperson Pansy Tlakula. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Information Regulator chairperson advocate Pansy Tlakula says that no punitive action can be taken against companies without adequate cybersecurity at the moment.

However, Tlakula says new regulations should be in place by December, which will hold companies responsible for not having the appropriate security procedures in place.

The Information Regulator has requested insurer Liberty to provide more information regarding last week's hacking incident. Cyber criminals stole data belonging to clients and are demanding payment.

The hackers have threatened to release confidential information. Liberty, however, says customers have not lost any money despite its systems being hacked.

Liberty says that specialist teams immediately began investigating the incident and the relevant authorities were also alerted.

The regulator and Liberty are expected to meet to discuss concerns.

Liberty’s shares fell 5% on Monday, after the company said on Sunday that an external party claimed to have seized data from the firm.

The regulator said it had written to Liberty’s Chief Executive David Munro requesting information on the extent of the data breach and security measures taken by the company.

“The Information Regulator has noted with concern various media reports regarding a material data breach at Liberty Holdings,” Tlakula said in a statement.

Shares in Liberty later pared some losses but still closed 4.03% lower at 119 rand, their worst daily fall since 4 April.
Traders said the market had not panicked over the attack.

“The management did very well to come out and explain their side of the story,” said Cratos Capital trader Greg Davies.

“What they need to do now is assure the market that they’ve spent enough on their defences and that there won’t be a repeat of this.”

Liberty’s biggest shareholder Standard Bank, which has a 53% stake, said in an emailed response to questions it was supportive of the measures that Liberty has taken.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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