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Dealer group facing court over alleged cyber-security failures

ASIC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against a subsidiary of IOOF group following a number of alleged cyber breach incidents at certain authorised representatives of the licence, including an SMSF advice firm.

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Fri, 21 Aug 2020
Dealer group facing court over alleged cyber-security failures
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ASIC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against RI Advice Group, an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence holder, for failing to have adequate cyber-security systems.

In a public statement, ASIC said the action follows a number of alleged cyber breach incidents at certain authorised representatives (ARs) of RI, including an alleged cyber breach incident at Frontier Financial Group Pty Ltd as trustee for The Frontier Trust (Frontier) from December 2017 to May 2018. Frontier Financial Group provides a wide range of advice services including superannuation and SMSFs.

RI was, until 1 October 2018, a wholly owned subsidiary of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited. On 1 October 2018, RI became a wholly owned subsidiary of IOOF Holdings Limited (IOOF).

ASIC has alleged that Frontier was subject to a “brute force” attack whereby a malicious user successfully gained remote access to Frontier’s server and spent more than 155 hours logged into the server, which contained sensitive client information including identification documents.

The corporate regulator also alleges that RI failed to have implemented, including by its ARs, adequate policies, systems and resources which were reasonably appropriate to manage risk in respect of cyber security and cyber resilience.

ASIC is also seeking declarations that RI contravened provisions of the Corporations Act, specifically sections 912A(1)(a), (b), (c), (d) and (h) and (5A), and orders that RI pay a civil penalty in an appropriate amount to be determined by the court.

It is also seeking compliance orders that implements systems that are reasonably appropriate to adequately manage risk in respect of cyber security and cyber resilience and provide a report from a suitably qualified independent expert confirming that such systems have been implemented.

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