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Intellectual property services group facing cyber breach

ASX-listed IPH Limited is the latest company to suffer a cyber security breach — and halted trading earlier this week as a result.

user iconLauren Croft
Thu, 16 Mar 2023
Intellectual property services group facing cyber breach
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This article originally appeared on Cyber Security Connect’s sister brand, Lawyers Weekly.

On Monday (13 March), IPH detected unauthorised access to a portion of its IT environment and has subsequently halted trading on the ASX and launched an investigation into the breach.

The cyber attack was on two of the intellectual property law group’s member firms: Spruson & Ferguson and Griffith Hack.

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While the investigation will reportedly “take some time”, the firm has notified the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and is working with external cyber security and forensic IT advisers to conduct a forensic investigation.

This announcement came after the firm announced a trading halt to the ASX on Tuesday (14 March), in a move IPH said will be in place until a further announcement today (16 March). Shares were suspended before the market opened for trading, with the halt requested at 11:44am.

The breach is, according to IPH, primarily related to the document management systems (DMS) of the IPH head office, plus the practice management systems (PMS) of both Spruson & Ferguson (Australia) and Griffith Hack.

According to the ASX announcement, “the information contained in the DMSs includes documents relating to the administration of these entities and, in the case of the two IPH member firms, client documents and correspondence. The PMSs contain IP case management information (such as filing timelines) relating to the practice of the two IPH member firms.”

As such, the investigation will focus on determining whether information stored in these systems has been accessed by cyber criminals — and while the functionality has, in some cases, been affected, IPH assured shareholders it had “transitioned to alternative processes which are working adequately to enable the relevant firms to continue to conduct operations, albeit with some disruption”.

“We apologise to our clients and the community for any concern that this incident may cause. We will continue to keep our clients, shareholders, and key stakeholders updated as we respond to this event and our investigation continues and further facts are established,” the firm stated.

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