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Cloud Vulnerabilities for PII data

Since the Australian state government has centralized the application and deployed the single workflow of all licenses through single web portal called “MyLicence”, the threat and risk analysis of the Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is an essential obsession. The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) has implemented the cloud model for incorporating the shared services like Personnel Management, contractor management, payroll solution, and Whole of Government (WofG) development.

By the deployment of MyLicence portal, the citizens can acquire and renew their licences in a customized way. By this way, the citizens register on the web portal and create their own informal digital identity. But this leads to the confrontation of several security risks and vulnerabilities of the sensitive PII data of the citizens.

This report illustrates the Threat and Risk Assessment (TRA) for the PII data stored in the MyLicence portal. Moreover, a PII strategy proposal for the portal is drafted and the privacy and information protection facets are considered for alleviating the identified risks and vulnerabilities.

Introduction to PII

Any information which is utilized to solely recognize or identify an individual is termed as Personal Identifiable Information (PII). This data is also associated with the identical data from external sources. The PII data comprises wide collection of information for locating the unique individuals, like birth date, personal addresses, license numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, payroll data, etc. Even when the individuals have more concerns on the disclosure of their personal information, this problem exists in the portal like MyLicence that contains wide range of PII stored in it.

The examples of PII in MyLicence Include:

  • First Name or Last Name
  • Address of the citizen
  • Age
  • Telephone or Mobile Numbers
  • Credit Card Numbers
  • Race
  • Criminal Evidence
  • Birth Date
  • Gender, and other unique details related to the citizens.

Cloud Identifiable Vulnerabilities

Some technologists concentrate on cloud related vulnerabilities rather than the risks and threats. The specific cloud vulnerabilities for the PII data are given below:

  • The vulnerabilities can be found inside the cryptanalysis and the service leaned framework.

The main source of vulnerabilities can emerge from one of the cloud computing aspects like openness, pay as you consume model, and collection of resources (Grobauer, Walloschek &  Stocker, 2011).

  • Insufficient transparency in service contributor’s policy is also another issue.

Cloud Specific Threats

The cloud specific threats for PII data can be categorized as follows:

Exploitation and disreputable utilization of cloud computing

The IaaS contributors proffer infinite number of storage capacity, network, and compute resources to the customers. The hackers and malevolent code developers conduct their spiteful tasks with associated requirements. In the portal like MyLicence, the PII data can be extracted by the attackers through password tracking methods, Distributed Denial of Service, initiating vibrant threat points, botnet authority, congregating the malicious data, constructing mottled tables, etc (Chu, Chow, Tzeng, Zhou & Deng, 2014).

Cloud-specific Threats for PII data

By this way, the privacy of PII data contained in the portal will be affected. There is a possibility of utilization of the IaaS servers by botnets for commanding activities.

Distributed technology concerns

The distribution of architecture comprising CPU hoard, Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), etc. is offered by the IaaS providers.  But, these architectural components are not able to provide the isolation aspects to the multi-resident frameworks (Dabrowski & Mills, 2011).

For solving this issue, an implicit supervising component controls the access in between the computing sources and organization operating systems. Even then, the supervising component has revealed some imperfections such that the third party operating system can have unacceptable access to the PII data or impact on the triggering manifesto.

PII Data loss or leakage

The data can be negotiated in several ways. An example is the modification of data without any endorsement of the unique content. The PII data loss can be due to lack of authorization, management, improper utilization of encryption keys, perseverance and arrangement confrontations, functional errands, data center inconsistency, risk of fraternity, authentication issues, and failure recuperation.

Unstable Application Programming Interface (API)

The customers use to manage the cloud services through the API provided by the cloud suppliers. The activities like monitoring, stipulation, coordination, and administration are offered by these software interfaces (Apecechea, Inci, Eisenbarth & Sunar, 2014). The reusable passwords and API reliance are other examples of API threats.

For the organization of various sizes, cloud computing provided infinite storage space and other computing abilities. By this way, the DAS is liberated from buying, administering, and upgrading their computer systems and networks. Even the provision of cloud services has offered multiple benefits like agility, improved options, and litheness (Gargama & Chaturvedi, 2011); it also opens the door to many privacy, data protection, and compliance issues. The users can select private or hybrid cloud models for selecting their own dedicated data protecting needs.

Hence it is required to develop a strategy for protecting the PII data in cloud implemented MyLicence portal. This strategy allows the portal to monitor the data collection, utilization, and the disbursement of the PII data. DAS should make the commitments with the cloud service provider in form of legal agreements, verification, and data protection guarantee. Moreover, the data privacy policies should be upgraded regularly in order to govern the application like MyLicence.

The PII strategy implemented should be able to cover the aspects as shown in the figure below:

PII Strategy Implementation for MyLicence Portal


Fig 1: PII Strategy

Fabrication of Data Protection Services

The cloud providers should be selected in such a way that they are able to provide the services which maintains both the privacy of data and the customers (Chen & Lee, 2014).

Allegiance for protecting and limiting the utilization of data

The data contained in the centralized portal should be maintained by the DAS alone and should not be utilized by the cloud providers, which should be included in the privacy agreements. Each service should contain a data set for forming the storage and backup standards, and must be deleted according to the requirements of the customer (Heng, Ruixuan, Xinhua & Zhang, 2014).

Privacy by Pattern

The privacy and data protection should be considered at each and every stage of the application development process. This strategy contains all the processes, technologies, and the users for improving the privacy and protection of the PII data.

A development pattern comprising seven stages should be followed by the portal developer for enhancing the data security and privacy.


Fig 2: Proposed development pattern for portal

As data security is more crucial to privacy, this coalition of security and privacy procedures minimize the vulnerabilities and threats in the application code, and avoid the occurrence of data breaches (Roberts & Al-Hamdani, 2011).

The privacy evaluation is conducted in order to confirm that the privacy needs are sufficiently dealt with.

  • The availability of privacy aspects, which permits the service administrator to allocate permissions to the persons for accessing the data, is verified.
  • The privacy risks encountered in the portal should be estimated and the necessary alleviation measures are taken.

3.2.3. Privacy Protection by Service Attributes

The enhanced data shielding and protection features must be embedded in the services provided by the cloud providers. Hence for portal like MyLicence, the cloud providers with incorporated data protection features like for e.g. Microsoft Azure can be employed by DAS. The services attributes required for data protection and privacy are enlisted below:

  • Amalgamated Identity and Access Administration

This provides the service administrators of DAS for administering the access to their respective services in the portal.

  • Privileges Administration Service

Using this management service, the DAS can supplement their PII data fortification approach for securing the data by means of importunate utilization procedures within the information without the consideration of the location of data storage.

Protecting the PII data in overhaul procedure

The well deployed cloud service will not be able to protect the PII data and privacy if it is implemented in the unsecured environment. The cloud users will have the anticipation that their data is not interpreted to other cloud users. Moreover, they presume that the methods utilized at the data centers hold their information secure and private (Alcaraz Calero, Edwards, Kirschnick, Wilcock & Wray, 2010).

Proposed Development Pattern for Portal

Methods for protecting services privacy

The data access management is one of the prime methods to protect the privacy of the services. Coherent and physical are the two phases of data access management. In physical data access management, the datacenter access is monitored by means of locked server stands, video observation, incorporated alarms, etc.

The data of the citizens can be accessed based on the requirement of the service. The access is limited by manipulations like dual factor authorization, signing in, and reviewing the actions performed in production service platform (Khan, Oriol, Kiran, Jiang & Djemame, 2012).

A vigorous intrinsic program should be developed for reporting the latent privacy risks, so that the respective teams like legal, communications, and forensics work together in order to mitigate those particular risks. For ensuring the data security and privacy between the cloud users who hold the data in the equivalent cloud service, the data separation methods are applied for isolating the cloud residents to create a platform where the users will be able to acquire only their data.


The data must be provided by the cloud service provider to third-party only after the acquisition of permission from the DAS. By this way, the data transparency should be maintained in the cloud environment.

The DAS should make sure that the personal data of the citizen is secured by incorporating certain security policies and procedures that should be managed by both the service providers and customers.

The cloud service contributor must consider the responsibilities regarding security and keep up the protection of its client information—and engages its clients to actualize what's more, utilize our administrations in a secured way (Heilig & Voss, 2014). Information security and protection is a distributed obligation between the supplier and the clients. The supplier ought to be in charge of the environment and responsible for making a benefit that can convene the data safety, protection, and consistence requirements of the clients.

Clients are in charge of arranging and working their administration subsequent to stipulation, inclusive of the administration of access accreditations and legitimate consistence, securing applications by means of administration's constructed manipulation, information, and several effective machines or any additional information that they utilize by means of their record (Factor, Hadas, Hamam, Har’El, Kolodner, Kurmus & Shulman-Peleg, 2013).

Below are five key advances each association should acquire to start the way toward counteracting information misfortune:

  • Distinguish PII the DAS should secure
  • Organize PII
  • Find the location of PII
  • Make an acceptable user policy (AUP)
  • Instruct your representatives about your AUP

It might be in various spots, repetitive on servers, portable PCs, PCs and detachable media (Asghar, Ion, Russello& Crispo, 2011). Once the PII is discovered, the portal has to characterize the association's AUPs for getting to and utilizing it. AUPs will shift from association to association, however ought to finish three objectives:

  • Secure PII information
  • Characterize who can get to PII
  • Build up regulations intended for finding the approved workers who can utilize PII

Privacy Evaluation

The created AUPs may be powerful if your representatives think that they have a section to make a role in ensuring your PII. Completely instructing workers is a basic and regularly ignored advancement (O’Hagan & Oakley, 2004). The duplicates of AUPs must be conveyed to workers, proffer preparing gathering and make them to notice an announcement recognizing that they will keep the strategies. This process will transform each representative a dynamic member in the implementation of AUPs, and the association wide pushes to avert information misfortune and the deficit of PII.


Entire-circle encryption

· Encryption of secondary storage devices

· Strategy centered mail cryptography

· Record share encryption

· Focal key administration and reinforcement

· Capacity to review cryptography prominence

Avoidance of Threats

Discontinue  incidental information misfortune through checking the information for finding out the delicate data transferred to sites, through internet messenger or mail, and stored on gadgets with programmed regulations, for example,

· Record coordinating standard: Predefined move is made in light of name or kind of document a client is endeavoring to acquire or               exchange (Saripalli & Walters, 2010)

· Information lead: Has information characterization and determines the activity considered if a client endeavors to exchange information that conforms with that characterizations

Data Security

· Distinguish recognized and obscure malware like virus, spyware, worms, distrustful documents, Trojans, and conduct, possibly undesirable applications practically without any requirement for refreshment.

· Procure antiviral software, firewall, and gadget administration in a solitary specialist

· Protect the majority of your stages (Windows, Linux, Mac, and UNIX)

Introduction to Informal Digital Identity

On the “MyLicence” web portal, the citizens must demonstrate their uniqueness utilizing accreditations, for example, a secret key. This procedure is called verification, and is fundamental to secure the "digital identity." If confirmation can be bypassed, at that point anybody can claim to be any other individual on the web, and that can prompt significant issues. For instance, a large portion of the real information breaks through the span of the most recent year were expert by programmers who accessed certifications that should not be accessed without proper authorization. Furnished with this data, they could get to acquire the frameworks and take information on a really gigantic scale (Sendi, Cheriet, 2014).

Unmistakably, advanced digital identities are vital and should be ensured, however so that there are very few great methods for doing as such. The vast majority of the citizens utilize keywords for protecting their digital identities. This is a case of what is termed as one-aspect validation, since checking the proprietor's character depends on a solitary bit of hypothetically mystery data: the secret key. Nonetheless, passwords are famously loathsome at ensuring data despite the fact that that isn't altogether the blame of secret keys (Solove, 2006). In principle, individuals ought to have extraordinary, interesting passwords for each and every site that demands that the passwords ought to be long, with a blend of character sorts, and the keywords ought to be changed at regular intervals. An amazing number of individuals have passwords like "secret word" or "123" in light of the fact that it would be unthinkable for a many people to really recall their keyword on the off chance that they kept the prescribed procedures.

There are approaches to solve these issues like MyLicence portal which will recall, oversee, and naturally enter client keywords trying to produce protected keywords exploitable. A few individuals are notwithstanding offering specially designed, really randomized keywords that are conveyed through physical mail. Extensively however, all together for a watchword to be compelling, it will likewise be almost unthinkable for a person to recall (Tarin, 2015).

Privacy Protection by Service Attributes

Accordingly, there are various distinctive strategies for protecting the entrance to computerized identities that do not depend completely on the keywords. A significant number of individuals utilize the dual-aspect authorization or multi-aspect validation. These sorts of frameworks utilize few snippets of data to check a client's character (Vijayan, 2013). For instance, a PC may require a secret key and a unique mark keeping in mind the end goal to sign in, or it might utilize facial acknowledgment programming joined with corporeal indication.

Numerous advanced dual aspect frameworks are fusing biometric technology as the vital components for checking a person's personality. This bodes well; the greatest number of individuals would not anticipate that an attacker will have the capacity to take somebody's fingerprints as effortlessly as they could a secret word. Be that as it may, this isn't the situation. As a major aspect of the OPM attack, the attackers could take the unique mark data for more than 5 million government workers. This is one of the greatest problems with biometric protection. It appears to be totally refuge, yet that is not the real matter and the dream of full safety will have hazardous ramifications.

Likewise with most of the safety advances, the engineers of computerized personality insurance methods are gotten in a ceaseless competition with offenders who need to evade their endeavors. Biometric protection is as yet a developing field, and the progressions are done to transform the biometric frameworks more protective and available. Currently, the utilization of keywords is the most prominent methods for validation on the web, yet that may modify since the issues with keywords turn out to be more disjoin, the information breaks proceed, and innovative choices for securing individual’s identity data wind up plainly accessible (Wright, 2011).

Privacy and Data Protection Strategy for Informal Digital Identity

Certain mitigation strategies for ensuring the privacy and data protection of informal digital identity are provided below:

 Regardless of the computerized period building the people’s vivacity apparently simpler, it additionally appears like the individuals need to accomplish increasingly all an opportunity to secure our own and money related data. More than 80% of people possess computer network at home, office, etc. and that might not be the genuinely traditionalist number. That implies a large portion of us depart an advanced impression that is in the correct tenders may influence an entrance to point for criminals and con artists.

The solution is not to quit the utilization of the Internet, we do have a few hints on the best way to best secure the informal digital identity in the MyLicence portal.

  1. The luminaries:

Information focuses are gathered by the called destination website and the data can be traded to different organizations. A few promotions are simply 'click draw' and are utilized to drag you to another faulty site. Try not to incorporate any information other than the required information in the portal. ID hoodlums can accomplish more harm in the event that they get a grip of your sensitive information as few associations may utilize it to distinguish keywords. The comprehension is made when some information is added to the web portal; it is elsewhere located for eternity. Erasing on the web content regularly just expels it from general visibility; but it can be placed in documents and databases for eternity.

  1. Utilize numerous usernames and keywords:

Past the reality the passwords should be modified no less than three times per year, specialists let the people know about receiving a propensity for various usernames likewise keeps criminals from locating and getting the confidential data. By containing the similar username over numerous destination sites formulate the people less demanding to track. Not simply usernames and keywords should be used incidentally. Almost certainly you utilize a similar email to agree to accept an assortment of locales. In the event that conceivable, the similar electronic mail  address must not be utilized constantly.

  1. Geolocation administrations are genuinely novel to the cell phone exhibit:

A huge number of individuals enable applications and sites to stamp your area. To which source does this data move out? Great inquiry. Be that as it may, in the event that you have any worries about your specialist co-op knowing the location of the individual at anytime, the telephone settings should be turned off (Feng, Baochun  & Li, 2014).

  1. Peruse and Access web portal secretly:

Perusing in a private setting does not spare treats or inquiry history. By means of locales the individual visit, nonetheless, the IP address will be recollected. This can be dangerous on the off chance that, looking for unique individual information present for your accomplice and promotions identifying with it begin flying up when they utilize the PC.

  1. Activate the cookie impeder

By means of impeding outsider cookies while using the web portal, a portion of the online information accumulation about the individual can be preserved. The cookies can follow the online motions of the individual, even the cookies from destined website do not about the visiting page of the individual. This can be observed by certain advertisements that are identified with particular items. So, the cookies in the web portal can follow your propensities, inclinations, aims and so on. Thus by impeding the cookies in the web portal, less data related to the individual will be exposed.

Governance of PII data and digital identities of MyLicence Portal

Overseeing characters and giving safe and proficient entrance to huge extent contracted out information is an imperative component of distributed computing. For most of the associations, information security and protection concerns are generally essential. Along these lines, a great unique id and right to use the administration procedure are the fundamental essential components for vital utilization of protective on-request distributed computing administrations. The confirmations of client id and verification parts of character administration include the utilization, upkeep, and assurance of by and by identifiable data (PII) gathered from cloud purchasers. Consequently, defeating unapproved get to information assets in the cloud additionally merits a noteworthy consideration.

Following are the major IAM challenges that should be tended to for fruitful and powerful administration of characters in the cloud.

Character Management:

Protective and efficient administration of prerequisite and non stipulation of clients to frameworks, applications, and so on is one of the significant difficulties in Cloud Computing. Visit change in clients' parts what's more, duties inside the association, turnover of clients, modifications in the service provisions are the components that influence setting up a reasonable Identity Administration and Management process.


Authorizing the character of a client or a framework in a safe and trustworthy way is another main concern. Different difficulties incorporate appropriate accreditation administration, guaranteeing powerful verification, consistence with the secret key standard, cryptology administration, and overseeing confidence over a wide range of cloud administrations.

Approval and Access Management:

Developing the efficient approval and admission management arrangements for clients to get to the frameworks assets (i.e., software applications, databases, and so forth.) is another key prerequisite. Notwithstanding giving cloud-based character and access administration administrations, adjusting to the ceaseless changes in clients' parts or benefits and keeping up control over access to assets are likewise testing.

League Management:

League identity administration gives associations a chance to confirm their clients (giving single sign on office) by trading character data between the service contributor and the Character Provider. Since character data are powerfully circulated crosswise over privacy spaces, it postures critical security and protection challenges. Shaky correspondence organizes and frail client validation conspires in Web character affix can prompt replay assaults, session seizing, and phishing assaults.

Besides, dependence on the unique identity for character administration may cause fraud and information ruptures if the candidate’s identity acts vindictively.

Personal data and PII data protection for DAS users of HR Management Suite

The HR experts, operating with Human Resource data, know about the affectability of the information depended upon by the organization. The employees will expect that their data will be properly ensured and stay private.

Governments have delivered regulations and rules since 1981 for protecting the data privacy. The gatherings of nations have signed the assertions to choose how information (and more specifically, HR information) can be accessed crosswise over outskirts.

A lot of data is accessible, frequently genuinely toxic and written in "jargon". A few notions give off an impression of being utilized as a part of alternance.

  • Information honesty tends to the worry that information ought to be right and finish for the utilization we need to make. As a basic case, if the personal address related to the worker is not refreshed, management will neglect to contact him/her, and thusly information will be junked.
  • Information security is engaged in guarding data, looking for insurance from retrieve by unapproved elements. The thought is to abstain from attackers and gatecrashers; both to forestall robbery of thoughts or important data and to ensure the trustworthiness of the information against unintentional or obstinate debasement.
  • Information protection is frequently mistaken for information security, in any case traverses a more extensive range. Its worry is to guarantee legitimate consistence with the numerous universal directions managing and ensuring the people's preciseness to keep their information sheltered and private; the process is not simply securing against outer interruptions, yet regulating the way HR information is accessed globally, the location and retrieval of the HR information. It implies giving devotion to information protection rules and directions, wherever the association is dynamic.

Outline Plan for personal data for contractors in the contractor management suite

The dangers of SaaS provider for contractor management disappointment and to distinguish the principle issues that end client associations would need to settle to viably moderate these dangers are discussed in this section.

Currently, the principle method for relieving against programming provider disappointment is termed as “Software Escrow”. This was outlined as a method for retrieving source program for software in case of provider disappointment. On the off chance that a provider loses everything, there is no transient issue as the software and the business procedures bolstered by the software proceed to operate and the contractor information stays inside the control of the end client. Nonetheless, the end client organization has an issue as they won't have the capacity to keep up the contractor management suite long haul and this issue is successfully unraveled by Software Escrow and related administrations.

In the cloud field, in any case, the circumstance is unique. If the provider is failed, there is possibility for a quick issue of the SaaS benefit being turned off in light of the fact that the product provider never again has the money to keep on paying for its facilitating administration or to provide payment to the key contractor.  For the end client, this implies they never again approach the application; the business procedure upheld by the contractor software suite can never again work and the end client association loses access to their information.

The business effect of this misfortune will fluctuate contingent on the kind of contractor application influenced:

Business Crucial Procedures (e.g. fund, HR, deals and store network)

Critical Information (e.g. examination or report coordinated effort)

Convenience (e.g. MDM, web separation, determined information)

To conclude with, the two providers of cloud arrangements and end client associations had not appropriately thoroughly considered the ramifications of these new dangers, and not the administrations they will need to moderate the danger of service provider disappointment.

Risks and Mitigation Measures for PII data and financial data of users and DAS staff in the COTS payroll suite

This section incorporates a rundown of latent dangers (misrepresentation or blunders) relating to Payroll Process in the Commercial off-the-shelf product suite. Keep in mind it is simpler to keep the dangers through inside controls than to rectify their belongings later. The efficient mitigation processes include:

  • Recognizable proof of the principle hazards in the payroll process and
  • The usage of management to diminish or take out these dangers.

Additionally one imperative action to be brought up is that the adequacy of the rules set up ought to be ceaselessly checked. This will right off the bat to guarantee that the rules which should prevail in principle are really executed by and by and furthermore these controls accomplish their targets to moderate the dangers.


This section provides an exhaustive outline of the current security and data protection issues in the PII data of MyLicence portal that is intended to provide administrative services to the registered citizens. At that point, we introduced an assortment of security and protection concerns related with Cloud Computing, distinguished real dangers and vulnerabilities. Each of these classifications distinguished a few dangers and vulnerabilities, bringing about further characterization on PII data and identity management. It is obvious from our discourse that for the across the board selection of the cloud solution, these concerns must be tackled completely. In this manner, advancement of the current arrangement procedures and in addition more imaginative methodologies need to moderate these issues is required (Feng, Baochun  & Li, 2014). In spite of the fact that Cloud Computing is a buzzword in current information technology, it is still in its earliest stages, and it is across the board selection that depends generally on how the regularly expanding security concerns will be dealt in the destined areas.


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