National to combat cyber attacks with launch of new team

By Emma Ryan|16 August 2017

A national law firm is fighting the high occurrences of cyber attacks throughout Australian businesses by unveiling a dedicated team which seeks to defend them against these.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth has launched Corrs Cyber, describing it as Australia’s first multidisciplinary cyber security team to defend Australian businesses from cyber attacks, as well as prepare and recover from such occurrences.

The comprehensive team includes newly appointed national forensic technology manager, Phillip Magness, who is a forensic IT expert with over a decade worth of experience in the digital forensic department of the AFP.

Mr Magness is joined by Georg Thomas, who has also been recently appointed as Corrs’ national security and risk manager, and Corrs partners Philip Catania, James North, Helen Clarke, Simon Johnson, Michael do Rozario and David Yates.


In addition to Corrs’ internal legal, forensic and cyber consulting capacity, a statement from Corrs noted that it has partnered with external incident response experts, including those focused on business systems and reputation management.

The team’s responsibilities ensures that “in the event of a cyber incident, such as a data breach, denial of service attack or ransomware incident, critical evidence is captured immediately while businesses also have access to resources to rapidly restore operational integrity,” the statement from Corrs said.

“This includes finding the source of the breach, learning how it occurred, providing a legal response, managing and protecting the organisation’s reputation, and advising on what preventive steps need to be taken to minimise the risk of repeated instances.”

Commenting on the decision to launch Corrs Cyber, partner James Whittaker, who is responsible for overseeing the team, said there has never been a more integral time for firms to ensure adequate measures are put in place to combat the risk of cyber attacks.

“There’s no doubt that cyber incidents are now a fact of modern corporate life, but it’s how an organisation prepares for an incident and responds after a breach that is critical,” Mr Whittaker said.


“It is evident from recent events that there is a clear need in the market for companies to be able to turn to experts who can assist them to respond in a strategic, co-ordinated and informed manner. This can be the difference between business continuity and business failure.

“Corrs already has one of Australia’s largest legal technology groups, and with the launch of Corrs Cyber we are now offering clients a differentiated service that can help them capture and analyse data when a cyber incident is known or suspected, preserving vital evidence and investigating what information has been accessed.”

Corrs partner Philip Catania said the Corrs Cyber team has the ability to respond to any type of cyber incident, offering a 24/7 hotline to both initiate preparation for and respond to cyber incidents as effectively as possible.

Mr Catania noted that a big part of his team’s responsibility will be ensure businesses are prepared to respond in the instance of an attack. This includes conducting data protection audits and impact assessments, as well as the development and testing of response plans, including reporting, privilege, fraud response and requirements of external notifications, he said.

“Numerous recent incidents have proven that businesses [which] have engaged with legal professionals before an incident has occurred are able to co-ordinate a more effective response, significantly limit financial and reputational damage, and recover faster,” Mr Catania added.

“And with the introduction of the mandatory data breach notification scheme commencing in February next year, the time to take action is now.

“Contrary to common belief, it is not just large global organisations that are at risk of cyber attacks or data security breaches – smaller businesses also face serious internal and external threats.”

National to combat cyber attacks with launch of new team
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