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OVIC Information Security Incident Notification Scheme

This fact sheet provides information about OVIC’s Information Security Incident Notification Scheme including when and how to notify OVIC.

Information Security Incident Notification Scheme

The incident notification scheme will benefit all who participate and provide tangible resources, trends analysis and risk reporting. Notification about incidents affecting public sector information should not add unnecessarily to the incident management and response process.

OVIC will, on a regular basis, provide assistance to all engaged entities by reporting on the current trends using information from verified sources such as the national Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC), Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and industry verified resources. Analysis of notified incidents by OVIC will also be documented. These reports will be provided on a quarterly basis and should assist with organisations own risk reporting forums and preparation of business cases for strategic security initiatives.

What is the scheme about?

Element E9.010 within the VPDSS states:

The organisation notifies OVIC of incidents that have an adverse impact on the confidentiality, integrity or availability of public sector information with a business impact level (BIL) of 2 (limited) or higher.

The scheme has been developed to centrally coordinate notification of information security incidents within Victorian government. It requires agencies or bodies to notify OVIC of incidents that compromise the confidentiality, integrity or availability of public sector information with a ‘limited’ business impact or higher 1 on government operations, organisations or individuals.

Incident notification assists OVIC with developing a comprehensive security risk profile of the Victorian government which can be used for trend analysis and understanding of the threat environment. OVIC will share de-identified outcomes of the analysis with Victorian Government agencies and bodies which will in turn inform their own risk assessments.

Who can notify OVIC when an incident occurs?

OVIC will accept notifications from anyone. For representatives submitting a notification on behalf of their organisation, please follow your incident management authorisation process to avoid duplicate submissions for the same incident. The representative may for example be your security lead, privacy officer, CIO, CISO or public sector body Head.

Who to turn to for assistance when an incident occurs?

Every security incident has unique characteristics and may require different approaches to resolution. The table below provides some guidance where agencies or bodies can seek assistance.

wdt_ID Information security incident as a result of …. Responsible Accountable Consulted Informed
1 A lost document Organisation Organisation Organisation OVIC
2 Corrupt conduct of an individual Organisation Organisation IBAC OVIC
3 Physical access intrusion Organisation Organisation Organisation OVIC
4 Cyber intrusion Organisation Organisation CIRS (if response assistance is required) OVIC
5 Breach of personal information Organisation Organisation Organisation and OVIC if guidance required OVIC

What sort of information security incidents should I notify OVIC on?

Information security incidents may take many forms, they are not limited to compromises of electronic information held on government systems and services and also include information in physical formats (i.e. printed, photographs, recorded information either audio or video) and verbal discussions. For instance, leaving a sensitive hard copy document on public transport, someone tailgating into a secure area that has sensitive documentation available, a sensitive conversation being overheard in a public cafe.

If the incident is of a criminal nature, please follow your organisation’s policy on reporting these types of incidents to law enforcement authorities.

The table below provides further examples of the types of incidents that OVIC should be notified about, for any compromise of public sector information that may cause ‘limited’ (or higher) harm/damage to government operations, organisations or individuals. This includes information with a protective marking of OFFICIAL: Sensitive, PROTECTED, Cabinet-In-Confidence or SECRET.

wdt_ID Examples of security incidents of sensitive information Security area Security attribute
1 Hard copy document/file left on public transport Physical Confidentiality/ Availability
3 Tailgating into a secure area and accessing documents left on someone’s desk Physical Confidentiality
4 Ransomware installed on a desktop restricting access to information ICT/Cyber Availability
5 Incorrect protective marking placed on document leading to mishandling of information Information Confidentiality
6 A break-in to a facility and stealing information Physical Confidentiality/ Availability
8 A conversation being held in a public area that can be easily overheard Personnel Confidentiality
9 Viewing information on an unlocked screen by someone who does not have a ‘need-to-know’ Physical Confidentiality
10 Looking at documents left on a printer Physical Confidentiality
11 Sending an email to incorrect email recipient ICT/Cyber Confidentiality
12 Incorrectly disposing of hard copy documents in recycling bin Physical Confidentiality

Remember the organisation’s Business Impact Level (BIL) table should be used as a guide to inform your notification obligations in relation to an information security incident.

BIL’s and how to conduct a security value assessment are determined by the business owner of the information and are explained further in our Practitioner Guide: Assessing the security value of public sector information.

If public sector information does not have a BIL assigned, the business owner should be consulted to determine the value of the information i.e. the impact of a compromise to the confidentiality, integrity and/or availability of the information.

When should I notify OVIC?

Organisations should notify OVIC of an information security incident as soon as practical and no later than 30 days once an incident has been identified. If a response capability is required, organisations are encouraged to seek support from:

  • Their own internal security resources;
  • Their parent entity (if one exists); and
  • The Cyber Incident Response Service (CIRS) in the event of a cyber incident.

Privacy breach considerations

In the event, the incident relates to a breach of personal information, consider the impact on individuals and the need to notify them in a timely manner. Although some impacts may not appear high to the business, they may be for individual(s).

OVIC can provide assistance regarding responding to incidents related to personal information. Where assistance is required, contact the OVIC privacy team and refer to the OVIC website for supporting resources.

How do I notify OVIC of an information security incident?

OVIC has developed an incident notification form that is available on the OVIC website for organisations to complete and submit. There are several methods to notify OVIC of an incident, these include:

Emailing your completed incident notification form is our preferred approach as it is the easiest method to ensure all submission details are accurately completed, recorded and if requested, passed onto the relevant area e.g. OVIC Privacy team or CIRS.

What sort of information should I provide?

OVIC, organisations and Victorian government will use the information provided in incident notifications to inform critical business decisions. To support these decisions, information must be timely, accurate and complete.

OVIC has identified some key fields for organisations to consider when submitting their information security incident notification.

Where information is incomplete or not yet available, OVIC can receive updates as they become available.

The information security incident fields include:

wdt_ID Incident notification fields Description
1 Name of organisation
2 Contact details Provide the primary point of contact details for OVIC to correspond with where further information is required including name, phone number, email address.
3 Date incident occurred DD/MM/YYYY
4 Date incident identified DD/MM/YYYY
The date the incident is discovered and recorded may differ from the date when it occurred
6 Incident summary What happened and what are you doing about it?
Free text field with a short description of the incident.
8 Information affected What information asset has been affected? For example, financial, personal, legal, health, policy, operational, critical infrastructure)
9 Highest business impact level (BIL) of the affected information What is the highest business impact level of the affected information? Select the one that applies:
- 1 Minor
- 2 Limited
- 3 Major
- 4 Serious
14 Business impacts as a result of the incident What are the business impacts as a result of the incident? Select all that apply:
- Economy and finance;
- Legal and regulatory;
- Personal;
- Public services; and/or
- Public order, public safety, law enforcement.
20 Incident type (security attribute affected) What security attribute was affected? Select all that apply:
- Confidentiality (unauthorised disclosure);
- Integrity (unauthorised modification); and/or
- Availability (lost, stolen, unavailable)
24 Information format What format was the information. Select all that apply:
- Hard copy;
- Electronic; and/or
- Verbal.
  1. Refer to the current VPDSF BIL table on the OVIC website for further information.
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