Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales orders independent investigation into TSTT data breach

Home*Cover Story*Government

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales orders independent investigation into TSTT data breach

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales is quoted as having grave concerns about the management at TSTT in the wake of the recent data breach. Minister Gonzales has directed the chairman of the Telecommunications Authority of T&T (TSTT) to commence an independent investigation into the data breach at the company.
Gonzales said the matter will be made public when the investigation is complete. Gonzales has been placed in an awkward position as he explained that he relied on information provided by TSTT when he told Parliament last week that customers’ data were not breached by their cyberattack.

“Based on the security protocols that were triggered when the incursion was detected, TSTT’s data and the data of its customers were not in any way compromised,” the minister told Parliament last week. Gonzales said TSTT downplayed the matter to him: “At that point when I issued the statement, that was what was told to me. I had no choice but to accept what the board and management told me”

He explained that as the matter unfolded in the public domain and experts were weighing in on the subject matter, he called chairman Sean Roach for a detailed report:“I sent him back to the company’s management to get a better picture of what was unfolding and they then admitted there was a breach. So they issued another statement,” he said.

TSTT suffered a data breach on October 09th which was downplayed when the company initially said that there was no compromise of customer data but added that it had not corroborated information in the public domain purported to be customer information.

On Friday, the company issued another statement that admitted that 6GB, or less than one percent of the petabytes of the company’s data, was accessed but that the majority of its customers’ data was not acquired and no passwords were compromised.

TSTT said it was determined that some of the data had been accessed from a legacy system, which is no longer utilized but contains data that is, in many instances, no longer valid.

The Communications Workers Union secretary general Clyde Elder has also accused the company of not being truthful from the onset and instead was “dancing around the public”. He also said: “Several tech-savvy persons went and found the data and realized that TSTT has been lying to the public and TSTT is now forced to issue another release trying to downplay what the public already knows. So, customers’ IDs, home addresses, and financial information are out there. This could have been avoided,” he had said. Telecommunications Authority of T&T (TATT) said it was “disturbed” by the data breaches at TSTT.