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Belco report pulled from RA site after redacted parts hacked – The Royal Gazette | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


Updated: Oct 21, 2023 09:15 AM

A report from Belco outlining why an increase in electricity rates was necessary has had to be removed from the Regulatory Authority’s website because of a potential security breach.

The 19-page document was sent to the RA on September 15 and includes pages of charts, diagrams and calculations to explain why the Fuel Adjustment Rate needed to be upped by almost 50 per cent from the start of this month.

The RA posted a heavily redacted version of the document on its website after Nigel Burgess — the RA’s head of regulation — approved the increase on September 27.

But attempts by The Royal Gazette to review the document yesterday were unsuccessful. When the “FAR Report” filter was clicked, a message responded: “No results found. Please try different keywords or another filter.”

Asked about the development yesterday, a spokesman for the RA said that the document was removed after it was discovered that hackers may have been able to unredact parts of the document with sensitive commercial information.

The spokesman said: “We recently identified that certain redacted files on the RA’s website had been subject to manipulation in an attempt to access confidential information.

“In response, these files have been promptly removed from public access. We are taking the necessary steps to ensure that they are appropriately redacted and will be restored to the website as soon as possible.

“Protecting the confidentiality and integrity of the information is of utmost importance. We remain committed to maintaining the highest standards of data security and transparency.”

The increase in the FAR, which has caused bills rise by about 20 per cent from October 1, prompted public outrage and protests.

The demonstrations forced the Government to take action. Two weeks ago, Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, sent the RA a series of questions asking it to explain its methodology in approving the increase.

Mr Roban shared those questions with the public “as transparency is vital to this process”.

At a press conference on October 6, he said: “I think under the current conditions the decisions that they’ve made deserve much more critical review, and they should have to show transparency not only to myself but to the public.

“It’s my duty that they follow the law, that they operate with the highest levels of integrity, and that they are transparent with the decisions that they make as a public body that operates under public law.”

Mr Roban gave the RA until last Friday to respond to his questions. Although that deadline was met, Mr Roban has yet to make those responses public.

On Thursday, a ministry spokesman would only say: “The communication has been received and is under review. Once the minister has completed his review and made a determination, the public will be informed.”

The ministry did not respond to requests yesterday for an update.

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