GDPR implementation part 5: Risk Assessment and Gap Analysis

In previous posts in this blog series we have referred to our main planning document, Rules and Regulations for Information Security Management, or RRISM for short, where our road to GDPR compliance started out. In that document we worked out the structure of the project, based on descriptions and definitions of the various components.

Obviously, risk management has to be taken very seriously, and the RRISM lays the groundwork for how we should handle this aspect of information security. The baseline is that risk management is an essential part of the company’s life, and one that comprises all its assets.

Defining and assessing risks

As usual, we first had to agree upon some definitions, and we found the following to be adequate for our purpose — directly from NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology):

Risk is the net negative impact of the exercise of a vulnerability, considering both the probability and the impact of occurrence. Risk management is the process of identifying risk, assessing risk, and taking steps to reduce risk to an acceptable level.

Risk is a function of the likelihood of a given threat-source’s exercising a particular potential vulnerability, and the resulting impact of that adverse event on the organization.

In order to assess risks, we first have to identify possible threats that may exploit vulnerabilities in our systems or our organization.

In short: Risk management shall first and foremost have as objective to protect assets that are at potential risk.

Analyzing assets

Then we outlined the methodology we adopted:

  1. Identify the assets that could be at risk.
  2. Identify possible threats and vulnerabilities.
  3. Identify the possible consequences of each potential vulnerability.

Each threat was characterized by probability and criticality which together gives one of four risk levels: Very High (red), High (orange), Medium (yellow), and Low (green). This helped us decide what we should prioritize regarding improvements, measures, and other actions.

Analyzing our assets we actually found more of these than anticipated, grouped in 21 different asset types, ranging from our customer base, general software in use and our own key business systems, through hardware and communication lines, and employees and partners – and more.

Threat, vulnerability, and gap analysis

Then we reviewed the vulnerability potentials (what could go wrong) for each asset and created scenarios for possible consequences if something happened that exploited a vulnerability.

The question raised thereafter was: Do we have the necessary measures and remedies in place to eliminate the potential vulnerabilities, or mitigate the consequences if things went wrong — or is there a gap?

The next step was to find out what actions should be taken in order to close the gaps in cases where we were not satisfied with the situation, and this will be the topic of future blog posts in this series.

Conclusion

Our mantra through this process has been: Threats we can imagine will sooner or later be reality, but never as we expect them to happen, and never where we expect them.

We live in an ever-changing environment, which means that risks have to be monitored continuously, and so our risk assessment and gap analysis is continually evolving as well.

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GDPR implementation part 3: Mapping our “world”

This is the third post in our series on Runbox’ GDPR implementation.

After having structured our GDPR project, the next piece of necessary groundwork was to map out status on relevant facts about important areas of our business. The reason is that it’s impossible to establish and maintain good security and privacy – and to determine GDPR compliancy — if the “territory” is not clearly described.

The “territory”

The “territory” in question was foremost and first of all,

  • The email service delivery system, that is the Webmail and backend systems and files – the development platform that is used, the components of which the system is built, the dependencies between the components, description of access points etc. – while being well aware of that the GDPR compliancy also includes Privacy of Design requirements.

Other realms that are necessary to describe were for example:

  • The economic system in which the company operates; i.e. mapping out the network of organizations with which our company is involved – including partners, associates, suppliers, financial institutions, government agencies, and so on – in order to serve our customers.
  • Server infrastructure with all physical links and channels, and not the least: All software components.
  • Data networks, including how and where our serves are connected to the Internet, but also the Local Area Network at our premises.
  • Data catalogue, including of course all personal data, that is, what kind of data are registered on customers and also employees and partners/associates as well.
  • Applications of all sorts necessary to run the company – applications that are managerial of nature.

Level of description

One problem encountered is how detailed the descriptions should be. Too many details will make the job unnecessarily big in the first place, followed by a lot of maintenance to keep the documentation current.

We chose to start with a “helicopter view”, to obtain an overview of the different realms with the intention to fine-grain the documentation depending on the requirements of the ultimate goal: To identify areas where privacy and security is of concern, ticking off issues that are well taken care of in light of the GDPR, or followed up with measures to improve the situation to achieve GDPR compliancy.

Of course, the GDPR Implementation Project is not a sequential one, as development projects seldom are. Therefore, from time to time we had to go back and adjust our planning tools when needs arose.

The next blog post in this series will concern our Information Security Policy.

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Data Privacy Day

January 28th is Data Privacy Day, and was initiated by the Council of Europe in 2007. Since then, many advances to protect individuals’ right to privacy have been made.

The most important of these is the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which was implemented on May 25, 2018. Runbox has promoted data privacy for many years, anchored in Norway’s strong privacy legislation.

At Runbox, which is located in the privacy bastion Norway, we believe that privacy is an intrinsic right and that data privacy should be promoted every day of the year.

Your data is safe in the privacy bastion of Norway

We’re pleased that Data Privacy Day highlights this important cause. Many who use the Internet and email services in particular may think they have nothing to hide, not realizing that their data may be analyzed and exploited by corporations and nation states in ways they aren’t aware of and can’t control.

While threats to online privacy around the world are real and must be addressed, we should not be overly alarmed or exaggerate the problem. Therefore we take the opportunity to calmly provide an overview of Norway’s and Runbox’ implementation of data privacy protection.

Norway enforces strong privacy legislation

First of all, Norway has enacted strong legislation regulating the collection, storage, and processing of personal data, mainly in The Personal Data Act.

The first version of Norway’s Personal Data Act was implemented as early as 1978. This was a result of the pioneering work provided by the Department of Private Law at the University of Oslo, where one of the first academic teams within IT and privacy worldwide was established in 1970.

Additionally, the Norwegian Data Protection Authority, an independent authority, facilitates protection of individuals from violation of their right to privacy through processing of their personal data.

For an overview of privacy related regulations in the US, in Europe, and in Norway, and describes how Runbox applies the strong Norwegian privacy regulations in our operations, see this article: Email Privacy Regulations

Runbox enforces a strong Privacy Policy

The Runbox Privacy Policy is the main policy document regulating the privacy protection of account information, account content, and other user data registered via our services.

If you haven’t reviewed our Privacy Policy yet we strongly encourage you to do so as it describes how data are collected and processed while using Runbox, explains what your rights are as a user, and helps you understand what your options are with regards to your privacy.

Runbox is transparent

Runbox believes in transparency and we provide an overview of requests for disclosure of individual customer data that we have received directly from authorities and others.

Our Transparency Report is available online to ensure that Runbox is fully transparent about any disclosure of user data.

Runbox is GDPR compliant

Runbox spent 4 years planning and implementing EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, starting the process as early as 2014.

We divided the activities implementing the GDPR in Runbox into 3 main areas:

  • Internal policies and procedures
  • Partners and contractors
  • Protection of users’ rights

This blog post describes how we did it: GDPR and Updates to our Terms and Policies

Runbox' GDPR Implementation

More information

For more information about Runbox’ commitment to data privacy, we recommend reviewing the Runbox Privacy Commitment.

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“Drop Gmail, Outlook, and iCloud: Norwegian challenger clearly best on privacy”

Runbox is hailed in a major Norwegian news outlet for providing superior privacy protection.

The article is based on a study by Vienna University of Business and Economics, which compares Runbox to 4 other major email services.

Gmail is slammed in the same article for its poor default privacy settings and a pattern of privacy violations.

Comparison of email providersIn the study, Runbox scores high in all categories:

  • Informational Control: 7/7
  • Decisional Control: 7/7
  • Behavioral Control: 6/7
  • Privacy Friendly Defaults: 7/7
  • Technology Paternalism: 5/7
  • Privacy By Design: 6/7
  • Service Appeal: 5/7

At Runbox we are very happy with this increasing focus on privacy, which supports our long-held privacy commitment and our work on compliancy with EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

The full digi.no article (in Norwegian) can be seen below in PDF format.

Dropp Gmail, Outlook og Icloud- Norsk u...rer klart best på personvern - Digi.no

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New Terms of Service and Privacy Policy in effect

As announced one month ago, our new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy implementing the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) take effect today.

The GDPR is a set of regulations declaring that the individual should have control over their personal data by specifying how such data may be collected, processed, and stored.

Important principles include that personal data must be processed lawfully, for legitimate purposes, and with explicit consent from the user.

Runbox’ privacy commitment

Runbox has always been committed to the privacy of our users, and the GDPR principles are now fully integrated into our Privacy Policy. It provides a comprehensive overview of the policies that govern your privacy as a Runbox user, and describes in an accessible way the types of data Runbox collects in order to responsibly and reliably operate an email service.

It also lays out how user data are processed and stored, how they are being protected, and what rights you have as a user of our services.

To find out more about our GDPR implementation, please see our previous blog post GDPR and Updates to our Terms and Policies.

Review the new terms and policies

If you haven’t already done so we ask that you review the revised terms and policies now, and invite you to contact us with any questions or concerns.

If you are already a Runbox user or customer you have already actively consented to our Terms of Service when registering a Runbox account, and you do not need to consent again now to the new version.

As a new Runbox user you will have the opportunity to consent to the terms and policies when registering your account.

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GDPR and Updates to our Terms and Policies

On May 25, 2018 the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect in all countries in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Norway, where Runbox is located, is part of the EEA and is implementing these regulations through its own legislation.

We welcome these new regulations as they greatly strengthen the rights of the individual to digital privacy and security, which we always have promoted and supported.

What is the GDPR?

The GDPR is a set of regulations declaring that the individual should have control over their personal data by specifying how such data may be collected, processed, and stored.

The regulations require that businesses and organizations integrate this right into their business practices through policies, procedures, and technologies that safeguard the users’ privacy.

Important principles are that personal data are processed lawfully, for legitimate purposes, and with explicit consent from the user. This means that your personal data can only be collected with your permission.

The regulation also sets forth a number of rights on the part of users of digital services:

  • The right to transparency about how data is processed.
  • The right to access and information about collected data.
  • The right to rectify stored data.
  • The right to erase data (“right to be forgotten”).
  • The right to restriction of processing.
  • The right to data portability.

GDPR also recognizes the term “privacy by design”, which means that privacy shall be considered in all circumstances when personal data is processed or stored. By also introducing “privacy by default”, GDPR states that appropriate measures must be implemented to ensure that personal data collected is only used for the specific purpose for which the consent is given.

How does Runbox implement the GDPR?

At Runbox we believe that the privacy and security of your data is essential, and that it’s important for you to be aware of your rights and your options when it comes to your personal data.

Runbox has therefore been working on the implementation of the GDPR throughout our organization and our services over the past three years.

The activities that implement the GDPR in Runbox can be divided into 3 main areas:

  • Internal policies and procedures
  • Partners and contractors
  • Protection of users’ rights

The first two areas include documentation of information security management and internal policies and procedures, as well as data processing and confidentiality agreements with our partners, contractors, and staff.

The third area relates directly to you as a Runbox user, and includes the terms and policies that govern your use of our services, how we aim to inform and educate our users about privacy, and how we are implementing tools and utilities that safeguard your privacy rights.

Runbox’ main areas of GDPR implementationRunbox' GDPR Implementation

Revised Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

As part of our GDPR implementation the Runbox Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have been revised:

While the Terms of Service has only been updated with minor changes, the Privacy Policy has been restructured and amended. It provides a comprehensive overview of the policies that govern your privacy as a Runbox user, and describes in an accessible way the types of data Runbox collects in order to responsibly and reliably operate an email service.

It also lays out how user data are processed and stored, how they are being protected, and what rights you have as a user of our services.

It’s important to us that you are informed about your rights and your options with regards to your privacy. We ask that you review the revised terms and policies by May 25, 2018 when they take effect, and invite you to contact us with any questions or concerns.

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Our path to GDPR compliance — and how it will strengthen the protection of your personal data

Runbox has been focusing on privacy and information security from day one, and have paid attention to the strict Norwegian legislation concerning the processing of personal data ever since.

Norway is a member of European Economic Area (EEA) and as such has to implement certain EU regulations, even if Norway is not a member of the European Union (EU). When the European Parliament and the Council decided new legislation for the protection of personal data, that legislation also applied in Norway and has to be implemented by May 25, 2018.

The legislation, titled General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), contains rules for how personal data should be processed. Using the terms of GDPR, this includes how, when, and under which conditions, personal data

  • can be collected, processed and stored, which demands explicit consent, and explicit stated purpose;
  • shall be rectified;
  • shall be deleted (right to be forgotten);
  • shall be released to the person that owns the data (right to portability);
  • could be transferred to third parties for processing, where a Data Processing Agreement (DPA) is mandatory;
  • could be transferred to processors outside EEA.

At Runbox we have followed the development of this new EU legislation from the very beginning, and as early as 2014 we initiated a project in order to become GDPR compliant.

As a first step we started developing a planning document which includes detailed plans for making our information security management complete and consistent. The document laid out a number of activities which are now outlined in 15 sub-projects, of which some are completed, and others are in process of being completed.

However, information security is a continuous effort and the sub-projects will give rise to additional activities far beyond the GDPR framework.

We will keep you updated.

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Runbox is leaving the Facebook platform

#DeleteFacebook
#DeleteFacebook

At Runbox we work conscientiously every day to ensure that we act in accordance with our Company Values, and as an extension of these, our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

We have carefully implemented these policies in order to protect our users’ privacy as outlined in our Privacy Commitment, and we are currently working hard to obtain compliancy with the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation introduced by the EU.

This also means that we are conscious about how Runbox interacts with other Internet services such as social media networks. Therefore we have been disappointed by the recent revelations about the privacy intrusions and unethical practices by Facebook.

As a consequence we have decided to remove the Runbox page from the Facebook platform.

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Runbox Two-Factor Authentication

Runbox recently launched Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). 2FA is a log in procedure where an additional piece of information is required in addition to your username and account password.

This additional factor is a code that can only be used once, or for a limited period of time.

Two-Factor Authentication
Runbox Two-Factor Authentication

Runbox 2FA currently supports Timed One-Time Passwords (TOTP) and One-Time Passwords (OTP) as additional factors. We are planning to expand this with Yubikey or U2F support.
 

Runbox is the only 2FA-enabled email provider in Norway

NorwayRunbox is located in Norway, which has some of the strongest privacy regulations in the world.

By choosing Runbox as your email provider, your data will be protected by these regulations while ensuring your email is secure from unauthorized access.

Read on to find out how Runbox 2FA works and which options are available.

 

Timed One-Time Passwords (TOTP)

2FA Timed One-Time Passwords
2FA Timed One-Time Passwords

To use this option you will need a smartphone and some free software.

Timed one-time passwords works by giving you a login code which changes over time, in addition to your password.

To get started, download a TOTP app such as Authy, FreeOTP or Google Authenticator onto your mobile phone and follow their instructions.

Note: It is essential that your smartphone has the correct date/time set as this is used by the TOTP app to generate the correct codes that allow you to log in.

 

One-Time Passwords (OTP)

2FA One-Time Passwords
2FA One-Time Passwords

When you enable this option, the system will generate random passwords that you can use only once. Used passwords are discarded automatically and cannot be used again.

You can download the the list of passwords to a computer or mobile device, or you can print them out if necessary. However, you must keep the list secure as these passwords can be used to access your account along with your usual username and account password.

 

 

Trusted browsers

2FA Trusted Browsers
2FA Trusted Browsers

This option allows the server to trust your current web browser so that you don’t have to use a 2FA code. The option places a small piece of code in your browser (a cookie) that tells the server not to require the 2FA details and you can just log in with username and password.

You should only use this method of bypassing 2FA on a computer or device that you are confident nobody else can log in to. You can temporarily turn on/off individual browsers from the trusted list, or you can delete the browser entry entirely which will force that browser to require the 2FA details.

 

Unlock code

2FA Unlock Code
2FA Unlock Code

If for some reason you are unable to log in with 2FA after it has been enabled, this code can be used to disable 2FA.

The code can be used in conjunction with a secure question/answer for additional security.

 

 

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Terms of Service and Privacy Policy updates

On July 1st, 2015 Runbox will introduce updated Terms of Service and a more detailed Privacy Policy.

We strongly recommend that you review the documents as they comprise the contract between you and Runbox. They also form the backbone of legal protection of your data, anchored in strong Norwegian privacy regulations.

We have worked hard to make the documents clear, balanced, and easy to understand, and we think you will agree upon reviewing them.

Please note that the changes apply to all current and future Runbox accounts, and that by continuing to use Runbox you in effect accept the updated terms and policies.

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