Posts from ‘Uncategorized’
I just read an interesting article on MarketingWeek written by Richard Lees, chairman of dbg (The Database Group). Richard has spent the better part of 20+ years combining two of my passions: marketing and data. So I’m instantly interested in his opinion on data security.
So why are we so scared of data security? Probably because we see the aftermath of data scandals and know how debilitating to a brand they can be. Bad PR does not even come close.
So true! Not only have data breaches resulted in billions of dollars in damages, they have also single-handedly destroyed brands and killed entire businesses, and big ones at that. And trust me, organizations like TJX will be feeling the ramifications of their data breach for decades.
Richard sheds light on the growing perception of “inevitability” surrounding data breaches: “It’s so easy to get data processes wrong and everyone is always waiting for the real clanger to happen…The number of diverse touchpoints that are relatively loosely controlled means it’s far too probable that this can happen.”
And here’s one more soundbite that that drives home the point that many organizations aren’t yet taking even minimal precautions:
“It amazes me how some people still fail to do the basics such as merely password protecting data they are sending offsite, using secure file transfer protocols (SFTP)…It is remarkable how much customer data still moves around the internet every single day with very little control.”
Oh, and if you want more proof that sensitive files, data and documents aren’t safe, check out the WikiLeaks website that Richard references. Take a look at a few of the anonymous submissions of confidential documents and communications from governments and organizations around the world that we can all get to with just a few mouse clicks.
Forget that whole ‘East Coast vs West Coast’ rap hostility. There’s a shared enemy out there that is bringing the two coasts together.
What could be so horrible that it unites East and West? What is it that’s so vile that its banding together the entire rap community?
No, Heidi Montag is not coming out with a rap album, it’s not THAT bad. It’s cybercrime.
In Simon McCormack’s article on Huffingtonpost.com, we learn that The Doggfather has “had to deal with Internet miscreants who have set up fake websites using his name, stolen his music and swiped his credit card information.”
Snoop Dogg is all about fighting cybercrime now, and he says “I don’t tolerate it. I’m not with it.”
It’s more than just lip service, if you check out Geekosystem.com, Robert Quigley’s article takes us deeper inside Uncle Snoop’s plans to fight cybercrime and shows us that Tha Boss Dog is involved in a contest called “Hack Is Wack” to spread awareness on cybercrime. Quigley explains that “Hack Is Wack is a Norton-sponsored, Snoop Dogg-approved competition wherein contestants submit an ‘anti-cybercrime rap video’ two minutes in length or shorter.”
Just last month, Ipswitch’s own Frank Kenney extended his hand to help the rap community with it’s battle against cybercrime, specifically the fight against email hackers with an “open invitation to any of the hip-hop superstars such as Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Eminem, Eve, Lil Kim, 50 Cent, or Lil Wayne” to use Ipswitch’s Sendable. This is where you can send any type of file up to 15 GB in size, and we will guarantee that it gets there, securely, and is fully auditable.
Frank extends his hand even further and says that “if you’re an aspiring rapper, go to Sendable.com and sign up for free account. Let us know how you like it, how we can make it better, and we’ll will work at getting you the features that you want and recommend. We may even have some free accounts for you if your music is all that!”
I’d like to keep Frank’s generous offer alive, and if you’re looking to submit a video to “Hack Is Wack“, then Sendable is the way to go!
“I think it’s a pipe dream that small companies are going to really adopt cloud computing. The primary reason is that these companies are typically extremely short-handed in terms of technical talent. They’ve usually got a few overworked super sys admins fighting each day’s fires with absolutely no time to invest in learning new skills.”
Bernard Golden of CIO.com
In an article titled “Cloud Computing: A Perfect Fit for Midsized Companies“, Bernard Golden, contributor to CIO.com and CEO of the consulting firm HyperStratus, makes the case for why midsized businesses may be “a cloud sweet spot.”
Golden thinks it’s a pipe dream that small companies will embrace and go in for cloud computing. Obviously he feels that midsized companies are a perfect fit, but what about large companies? What’s holding them back from the cloud?
“What holds back large companies is, in a sense, their success with the previous generation of computing. Because they could invest in the old model, they’ve now got an installed base of hardware and a large, top-notch technical staff on hand.”
Golden points out 5 characteristics that midsized companies share that makes them the perfect fit for cloud computing.
“A top Pentagon official has confirmed a previously classified incident that he describes as ‘the most significant breach of U.S. military computers ever,’ a 2008 episode in which a foreign intelligence agent used a flash drive to infect computers, including those used by the Central Command in overseeing combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Brian Knowlton, in a NYTimes.com article gives us the rundown on what happened, and what this all means to the military and to the future of cyberdefense and the U.S. Cyber Command.
Deputy Secretary of Defense, William J. Lynn III, referred to the breach as “…a network administrator’s worst fear: a rogue program operating silently, poised to deliver operational plans into the hands of an unknown adversary,” and he also describes it as “a digital beachhead, from which data could be transferred to servers under foreign control.”
The nightmare of this happening to the military is enough to keep you awake at night, and thinking of this closer to home doesn’t make sleep come that much sooner.
Think of your own office where USB flash drives, removable disk drives and cell phones are making it easier than ever for employees who need to transfer large files. It’s harder than ever for companies to monitor and protect sensitive information.
“Portable devices are far too easily lost or stolen, and while most employees have good intentions, USBs are one of the easiest ways for insiders to compromise business-critical information. IT managers need to make it easier for people in their organization to move information securely. By decreasing reliance on transferring physical media and focusing more on easy-to-use browser-based or email plug-in solutions, information will be better governed.”
Frank Kenney, VP of Global Strategy at Ipswitch File Transfer.
Last year (2009) there was a study by the Ponemon Institute of nearly 1,000 recently terminated individuals. The study revealed that 42% of them used USB memory sticks to take business data and that 38% sent documents as attachments to personal email accounts.
“Digital beachhead” is such a great way to put this, especially coming from Deputy Secretary of Defense, William J. Lynn III. The images one can conjure up of storming the “digital beach” and imagining the data security version of those first 15 minutes of “Saving Private Ryan” is truly powerful stuff and should keep us up a little later at night.
“Please do not send the Sept. and Oct. payment together in one wire transfer. Anything over $10,000 wired could draw too much attention.”
Alleged email written by Paul Shim Devine on October 5th, 2007
Is your business-critical information walking out the door?
A few months ago Ipswitch conducted a survey at an RSA Conference. The line of questioning regarding visibility into files moving out of organizations produced some shocking results:
- 83% of IT executives surveyed have no idea what files are moving both internally and externally at their organizations.
- 25% of IT professionals surveyed admitted that they used personal email accounts to send files that were proprietary to their own organizations, with the intent of using that information in their next job.
Both of those figures are frightening. Some companies have refused to seriously consider these numbers, so consider this tale as devine intervention (yes, that’s a play on Paul Shim Devine’s name.) This is the saga of one man getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar. It’s actually a perfect example of the reality and consequences of not knowing what files are moving in and out of your organization. It’s the story of a recent case involving Apple and Paul Shim Devine.
See Martyn Williams’ article for the full details, but here’s the 2 cent version. Back in April 2010 “Apple investigators discovered a Microsoft Entourage database of e-mails and a cache of Hotmail and Gmail messages on Devine’s Apple-supplied laptop. The company took a copy of the drive and began working through its contents,” and as for what they found Apple says “the e-mails contained details of payments, and the supply of confidential information that began in October 2006 with a Singaporean company called Jin Li Mould Manufacturing.”
This is happening. Employees are using private e-mail accounts to transfer confidential company information, but really, how often is this happening?
“Not only is it common, but it’s startling in its frequency,” said Ipswitch’s own Hugh Garber, recently quoted in a ComputerWorld article.
Garber goes on to say that it’s not always done with bad intentions and that “of course, most of that privileged information misuse is not malicious. Many of the times, it’s your hardest-working employees just trying to get the job done.”
To Hugh’s point, that’s true. I know that in other jobs that I’ve had I’ve emailed spreadsheets or word docs home (to my Yahoo account) to work on so I wouldn’t have to schlep my laptop home.
But what about the “other” kind? How do you deal with the malicious kind?
“I received your e-mail on my Apple account. Please avoid using that e-mail as Apple IT team will randomly scan e-mails for suspicious e-mail communications for forecast, cost and new model information.”
Alleged email written by Paul Shim Devine on Sept. 16, 2008.
Ok, that’s one way. Randomly scanning emails for something suspicious. Seems like a good policy to have. Do you know where your organization is in terms of these kinds of policies?
“With hundreds of data breaches over the past five years resulting in multi-million-dollar consequences, it’s hard to believe that organizations still don’t have the right solutions in the right places to protect sensitive information,” said Frank Kenney, VP of Global Strategy at Ipswitch File Transfer. “You may be investing heavily on business applications and their inherent security requirements but if you’re not monitoring and enforcing policies with respect to the information moving both internally (between business applications and people) and externally (between you and your business partners and collaborators), the consequences are dire.”
And, with this issue in particular, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Do the numbers surprise you? What is your organization doing? Any crimes or misdemeanors you’d care to confess to?