News
4/15/2008
08:53 PM
Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Data in Motion, And At Rest

As an IT professional, which one worries you more? And what do you do about a technology like RFID that splits the difference between those two conditions -- stationary, yet traveling across the airwaves, and god knows where else?

As an IT professional, which one worries you more? And what do you do about a technology like RFID that splits the difference between those two conditions -- stationary, yet traveling across the airwaves, and god knows where else?Earlier this week, I wrote a short piece about American Apparel's adoption of radio frequency identification, from its manufacturing plants to its cash registers.

I can't think of another emerging technology that provokes readers like this one -- digital rights management, maybe, or the iPhone. But after tracking RFID for a couple years as both a reporter and an editor, the "Big Brother" and personal privacy issues inevitably rear their heads.

In fairness, I didn't help the debate along much by suggesting in the first paragraph of my story that American Apparel was embedding RFID tags directly in its clothing. It's not.

One alert reader correctly took me to task for this misstatement. "Retailers either use a paper hangtag or a reusable 'hard' tag (typically encased in plastic). The vast majority, including Marks & Spencer (which is tagging over 100 million garments per year), use paper hangtags. American Apparel is similarly using a paper hangtag," he wrote in an e-mail.

The reader and his colleagues are all too aware of how this issue inflames privacy advocates. "I take the issue of consumer privacy seriously. So too do my retail clients. Together we work hard to ensure that consumers receive the opportunity to evaluate RFID solely on its merits," he said. "I trust you'll appreciate why it was important that I draw these facts to your attention."

Indeed I do. But I wonder where this leaves data center professionals, who oversee daily terabyte volumes of personal information, whether it's stored in an archive or getting pushed around between departmental servers. I don't discount the privacy issues of RFID; I just think of TJX exposing the credit card numbers of 94 million customers. There's practically no outrage there, maybe because it's more impersonal -- a big corporation, strings of numbers. With RFID, you're in my home or on my person. Yet which of these vulnerabilities is the more probable, and the more potentially damaging?

Maybe it's a micro-macro issue, a question of data volume. Either way, we're a long way from resolving the many issues that RFID raises.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Threat Intel Today
Threat Intel Today
The 397 respondents to our new survey buy into using intel to stay ahead of attackers: 85% say threat intelligence plays some role in their IT security strategies, and many of them subscribe to two or more third-party feeds; 10% leverage five or more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-6335
Published: 2014-08-26
The Backup-Archive client in IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) for Space Management 5.x and 6.x before 6.2.5.3, 6.3.x before 6.3.2, 6.4.x before 6.4.2, and 7.1.x before 7.1.0.3 on Linux and AIX, and 5.x and 6.x before 6.1.5.6 on Solaris and HP-UX, does not preserve file permissions across backup and ...

CVE-2014-0480
Published: 2014-08-26
The core.urlresolvers.reverse function in Django before 1.4.14, 1.5.x before 1.5.9, 1.6.x before 1.6.6, and 1.7 before release candidate 3 does not properly validate URLs, which allows remote attackers to conduct phishing attacks via a // (slash slash) in a URL, which triggers a scheme-relative URL ...

CVE-2014-0481
Published: 2014-08-26
The default configuration for the file upload handling system in Django before 1.4.14, 1.5.x before 1.5.9, 1.6.x before 1.6.6, and 1.7 before release candidate 3 uses a sequential file name generation process when a file with a conflicting name is uploaded, which allows remote attackers to cause a d...

CVE-2014-0482
Published: 2014-08-26
The contrib.auth.middleware.RemoteUserMiddleware middleware in Django before 1.4.14, 1.5.x before 1.5.9, 1.6.x before 1.6.6, and 1.7 before release candidate 3, when using the contrib.auth.backends.RemoteUserBackend backend, allows remote authenticated users to hijack web sessions via vectors relate...

CVE-2014-0483
Published: 2014-08-26
The administrative interface (contrib.admin) in Django before 1.4.14, 1.5.x before 1.5.9, 1.6.x before 1.6.6, and 1.7 before release candidate 3 does not check if a field represents a relationship between models, which allows remote authenticated users to obtain sensitive information via a to_field ...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Three interviews on critical embedded systems and security, recorded at Black Hat 2014 in Las Vegas.