Perimeter
Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
What's This?
4/25/2011
03:01 PM
Dark Reading
Dark Reading
Security Insights
50%
50%

Lone Star State Learns Valuable DLP Lesson

The state of Texas has spent nearly $2 million responding to a major data leakage incident. Wouldn't it be cheaper to simply protect our data?

The state of Texas announced it has already spent roughly $1.9 million following the exposure of more than 3.5 million people's Social Security numbers, addresses, and other personal details.

More specifically, it has spent $1.2 million on notifying victims, $400,000 on setting up a call center, and $300,000 on hiring security professionals to investigate. This could be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the total cost of this incident.

Fortunately for the victims, the state has decided to provide credit monitoring, Social Security number protection, and identity theft insurance.

In Ponemon's report, the "Fifth Annual U.S. Cost of a Data Breach Study," it was determined that the average cost per record lost in data breaches was approximately $204. That implies Texas is getting off easy, to date having spent less than $1 per affected person.

Organizations need to look at these incidents as wake-up calls. In this case, it is believed that none of the exposed data was ever accessed, and yet the costs continue to rise. Had the data actually been accessed by criminals, the costs could have been much higher.

The state's mistake has been repeated frequently throughout the business community. It assumed the data did not need to be encrypted because it would always be stored "inside the network," where it would be safe and secure.

Sensitive data is more mobile than ever and needs protection regardless of where you think it will be stored or contained. Consider the quantity of digital data you can carry in your pocket on a regular basis; this changes the game when it comes to protection of records.

Could you imagine losing 2 million paper records? It would require some serious effort to move that quantity of data -- and a claim of ignorance would not be a reasonable defense. While the efficiency and convenience of digital records have revolutionized the business environment, this comes with the responsibility of controlling that information flow.

I hope this incident alerts IT professionals that full-disk encryption for laptops is simply not enough when looking to protect personally identifiable information (PII). If you handle sensitive information, then you should be taking steps to protect it, regardless of where it is stored or intended to be stored.

Chester Wisniewski is a senior security adviser at Sophos Canada.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Considering how prevalent third-party attacks are, we need to ask hard questions about how partners and suppliers are safeguarding systems and data.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-6477
Published: 2014-11-23
Unspecified vulnerability in the JPublisher component in Oracle Database Server 11.1.0.7, 11.2.0.3, 11.2.0.4, 12.1.0.1, and 12.1.0.2 allows remote authenticated users to affect confidentiality via unknown vectors, a different vulnerability than CVE-2014-4290, CVE-2014-4291, CVE-2014-4292, CVE-2014-4...

CVE-2014-4807
Published: 2014-11-22
Sterling Order Management in IBM Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite 9.3.0 before FP8 allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (CPU consumption) via a '\0' character.

CVE-2014-6183
Published: 2014-11-22
IBM Security Network Protection 5.1 before 5.1.0.0 FP13, 5.1.1 before 5.1.1.0 FP8, 5.1.2 before 5.1.2.0 FP9, 5.1.2.1 before FP5, 5.2 before 5.2.0.0 FP5, and 5.3 before 5.3.0.0 FP1 on XGS devices allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary commands via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-8626
Published: 2014-11-22
Stack-based buffer overflow in the date_from_ISO8601 function in ext/xmlrpc/libxmlrpc/xmlrpc.c in PHP before 5.2.7 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code by including a timezone field in a date, leading to improper XML-RPC encoding...

CVE-2014-8710
Published: 2014-11-22
The decompress_sigcomp_message function in epan/sigcomp-udvm.c in the SigComp UDVM dissector in Wireshark 1.10.x before 1.10.11 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (buffer over-read and application crash) via a crafted packet.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?