Perimeter
Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
What's This?
4/25/2011
03:01 PM
Dark Reading
Dark Reading
Security Insights
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
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
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-2595
Published: 2014-08-31
The device-initialization functionality in the MSM camera driver for the Linux kernel 2.6.x and 3.x, as used in Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, enables MSM_CAM_IOCTL_SET_MEM_MAP_INFO ioctl calls for an unrestricted mmap interface, which all...

CVE-2013-2597
Published: 2014-08-31
Stack-based buffer overflow in the acdb_ioctl function in audio_acdb.c in the acdb audio driver for the Linux kernel 2.6.x and 3.x, as used in Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, allows attackers to gain privileges via an application that lever...

CVE-2013-2598
Published: 2014-08-31
app/aboot/aboot.c in the Little Kernel (LK) bootloader, as distributed with Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, allows attackers to overwrite signature-verification code via crafted boot-image load-destination header values that specify memory ...

CVE-2013-2599
Published: 2014-08-31
A certain Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) patch to the NativeDaemonConnector class in services/java/com/android/server/NativeDaemonConnector.java in Code Aurora Forum (CAF) releases of Android 4.1.x through 4.3.x enables debug logging, which allows attackers to obtain sensitive disk-encryption pas...

CVE-2013-6124
Published: 2014-08-31
The Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) init scripts in Code Aurora Forum (CAF) releases of Android 4.1.x through 4.4.x allow local users to modify file metadata via a symlink attack on a file accessed by a (1) chown or (2) chmod command, as demonstrated by changing the permissions of an arbitrary fil...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
This episode of Dark Reading Radio looks at infosec security from the big enterprise POV with interviews featuring Ron Plesco, Cyber Investigations, Intelligence & Analytics at KPMG; and Chris Inglis & Chris Bell of Securonix.