Risk
6/22/2005
04:49 PM
Patricia Keefe
Patricia Keefe
Commentary
50%
50%

Data Security: IT's Oxymoron

In case you haven't noticed, the last decade in banking has been all about mergers (each one bigger than the last), big-buck CEOs, increasing fees, and decreasing access to human beings. Sure, some consumer accounts got lost or crunched in the slamming together of newlywed bank systems, but who cared? Not the regulators and not the banks.

In case you haven't noticed, the last decade in banking has been all about mergers (each one bigger than the last), big-buck CEOs, increasing fees, and decreasing access to human beings. Sure, some consumer accounts got lost or crunched in the slamming together of newlywed bank systems, but who cared? Not the regulators and not the banks.What the finance industry seems to care about, besides the obvious--ever-more money and expansion--are two things: rules and computerization. If ever there was a stickler for fine print and dates, it's the money men. They cut consumers no slack and have done their best to obliterate community branches and any hint of a free service. When they aren't inundating us with credit-card offers and come-ons for new financial services, they have been relentlessly driving the masses toward electronic banking. ATM cards, debit cards, online banking--all are designed to rid the system of paper checks and human tellers, while simultaneously collecting masses of data more easily than ever before. Data that's sold, loaned, processed, and cross-tabulated again and again to rank our credit worthiness in order to adjust our credit-card rates and fill up our mailboxes with offers we don't want.

In return, consumers have gained convenience and ease of access to their funds, of course, but apparently, so have the ever-sophisticated thieves.

It seems in the rush to build banking monopolies and cut costs, the banks have been so focused on the front end, they've left the back end to their systems wide open. So wide open that the Anti-Phishing Working Group's Activity Trends Report for April shows financial services to be the biggest phishing target (84%) by far.

Little wonder we read today of banks scrambling to contain the damage from the recent spate of hacks and data losses. They spent bazillions on automation and the creation of new services, but not enough on safeguarding their clients. And among those banks that knew enough to batten down their own hatches, many have failed to look beyond the end of their noses at their third-party partners, some of whom are in flagrant violation of their banking partners' security rules. Who knew? Not the banks, but they should have known. They just aren't watching very closely, according to Gartner analyst Avivah Litan.

This quote from Ted Crooks, VP of global fraud solutions at Fair Isaac Corp., which provides customer-data-analytics services, sums it up: "Unfortunately, too many companies factor in the need for absolute evidence and the lowest possible cost for protection. This event [the CardSystems Solutions breach] was scary, but I wasn't bowled over with surprise, and it could have been avoided."

The financial-services sector can't have it both ways: It can't tell the public it's going to share our data with pretty much whomever it pleases (have you ever tried to decipher one of those privacy statements?) and then not protect that data.

And now that the jig is up, who better to feel the weight of rules and regulations, and the punitive sting of financial penalties? Now that's talking a language we know they'll understand.

Data thieves may be mightily attracted to the financial sector, but their reach is by no means limited to that industry. And sometimes it's unthinking IT design mistakes that leave consumers vulnerable. Do you think you have the right strategies, tools, and policies in place to defend your network and data? Check out our Global Information Security Survey. Your completed survey also enters you in our $4,000 prize drawing for a laptop or iPods!

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Dark Reading Live EVENTS
INsecurity - For the Defenders of Enterprise Security
A Dark Reading Conference
While red team conferences focus primarily on new vulnerabilities and security researchers, INsecurity puts security execution, protection, and operations center stage. The primary speakers will be CISOs and leaders in security defense; the blue team will be the focus.
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Security Vulnerabilities: The Next Wave
Just when you thought it was safe, researchers have unveiled a new round of IT security flaws. Is your enterprise ready?
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Assessing Cybersecurity Risk
[Strategic Security Report] Assessing Cybersecurity Risk
As cyber attackers become more sophisticated and enterprise defenses become more complex, many enterprises are faced with a complicated question: what is the risk of an IT security breach? This report delivers insight on how today's enterprises evaluate the risks they face. This report also offers a look at security professionals' concerns about a wide variety of threats, including cloud security, mobile security, and the Internet of Things.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.