Risk
4/28/2009
06:41 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Federal Reserve IT Analyst Arrest Highlights Internal Threat

I've always had a pick with the trite and hackneyed marketing hype among IT security vendors who repeated the "insiders conduct the most attacks," or "Insiders are the greatest risk." This most recent arrest stokes the debate that was rekindled with the recent release of Verizon Business' 2009 Data Breach Investigations Report.

I've always had a pick with the trite and hackneyed marketing hype among IT security vendors who repeated the "insiders conduct the most attacks," or "Insiders are the greatest risk." This most recent arrest stokes the debate that was rekindled with the recent release of Verizon Business' 2009 Data Breach Investigations Report.In this case, a former worker at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, along with his brother, were nailed by Federal authorities for allegedly scamming loans with pilfered identities. According to this announcement [PDF] from the U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York, the suspect was an IT analyst at the bank with access to names, dates-of-birth, and Social Security numbers. Investigators claim to have found a thumb drive with loan applications totaling $73,000 based on stolen identities.

But do cases like this mean the insider is the biggest threat? No, it doesn't. It just means that, in many cases, it may make it easier for insiders to access information because they know where it is, and how it's protected. But as colleague Mike Fratto pointed out in an earlier post, based on Verizon's Data Breach report:

74% of the attacks were from external sources and accounted for 266,788,000 records; 32% from partners accounting for 1,509,000 records; a paltry 20% from insiders accounting for 1,330,000 records; and 39% were from multiple sources accounting for 15,796,000 lost records. On a per breach basis, insiders were responsible on average for more records lost per breach, 100,000, while external sources accounted for a median 37,847, and partners 27,000. Which poses a bigger threat? The most active group, external sources, or the more effective group, internal sources? It doesn't much matter, does it? What this tells me is that information security programs need to focus on protecting information.

Fratto is exactly right. It doesn't (shouldn't) matter where the threat is coming from. Classify your data. Put the proper security controls in place: encryption, access control, monitoring the movement of data, and everything else that goes with a solid security program -- and you're doing what needs to be done to protect your intellectual property, and the safety of your customers.

IT security revolves around protecting the data: whether your adversary is sitting in the cube next to you, or in Kazakhstan.

Follow my security observations on Twitter.

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-2013-7441
Published: 2015-05-29
The modern style negotiation in Network Block Device (nbd-server) 2.9.22 through 3.3 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (root process termination) by (1) closing the connection during negotiation or (2) specifying a name for a non-existent export.

CVE-2014-9727
Published: 2015-05-29
AVM Fritz!Box allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands via shell metacharacters in the var:lang parameter to cgi-bin/webcm.

CVE-2015-0200
Published: 2015-05-29
IBM WebSphere Commerce 6.x through 6.0.0.11 and 7.x before 7.0.0.8 IF2 allows local users to obtain sensitive database information via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-0751
Published: 2015-05-29
Cisco IP Phone 7861, when firmware from Cisco Unified Communications Manager 10.3(1) is used, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service via crafted packets, aka Bug ID CSCus81800.

CVE-2015-0752
Published: 2015-05-29
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Cisco TelePresence Video Communication Server (VCS) X8.5.1 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted URL, aka Bug ID CSCut27635.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
After a serious cybersecurity incident, everyone will be looking to you for answers -- but you’ll never have complete information and you’ll never have enough time. So in those heated moments, when a business is on the brink of collapse, how will you and the rest of the board room executives respond?