Risk
7/9/2008
08:37 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

File Sharing Exposes Supreme Court Justice's Personal Information

An employee at an investment firm shared some files using LimeWire and exposed personal data associated with some 2,000 of the firm's clients, including Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

An employee at Wagner Resource Group, an investment firm in McLean, Va., decided to share some files using LimeWire late last year. In so doing, he managed to expose personal information associated with some 2,000 of the firm's clients, including Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The Washington Post's Brian Krebs broke the story on Wednesday, thanks to a tip from a reader of the Post's online site. According to Krebs, the employee's carelessness exposed names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers.

LimeWire is a peer-to-peer file sharing program that uses the Gnutella protocol. Like other file sharing applications, it allows users to make computer files available to other users of the software. Unfortunately, some users do not understand how to properly configure the software.

The LimeWire FAQs suggest that LimeWire, properly configured, doesn't present any special security risk. "As long as you don't share your entire hard drive, you shouldn't encounter any significant security risks using Gnutella," the FAQs explain. "However, make sure you are sharing only files you want to share, and to be completely safe, don't run executable programs that you obtain from the Gnutella network."

Of course, the use of any such software in environments where confidential information is stored represents a security risk. And misuse, deliberate or accidental, of file sharing programs isn't a new problem.

Last month, Walter Reed Army Medical Center said that officials were "investigating the possible disclosure of personal identifier information through unauthorized sharing of a data file containing the names of approximately one thousand Military Health System beneficiaries."

And last year, file sharing software installed on the laptop of a Pfizer employee led to a data breach that exposed names, Social Security numbers, and other information associated with about 17,000 Pfizer employees and past employees. In this case, it was not the employee who installed the software but her spouse.

A bill introduced late last year aims to impose security controls, file sharing restrictions among them, on federal systems. H.R. 4791, The Federal Agency Data Protection Act, passed the House in June and awaits action by the Senate. If passed by the Senate and signed into law, it would require government agency heads to "develop and implement a plan to ensure the security and privacy of information collected or maintained by or on behalf of the agency from the risks posed by certain peer-to-peer file sharing programs."

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
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-5395
Published: 2014-11-21
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in Huawei HiLink E3276 and E3236 TCPU before V200R002B470D13SP00C00 and WebUI before V100R007B100D03SP01C03, E5180s-22 before 21.270.21.00.00, and E586Bs-2 before 21.322.10.00.889 allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of users ...

CVE-2014-7137
Published: 2014-11-21
Multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities in Dolibarr ERP/CRM before 3.6.1 allow remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the (1) contactid parameter in an addcontact action, (2) ligne parameter in a swapstatut action, or (3) project_ref parameter to projet/tasks/contact.php; (4...

CVE-2014-7871
Published: 2014-11-21
SQL injection vulnerability in Open-Xchange (OX) AppSuite before 7.4.2-rev36 and 7.6.x before 7.6.0-rev23 allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary SQL commands via a crafted jslob API call.

CVE-2014-8090
Published: 2014-11-21
The REXML parser in Ruby 1.9.x before 1.9.3 patchlevel 551, 2.0.x before 2.0.0 patchlevel 598, and 2.1.x before 2.1.5 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (CPU and memory consumption) a crafted XML document containing an empty string in an entity that is used in a large number of nes...

CVE-2014-8469
Published: 2014-11-21
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Guests/Boots in AdminCP in Moxi9 PHPFox before 4 Beta allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the User-Agent header.

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?