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Attacks/Breaches

11/15/2016
09:00 AM
Jai Vijayan
Jai Vijayan
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The 7 Most Significant Government Data Breaches

Mega compromises at federal and state agencies over the past three years has compromised everything from personal data on millions to national security secrets.
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The Edward Snowden Data Leaks



Few data breaches in modern history have had as broad an impact or fueled as many changes politically, economically and socially as Edward Snowden's theft and subsequent leaks of highly classified documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013.    

Snowden worked for several years as a contract employee for the NSA at one of its facilities in Hawaii and prior to that in Japan. He abused his privileged access to classified systems to download copious and staggeringly detailed information on highly secret NSA domestic and international surveillance programs.   

His revelations about the existence of the NSA's bulk phone metadata collection practices and projects like its massive PRISM data mining initiative prompted changes to the nation's surveillance laws and greater oversight over the practices of US intelligence agencies. Concerns over government and law enforcement access to data held in the cloud by US companies prompted foreign governments, mostly notably in the European Union, to impose new privacy requirements on American companies for handling data on EU residents.   

Many view Snowden, who fled to Russia after the leaks, as a traitor for revealing national security secrets. Many others view him as a hero for focusing attention on what they see as the dragnet security practices by the government in the name of counter-terrorism. From an enterprise standpoint, the Snowden case remains one of the most dramatic examples of insider risks and privileged access abuse.


Image Source: Sergey Kohl via Shutterstock

The Edward Snowden Data Leaks

Few data breaches in modern history have had as broad an impact or fueled as many changes politically, economically and socially as Edward Snowdens theft and subsequent leaks of highly classified documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013.

Snowden worked for several years as a contract employee for the NSA at one of its facilities in Hawaii and prior to that in Japan. He abused his privileged access to classified systems to download copious and staggeringly detailed information on highly secret NSA domestic and international surveillance programs.

His revelations about the existence of the NSAs bulk phone metadata collection practices and projects like its massive PRISM data mining initiative prompted changes to the nations surveillance laws and greater oversight over the practices of US intelligence agencies. Concerns over government and law enforcement access to data held in the cloud by US companies prompted foreign governments, mostly notably in the European Union, to impose new privacy requirements on American companies for handling data on EU residents.

Many view Snowden, who fled to Russia after the leaks, as a traitor for revealing national security secrets. Many others view him as a hero for focusing attention on what they see as the dragnet security practices by the government in the name of counter-terrorism. From an enterprise standpoint, the Snowden case remains one of the most dramatic examples of insider risks and privileged access abuse.

Image Source: Sergey Kohl via Shutterstock

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ClaireEllison
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ClaireEllison,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/21/2016 | 4:22:24 PM
Re: amazing
A great post with good questions/ But how to avoid that? I really wanted to send a small word to say thanks to you for the fantastic points you are writing on this site.
ONI SEO
50%
50%
ONI SEO,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/18/2016 | 11:34:05 AM
Mr ROBOT comes soon?
A great post with good questions/ But how to avoid that? What kind of solutions?
kbannan100
50%
50%
kbannan100,
User Rank: Moderator
11/17/2016 | 10:59:38 PM
It's going to take a village
These breaches are just the tip of the iceberg. We all know that. One of the biggest problems is the amount of unsecured endpoints that are out there. Things like printers that aren't secured and laptops that aren't running antivirus or -- if they are -- have not been patched. It's going to take a lot more work on everyone's behalf before the good guys get ahead of the criminals. 

--Karen Bannan for IDG and HP
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