Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Encrypted Traffic Strategies
Webinar: Best practices for enterprise net traffic
Omdia's On-Demand Webinars
Omdia's On-Demand Cybersecurity Webinars
What's next for DC firewalls?
Webinar: Net security for software-defined DCs
2/18/2021
12:00 PM
Tanner Johnson
Tanner Johnson
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
50%
50%

Data Security Accountability in an Age of Regular Breaches

As the number of vendors impacted by supply chain breaches grows, one constant question remains: Where exactly does accountability for data security lie, and what part do end users play in their own data breach protection?

Implicit Trust Is an Unfortunate Yet Necessary Requirement
Conducting business today frequently requires a potential client or customer to provide considerable amounts of personal information to facilitate most any transaction. At the very least, this includes some form of identification, along with corresponding payment information. Depending upon the type of purchase, additional authentication and verification may be necessary. Such a scenario frequently demands implicit trust that the vendor in question will facilitate the secure handling of all pertinent client information — unfortunately, the reality is that this is far from a guarantee.

Comprehensive data protection is a challenge for even the most security-conscious organizations. At some point, each organization is fundamentally reliant upon the security of the products and solutions that comprise their respective technological ecosystems. Supply chain attacks such as SolarWinds seek to create as large a fallout as possible by targeting these very products and solutions. In the face of sophisticated nation-state-backed attack campaigns, even the most data protection-centric organizations with dedicated incident response teams and security operation centers will struggle to protect information from compromise and exfiltration.

Individual Accountability Is an Essential Component
When it comes to information security, cyber hygiene is remarkably analogous to biological hygiene. Much like the immune system within an organism, poor digital security hygiene can result in an infection (security incident) progressing into a full-blown compromise (data breach). The expectation is that the breached organization will take active measures to mitigate the effects of the data breach, and it ends there. However, this is not enough. Much like taking precautions against spreading the COVID-19 infection, individuals must play their part in reducing their own levels of digital security contagion. Following any discovered infection resulting from a breach (digital or biological), the best process is to engage in measures to quarantine yourself to reduce the exposure of others.

One of the most basic digital hygiene methods simply relies upon the user deploying complex and unique passwords for each service they utilize. While this would be the first port of call when a data breach is discovered, the fact is such a practice is rarely followed, and further explains many of the breaches we've experienced to date. To address this, the general public's attitude toward passwords needs to evolve to that of phone numbers. While we have no reason to remember a number after creating a contact, that number will only ever reach that single contact. If users simply relied on a password manager, it could serve as their password "phone book," creating a unique profile for each service. This greatly reduces the potential fallout of even one password being compromised, as there are no other exploitable vectors other than the service directly impacted.

While password management is crucial, there is a wide range of additional cyber hygiene practices that can reduce the opportunities for digital compromise or contagion. Implementing multifactor authentication, scheduling regular data backups, utilizing encryption to secure information, scrutinizing email attachments — just a few examples of basic digital hygiene that everyone should follow. End users who insist on ignoring these basic precautions help to perpetuate the very data security challenges we face as a global community.

Tanner Johnson is a cybersecurity analyst focused on IoT and transformative technologies at Omdia. His coverage is focused on examining the various threats that occupy the IoT technology domain, as well as opportunities and strategies that are emerging as data connectivity ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
mbp47252dr
50%
50%
mbp47252dr,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/22/2021 | 11:51:02 AM
Data Security Accountability
How can organizations and/or vendors and/or clients ensure that their partners are data security accountable -- are there any polls/surveys/studies which reveal the percentage of businesses which potentially hide the fact their data security measures are less-than satisfactory?

 
News
US Formally Attributes SolarWinds Attack to Russian Intelligence Agency
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  4/15/2021
News
Dependency Problems Increase for Open Source Components
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  4/14/2021
News
FBI Operation Remotely Removes Web Shells From Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/14/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-31607
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-23
In SaltStack Salt 2016.9 through 3002.6, a command injection vulnerability exists in the snapper module that allows for local privilege escalation on a minion. The attack requires that a file is created with a pathname that is backed up by snapper, and that the master calls the snapper.diff function...
CVE-2021-31597
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-23
The xmlhttprequest-ssl package before 1.6.1 for Node.js disables SSL certificate validation by default, because rejectUnauthorized (when the property exists but is undefined) is considered to be false within the https.request function of Node.js. In other words, no certificate is ever rejected.
CVE-2021-2296
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-22
Vulnerability in the Oracle VM VirtualBox product of Oracle Virtualization (component: Core). The supported version that is affected is Prior to 6.1.20. Difficult to exploit vulnerability allows high privileged attacker with logon to the infrastructure where Oracle VM VirtualBox executes to compromi...
CVE-2021-2297
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-22
Vulnerability in the Oracle VM VirtualBox product of Oracle Virtualization (component: Core). The supported version that is affected is Prior to 6.1.20. Difficult to exploit vulnerability allows high privileged attacker with logon to the infrastructure where Oracle VM VirtualBox executes to compromi...
CVE-2021-2298
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-22
Vulnerability in the MySQL Server product of Oracle MySQL (component: Server: Optimizer). Supported versions that are affected are 8.0.23 and prior. Easily exploitable vulnerability allows low privileged attacker with network access via multiple protocols to compromise MySQL Server. Successful attac...