Friday, 31 October 2008

It might have been quiet on this blog for a while but elsewhere...

I know, I know, it has been a long while since I last posted to this blog! Thank you to all of you who have been checking in regularly.

It has been a busy six months both in terms of data loss instances and also for 3BView. In the case of the latter we have gained great new customers and partners in the intervening time ... you'll be able to find out more about some of them on our website - a new improved version of which is going live next week.

On the former: well watch this space. Many things to blog about, and I will be doing just that over the coming weeks.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Good eWeek article on DLP

EWeek has an interesting article comparing Database Activity Monitoring (DAM) with Data Leak Prevention (DLP).

In the article, Paul Proctor, a Gartner analyst who’s tracked this area for a while, says: “"Most every security monitoring technology would benefit from DLP content awareness, which is the ability to recognize sensitive content on the fly.” Yep, I’d agree with that.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

California Bar Journal reviews legal metadata position

The California Bar Journal, in this article, presents an excellent round-up of the problems for lawyers, including the myth that PDF documents are safe from metadata leaks, and the latest legal position in the US. Worth reading.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Eli Lilly’s lawyers accidentally emails confidential info to New York Times

We’ve been here before, but this is a corker. All the pieces of a classic ILP mistake: the $1bn lawsuit, the external law firm accidentally emailing confidential information to the wrong person, and the fact that the wrong person happened to be a New York Times reporter. Oops.

Law firms, get yourself some ILP tools now, before it’s you!

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Scottish council caught out by tracked changes

It’s that old classic: sending out a Word document with information you really, really don’t want to reveal left in tracked changes.

This time the metadata culprit is Aberdeenshire County Council, which managed to send out a report on waste management, containing incriminating details of problems in tracked changes that hadn’t made it into the final report.

Even worse than the information revealed is the inference that the council had covered up the information it didn’t like on the problems – and the press has certainly taken this line.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

That Jeremy Clarkson story

I know I’m coming a little late to this story and there’s been a lot of debate about it. In case you’ve not read about this: the UK TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson published his bank details in a newspaper column, in which he claimed the furore about lost personal details from the HRMC was a fuss about nothing. Of course, a kind soul promptly used the details to set up a direct debit payment from Clarkson’s account to a charity.

On reflection, you could argue that in fact the system works – the UK’s direct debit scheme provides safeguards to protect the consumer, and to refund any disputed money. In this kind of situation, no doubt Clarkson is covered financially.

But you could imagine a consumer being less than happy if, say, the money taken out of their account meant they went overdrawn, other payments bounced, and they then had to sort out the unholy mess.

And Clarkson himself says he only discovers the loss when he read his bank statement – how many people do that every month? And would they notice the loss if it was £50 not £500?

For me, it does highlight two important issues: firstly, the context in which personal data is used is important. As many commentators have said, Clarkson only divulged information that we give to anyone whenever we give them a cheque. But, he did so in a highly public way. “Security by obscurity” has long been a facet of protecting data, and shouldn’t be forgotten when risk is being assessed.

The second key point is that it’s much, much easier to not leak data in the first place, than to deal with the consequences even if there is no nominal financial risk. As I mentioned, the UK’s banks guarantee to refund any money that a consumer loses due to a mistake with a direct debit. In practice, I imagine it’s still a difficult process to go through, and can cause much inconvenience. It’s the same with any company’s data – you might theoretically not have any negative consequences of a leak, but managing the process when information goes missing can be time-consuming and costly.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Frank Abagnale tells the inside story on IT security

You might know him best from the Spielberg film “Catch Me If You Can”, but former fraudster Frank Abagnale has spent the last 30 years working with the FBI on improving security, and more recently this has included a big element of IT security.

There’s a good Q&A with him at ComputerWorld that’s worth reading, as he makes some interesting points about IT and financial security – not least that the internal threat to companies is more significant than external hackers.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Two good articles on security: user behaviour and balancing risk

Happy New Year! This seems a good opportunity to mention two good articles I read last year, but didn’t blog on at the time.

Firstly, Network World ran an article by Michael Osterman in June based on a survey of user behaviour. It’s short and to the point, but contains useful gems like the fact that 71% of users check work-related email from home on their own computer. Certainly confirms for me that we’re on the right lines to put our ILP protection on the email server, not on the desktop – if you’ve got server-based protection, you’re covered regardless of which PC is used.

Then this article in APC magazine contains some interesting views from Microsoft on why the security threat is often “overblown”, and how you need to balance the cost of a security measure against the perceived risk and the cost of any security problems that may arise. It’s common sense really, but worth remembering, and I’d add the point that you need to think about how long a solution may take before it’s up and running effectively; sometimes the simple and fast solutions are the best.