This Sunday an incident of the most common happened at the Lyon train station in Paris: a thief disappeared an USB stick from a car. Nothing special here, this kind of things happen everyday!
What makes this incident so special is the info stored on the memory stick. The owner of the key is an entrepreneur involved in an installation of fiber optic at some important buildings in Paris. His USB stick contained the highly confidential plans of the Elysée palace, the Internal Affairs Ministry and the Paris Police. The worst is that the stick was not encrypted, so the thief has full access to all the documents!
The questions we need to ask now is: did the thief know beforehand what type of info was on the stick or did he steal that precise stick just by accident?
A security breach exposing the data of over 1,200 patients has recently been disclosed by the University of Miami. The Miller School of Medicine patient data was stolen back in November 2011, together with a flash drive, when someone broke into a pathologist’s car and took the briefcase where the portable device was stored.
The flash drive contained details such as age, sex, diagnosis and treatment information for patients treated from 2005 to 2011, the University of Miami disclosed in a press release. No financial information or Social Security numbers had been stored on the drive, according to the same press release. Read more
The Kansas Department on Aging has recently reported a hardware theft that caused a data breach affecting about 7,000 of its customers. A laptop, a flash drive and paper files were stolen out of an employee’s vehicle, putting thousands of senior customers at risk.
The stolen files contained personal and protected health information belonging mainly to customers located in Sedgwick, Harvey, and Butler counties. The theft was immediately reported to the Wichita Police Department. The Kansas Department on Aging says it is cooperating with the police, but the stolen hardware has not yet been recovered. Read more
The Ramnit worm, first discovered a year and a half ago, a malware that used to target online banking and FTP credentials, makes victims among UK and French Facebook users.
A new version of the worm managed to steal more than 45000 Facebook usernames and passwords and tried to attack the e-mail accounts and virtual private networks of affected persons. The worm has sent malicious links to victims’ friends, links that downloaded malware to the person’s computer, which helped spread the worm even faster.
It seems like the attackers are adapting to market tendencies, targeting social networks rather than traditional communication means (such as email).
For more details, you can read the techweekeurope.co.uk report.
A whole lot was written on loss/theft of hardware (laptops, USB sticks, external hard drives, etc.) and we had thought that organizations would learn their lesson and encrypt sensitive data on such supports. Apparently, things aren’t quite like that and two recent incidents come to prove it.
A resident student at Vancouver Coastal Health lost a laptop and a USB stick (there is a high probability that the hardware was stolen) at the Toronto Airport. The information stored on the drives was password protected but it wasn’t encrypted.
A Vancouver Coastal Health official calls the incident ‘unfortunate’ and says that ‘This is the way physicians and other health care workers need to do their job. They need to use these devices.’ He admits that many professionals use laptops and that the agency has some issues handling mobile technologies.
Another mishap took place in the United Kingdom and the theft of a laptop that stored personal information of 100 young people who participated in inclusion programs. This laptop was in the house of a contractor of the Newcastle Youth Offending Team organization. The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) has established a fine for this organization for not encrypting the data. According to Sally-Anne Poole ‘Encryption is a basic procedure and an inexpensive way to ensure that information is kept secure.’ She underlines the fact that organizations working with contractors must make sure that the latter ones align to their security policies.
Let’s hope that at least legal constraints will force private data handlers to implement solutions and politics to maintain their data safe and secure.
While data breaches are as common as any other daily occurrence in the business and individual worlds, the large security incidents don’t happen as often, especially if you think that one of the breaches in the top ten all time largest data exposures dates back to 1984. 2011 is not yet over and it already is the poster child of this top we all want to see unchanged.
2011 is the only year with three major data loss incidents in the top ten: Sony Corporation with 77 million records exposed, SK Communications, Nate, Cyworld with 35 million and again Sony Corporation through their Sony Online Entertainment division with close to 25 million records exposed. Luckily for us, although it featured large incidents, 2011 did not create as many victims as 2009 with its two incidents, Heartland Payment Systems, Tower Federal Credit Union, Beverly National Bank which share the number one position in the infamous top with 130 million records exposed and RockYou Inc. with another 32 million. Read more
Endpoint security developer CoSoSys has released a new version of their data loss prevention, device control and endpoint security solution for Windows and Mac OS, Endpoint Protector. Offering enhanced protection, increased effectiveness and the fastest implementation time in its segment, the out-of-the-box Hardware and Virtual Appliance is now available for small, medium and large companies and organizations.
Coming with a long list of new features targeting better security, reliability, ease of use and better adapting to company structures and organization charts, Endpoint Protector 4 is designed to protect networks ranging from 20 computers (endpoints) to more than 5.000 endpoints.
Some of the top benefits of this latest Endpoint Protector solution are:
- Seamless integration in business processes
- Saving time and money when the solution is installed
- Increased security through enhanced protection
- Reducing allotted resources of the security staff
- Optimum security through enhanced stability
- Enhanced protection through complex, adaptable end efficient security
- Reliable security through enhanced monitoring and policy control
No one is safe from inside threats, not even state departments and ministry, as a very recent incident at Israel’s Ministry of Labor and Welfare. A contract worker has stolen personal information of over 9 million Israelis from the country’s Population Registry. The Jerusalem Post quoted by Dark Reading states that the perpetrator copied the ID numbers, full names, addresses, dates of birth, information on family connection as well as other details and used it to create a searchable database which was going to be sold to a private buyer.
As the contract worker lacked the tech skills needed to create the database, he shared the 9 million stolen records to another individual who did the actual design of the software program that exploited the existing database of Israeli citizens and called his creation “Agron 2006″. Read more
Health systems company Spectrum has been the victim of a data breach affecting confidential health information of some of their clients. The breach was the result of an electronic device theft, the perpetrators also taking a hard drive that included the medical details. According to Spectrum representatives, the stolen information was not encrypted, but it was double password protected.
The thieves took three electronic devices when breaking in the offices located at 484 Main St. in Worcester in late August, but only one was used to temporarily store personal and protected health information. Read more
The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development issued a warning for school districts across the state announcing that a computer hard drive containing information on 90,000 students was stolen from Juneau.The Juneau Police Department is currently investigating the theft.
“Alaska law requires government agencies that collect personal information to notify you if your information is lost or stolen,” Commissioner Mike Hanley wrote in a news release. “This theft has unfortunately resulted in the release of some of your personal information to an unauthorized third party.”
Personal information such as names, birth dates, id numbers and more could have been accessed with the help of the stolen equipment. Read more