Prevent your data from becoming the next WikiLeaks headline

WikiLeaks demonstrates what happens when organizations don't have policies and tools in place to protect sensitive data.

WikiLeaks is making as many waves as it is headlines these days--challenging the balance between the right to free speech and the need to defend national security interests. In a recent Forbes interview Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, revealed that the site is expanding beyond government intelligence to begin unveiling corporate secrets as well.

While most computer and network security efforts are geared toward an "us vs. them" mentality of protecting data from outside attacks, the reality is that the threat from inside--from authorized employees--is actually much greater. Whether intentional or inadvertent, whether sabotage or honest mistake, the risk of leaked data is significant.

Solera Networks is well aware of the threat posed by WikiLeaks and the rise of information leaks in general. A survey by Solera Networks found that most organizations are not prepared to protect sensitive data. IT departments are not equipped to identify the source or scope of cyber attacks or information leaks.

A Solera Networks spokesperson elaborated via e-mail, "The survey found that 96 per cent of those surveyed recognize the importance of real-time situational awareness--yet only about 19 per cent say they have any capability to determine the extent of a breach or leak. In-depth interviews from the survey further indicate that only a fraction of the supposed prepared group can gather enough information from an attack to prevent it again in the future."

A McAfee blog post by John Dasher explains, "While technology can't put a genie back into a bottle, it can provide an organization the tools needed to deal with this type of problem going forward. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technology can block attempted USB thumb drive use, or send up alarm flares when an otherwise "normal," authorized user suddenly copies hundreds of MBs of sensitive information to their laptop in preparation for a hasty defection to a competitor or sharing with the likes of a WikiLeaks."

McAfee is certainly not the only game in town either. Trend Micro recently acquired Mobile Armor to extend its data protection capabilities, and smaller companies like Zecurion offer tools to help monitor and secure sensitive corporate data--as well as provide the forensic evidence to track when and where the data went.

Although there is increasing recognition of the insider threat, and a rise in the variety of tools available to guard against information leakage, there is no silver bullet. McAfee's Dasher clarifies, "While IT departments might well be able to protect regulated data that is clearly identifiable (e.g., credit card numbers, SSNs, and other PII), they are not typically in a position to identify the very information that makes the business competitive and insures its very survival--its intellectual property. No, protecting sensitive information is truly a business problem, rather than a straight technology problem."

Effective information protection requires a fair amount of upfront investment to classify data, identify what is sensitive or confidential or not, and create policies and rules to govern it. But, once that initial effort is completed, the reward is that sensitive information can be better monitored and protected--especially with the right tools in place--and you can make sure your company isn't the next WikiLeaks victim.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags network securityfirewallsapplicationssecuritysoftwaredata protection

More about DLPetworkFTCLPMcAfee AustraliaSolera NetworksTrend Micro Australia

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Tony Bradley

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place