The Gibbs Golden Turkey Awards nominations: Vote early, vote often!

This November marks the ninth year for which we will be announcing the Gibbs Golden Turkey Awards ...

To refresh your memories, these awards recognize those individuals, companies or entities that don't, won't or can't come to grips with reality, maturity, ethical behavior and/or social responsibility because of their blindness, self-imposed ignorance, thinly veiled political agenda, rapaciousness and greed, or their blatant desire to return us to the Dark Ages. Or all of those faults combined.

Thus, in preparation for this year's momentous event, I need your nominations. Who do you think needs to be given the Golden Bird this year? Don't delay, nominate today!

LEFTOVERS: The Eighth Annual Gibbs Golden Turkey Awards

In the meantime, before we give one or more worthies an award that they not only won't want but will also probably ignore, we have a moment in which to consider what should be done with companies that fail to do what they should do ...

By way of example, consider this mea culpa from Yahoo from July this year:

"At Yahoo! we take security very seriously and invest heavily in protective measures to ensure the security of our users and their data across all our products. We confirm that an older file from Yahoo! Contributor Network (previously Associated Content) containing approximately 400,000 Yahoo! and other company users names and passwords was stolen yesterday, July 11. Of these, less than 5% of the Yahoo! accounts had valid passwords. We are fixing the vulnerability that led to the disclosure of this data, changing the passwords of the affected Yahoo! users and notifying the companies whose users accounts may have been compromised. We apologize to affected users. We encourage users to change their passwords on a regular basis and also familiarize themselves with our online safety tips at"

MORE: Most memorable tech industry apologies of 2012

The sheer scale of this "oppps" is hard to wrap your head around given that it had really serious implications for the security of the affected users' not only on Yahoo but also for those users' accounts on other services such as Gmail and Hotmail.

Arguably the worst thing about the hack involved in the breach was, according to the perps (that's hip cop lingo for "perpetrators"), that it was achieved through a relatively simple SQL injection attack! Just imagine that! How unexpected! A database interfaced to the Internet without adequate input validation! When has that ever happened before?!

I asked my friend Stephen Cobb, the security evangelist for the security company ESET, where, on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is hardly worth considering and 10 is where someone senior should be fired or worse), he would place the breach and he declared he would put Yahoo's intransigence at a 9.

Stephen's comment about online systems being vulnerable to SQL injection attacks: "The thing that gets old timers like me is that checking your input data is the first order of business ... we've had 15 years of websites taking [user] input; we should be doing better!"

Indeed, we most definitely should, and as Stephen pointed out, once a breach happens there's another problem: There are at least 40 jurisdictions in the U.S. that determine how corporations have to act. And given that the Internet isn't bounded by state or even national borders, we need to at least get a national data breach handling standard in place as a matter of urgency.

Along with that should go serious, level 9 consequences for organizations that screw up as royally as Yahoo did.

And the worst thing about this whole mess is that Yahoo wasn't the only organization this year to mess up at a biblical level. There were scores of security breaches affecting dozens of companies over the last 12 months that exposed hundreds of millions of customer records but did enough (or any) heads roll? Nope.

I think it's obvious that Yahoo will be in the running for this year's Gibbs Golden Turkey Awards, as will many other organizations involved in major breaches and the U.S. government for not being serious enough about the problem as it affects consumers.

So, I'm sure you have your nominees for the GGTAs ... as they say in mainstream politics: Vote early and vote often! The Gibbs Golden Turkey Awards needs you!

Gibbs is rabble rousing in Ventura, Calif. Your nominations to and follow him on Twitter and (@quistuipater) and on Facebook (quistuipater).

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Configuration / maintenancesecuritydata breachGolden Turkey Awardshardware systemsData Centerawardssecurity breachYahoo breachYahoo

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Mark Gibbs

Latest Videos

  • 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

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts