A couple of factoids on data security to think about

Here’s factoid that most people, even many at the IT management level don’t realize:

A 128 GB Thumb drive which can be had for under $40.00 can store enough information to accomplish identity theft for the population of the entire world (7 billion people). 128 GB is approximately 137 billion bytes which is 19 bytes per person. Name and address data can normally be compressed by a factor of 3 and birth dates and social security numbers or other national identities only use 6 bytes in packed format. So, figuring about 40 bytes for name and address compressed to 13 bytes, the total amount compresses to 19 bytes per person.

Another factoid: It takes less than 90 seconds to download 10 million records containing a person’s name, address, spouse, birth date, and social security number. This is based on a cable modem connection of 50 Mb/S which equates to about 6 MB/s or 360 MB/minute. A person’s complete identity record normally is less than 50 bytes. The entire data set for 10 million people therefore is only about 500 MB (50 * 10,000,0000). That is in uncompressed format. With compression, it takes less than 30 seconds.

Unfortunately, my experience has been that the government and most companies are not making the effort of protecting data much of a priority. They throw money at it for sophisticated products that do not actually address the problem. They pay for expensive audits from companies that do not actually have the technical expertise to spot them.  The regulatory audits seldom find actual problems as they are focused on outdated security mechanisms that do not have applicability to the most common scenarios whereby data is taken from inside the network to the outside rather than somebody breaking through a firewall from the outside.

In some cases, the approaches taken actually make it easier to steal data. For example, data thieves love encryption, which only protects against actual physical data being stolen and does nothing to protect data once it arrives to the user decrypted.  Encryption allows thieves to encrypt the data they steal so that systems have no way of knowing what is leaving the network. Even worse the companies rarely even audit access to sensitive data and have no idea that there is a breach until all of the data is exposed. Many IT departments fail to implement simple controls for locking down files stored on the network, ensuring point-to-point security for service accounts, etc. We are not just talking about PII (Personally Identifiable Information) or Private Health Information (PHI) which is bad enough, but now large chunks of intellectual property (IP) are being stolen. The number of instances of data theft will only continue to multiply as organizations do not try to solve the root problems.

Our company is focused on data security from the inside-out. We will come onsite for a day for free and call out vulnerabilities. We can provide a rapid assessment over a couple of weeks that generates a score sheet which identifies the specific vulnerabilities and remedies. We have a complete tool set to automate identification and resolution of security issues at the database, applications, and file system levels where data theft originates. We are especially focused on healthcare with experience with HIPAA regulations. Most healthcare providers are not actually meeting HIPAA requirements. One of the requirements is that a record of access for all individuals who have looked at a person’s healthcare data can be produced upon demand. 

We are experts at analyzing for vulnerabilities at the database and file system level where data theft originates. By the time the data goes out the firewall, it is already encrypted and non-detectable by firewalls. The only way to stop data theft is to implement safeguards at the data and application level. This requires a unique combination of data security, database, and application development skills. We are experts at working with huge amounts of data – one of our products we developed for financial risk management has a database of over 3 billion records which supports near instantaneous queries of complex information requests.

I am one of less than 150 certified Microsoft SQL Server  masters in the world and one of less than probably 15 or 20 that also holds a top-tier ISC2 CISSP certification.  My recent PhD is in the area of automated learning whereby problems can be modeled, simulated, and used to learn heuristics for solving the problems. I have over 30 years of experience in application development. My experience includes 10 years working with classified system. My network of resources includes the top persons and companies in the world with expertise in machine learning related to data security as well as all aspects of data security including at the network level.

Do you want to do something proactive to stop data theft and have truly end-to-end security implemented to prevent inside-out theft or wait until after a breach occurs? Do you have a way to detect that a breach has even happened if the person uses trusted credentials to carry it out? Most data theft is carried out by an unauthorized person using authorized credentials and misusing them. Do your systems really detect this situation? This can only be done by implementing controls at the database and application levels. 

Contact us at sales@authintel.com if you really want to practice due diligence to prevent and stop data theft. Give us an opportunity to help you before it is too late. We host a large secure co-located environment that can provide a sandbox area where we can stage your entire IT structure as virtual machines.  Through the use of over 20 fusion-IO high speed SSD drives, we can provision virtual machines in seconds. We have an automated data obfuscation tool that includes verification that will allow you to create a realistic testing environment without risk of theft of meaningful data. Using our sandbox also helps evaluate your level of data preparedness and disaster recovery ability.

Why wait until after a breach is out to take action? Does your company really want the liability of not only having it’s data stolen, but also now meeting regulatory requirements such as those mandated by HIPAA.

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