The industry remains infantile in its approach to data security
By ara c. trembly
When I was a little boy, the possibility of monsters, bogeymen and trolls in one’s bedroom was, perhaps, slightly more real than it is today.
Maybe you can look back and recall your own experiences with the kid-eating monster in the closet, the sharp-fanged vampire at the window or Freddy Kruger waiting to pull you right out of bed and into his particularly bloody and disturbing version of hell.
In my childhood environment, however, there was one protection against such dangerous intruders that every kid knew would work–hiding under the covers. Yes, no matter how menacing the slavering jaws, fetid fangs or razor-tipped fingers of the adversary, they could not penetrate the barrier of my grandma’s quilt, my aunt’s porous afghan or someone’s ratty army blanket.
Of course, you couldn’t allow any space to remain between the blankets and the bed, lest one of the attackers should turn himself into a gas (eminently possible; just ask any kid under 10 years old) and infiltrate your fortress of cloth, but barring any unfortunate limbs remaining uncovered, you pretty much knew you were safe under there, even though you also knew on some level that your kid logic was as full of holes as that old army blanket.
Looking back over the technology news and events of 2005, I would have to say that many in our industry have adopted the hiding-under-the-covers strategy when it comes to information security, and the potential consequences are far more dangerous than the wrath of an army of imaginary monsters.
The battleground between the forces of legitimate business and the legions of criminal hackers and spyware purveyors who want to steal valuable information was a bloody one in 2005, and there were significant casualties on our side. ChoicePoint, for example, which provides risk management and fraud prevention information to the insurance industry, had its security breached not once, but twice in 2005. Since the company maintains databases of background information on just about everyone in the U.S., it’s safe to say this was a major setback.