SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Gary Arora, Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan

Blog Feed Post

HSBC Whistleblower: Thief or Hero? Debatable … Preventable Data Breach? Absolutely

Clandestine meetings with government officials. Aliases and disguises. Secret transmissions of encrypted files. Bouncing around Europe with authorities hot on the trail.

The latest Bond movie? Only sounds like it—but the story of HSBC whistleblower Herve Falciani has it all. If you’ve not heard the story, here’s the brief synopsis:

In 2008, Falciani, a systems specialist with HSBC Private Bank in Switzerland, is brought in for questioning by Swiss police. Once released, he promptly leaves the country. Soon thereafter, he begins downloading vast amounts of data that he’d stored on remote servers. He then starts sharing the data. This data breach has been wreaking havoc ever since for HSBC and its customers—and it’s been proving to be furnishing highly useful information for countries around the world who are looking to catch tax cheats. More revelations seem to keep coming, and it sounds like this story won’t be fading away any time soon. (Lots of articles are available if you want to learn more, but the ICIJ article in particular is worth a read.)

Where do insider threats come fromMuch discussion of this incident centers on whether Falciani is a common thief or idealistic hero, but I’ll stay away from that topic in this post. However, if you look at the story from the vantage of the CISO’s office, this is much more of a tired rerun than a thrilling action-adventure.

Why was the bank’s most valuable, highly confidential data, including information on its most famous (and infamous) customers, left unencrypted? Why wasn’t someone alerted when a system administrator began downloading massive amounts of this data, information that he should have never had access to in the first place?

I’ll grant you that some people within HSBC had a legitimate business need to have access to this banking data in the clear, but I seriously doubt Falciani was one of them. Here’s the common theme: Organizations that manage vast amounts of highly sensitive data spend a lot on security, but all too often they don’t institute any controls around privileged users. That’s why a systems specialist can copy massive amounts of data to external servers, without raising any flags.

The unfettered access of privileged users continues to be exploited. Whether it’s advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks that compromise the credentials of privileged users, the negligence of privileged users, or the willful acts of rogue privileged users, this continues to be the vulnerability that keeps getting exposed. This is the plot that’s revealed in the blockbuster stories of Sony, Snowden, and Falciani, and in the breaches that don’t ever make headlines—if they ever get detected at all.

Our recently released 2015 Vormetric Insider Threat Report shows that CISOs and other survey respondents know this story all too well:

  • 89% of respondents felt their organizations were more at risk from insider attacks.
  • 55% said privileged users were the internal groups that posed the biggest threats.
  • 93% are looking to increase or maintain IT security spending levels.

Top 4 2015 ITR for US

 

 

 

 

 

 

US Organizations Top 4 Results from the 2015 Vormetric Insider Threat Report

Will increased spending help stop the flow of breaches making news? Only if money is spent on the right tools. My advice? You don’t have to be a Swiss Bank to have sensitive data that needs to be secured. If you’re responsible for this type of data, it’s important to realize that there are controls you can implement that enable system specialists to do their administrative tasks—without enabling them to download massive amounts of data. To learn more, take a look at the Vormetric Data Security Platform, and see how it can help guard against the threats posed by privileged users.

The post HSBC Whistleblower: Thief or Hero? Debatable … Preventable Data Breach? Absolutely appeared first on Data Security Blog | Vormetric.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Vormetric Blog

Vormetric (@Vormetric) is the industry leader in data security solutions that span physical, big data and cloud environments. Data is the new currency and Vormetric helps over 1400 customers, including 17 of the Fortune 30 and many of the world’s most security conscious government organizations, to meet compliance requirements and protect what matters — their sensitive data — from both internal and external threats. The company’s scalable Vormetric Data Security Platform protects any file, any database and any application’s data —anywhere it resides — with a high performance, market-leading data security platform that incorporates application transparent encryption, privileged user access controls, automation and security intelligence.

Latest Stories
Every organization is facing their own Digital Transformation as they attempt to stay ahead of the competition, or worse, just keep up. Each new opportunity, whether embracing machine learning, IoT, or a cloud migration, seems to bring new development, deployment, and management models. The results are more diverse and federated computing models than any time in our history.
On-premise or off, you have powerful tools available to maximize the value of your infrastructure and you demand more visibility and operational control. Fortunately, data center management tools keep a vigil on memory contestation, power, thermal consumption, server health, and utilization, allowing better control no matter your cloud's shape. In this session, learn how Intel software tools enable real-time monitoring and precise management to lower operational costs and optimize infrastructure...
"Calligo is a cloud service provider with data privacy at the heart of what we do. We are a typical Infrastructure as a Service cloud provider but it's been designed around data privacy," explained Julian Box, CEO and co-founder of Calligo, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simplicity and reach of the open web. With staff in 10 timezones, Isomorphic provides a global network of services related to our technology, with offerings ranging from turnkey application development to SLA-backed enterprise support. Leadin...
While a hybrid cloud can ease that transition, designing and deploy that hybrid cloud still offers challenges for organizations concerned about lack of available cloud skillsets within their organization. Managed service providers offer a unique opportunity to fill those gaps and get organizations of all sizes on a hybrid cloud that meets their comfort level, while delivering enhanced benefits for cost, efficiency, agility, mobility, and elasticity.
DevOps has long focused on reinventing the SDLC (e.g. with CI/CD, ARA, pipeline automation etc.), while reinvention of IT Ops has lagged. However, new approaches like Site Reliability Engineering, Observability, Containerization, Operations Analytics, and ML/AI are driving a resurgence of IT Ops. In this session our expert panel will focus on how these new ideas are [putting the Ops back in DevOps orbringing modern IT Ops to DevOps].
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Enterprises are striving to become digital businesses for differentiated innovation and customer-centricity. Traditionally, they focused on digitizing processes and paper workflow. To be a disruptor and compete against new players, they need to gain insight into business data and innovate at scale. Cloud and cognitive technologies can help them leverage hidden data in SAP/ERP systems to fuel their businesses to accelerate digital transformation success.
Most organizations are awash today in data and IT systems, yet they're still struggling mightily to use these invaluable assets to meet the rising demand for new digital solutions and customer experiences that drive innovation and growth. What's lacking are potent and effective ways to rapidly combine together on-premises IT and the numerous commercial clouds that the average organization has in place today into effective new business solutions.
Concerns about security, downtime and latency, budgets, and general unfamiliarity with cloud technologies continue to create hesitation for many organizations that truly need to be developing a cloud strategy. Hybrid cloud solutions are helping to elevate those concerns by enabling the combination or orchestration of two or more platforms, including on-premise infrastructure, private clouds and/or third-party, public cloud services. This gives organizations more comfort to begin their digital tr...
Keeping an application running at scale can be a daunting task. When do you need to add more capacity? Larger databases? Additional servers? These questions get harder as the complexity of your application grows. Microservice based architectures and cloud-based dynamic infrastructures are technologies that help you keep your application running with high availability, even during times of extreme scaling. But real cloud success, at scale, requires much more than a basic lift-and-shift migrati...
David Friend is the co-founder and CEO of Wasabi, the hot cloud storage company that delivers fast, low-cost, and reliable cloud storage. Prior to Wasabi, David co-founded Carbonite, one of the world's leading cloud backup companies. A successful tech entrepreneur for more than 30 years, David got his start at ARP Instruments, a manufacturer of synthesizers for rock bands, where he worked with leading musicians of the day like Stevie Wonder, Pete Townsend of The Who, and Led Zeppelin. David has ...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Addteq is a leader in providing business solutions to Enterprise clients. Addteq has been in the business for more than 10 years. Through the use of DevOps automation, Addteq strives on creating innovative solutions to solve business processes. Clients depend on Addteq to modernize the software delivery process by providing Atlassian solutions, create custom add-ons, conduct training, offer hosting, perform DevOps services, and provide overall support services.