Preventing your own 'WikiLeaks' data leakage!

Preventing your own 'WikiLeaks' data leakage!

Summary: Whether you support of condone WikiLeaks and its publication of the leaked cables grabbed from the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) system, it's clear from the emails that I've been receiving that the incident has sparked concern amongst people who fear that data could be easily liberated from their business.

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Whether you support of condone WikiLeaks and its publication of the leaked cables grabbed from the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) system, it's clear from the emails that I've been receiving that the incident has sparked concern amongst people who fear that data could be easily liberated from their business.

So can anything be done to prevent data leaks? Of course there can, but it'll cost you!

A modern PC is a mass of potential security holes that data can seep through. The PC in front of me right now has multiple USB and FireWire ports (some located conveniently on the front for easy access), it has media card slots (also on the front, all the better for someone to steal my data with), a fast CD/DVD/Blu-ray writer, it has network ports, a WiFi adaptor, and even Bluetooth. Oh, and it has a connection to the internet ...

Note: Media card slots are a real problem given that you can take a 64GB microSD card and conceal it inside a hollowed-out coin that's hard to distinguish from a regular coin. A lot of data can leak out of that little slot!

There's no way to plug all those potential leak, right? Wrong!

Software does exist that allows you (your admins, your organization, scale it up as you wish) to have control over these various leakage routes, and to prevent certain kinds of data from being "leaked' through various routes. An examples of such software (an example that I am familiar with) is Sophos Endpoint Security and Data Protection.

How does this tools help? Well, Sophos Endpoint Security and Data Protection offers a whole raft of features to allow an organization to lock down potential leakage routes:

  • Detects and blocks unauthorized use of removable storage devices, optical media drives and wireless networking protocols (WiFi, Bluetooth and Infrared).
  • Allows administrators to set a block or allow policy for different groups of computers.
  • Data Loss Prevention deployment complete with scanning uniquely built into the endpoint agent to monitor the transfer of sensitive data.
  • Reports instantly on device activity in the management console
  • Simplifies administration with a single console for anti-virus, firewall, application control, device control and network access control.
  • Data encryption for fixed and removable drives.

I will warn you that this kind of security doesn't come cheap (ten seat license for a year comes in at around $700), but when your data is important to your company, of leakage of that data can cause damage or embarrassment, you'll agree that this is a small price to pay.

Topics: Networking, Data Centers, Mobility, Security, Wi-Fi

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7 comments
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  • RE: Preventing your own 'WikiLeaks' data leakage!

    Miriam-Webster definition of condone: to regard or treat (something bad or blameworthy) as acceptable, forgivable, or harmless

    I think you meant to say "support or condemn"
    aep528
  • RE: Preventing your own 'WikiLeaks' data leakage!

    Have you ever tried Sopho's DLP technologies? It's really immature and not very granular at all. You get what you pay for. *Gasp* I would take McAfee over Sopho's for DLP */gasp* Symantec's Vontu acquisition has an even more solid product, but very complex and requires services for deployment.
    But at the very basic level, many endpoint security products offer at the very minimum device control. Some better than others. The best full featured one I've deployed to date has been Symantec EndPoint Protection, though it lacks 64bit device control support.
    unredeemed
    • RE: Preventing your own 'WikiLeaks' data leakage!

      We use Sophos DLP at our place and it does what we want it do - basically search for chunks of PII and document markers in files copied onto USB drives and web uploads. the DLP is there ready to use on all computers running AV. Anyway what I really like about Sophos is their app control.
      Bob Roberts
  • RE: Preventing your own 'WikiLeaks' data leakage!

    Kind of like a leaky faucet, yeah.
    james347
  • Doesn't stop the determined

    And does anyone expect that someone with proper skills and tools and physical access to the machine can't defeat products like Sophos? They provide nominal security against the masses of employees who generally aren't your potential problem in the first place. Sure they might stop the average secretary who thinks she can make a quick buck leaking some priviledged docs but it won't stop someone sufficiently intent on cracking in and copying out your most privates.
    archangel9999
  • RE: Preventing your own 'WikiLeaks' data leakage!

    You know I used to be a big fan of ZDNET, but have since removed all my e-mail subscriptions and am slowing starting to dislike you more and more. This Adrian editor's over doing it with whole wikileaks thing. I mean he's actually starting to make ZDNET look bad and loose some of their most loyal fans. Get over your gruge with wikileaks and find something worth writing about. What a real sad and career this editor must have. GET OVER IT MAN!
    BL8Z
  • RE: Preventing your own 'WikiLeaks' data leakage!

    An accurate Data Loss Prevention system with comprehensive channel coverage could have prevented these leaks. However, not all DLP solutions are alike. See "5 Essential Ingredients to a Data Loss Prevention System" http://www.gtbtechnologies.com/Downloads/5_essential_ingredients_gtb.pdf
    suedell