Nominations open for Top 5 OPSEC Failures of 2013

Nominations open for Top 5 OPSEC Failures of 2013

Summary: This year, the general public discovered the meaning of OPSEC, from Snowden to Silk Road. But which OPSEC fail was the worst of the worst?

TOPICS: Security

The nominations are open: tell us who - or what - you think should be in the list for the Top 5 OPSEC Failures of 2013.

OPSEC propaganda poster

2013 was a banner year for operational security failures on a grand scale.

Edward Snowden. Adobe. Silk Road. The list goes on.

There is a lot to choose from, but some were really, really avoidable, and truly unbelievable.

It only seems fitting to call out the ones that really made us shake our heads in disbelief, and think, you've got to be kidding.

The Top 5 OPSEC Fails of 2013 will be published, with details, on December 23, 2013 here on ZDNet's Zero Day.

Nominate the company or blunder that deserves to be on the list via the ZDNet contact form below or in the comments for this article.


what is OPSEC


Screencap from The Global Intelligence Files, via @thegrugq's Twitter stream. Image of American propaganda poster via Wikicommons.

Topic: Security

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  • should be interesting...

    top 5 list is ok, but why not compile a bigger list? maybe 20,30... would be worth saving.
    • If the list is more than 5,

      then the format would have to be changed to the slideshow...hehe! Just joking! Happy Thanksgiving!
    • A bigger list would be fun...

      I agree, a bigger list would be worth saving as well as learning from. I've been thinking about this year-end list for a few months and finally decided to do five because - as wizard57m-cnet wisely jokes - I worry that my editors will decide it should be split into a gallery/slideshow or multiple pages, and I don't want to hassle readers to click a bunch of pages.

      If the nominations are strong (and fun) I might *need* to make a longer list.
  • I've got two, actually, three, nominations

    A breathtaking targeted attack and a vacuum cleaner:

    1. Bit9 - The application whitelisting vendor was nailed, allowing the miscreants to nail select Bit9 customers (that have yet to be identified).

    2. Google and Yahoo! - For having their unencrypted data slurped by a certain 3-letter U.S. gov't organization. Didn't matter much that Chrome OS is based on hardened GNU/Linux Gentoo ...
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • I nominate the NSA.

    I nominate the NSA - for forgetting that OPSEC is about securing our freedoms - not just about securing our borders.

    "They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, "Reply to the Governor (11 Nov. 1755)"

    "Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates." -- Benjamin Franklin, "On Freedom of Speech and the Press", Pennsylvania Gazette, 17 November 1737
    • Did the U.S. government forget or did U.S. citizens forget?

      Perhaps it's time for people to pay more attention to whom they elect to public office as well as corporate contributions made to candidates running for public office. Not to mention that a large portion of the 'press' (think "popular examination into the action of the magistrates") is controlled by large corporations; thus, the term 'corporate media'.

      I believe it's U.S. citizens that have forgotten.
      Rabid Howler Monkey