I am going to devote one post a week to responding to recent user comments. It is the least I can do for those of you who write thoughtful responses to my posts. nucrash writes:
Much can be done to improve web mail security, your point of improving knowledge mechanisms to a person's email will only work for those who have to dig for information on a person. Aren't a large portion of hacks started internally? What does that do when some one has all this information on you?
You are correct in your statement that high value attack targets, such as politicians and celebrities, face a different adversary than you and me. Because they are higher profile, it is easier to detect malfeasance directed against their online accounts. For example, sequential logins by the Governor could be examined to see if it was physically possible to travel from one location associated with an IP address to the other in the amount of time allotted.
Additionally, you are also correct in stating a large portion of attacks are perpetrated by insiders. That is why you use strict internal controls and checks of system administrators as well as security mechanisms targeted at external attacks. That does not mean you should stop defending against external attacks just because they are outnumbered by internal attacks.
If you are really interested in where and how data breaches are perpetrated, I suggest you check out the outstanding work presented in the 2008 Verizon Data Breach Report.