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Department Of Energy Confirms Data Breach
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User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2013 | 8:48:15 PM
re: Department Of Energy Confirms Data Breach
The Article states:
Interestingly, the DOE memo urged all employees "to help minimize impacts and reduce any potential risks" by encrypting all files and emails that contained PII, "including files stored on hard drives or on the shared network." That request suggests that the agency has yet to implement or mandate the use of full-disk encryption tools for all employees and contractors.

I disagree with the conclusion. Full-disk encryption protects the contents should someone steal the disk drive from the machine. It does not protect the contents of the filesystem if that computer is running and a adversary obtains network access. File encryption is different and would require entering a password to open the files.
User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2013 | 4:53:12 PM
re: Department Of Energy Confirms Data Breach
Any network can be the objective of successful attacks (DDoS or infiltration hacks) and government agencies would top the list. What makes the difference as the author states is how it is handled. In separate article on the same incident it was stated some 14 servers and a couple of dozen workstations were compromised. The only response of DoE in that article was a non chalant dismissal of it as only PII not classified information. That seems to be a lot of PII and personal information on government systems while sensitive information does not necessarily coincide with classified. I put it in the same category as the ATF CIO that has made a 2+ year focus on mobility devices (putting iPhones in the hands of agents) while they are still using microfiche for tracking weapons sales (like the Sandy Hook variety). My point is there may be more govt CIOs whose prioritization of needs may beg for re-evaluation than just DoE when fundamental services are sacrificed to cutting edge systems with limited ROI.
Andrew Hornback
Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/6/2013 | 4:38:58 AM
re: Department Of Energy Confirms Data Breach
"Why might attackers have targeted PII for agency employees and contractors?" Isn't the quite obvious answer here, given what the Department of Energy does, to sell that information on the black market? Not just for identity theft, that's somewhat low hanging fruit - but wouldn't this kind of information make it a lot easier for "unfriendly" forces to know who to target (and how to target them) in order to get information?

To think that someone would go to these lengths just to rip someone off and get a new flat screen TV is somewhat ludicrous, and akin to thinking that the world is a safe, sanitary place. I can think of any number of organizations that would be interested in "having a cup of coffee" with properly placed folks at the DoE.

Bottom line - DoE's CIO and/or CISO need to go and the organization needs to seriously re-evaluate how they handle information security.

How old is FIPS 140-2 again? Exactly.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor

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