Feeds

iPhones and social networking add to IT security headaches

A security admin's life is not a happy one

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

RSA Europe 2009 The flood of consumer devices such as iPhones into the enterprise and workers giving away snippets of potential sensitive information via social networking sites have emerged as new threats in the information security landscape.

During a roundtable at the RSA Conference Europe 2009, in London, Herbert Thompson, chief security strategist at People Security, explained how snippets of information that might by themselves appear unimportant can be put together like a jigsaw to reveal potentially sensitive information. For example, a series of new LinkedIn recommendations referring to senior staff at a single company could be a sign of an imminent merger.

Alternatively it could suggest that workers at an organisation of interest are searching for jobs. “The data seems harmless but when you correlate it across a group of people it can become interesting,” Thompson explained. The risk adds to the better understood problem of individuals giving away potentially sensitive personal information, such as a time when they are away on holiday, via social networking sites such as Twitter. Micro blogging also poses a means for organizations to leak potentially sensitive morsels of information.

For example, if someone with a sales job says that they are flying to Bentonville for work it’s a fair bet that they are traveling to the headquarters of Wall-Mart since there’s little else in the town.

Data loss prevention is touted as a means of guarding against the leak of confidential information but “it’s no use to apply DLP technology without first classifying data”, explained John Madelin, head of professional services at Verizon Business. Educating users about the potential pitfalls of social networking is the best way of tackling the problem, he added.

Mobile devices in the enterprise pose another challenge but adopting security policies to control how smartphones such as the iPhone are used by enterprise users is rarely successful. Newer mobile technology is more stylish and fashionable than anything a corporation might supply.

Furthermore, firms are under cost pressure to allow workers to bring in their own devices.

Information security staff face more traditional threats alongside the new risks in areas such as application security. Web applications, in particular, remain a frequent source of security problems because developers are pushed to implement new features but not encouraged to think about security in writing new apps. “Security runs counter to usability, Thompson explained. “There’s also a trade-off between performance and security,” he added. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.