The Business-Technology Weave

Dec 10 2010   11:18AM GMT

Wikileaks, Data Breach, and Information Warfare

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


The Wikileaks mess remains front and center in the news and it only gets worse. 

In an earlier article I noted that, today, undesired outcomes have efficiencies – right along with efficient solutions.  Our desired objectives and outcomes are at risk.  For example, consider simple errors:  Once upon a time, if you made an error in configuration, or just set something that wasn’t optimal for business, it involved the setup and correction of a single computer.  Now, errors can be compounded and propagated exponentially by virtue of erroneous images when ghosting machines, for example.  One image can affect dozens, hundreds, thousands, of machines. 

In the case of Wikileaks, they can affect what millions of machines (and people) are doing.

As Wikileaks is showing us, it now turns out that data breaches are quite efficient too.  Perhaps we need a nice handle for a high-profile element of information warfare that comports with such things as web surfing, friending (social networking), databasing how about data breaching?

What did you do last night?

I was busy data breaching – copped a lot of interesting content.  Tonight I’ll be hacking bank accounts.

In matters of efficiency, consider that Wikileaks has quite an efficient “staff.”  Julian Assange’s London-based lawyer Mark Stephens says,

“He’s had more credit for the publication of these cables than perhaps is due to him and he’s also had more attention than is perhaps due to him as a consequence.  I think people will realize over the next few weeks, if Julian stays in custody, that actually he’s not essential to the functioning of this organization and it will continue.”

Jonathan Hunt, of Fox News, noted that the leaks from Wikileaks keep coming, and that Assange had said prior to being jailed that 100,000 people now have the ability to publish all of the documents if something should happen to him.  Wikileaks has been characterized as a well-oiled “leaking machine.”  

What does this mean?  Consider:  No one who isn’t supposed to know, knows the formula for Coca-Cola.  Or Pepsi… but the State Department can’t even cough up a flag when a Private First Class downloads over 250,000 classified documents.  You know, something like,

“We’re sorry.  In order to guard against data breaching, you are limited to access of 100,000 classified documents in a 24-hour period.  Please try again tomorrow.”

I’m being a little facetious – but this whole situation begs credulity.  What I would suggest for everyone here, including any readers from the State Department, is to:

1.     Review and update your data security and content management policies ASAP, and all associated security measures. 


2.     Schedule security refreshers for organization staff.  (Create the training if you don’t presently have it – and shame on you).



3.     Review your statuses and protections for all technical enablements; meet with vendors, VARS, solutions-partners, etc. – anyone and everyone. 


4.     Don’t forget to review physical security and associated measures such as access, locks, authorized personnel, and so forth.

NP:  Time Out, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, on original 1959 Columbia vinyl LP.

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