OPM Breach Offers Tough Lessons For CIOs - InformationWeek

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Commentary
6/17/2015
11:06 AM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Commentary

OPM Breach Offers Tough Lessons For CIOs

While your enterprise may have a chief information security officer and a robust data governance department, CIOs and IT organizations are the ones on the front lines of protecting enterprise data. What lessons can we draw from the OPM breach?

(Image: tigerlily via Pixabay)

(Image: tigerlily via Pixabay)

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larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
6/24/2015 | 10:38:05 AM
Re: The hackers
Well, besides the obvious IP tracking used (and correlating it to other previous attacks) there seems to have been certain code fragments and techniques that were used before.

There may be other factors here nobody is talking about (NSA powning Chinese assets?) but considering boththe target and the techniques used, there is a decent chain to link this to nation-states.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
6/24/2015 | 10:24:18 AM
The hackers
While I find it unsurprising that China or Russia might hack for government intel, since I doubt the countries are confessing to such things, how do we know it's them? How reliable are the processes we use to determine who hacked us? I ask mainly because I had heard rumors the Sony and North Korea thing at one point looked like an inside job made to look like North Korea. One you're hacked, how much faith can you put in who you think did it?
Ulf Mattsson
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Ulf Mattsson,
User Rank: Strategist
6/18/2015 | 4:06:45 PM
Re: Commercial encryption products that existed in year 2000 could have prevented the breach
Thank you. Now I better understand why the data was not secured.

Publishing companies in US encrypted data on mainframe/cobol in 2005 to selectively prevent administrators and other users from reading sensitive data.

Ulf Mattsson, CTO Protegrity
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
6/18/2015 | 3:39:23 PM
Re: Commercial encryption products that existed in year 2000 could have prevented the breach
Well, the way I heard this one was that OPM was a COBOL shop using 20 year old programs. I cant recall any COBOL crypto libraries, although an OS wrapper may have been useful.

 

Remember, the is the US Government we are talking aobut. If there is no funding for a progaram, it doesnt happen. Congress has to tell these guys to implement.

And I dont think OPM even had a CIO untll 2013.
Ulf Mattsson
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Ulf Mattsson,
User Rank: Strategist
6/18/2015 | 2:46:39 PM
Commercial encryption products that existed in year 2000 could have prevented the breach
My understanding is that OPM is using commercial databases, including Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle. It is likely that commercial data security products could solve the security issues 8 years ago, when the OPM compliance issues surfaced.

As early as 2000 in US, leading beverage brands and a leading investment banks encrypted sensitive information to prevent unauthorized access by root, database administrators and other users, in commercial databases including Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and Oracle 8i.

It is likely that commercial encryption products that existed in year 2000 could have prevented or significantly limited this large data breach.

Ulf Mattsson, CTO Protegrity
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