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Wikileaks: an insider perspective | Part 2

August 23, 2011

Wikileaks forced a fundamental rethink of information security systems, processes and technologies

Wikileaks provided a real challenge to traditional military tactics, much like those faced by our troops in the war against terror – there is no obvious focus for either offensive or defensive actions.

When the Wikileaks breach was first discovered fleets vendors and contractors hungrily descending on any executive location that would give them audience.  Each proclaiming that their technology was the miracle elixir for our cyber security breaches past, present and future. It’s nothing new – it’s easy to say you could have prevented something that has already happened… nobody can ever prove it one way or another.  I remember years ago, the Goodyear Tire Company touted the slogan “Goodyear Rubber could have prevented this accident.”  Cyber vendors assumed a similar position.

But Wikileaks was not an accident!  As we would later learn it was a failure in the process.

As the vendors converged on federal agencies the cry went up… ‘Shut all the doors!  Close all of the windows!  Monitor all phone calls!  Deny access to all wearing plaid shirts!  Full body search at every entry and egress point!’.  An effective strategy for dealing with the Vendor issue it was a knee-jerk reaction and failed to address the fundamental problem – the only defense against another Wikileaks attack was going to be a fundamental review of systems, processes and technologies.

Many asked why, given that Agencies had the latest incident and event management technologies, the breach had not, at least, been spotted sooner – even if they were unable to prevent it completely. What followed is a response unlike any I’ve seen to date in the commercial sector – but more of that in my third and final post.

Read Part 3 here

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