08 June 2006

ID Theft: "Data Encryption Utilized on Premises"

Now that data theft has hit the US Military not just the veterans, agency CIO's and CSO's will be on the operational risk hot seat.

Personal information stolen from the home of a US government employee included data on 2.2 million military, officials said on Tuesday.

It was previously thought the data only related to some 26 million veterans.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) said as many as 1.1 million on active service, 430,000 National Guardsmen and 645,000 reservists may be affected.

The lawsuits have started and they are asking for $1,000 for each person affected. That's just the beginning. The Inspector General's and the Auditors will be ramping up this season to make sure nothing like this happens again. Unfortunately, it will. As information becomes the most valuable target for theft, the criminals will cease robbing banks and homes for cash and credit cards and just steal computers and hard disc storage. Recent news has shown that banks are being broken into and nothing but the computers are stolen. Home invasions of prominent business executives or government workers who may also have that valuable information on their laptop may soon be at greater risk.

What is the answer to try and deter this wave of crime? Deterrence for the information itself. While many have objected to the value of encryption or encrypting data because it's too expensive, hard to administer or slows down the process, now it may be a more relevant option. See PGP to learn more.

Mobile computers are quickly emerging as the industry standard for increasing user productivity and efficiency. The portable nature of these devices also increases the possibility of loss or theft. Operating system login authentication alone cannot protect sensitive data on disks. If a system is ever stolen or lost, an enterprise may be exposed to significant risk of financial loss, legal penalties, and brand damage.

PGP Whole Disk Encryption for Enterprises locks down the entire contents of a laptop, desktop, external drive, or USB flash drive, including boot sectors, system files, and swap files. Encryption runs as a background process that is transparent to the user, automatically protecting valuable data without requiring the user to take additional steps.

Sometime soon the warning signs on the front lawn or on the bank door will say:

"Data Encryption Utilized on Premises"

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