The Gartner Symposium/ITExpo 2018 wrapped up last week. This year, there was more of the same and a few fresh perspectives. For one, Gartner identified “Digital Ethics and Privacy” as one of its Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019. According to the press release:
Gartner defines a strategic technology trend as one with substantial disruptive potential that is beginning to break out of an emerging state into broader impact and use, or which are rapidly growing trends with a high degree of volatility reaching tipping points over the next five years.
In describing the trend, Gartner wrote:
Digital ethics and privacy is a growing concern for individuals, organizations and governments. People are increasingly concerned about how their personal information is being used by organizations in both the public and private sector, and the backlash will only increase for organizations that are not proactively addressing these concerns.
David Cearly, VP and Gartner Fellow, said:
“Any discussion on privacy must be grounded in the broader topic of digital ethics and the trust of your customers, constituents and employees. While privacy and security are foundational components in building trust, trust is actually about more than just these components,” said Mr. Cearley. “Trust is the acceptance of the truth of a statement without evidence or investigation. Ultimately an organization’s position on privacy must be driven by its broader position on ethics and trust. Shifting from privacy to ethics moves the conversation beyond ‘are we compliant’ toward ‘are we doing the right thing.'”
This represents an important moment for privacy. Public and private sector markets along with the news media tend to gravitate around Gartner trends. The big question now: how will vendors, enterprises and government agencies adjust to an environment where privacy is becoming paramount? Dtex has heeded the call. You can read more about our advances in privacy at: Dtex Systems Patent Shows that Company is Only User Behavior Intelligence Provider Delivering Insider Threat Detection with Maximum Protection for Employee Privacy; and, Dtex Systems Delivers Scalable and Enhanced Insider Threat Detection with New Platform Capabilities and Innovations
Treasury Official Makes Costly Withdraw
The insider threat is pervasive in the federal sector. Since the Edward Snowden incident, the world has been witness to a long string of malicious insiders who misuse their access privileges to steal information. Last week, the DOJ reported that a senior advisor at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) was arrested for “unlawfully disclosing Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARs”) and conspiracy to do the same.”
According to the DOJ:
Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior-level FinCEN employee, allegedly betrayed her position of trust by repeatedly disclosing highly sensitive information contained in Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to an individual not authorized to receive them. SARs, which are filed confidentially by banks and other financial institutions to alert law enforcement to potentially illegal transactions, are not public documents, and it is an independent federal crime to disclose them outside of one’s official duties.
Beginning in approximately October 2017, and lasting until the present, EDWARDS unlawfully disclosed numerous SARs to a reporter (“Reporter-1”), the substance of which were published over the course of approximately 12 articles by a news organization for which Reporter-1 wrote (“News Organization-1”). The illegally disclosed SARs pertained to, among other things, Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, the Russian Embassy, Mariia Butina, and Prevezon Alexander. EDWARDS had access to each of the pertinent SARs and saved them — along with thousands of other files containing sensitive government information — to a flash drive provided to her by FinCEN. She transmitted the SARs to Reporter-1 by means that included taking photographs of them and texting the photographs to Reporter-1 over an encrypted application.
The means by which Edwards saved and transmitted the information are commonly used by malicious insiders, as is shown in the Dtex 2018 Insider Threat Intelligence Report. Interestingly enough, the methods Edwards used, as described by the DOJ, are not difficult to detect. Organizations using Dtex routinely receive alerts when users plug in and remove flash drives, move information on and off of them, and open applications that provide access to sensitive data.
For her actions, Edwards is facing a five-year prison term. That was one costly withdraw. For complete details read: Senior FinCen Employee Arrested And Charged With Unlawfully Disclosing SARs
Did a Dark Web Voter Records Peddler Use Insiders?
Last week, threat intelligence provider Anomali announced that a dark web investigation it led found as many as 35 million voter records for sale on a hacker forum. The findings received national attention, with viral news coverage.
Although the information may not have been obtained illegally or via a hack, the suspicion that the seller may be leveraging insiders to get at it was not lost on Dtex or the media. Two stories published last week pointed this out, with commentary from our CEO included. Read more at: Help-Net Security: 2018 US voter records offered for sale on hacking forum; and InfoSecurity Magazine: Millions of US Voter Records for Sale.
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