November 21, 2008

Any data leak might be worth something

President-elect Barack Obama's cell phone records were accessed by cell phone company employees. According to the story the account was accessed where they are able to see what phone numbers were called and received and how long - no recording of conversations were done.

The good thing about this is that the telco is monitoring account access by internal employees. The article doesn't say anything about when the access occurred nor how quickly it was discovered but let's hope it was quick. They did say that the phone is no longer used which makes me wonder how quickly they did detect this unauthorized access.

The bad is why didn't the secret service lock this account down. I'm sure they have some arrangement they are able to make to put extra security measures in place for high ranking folks in the government such as President, VP, cabinet members, aids, etc. I would think that they do this now because otherwise we'd hear more stories about this.

The officials from the telco stress that there was no recording of conversations nor access to voice mail. Some folks might think 'no big deal' right? Well it might not be anything, just a curious employee, or it might be something. Being able to see who he called and received calls from, how long he spoke, and how often might give some insight into some of the policy initiatives or who he might tap for various positions in his administration. This data could also be used to determine his people network and ties.

What if this data lands in the hands of lobbyists? Or Republican strategists? How about foreign governments? Data that might otherwise seem useless might actually be worth something to an adversary trying to figure out how to defeat your defenses or how to steal your key employees or customers.

This data might be more valuable than one would think. Something to think about in your organization.

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