July 20, 2015 by Joe Bellott Certified CISO (repost from LinkedIn.com)

On Monday June 20th, Ashley Madison announced that servers which housed the most highly sensitive personal data of users way compromised by an insider threat. Since Ashley Madison is a dating service for married individuals seeking cheating partners, this breach has catastrophic implications and the potential to cause some of the most heinous problems imaginable for married couples whose partners use the services.

Avid Life Media (ALM), owners of “Ashley Madison”, “Cougar Life” and “Established Men” have  37 million paying adulterer members who  probably  aren’t sleeping very well at night. ALM stated “it was able to secure their sites (after the members personal data was copied externally) and closed the unauthorized access points with the help of an unnamed top IT security team.”

Unfortunately these types of incident response otherwise known as (IR) investigations, don’t do any good in protecting the client’s once the data has already been copied, which isn’t very reassuring.

In ALM’s defense, it’s the standard legal operating procedure required once an organization has been breached and the Federal Authorities are notified. The most alarming fact is that ALM didn’t even know their systems were compromised until after they were notified by an external source. Even more surprising was the fact that the external source was the hackers who broke into their systems (via a ransom email).

ALM has claimed that they have made every attempts to remove “Personally Identifiable Information about users information which was published online; but lets face it, once the data is in a browser’s temp directory for every person who’s seen it, it’s never really gone.

The company admits to the clients’ data being compromised, which in turn will cause irreparable harm to itheir personal lives, careers and in some cases will completely undermine or destroy the faith, trust and sanctity of countless marriages.

Exactly how do you put a price tag on a marriages being ruined by a company allowing the clients real names, naked pictures, bank accounts, addresses, phone numbers, emails and private information “exposed” due to an insider who had access to the servers?

In the near future, security department’s will begin to indoctrinate insider threat solutions such as UTR’s as part of their routine cyber security defense systems. Mitigating the risks of catastrophic breaches such as what recently occurred at the OPM, ALM, Target, Home Depot and countless others.

In this writer’s opinion, the cost of such software like SecurNet5000 Intelligent Predictive Engine (IPE)™ is miniscule in comparison to the cost associated with loss of customer faith, stock losses, irreparable harm to people’s reputations, emotional distress and ruined relationships; not to mention the cost incurred through identity protection, notification and fraudulent claims caused by breaches of customer information.

AI solutions which give organizations the ability to “prevent, detect and remediate insider threats” before data can be remotely copied externally is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

TAKE AWAY’s: Nothing is 100% safe in the neverending and constantly changing world of (IoT). We can utilize the most technologically advanced tools at our disposal to protect our fingerprints, background information, addresses, financial info, emails or private information. But in the end the real answers lie in human patterned behaviours and anomalies. How do 37 Million records get copied to an external source without an anomaly being detected?

I can definitively state that “insider threats” appear to be a growing trend that needs to addressed sooner rather than later. I believe products such as UTR’s Intelligent Predictive Engine (IPE)™and other algorithmic human patterned based application can help assist in reducing the collateral damage caused by these types of security breaches, before 37 Million records can be copied. So why Ashley Madison wasn’t using these state of art solutions to protect such highly sensitive user data is a valid question.

Now for the good news:

Fortunately for the majority of us, cyber security exploits and hacks have no effect on the love and devotion we willingly give to each other in our monogamous relationships.

Joe Bellott,

Husband, Father, Son and Geek

EnCe, Certified Cyber Security Expert

InCyber Comments:

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