THE MAGAZINE

New in Plaintext

By Peter Piazza

The numbers of persons and companies affected by the theft or loss of personal data is well into the millions. That makes understanding the roots of information theft a critical concern to security managers, and it highlights the importance of researching and implementing the various solutions, from new technologies to best practices.

Dan Sullivan, an author and security expert, has penned a comprehensive text that will help readers better understand how these losses occur and how to prevent them. The Definitive Guide to Information Theft Prevention is an eight-chapter e-book available for free (the e-book is sponsored by Permeo Technologies, a provider of secure remote-access solutions). A new chapter goes online every four to six weeks.

The book begins with an overview of information theft and describes the range of methods by which these losses occur. For example, corporate espionage techniques ranging from shoulder surfing to eavesdropping on instant messages sent across an unencrypted wireless network in a coffee shop allow attackers to aggregate enough confidential company information to cause great damage.

Other well-known risks come from hackers, who have a financial incentive to steal information (credit card numbers can be sold on the black market); but the author quotes figures showing that friends and family members were most likely to be the ones who had stolen personal information.

The book may yet live up to its name. Numerous charts and bullet points about previous incidents appear in the first chapter (the only one available for review at the time), but one problem is that it seems to be a rehash of surveys and magazine articles spiced with some interesting, if ancient, anecdotes (for example, the theft by Soviet agents of plans for the Concorde supersonic jet, which led to a jet that was so similar to the Concorde that it received the nickname “Concordski”).

Another potential problem is the possibility that technologies made by Permeo will get more emphasis than other solutions, or perhaps more emphasis than is warranted. That doesn’t seem to be the case, though, and the book, once completed, may well serve those who need a one-stop store of information theft statistics, stories, and solutions.

@ Read future chapters, which cover key technologies, risk analysis and incident response via SM Online.

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