Learning lessons from security leaks: HP Government Summit

Guest post by Rob Roy, Federal CTO, HP Enterprise Security Products

 

agreenberg_136.jpgAndy Greenberg, Forbes journalist and author ofThis Machine Kills Secrets” is presenting at the security track of the HP Government SummitTues. April 16 and Weds. April 17 in Washington D.C. Greenberg will discuss the underground world of hackers and cypherpunks. He will also touch on the impact of WikiLeaks and Anonymous as well as the motivations behind the latest insider threats.

 

I recently sat down with Greenberg and asked him a few questions about the future of data leaks:

 

Roy:  Based on your experience, how will insider leaks mature in the next three to five years? (For example: by target countries, industries, governments and what types of information are considered highly likely to be leaked?)

 

Greenberg:  To be perfectly honest, there's no telling what information is likely to leak and where. I do think the Obama administration's efforts to prosecute a record number of leakers under the Espionage Act has had a chilling effect on sources of leaks in the classified world, especially where national security might be considered an issue. So the private sector is a more likely area for future megaleaks—we saw one such gigantic leak come from the banking world in just the past week with the 2.5 million documents on off-shore financial accounts obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. That massive spill of secrets, much bigger in volume than WikiLeaks' Cablegate, points to the fact that this era of megaleaks is hardly over. The business world, where leaks aren't punishable with prison sentences, may be where much of the action takes place.

 

 

Roy:  Is there a moral line over which a leaker wouldn't cross? (For example:  leaking information that serves no valuable purpose other than to embarrass the information owner, or information that could lead to death?)

 

Greenberg:  Every leaker has his or her own motives. And of course there will be vindictive leaks aimed at embarrassment, just as there have been vindictive external breaches like the Anonymous attack on HBGary Federal and resulting "AnonLeaks" project that led to the resignation of the company's CEO. As for whether leakers are willing to risk lives, it seems clear that some are, of course. Bradley Manning, for all the good intentions he has expressed, handed WikiLeaks information that might have caused harm to State Department sources and other innocents, and left it to WikiLeaks to redact that information. (To be fair, however, there's no evidence anyone has been physically harmed as a result, and Manning himself has in many ways faced the harshest outcome of anyone.)

 

To hear the rest of Greenberg’s thoughts and insights, join us at the HP Government Summit.  The event is free for government attendees and includes two days of track sessions and keynote presentations. Greenberg will also be signing copies of his book after the networking session.  I look forward to seeing you there.

 

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