Sunday, December 13, 2015

Intercepting Terrorists, Hacking Donald Trump and Protecting Healthcare Data

  • Last week, FBI director James Comey (during Congressional testimony about the challenges of intercepting terrorist communications) said, “Post-Snowden, encryption [security technology] has gone from being something that was only available to sophisticated bad guys to becoming the default. It affects every criminal investigation we deal with.”
  • Note: during July 2015, Mike McConnell (former Director of the National Security Agency and Director of National Intelligence) said, “If law enforcement starts to change the way they think about this [encryption technology], I think there are many, many ways to carry out the mission [of law enforcement], given that you are faced with a situation where technology is not going to be reversed.”
  • Separately, on Wednesday activist group Anonymous (in an Internet video) said, “Donald Trump, it has come to our attention that you want to ban all Muslims to enter the United States. This policy is going to have a huge impact. This is what ISIS wants. The more Muslims feel upset, the more ISIS feels that they can recruit them. The more the United States appears to be targeting Muslims, not just radical Muslims, you can be sure that ISIS will be putting that on their social media campaign. Donald Trump, think twice before you speak anything.” On Friday, the Trump Towers website was knocked offline for about an hour. 
  • Finally, Lynne Dunbrack, research vice president for IDC's Health Insights said, “healthcare data is really valuable from a cyber-criminal standpoint. It could be 5, 10 or even 50 times more valuable than other forms of data" and estimated that 3% - 10% of U.S. healthcare expenditures each year results from fraudulent billing.
 
MY TAKE
  • Regarding terrorists and encryption – While law enforcement organizations are frustrated by encryption and policy makers want to restrict its use, adapting to the presence of this technology seems like the best approach.
  • Regarding Anonymous and Trump – Anonymous’ actions are a reminder of the vulnerabilities of the internet.
  • Regarding healthcare data – Reversing the data breach trend will require better 1) systems planning, 2) education of healthcare providers on the impact of data security issues and 3) data security solutions

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