Category Archives: Practices

Generally Accepted Practices

Job search websites of 16 states exposed SSNs

On March 12th, a breach of the Kansas Department of Commerce's "America's Job Link Alliance-TS" job search websites server was discovered.   Two days later, the sites were locked down but only after 563,568 residents had their info harvested along with 1,393,109 of Alabama, 896,380 of Arizona, and 807,450 of Illinois.  In total, 5.5 million SSNs had been leaked from Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Oklahoma, Vermont, Alabama, and Illinois.

Kansas has no official data breach notification laws and wound up paying SHI $235,000 for  incident response and $175,000 to Shook, Hardy, and Bacon lawyers for legal representation.  It has been reported that only 260,000 notification emails wee sent to victims because "they don't have the contact details for everyone affected."

IT Outsourcing causes classified data rift in Sweden

Sweden's  Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman and Sweden's Infrastructure Minister Anna Johansson have both resigned after a politically charged data security controversy at the Swedish Transport Agency.

Swedish driving license records and classified information such as data on military vehicles have potentially been exposed to Eastern European IT consultants under the employment of IBM Sweden.  Some of the Eastern European IT consultants were from Romania, Czech Republic, and Serbia.  

IBM Sweden was providing managed IT services as far back as 2015 when Sweden outsourced its transport agency IT operations.  This past January, the Swedish Transport Agency's director general Maria Agren was fired and fined by authorities for "mishandling of classified material."  The current director general of the Swedish Transport Agency Jonas Bjelfvenstam has said there are "no indications that data was disseminated improperly."  IBM has said that it takes "data privacy very seriously."

Leaders from Sweden's Center Party, Moderates, Christian Democrats and Liberals called for an emergency parliament session during Summer holidays and pushed for a motion of no-confidence against the center-left government leaders Infrastructure Minister Anna Johansson, Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist, and Interior Minister Anders Ygeman.  Peter Hultqvist has not resigned.

1k content moderator Facebook profiles exposed

Last year around November 2, 2016, a bug caused the activity log of Facebook (FB) groups to expose the profiles of its content moderators.   The bug involved the creation of this exposure whenever an administrator was removed for breaching the terms of service (TOS.)  Personal details of moderators who had censored accounts as early as August 2016 were then made viewable to the remaining FB group administrators.

Unfortunately, approximately 40 of those 1,000 content moderators worked in a counter-terrorism unit at Facebook's European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.  Within those 40, it was determined that at least six had their personal profiles viewed by potential terrorists from US State Department designated groups Hezbollah, ISIS, and the Kurdistan Workers Party.

The detection of the exposure was first suspected when moderators began receiving friend requests from known suspects of the terror organizations they were tasked with analyzing.  Some of the moderators are contractors who are only paid just $15 per hour for scouring often high-disturbing material written in other languages.  Facebook policies allow disturbing imagery with the caveat that it doesn't promote or celebrate terrorism.  

Over 2/3 of states in cyber commitment

A compact of commitment by 35 states and 3 American territories has been signed for a cyber security partnership.  The commitment by each governor is for each of their governments to partner with state universities in the development of cyber policy, incident response, and cyber workforce shortages.

The nature of the compact has been executed through more than 30 governors signing a dozen executive orders, 17 initiatives and 14 signed legislation bills.  One example is Virginia’s recently-approved recipients of the Commonwealth’s first Cybersecurity Public Service Scholarship established during the 2016 General Assembly Session which provides up to $20,000 in tuition assistance to full-time students pursuing cybersecurity degrees in return for one year of public service per scholarship.

WayCare Accident Prediction in Las Vegas

September 2017, the startup WayCare will begin a 6 month pilot of artificial intelligence (AI) in Las Vegas.  The AI will monitor traffic of I-15 and US 95 then predict congestion and possible traffic accidents.  The intent is to predict within 2 hours where first responders within a coalition of city, state, and county agencies should place their vehicles.  The hope is that by preparing resources ahead of time that they may be able to prevent accidents.

Some of the analytics may assess predictions based on the angle of the sun, debris on a lane, or perhaps even a dust cloud.  The WayCare project is estimated to cost tens of thousands of dollars.  The next cities which may potentially explore a pilot with WayCare are Ft Lauderdale and Tampa, Florida.