Monday, 13 July 2015

Security ramble

All the recent hacks where mass amounts of personal data has been exposed made me wonder, whether in time public perception of privacy and data security will change.
What I mean is people nowadays seem very much surprised and distressed whenever their data gets stolen, be it photos from iCloud, or SSN and address info from governmental databases, or PHIs from health and insurance providers. It's almost like your average Joe or Jane do not expect it to ever happen... but data gets stolen all the time. And I don't see any reason for these hacks to stop in the near future.

Wouldn't it be more reasonable to assume that every information storage system will be hacked, and any data will be stolen? This assumption will give you state of mind and tools to concentrate on active monitoring and mitigation plan, whereas nowadays it looks like people mostly concentrate on preventing the hack (some big hacks went unnoticed for many months!).

I would much prefer if people responsible for the systems where my personal data is stored:

  • Assumed they are gonna be hacked.
  • Made sure when it happens they will notice (automated smart monitoring systems).
  • Made sure it is complicated and/or expensive to use stolen data to harm me (block bank accounts, make it possible to cancel ID easily, make it hard to make sense of my PHI without some key that is also easy to cancel/revoke, make sure devices that can physically harm me have inbuilt protection against that physical harm - e.g. e.g. it shouldn't be possible to program heart pacifiers to murder its carrier).
  • Worked on making the attack expensive (we are gonna be hacked, but it will be annoying, frustrating and expensive process for a hacker) and long (store unrelated data in different disconnected places, so you have to do a separate hack for each of the pieces).
And I myself am assuming my data can be stolen at any point, so I am trying to behave with that assumption in mind:
  • There are no private emails or photos that, if made public, will harm me - I do not put stuff that can harm me in the internet. I don't say shitty things about people behind their backs. I do not lie. Not that I naturally feel the need to do all that stuff, but assuming you can get exposed at any moment does provide additional motivation to withhold from being a dick.
  • My money are stored in different places, and my cards are not connected to my savings.
  • My most important email account is behind a 2fa authentication, and it is connected to my phone, so if it is compromised, I will notice, and I can block it fast.
  • And last but not the least, I am mentally prepared it can all fail me. If that happens it will mess me up a bit and create some hassle to block/change/restore cards, accounts and IDs, but it will not be the end of the world.

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