Data Breaches, Social Media, and Symantec

Last week I had an excellent opportunity to learn from Symantec’s Director of Product Marketing – David Dorosin – about both Targeted Attacks on Intellectual Property and how Symantec is providing new tools to help address the challenges of these attacks. This conversation was of special interest to me as it provided an opportunity for me to see how leading security vendors are beginning to address the data breach challenges associated with unconventional unstructured data emanating from social media.

Data Breach Challenges and Social Media

Last week I had an excellent opportunity to learn from Symantec’s Director of Product Marketing – David Dorosin – about both Targeted Attacks on Intellectual Property and how Symantec is providing new tools to help address the challenges of these attacks. This conversation was of special interest to me as it provided an opportunity for me to see how leading security vendors are beginning to address the data breach challenges associated with unconventional unstructured data emanating from social media.

As part of the discussion with Mr. Dorosin, he kindly shared the following information points – information points that may be useful as you consider data security.

Targeted Attacks on Intellectual Property

The anatomy of a breach typically follows a four step sequence:

• Incursion
• Discovery
• Capture
• Exfiltration

This four step sequence usually can be categorized into either mass attack or targeted attack approaches.

Mass Attack Characteristics

• Incursion – Generic social engineering By-chance infection.
• Discovery – Typically no discovery, assumes content is in a predefined and predictable location.
• Capture – Predefined specific data/data which matches a predefined pattern such as a credit card number.
• Exfiltration – Information sent to dump site often with little protection and dump site serves as long term storage.

Targeted Attack Characteristics

• Incursion – Handcrafted and personalized methods of delivery.
• Discovery – Examination of infected resource, monitoring of user to determine other accessible resources, and network enumeration.
• Capture – Manual analysis and inspection of the data.
• Exfiltration – Information sent directly back to attacker and not stored in known location for extended period.

To address the challenges associated with data breaches from targeted attacks, it seems reasonable for organizations to have a stepped approach that may include but not be limited to:

• The Development and Enforcement of IT Policies
• The Protection of Information
• The Management of Systems
• The Protection of the Infrastructure

In translating the elements of this stepped approach for addressing targeted attacks into practical offerings, Symantec is announcing today as series of security suites designed specifically to meet the challenges associated with data breaches. These offerings include:

• Control Compliance Suite 10.0 (The Development and Enforcement of IT Policies)
• Data Loss Prevention Suite 10.5 (The Protection of Information)
• IT Management Suite 7.0 (The Management of Systems)
• Symantec Protection Center and Symantec Protection Suite (The Protection of the Infrastructure)

Of special interest to individuals and organizations charged with data breaches associated with social media, the Data Loss Prevention Suite 10.5 provides some key capabilities worth considering. These capabilities include but are not limited to:

• Visibility and Control of Unstructured Data
• Protection for Social Media Sites (Examples: Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.)
• Protection for Private Clouds (Example: Citrix)

Specifics of this new Data Loss Prevention Suite offering can be seen in today’s press release (13.4.2010) from Symatec – the release is provided below for your use/consideration.

Symantec Helps Businesses Prevent Data Loss in Evolving IT Environments

Symantec Finds Social Media to be a Top Concerns of CIOs

LAS VEGAS – Symantec Vision 2010 – April 13, 2010 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced an updated version of Symantec Data Loss Prevention designed to help businesses prevent data leaks in their changing IT environments. Symantec Data Loss Prevention 10.5, the latest version of Symantec’s market leading data security suite, enables the use of social media while guarding against data loss, protects information in private clouds and helps organizations take ownership of unstructured data, such as documents, spreadsheets and email.

“Information is today’s most critical business asset and traditional boundaries for it no longer exist,” said Rich Dandliker, director of product management, Symantec. “Constantly evolving IT environments drive the need for new data protections. To protect information, Symantec must go where the data goes.”

Helping Businesses Go Social

Social media is being increasingly used in business for collaboration and communication. Yet in Symantec’s 2010 State of Enterprise Security study, Symantec learned that 84 percent of CIOs and CISOs considered social networking sites to be a serious threat to their security. To enable the use of social media while addressing this threat, Symantec Data Loss Prevention has enhanced compatibility with Web 2.0 sites – such as Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Meebo – to stop the flow of sensitive data. Symantec Data Loss Prevention also minimizes IT support costs by providing a more transparent Web experience for end-users that seamlessly prevents data exposure without confusing the user with broken links or error messages.

Secure Private Clouds

Companies are increasingly turning to private clouds to help them cut server and storage costs. However, security is a chief concern with clouds, even when they live inside the corporate firewall. For example, organizations need to prevent sensitive information from being inappropriately transferred to unmanaged laptops and desktops, which could happen with remote employees or outsourced employees who need access to confidential data. To combat this, Symantec added new endpoint event coverage for workstations running virtualized applications and desktops, including Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop.

Take Ownership of Unstructured Data

Businesses are also drowning in unstructured data – such as documents, spreadsheets, and emails – which continues to grow exponentially every year. The key challenge for organizations is determining what information is stored in unstructured files and who is responsible for the data. To help companies solve this mounting problem, Symantec recently introduced Symantec Data Insight that is now integrated into Symantec Data Loss Prevention. With Data Insight, organizations can discover where their most critical information lives, monitor its usage and protect it by automatically inferring data ownership to speed up the incident remediation and data clean-up process.

Expanded Interest in Data Loss Prevention

Interest in data loss prevention is high with 89 percent of organizations at least considering a DLP solution, according to Symantec’s 2010 State of Enterprise Security study. New buying centers are emerging in organizations that do not have complex data security requirements and are interested in preventing the loss of specific information, such as customer data, through common endpoint gaps, such as email, Web and USB. To support these new buyers, Symantec now offers Symantec Data Loss Prevention Standard Edition, which provides leading data loss prevention technology to protect against this specific type of endpoint data loss.


Symantec Data Loss Prevention 10.5, with new support for Windows 7 64-bit, Symantec Data Loss Prevention Data Insight, and Symantec Data Loss Prevention Standard Edition are now available.

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