Illumio Blog
March 12, 2015

Data Breaches: No Laughing Matter

Dana Torgersen,

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I read an interesting article this week from Sara Peters at Dark Reading on yet another potential data breach involving the use of Point-of-Sale (PoS) systems. Law enforcement officials actually contacted the PoS vendor and alerted them that some of their customers might be compromised in a credit card breach.

Data Breaches? Can't Stand Ya!

While these investigations continue, it will be interesting to find out if the root cause was due to a security flaw in the PoS devices, infrastructure, or misconfigurations somewhere. Clearly, the bad actors in this incident were hungry for credit card data and personal information.

Twenty Years Ago...

Reading Peters’s headline made me immediately recall a classic Seinfeld episode involving soup that aired on a Thursday night—almost 20 years ago! Not only am I startled to realize how much time has passed, but also how much comedy and technology have changed over the last two decades. Case in point: Another classic Seinfeld episode featuring the character George Costanza and his giant wallet exploding in the streets of New York City wouldn’t be nearly as funny if he were just using Apple Pay on an iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad today. (You can see George’s wallet in action here.)

ill_blog_hero_inline_tbt_soup_nazi

Information technology and the security landscape have also changed drastically since the great days of “Must See TV” during the 1990s. Back then, IT administrators simply had dedicated applications running on dedicated physical servers, and the entire IT team knew exactly what was happening in their data center, and who was permitted access. But today, IT departments face network attacks and data center breaches that can infiltrate servers, many of which are virtualized or being hosted by public cloud service providers. These compromised servers can then easily spread an attack laterally among other vulnerable systems.

Alas, there’s nothing funny about this new reality that enterprises face on a daily basis—regardless of whether they’re a retail chain concerned about their payment systems, or a bank or financial institution concerned with securing their applications that process the actual transactions. Often we hear about these breaches and scratch our heads as to why organizations are still using 1990’s security technologies to guard against these modern-day challenges. Fortunately, our crack team of engineers built a solution for securing any application running in any location to help stop the propagation of attacks or breaches—strategically enforcing policies at every server (physical or VM) in any computing environment.

Security technologies aside, another way you can support companies that face incidents like this one, is to continue frequenting their stores. Unlike in the Seinfeld episode, you can order soup any way you want. For now, simply bring in your thick wallet and pay…in cash.

Topics: Adaptive Security, Data Center Operations

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