Preparing A Response Plan Will Help Mitigate Damage of a Data Breach

Americans are bombarded at home, school, and work about the importance of protecting against cyber threats. But being prepared to react to a cyber incursion is just as important, according to the FBI.

Whether a company or organization is vulnerable to a hacker accessing patient data from a hospital, credit card information from a utility department, or student records through a malicious email to a school district, the FBI says it is important to have a “breach response plan” in place in advance.

A breach response plan will allow for quick action toward mitigating the damage from the incursion, while ensuring the preservation of forensic evidence that can be used by investigators.

“Staying calm and relying on your response plan will make recovering from a data breach easier to get through,” says Tucson CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) Gabriel Reina. “It will also allow you to be prepared with a message to your clients or those impacted by the breach.”

It is will also reduce the stress for those dealing with the fallout, says Reina, especially if they understand they are not alone as victims of cybercrimes.

In fact, law enforcement agencies and their vendors have also fallen victim to hackers, explains Reina, whose company, Zinatt Technologies, provides its patented Quick Tracking Information System (Qtis) software to investigators, political campaigns, and law firms to assist with data tracking and secure file sharing.

In January, a police services provider in Utah experienced a critical data breach that cyber experts believe occurred as the result of an oversight in its authorization programming.

The company, ODIN Intelligence, saw countless files marked “confidential law enforcement only” copied through its SweepWizard software because there was no verification check that would have limited access to specific client’s data to only those with authorization to have such access.

According to WIRED magazine, one of its reporters contacted ODIN Intelligence twice in early January about being able to achieve unauthorized access to data via the SweepWizard app. The files included a large amount of personal information about individuals, “including the surveillance techniques that police use to identify or track them.”

Some of the accessed files involved convicted sex offenders, while other breached data involved tactical plans of upcoming raids related to active investigations.

News of ODIN’s problems with SweepWizard was made public just a few weeks after Krebs on Security reported a hacker was able to gain access in December to InfraGard, a program run by the FBI to build partnerships with the private sector to share information on cyber threats.

According to the report, the hacker assumed the identity of a financial industry executive to access the InfraGard database and obtain confidential information about 80,000 members. As Krebs on Security noted, the incursion happened despite the fact becoming an InfraGard member is supposed to involve vetting by the FBI itself.


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