Sunday, November 20, 2005

Your life secrets, left in a taxi

I didn't hear about this incident: Apparently last month, a USB "thumb drive" containing sensitive personal information of ONE HUNDRED TWENTY THOUSAND current and former patients of Wilcox Memorial Hospital in Hawai'i went missing. No word on where it went. (See: TheHawaiiChannel - KITV 4 News - Kauai Hospital Missing Drive With Patients' Social Security Numbers.)

Bob Sullivan, at MSNBC, uses it as an example of the latest challenges facing custodians of personal information: information is mobile and huge quantities of personal information can leave your control on thumb-drives, laptops, iPods, Blackberries and the like. See Your life secrets, left in a taxi - Security -

As I mentioned in a previous post about the Boeing missing laptop incident, the solution is to not let this information go on a walkabout. If you have an employee who needs access to sensitive data offsite, provide access using a secure VPN. And two-factor authentication. And a dumb terminal. That doesn't address all the data that goes on an unauthorized sojourn, but it does deal with those companies that let relatively unsecured data wander about in easily stolen devices.

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