The SIEM-ple way to spot a data breach as it’s happening

logLast July, the Office of Personnel Management announced it had discovered a huge data breach: The background check records of current, former, and prospective federal employees and contractors were stolen, including 21.5 million Social Security numbers. Like many security breaches, this one could have been averted with the right tools in place.

In its 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report, Verizon found that 84 percent of organizations that suffered a security breach the previous year had evidence of that breach in their logs. Every action your employees — or nefarious outsiders — take generates a kernel of information, which can become evidence of unusual behavior, or a trail of crumbs to follow after an attack to see how it was carried out.

But with so many logs and so much information to sift through, most organizations don’t tap the information these logs contain. Continue Reading…

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Tackling security vulnerabilities in health care

health care data securityNetwork security is critical for any organization, but in the health care space, with the personal and medical details of millions of individuals in the balance, the stakes are even higher. Out-of-date software, unimplemented patches, or even outdated passwords could be the vulnerability that exposes the sensitive information of an innocent and unsuspecting patient base. Two recent security breaches suffered by prominent U.S. health insurers highlight these vulnerabilities.

In February, Anthem Inc., the second-largest health insurer in the U.S, revealed that a previously-disclosed hacker attack compromised the health care records of as many as 80 million individuals. A few weeks later, Premera Blue Cross reported that the personal, bank, and health data of an estimated 11 million individuals was exposed when hackers penetrated its system in a similar assault.

These two high-profile security breaches have intensified the spotlight on data security, and raised several important questions for health care organizations (what HIPAA calls “connected entities”) and groups that provide supporting services to health care entities (called “business associates”). These groups should be asking the following questions: Continue Reading…

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