Brendon Lynch, Microsoft’s director of privacy strategy, delivered this bit of news you already knew at the Privacy and ID Theft Conference in Vancouver last week. He also made the dubious statement that businesses were protecting our personal information inside the office.
While he’s right about the first part—that laptops, PDAs and flash drives are responsible for most data losses—he was a little too optimistic about the second part.
In fact, if companies and public entities had better security policies, far less data would be walking out the door. Even within the office, there are often few restrictions on who is allowed access to sensitive information. And, without a strongly-worded and strictly-enforced policy demanding that data taken away on laptops, etc. must be password protected and encrypted, every lost or stolen laptop leaves more people at an elevated risk of becoming identity theft victims.
Bryant again resorted to common knowledge to fill his minutes at the podium with his remarks regarding hackers and how they’ve changed over the years.
He reminded us all that hackers were originally geeky guys with greasy hair who wanted to impress their equally geeky and greasy friends by gaining inside access. Now, he said, hackers are cogs within sophisticated organized crime syndicates.
What he failed to mention was the international flavor of those crime rings. Federal officials are still investigating the recent hackings of then-presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, presumably to gain insight into future foreign policy. The feds seem to think the attack originated in Russia or China.
Microsoft is working on a new system that replaces the username and password with “Information Cards” that wouldn’t contain any personal information, but would connect the user to service providers, banks, etc.
However, given all the other tired old news Bryant trotted out, it’s hard to get excited about what he called “game-changing strategies.”