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Yet Another Reminder that Security Begins with You

Robert Regis Hyle | June 23, 2015

Baseball has a long history of chicanery, but nothing like the news from last week that the FBI is investigating the breach of the database of the Houston Astros baseball team, which may have been conducted by employees of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.

This is not stealing a pitcher’s signs. This is a criminal offense that could land some people in jail and result in heavy fines if investigators are able to determine how the stolen data was used.

The insurance industry knows all too well the challenges of protecting data and the costly effects that come from data breaches. But those attacks, while targeted, are random. Progressive is not looking to breach Geico’s data base.

U.S. businesses have a long history of corporate espionage, but such a sloppy attempt is more reminiscent of the Watergate burglary than a well-planned attack. Authorities were able to link the IP address of the attackers to a Florida home occupied by employees of the Cardinals during spring training.

The initial report, since denied by Jeff Luhnow, the general manager of the Astros, is that he used the same or similar passwords when he previously worked for the Cardinals. Luhnow is not a baseball lifer. He started out working in technology companies before his love of data analytics led him to baseball.

Luhnow says he knows the value of security all too well and would never be sloppy with his passwords. Still, the point hit home with many companies because, let’s face it, many of us are sloppy with our passwords.

Whether it was Luhnow’s own lack of diligence that allowed the Astros to be attacked is not the point. Security professionals for years have been telling us the biggest challenge in security comes from within a company’s own ranks.

It’s not as if we need any reminders—security breaches are coming at regular intervals—but it may be time for companies and employees to review their policies on password protection. There are enough hackers out there with the ability to break through our perimeter defenses. Let’s not leave the door unlocked for them.

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