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The Value of Information Debated!

By Dan Hadaway | Saturday, February 7, 2015 - Leave a Comment

One takeaway of the Anthem Breach . . .


But not the main takeaway!
Another one of those Dan’s New Leaf Posts, meant to inspire thought about IT Governance . . . .


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I’m writing a different article about the main takeaway of the Anthem Breach (that what caused it was a false sense of security.)

But I am intrigued about a debate arising because of a claim by one of the “New Information Security Experts” (see trend #5 of my article, M-7 2015.)  But what makes the chatter of the talking heads even more fun, and enheartening, is watching them debate the value of information.

We got to see one of the experts, Katherine Keefe, global focus group leader for breach response services at Beazley, which underwrites cyberliability policies, claim that “The value to a criminal of having a full set of medical information on a person can go for $40 to $50 on the street. By contrast, a credit card number is often worth $4 or $5.”

Now I’m not going to argue what the current value of a medical file is, and I’m sure Ms. Keefe did not mean to simplify it that much.  And it is MUCH easier to contain the impact of a compromised authentication device than an entire identity.  But I’m loving that the conversation is taking place, and that the talking heads are figuring this out!

I’m sure Katherine has a basis for her claim, but identity information is a commodity and its price is situational.  (Hillary Clinton’s medical file is worth more than $50, and if a bad guy found Bill Gates’ credit card, he’d probably use it and not sell it for $5.  We’ve also seen complete sets of financial information go for $90 each.  And who knows, maybe thanks to Anthem and others the value of pii as a commodity is depressed, due to an unexpected over abundance of supply!)

What I like about the current chatter is that part of the silly sucking sound we’re hearing . . . . the noise made when thousands of executives pull their heads out of the sand simultaneously (yes, I’m using alliteration here!) . . . . is the sound of these same executives realizing that information TRULY DOES HAVE VALUE.  And we can see the talking heads realizing that there is such a thing as Personally Identifiable Information, and that people can use very small bits of information to do rather large things.

And that . . . . to me . . . . is what the beginning of the end sounds like!

In other words, we are going to see a Consolidation of Quality in the next ten years, because IT Governance has finally taken a seat next to Customer Service and maybe even Accounting in the halls of the Popular Business Processes.  Yes, customer service is important.  But so is the value of information.


Original article by Dan Hadaway CRISC CISA CISM. Founder and Managing Partner, infotex

“Dan’s New Leaf” is a “fun blog to inspire thought in the area of IT Governance.”

 


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