in

This Blog

Syndication

Tags

News

AlertBoot offers a cloud-based data and mobile device security service for companies of any size who want a scalable and easy-to-deploy solution. Centrally managed through a web based console, AlertBoot offers mobile device management, mobile antivirus, remote wipe & lock, device auditing, USB drive and hard disk encryption managed services.

AlertBoot Endpoint Security

AlertBoot offers a cloud-based data and mobile device security service for companies of any size who want a scalable and easy-to-deploy solution. Centrally managed through a web based console, AlertBoot offers mobile device management, mobile antivirus, remote wipe & lock, device auditing, USB drive and hard disk encryption managed services.

Mobile Security: Canada Calgary Board Of Education Laptop Stolen From Car, Over 2,000 Students Affected

The Calgary Board Of Education in Canada announced that an employee had a laptop computer stolen from his parked vehicle.  The burglary led to a data breach that impacts over 2,000 students whose records were randomly selected to improve reports cards.  Based on the details of the story, it appears that the laptop was not protected with the likes of drive encryption software such as AlertBoot.

Calgary Board of Education Contacts Parents Two Weeks After Breach

According to various sources, the board has started to apologize to parents and has started contacting them individually for the lapse in students' data security.  The breach occurred two weeks ago, on October 5, when someone broke into a BOE employee's vehicle.

Notification was delayed by two weeks because the board "didn't know exactly what information was on the computer."  But, they do now.

The laptop contained information on more than 2,000 students, ranging from kindergarten through the twelfth grade, including names, CBE identity numbers, Alberta Education identity numbers, student photos, and teacher comments on report cards.  Students from 100 schools were affected.

Security?  What's That?

The laptop in question was "password-protected."  The term is interchangeably used by laypeople with "encryption" due to the fact that, on the face of it, they look the same.  It'd be like someone from the 1500s looking at a bicycle and a motorcycle and assuming they're both the same thing.

But, as modern homosapiens, we know very well that they're very different machines.  Likewise with encryption and password-protection: the latter is easy to crack, whereas the former requires an inordinate amount of resources to break into.  Why, you have entire government bodies dedicated to trying to crack encryption!  Bypassing password-protection?  Junior can do it for $5.

In light of the above explanation, one wonders why the board hadn't used encryption.  It's not as if they didn't know the power of encryption over password-protection: according to metronews.ca, Chief Superintendent Naomi Johnson said that "the CBE is still working on a $1-million initiative to encrypt all of the board’s digital data and that measure had not been taken on the stolen device."

I also found the following quote a bit irksome:

We regret that this happened. No one plans to have a laptop stolen. But we need to learn from this so we can help to ensure the data remains protected and confidential. (cbc.ca, my emphasis)

Really?  No one?  The only reason why encryption software is used to protect a laptop's data -- and one might argue the same for mobile device security software for smartphones and tablets -- lies in the fact that one's preparing for the possibility of a laptop being stolen.

No one plans for it?  With that kind of attitude, it's no wonder the board is stuck contacting 2,000 people about how sorry they are.


Related Articles and Sites:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2012/10/17/calgary-laptop-information-stolen-students.html
http://metronews.ca/news/calgary/406432/stolen-calgary-board-of-education-report-card-data-easy-to-access-experts/

 
<Previous Next>

Hong Kong Laptop Security: Immigration Department, Airport Division, Reports Theft Of Three Laptops

BYOD Trends: (Some) BlackBerry Owners Now Ashamed Of Using BB

Comments

No Comments

About sang_lee

Sang Lee is a Senior Account Manager and Security Analyst with AlertBoot, Inc., the leading provider of managed endpoint security services, based in Las Vegas, NV. Mr. Lee helps with the deployment and ongoing support of the AlertBoot disk encryption managed service. Prior to working at AlertBoot, Mr. Lee served in the South Korean Navy. He holds both a B.S. and an M.S. from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.A.