The Francis Howell School District in Missouri is sending notice that a laptop computer was stolen. The theft could compromise around 1,700 employees who’ve worked for the district between 2005 and 2008. It looks like laptop encryption software like AlertBoot was not used to secure the contents. Instead, the laptop was guarded by password-protection, which provides very little security.
Glass – Not What I Would Call Security
The thief or thieves broke a window in order to steal the laptop. From the police description, it’s quite apparent that the laptop computer was sitting pretty close to the window itself. The thieves only had to reach through and take it.
I’m amazed at how often people do not consider windows as being a chink in the armor (and, no, that’s not a Microsoft-bashing reference). Take into consideration how many people assume their cars to be a secure environment. Or, how a room is considered secure if all entrances (windows, doors, vents, etc) are locked: people check to make sure everything is locked, turn off the lights, and assume everything is OK.
Which is weird because, the last time I checked, it was quite easy to break glass.
Of course, not all glass is equal: the Sears tower in Chicago, for example, now offers a new attraction called “The Ledge” at its Skydeck, a glass box that extends 4 feet from the actual building itself. That’s some mighty strong (thick) glass.
But, glass that thick and strong is not used for everyday purposes. Everyday glass is pretty fragile. If you don’t have encryption software protecting your data, you may want to reconsider what exactly is providing you with data security.
Full Disk Encryption – An Easy Way to Protect Data
Password-protection doesn’t provide security. It’s almost the digital equivalent of relying on glass windows for protection: it looks like it’s going to work, until someone just goes in there and breaks something.
A better way for the school district to protect their current and past employees would have been by using data breach prevention software like hard disk encryption.
Used for centuries (literally!) by the military the world over (even Julius Caesar used it), it’s about the only thing that can minimize the unintentional divulgence of information.
Related Articles and Sites: