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Guard Data Against the Pirates of the Cyber Seas

by | Oct 31, 2023

Tales from the Cyber Crypt

While the days of swashbuckling pirates terrorizing the seven seas may be long gone, modern data pirates abound in the vast cyber seas. They set out to steal your company’s crown jewels – data. Today’s document management systems are filled with treasure ready for the taking, from personal data to credit cards and intellectual property worth billions. But beware, your motley crew can pose just as significant a risk as the pirates roaming the cyber seas.

Listen to this cautionary tale of modern data pirates this Halloween and heed our advice so loose data practices don’t sink your ship.

Data Pirates of the Cyber Seas

The Phisherman

Any modern pirate knows that privileged user credentials are a virtual treasure map. The Phisherman engineers his attacks to mimic a favorite online watering hole. Once your password is entered and your credentials are in his grasp, he can stealthily navigate the data rooms below deck until he unlocks the door to your organization’s data riches.

The Phisherman
Spyglass Willy

Spyglass Willy

Spyglass Willy is turning the lens on you for a rival crew. Unbeknownst to your IT crew, he has stolen thousands of files containing confidential and proprietary material, including manuals, schematics, photographs and diagrams relating to your ship’s groundbreaking weapons technology. He’s secretly sent them to your rivals to be replicated and used against you. In the 60 days it takes to detect the loss, he’s already jumped ship.

Negligent Nel

Nel is an accidental pirate of sorts. She inadvertently emailed ‘Mary Red’ a vendor, instead of Captain ‘Mary Read,’ an unencrypted file with your crew’s addresses and social security information. Her negligence has opened the company up to a host of privacy violations and fines, and now she’s worried she’ll be forced to walk the plank.

Negligent Nel
Disgruntled Diggs

Disgruntled Diggs

Diggs has been disgruntled with his current crew and share of the loot for a long time. He just accepted an offer with another ship that promises a bigger payout and a promotion to first mate. He’ll be abandoning ship in two weeks, but not until he swindles copies of his client contacts, product roadmaps, and anything else he can grab to help him and his new shipmates get ahead.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Data

Avast Ye! Don’t fall prey to these scallywags. Ensure your coffers remain full using these data security best practices.

1. Man the Crow’s Nest and Pull up the Plank

Inevitably, some crew members will move on. When an employee or contractor resigns, you must be prepared to act. Turn off access to data and systems as soon as they depart. Track their access to and movement of accessed information 30 days before resignation and 30 days after resignation.

2. Check Your Rigging Regularly

Insiders and admins often are overprivileged and have access above and beyond what their job entails. Limit access and viewing rights to only those assets required to perform their job. This will help prevent snooping, accidental sharing and other types of insider threats. It will also help limit the damage if the Phisherman and his gang steal an employee’s credentials and attempt to surf your internal systems for unlocked treasure.

3. Don’t Wait to be Boarded

Monitoring unusual activities and data movement – employees downloading or printing large amounts of documents, copying lots of files to laptops and removable media, and triggering SIEM alerts – are all good practices. They sound the alarm, but the data is long gone at that point. Once data leaves the safe harbor of your systems, it only takes seconds to copy it to cloud storage, a thumb drive or email it outside of the company, where it can be used for nefarious purposes.

Don’t despair; you can stop data loss and negligence by implementing solutions that proactively prevent the plundering of sensitive information by pirates and trusted crew members.

  • Prevent users from downloading sensitive files to their devices and removable media.
  • Block sensitive file access that appears suspicious or risky (e.g., in the middle of the night, from an unfamiliar port of call, etc.)
  • Stop users from sharing sensitive files with unauthorized recipients using file sharing apps and email.
  • Force read-only access to sensitive documents to halt users from saving, copying, downloading and printing them.
  • Embed user-based watermarks when users view or edit sensitive documents with the user’s name, email, time, and date the file, was accessed.
  • Hide files altogether from users who don’t have permission to access them – you can’t steal what you can’t see!
  • Encrypt sensitive data at rest and in motion.

archTIS Stops Data Plundering

archTIS information security solutions proactively protect against data loss, misuse, unauthorized access and simple human error using dynamic ABAC policies that evaluate user context and data sensitivity to determine access, usage and sharing rights.

Your data and competitive advantage don’t need to go the way of Davey Jones Locker, archTIS can help thwart the stealthiest data pirates — even those hiding amongst your crew.

Learn more about archTIS’ award-winning data-centric information security solutions:

  • Kojensi is an accredited platform for the secure access, sharing and collaboration of sensitive and classified information between defense and industry.
  • NC Protect enhances information protection of sensitive and classified content across Microsoft 365 Commercial, GCC and GCC High applications, NetApp ONTAP, Nutanix Files and Windows file shares.

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