How Data Retention Makes Us Less Secure
from the security-is-contextual dept
While most people, who are worried about this law, are reasonably concerned about how the government will spy on your data, an equally problematic issue is that this will make all of our data less secure. If you're wondering how merely retaining data can make it less secure, Sanchez explains how context matters in security, and if you increase the value of the payload, even without changing the absolute security, you've decreased actual security, by making yourself a bigger target:
If I started storing big piles of gold bullion and precious gems in my home, my previously highly secure apartment would suddenly become laughably insecure, without my changing my security measures at all. If a company significantly increases the amount of sensitive or valuable information stored in its systems — because, for example, a government mandate requires them to keep more extensive logs — then the returns to a single successful intrusion (as measured by the amount of data that can be exfiltrated before the breach is detected and sealed) increase as well. The costs of data retention need to be measured not just in terms of terabytes, or man hours spend reconfiguring routers. The cost of detecting and repelling a higher volume of more sophisticated attacks has to be counted as well.This is a point that I fear many involved in this debate are totally ignoring.
One very simple security measure a company can practice, then, is to simply avoid retaining enough data to attract the interest of the most skilled professionals (or, alternatively, those willing to hire out botnets to aid their attacks). Because the adequacy of a security system is always a function of the payoff of breach to the attacker, then, privacy is an important component of security, as well as a value worth respecting for its own sake.