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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Security is downstream from strategy

Following @carolecadwalla's latest revelations about the misuse of personal data involving Facebook, she gets a response from Alex Stamos, Facebook's Chief Security Officer.

So let's take a look at some of his hand-wringing Tweets.

I'm sure many security professionals would sympathize with this. Nobody listens to me. Strategy and innovation surge ahead, and security is always an afterthought.

According to his Linked-In entry, Stamos joined Facebook in June 2015. Before that he had been Chief Security Officer at Yahoo!, which suffered a major breach under his watch in late 2014, affecting over 500 million user accounts. So perhaps a mere 50 million Facebook users having their data used for nefarious purposes doesn't really count as much of a breach in his book.

In a series of tweets he later deleted, Stamos argued that the whole problem was caused by the use of an API that everyone should have known about, because it was well-documented. As if his job was only to control the undocumented stuff.
Or as Andrew Keane Woods glosses the matter, "Don’t worry everyone, Cambridge Analytica didn’t steal the data; we were giving it out". By Monday night, Stamos had resigned.

In one of her articles, Carole Cadwalladr quotes the Breitbart doctrine
"politics is downstream from culture, so to change politics you need to change culture"
And culture eats strategy. And security is downstream from everything else. So much then for "by design and by default".






Carole Cadwalladr ‘I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower (Observer, 18 Mar 2018) via @BiellaColeman

Carole Cadwalladr and Emma Graham-Harrison, How Cambridge Analytica turned Facebook ‘likes’ into a lucrative political tool (Guardian, 17 Mar 2018)

Jessica Elgot and Alex Hern, No 10 'very concerned' over Facebook data breach by Cambridge Analytica (Guardian, 19 Mar 2018)

Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus, The Data That Turned the World Upside Down (Motherboard, 28 Jan 2017) via @BiellaColeman

Justin Hendrix, Follow-Up Questions For Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Trump Campaign on Massive Breach (Just Security, 17 March 2018)

Casey Johnston, Cambridge Analytica's leak shouldn't surprise you, but it should scare you (The Outline, 19 March 2018)

Nicole Perlroth, Sheera Frenkel and Scott Shanemarch, Facebook Exit Hints at Dissent on Handling of Russian Trolls (New York Times, 19 March 2018)

Mattathias Schwartz, Facebook failed to protect 30 million users from having their data harvested by Trump campaign affiliate (The Intercept, 30 March 2017)

Andrew Keane Woods, The Cambridge Analytica-Facebook Debacle: A Legal Primer (Lawfare, 20 March 2018) via BoingBoing


Wikipedia: Yahoo data breaches

Related post: Making the World more Open and Connected (March 2018)


Updated 20 March 2018 with new developments and additional commentary

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