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Does It Matter Whether WikiLeaks is an Active or Passive Publicizer of Other People’s Sensitive Information?

by John Pescatore  |  January 24, 2011  |  1 Comment

Network World reports that Tiversa has found sensitive data on peer to peer networks that later on shows up on WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks denies any active role, says all the data it publishes comes from “sources” who send the information to WikiLeaks.

This is mostly one of those “inside baseball” kinda things – to the enterprise whose data is exposed, the damage is done either way. However, the decision on how to fix the problem might be different depending on how WikiLeaks actually obtained the information:

  • A malicious or disgruntled insider provided the information to WikiLeaks
  • Corporate PCs were compromised with p2p clients (either by users installing music stealing apps or by a botnet compromise) causing random corporate data to show up on BitTorrent and the like.

A defense in depth strategy says fix both – budget realities may not support that. A realistic viewpoint says trying to limit what authorized users do invariably hits political obstacles, while protecting against malware attacks can lead to some near term successes.

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John Pescatore
VP Distinguished Analyst
11 years at Gartner
32 years IT industry

John Pescatore is a vice president and research fellow in Gartner Research. Mr. Pescatore has 32 years of experience in computer, network and information security. Prior to joining Gartner, Mr. Pescatore was senior consultant for Entrust Technologies and Trusted Information Systems… Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Does It Matter Whether WikiLeaks is an Active or Passive Publicizer of Other People’s Sensitive Information?


  1. tai game says:

    An enjoyable read– wasted resources on short-sighted pursuits of perfection– a lesson to apply in many contexts! After reading your post, and a chuckle over your description of a data science competition “forerunner of the modern cage match-scape in which teams of competitive modelers throw away hours of their lives like demented ultramarathoners,” I explored Kaggle’s site for the first time. I must admit, I do like the idea of crowdsourced solutions à la Kickstarter. One of Kaggle’s current competitions is to create an alogrithm for NOAA fisheries to identify endangered right whales in aerial photographs. And I understand some Kagglers earn a very decent wage from their prizewinnings…Value to be had in such competitions? Thanks for this post, Marty- you have a new blog follower in me!



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