NASA’s Series of Data Breaches

This article takes a look at NASA data breaches since 2011, most of which have involved stolen laptops which contained sensitive or personally identifiable information (PII) that were not protected by encryption technology. The most recent data breach was announced on October 31, 2012, and resulted in agency-wide changes to the handling and protection of PII. NASA’s Chief Information Officer has since ordered that all agency laptops be encrypted by December 21, [...]

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Anonymity Tools

There are numerous technological tools and resources that can help individuals preserve their online privacy. Some tools ensure that email communications are confidential, some allow users to browse webpages securely and others still ensure that files are encrypted before they are transferred between two computers. This article will explore some tools that a user might rely on to protect their online [...]

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Cryptography

Cryptography refers to the science of rendering information unrecognizable and thus useless to those without proper authorization. This field includes mathematics, computer science and engineering. While cryptography was initially applied to protect message confidentiality, it has grown to include issues such as privacy concerns, data integrity, identity authentication, secure computing and more. This article introduces the field of cryptography, defines the basic concepts of encryption and decryption and discusses related concepts. It also explores current uses of cryptography in the information security [...]

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OMB Memorandum 07-16 Safeguarding Against and Responding to the Breach of Personally Identifiable Information

Executive Order 13402 commanded the creation of a Presidential Identity Theft Task Force to examine how the Federal Government could better respond to and protect against data breaches resulting in identity theft. Under Federal regulations, such as the Privacy Act of 1974 and the Federal Information Security Management Act, individuals are guaranteed the security of their data, making adequate protection of data a matter of [...]

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Common Risks Impeding the Adequate Protection of Government Information

In 2007, the Department of Homeland Security an Office of Management and Budget, along with the Presidential Identity Theft Task Force, investigated information privacy and security practices in the United States Government. They developed a report called the Common Risks Impeding the Adequate Protection of Government Information (pdf)which included a list of ten common mistakes made by U.S. departments and agencies and provided recommendations for new practices to be implement to eliminate and reduce security [...]

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