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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Well I think this is intersesting

I was at a presentation of new data management technologies. I'm not a database expert by any means but I know the principles of how traditional relational databases work.  You have tables with rows that contain information such as demographic info (name, ssn, dob, address, etc) and another that contains purchase history from some store(name, address, item, price, quantity, etc) they are linked together by some common element like name or ssn.   Those types of database can be locked so that only certain types of people could have access to a table or even to the row level.

The thing I find interesting (or maybe disturbing) is that certain agency who had a certain well know ndata breach used a technology that didn't fit into the traditional model.  They used a new technology that has lots of potential but just didn't have the same level of security built in. Which explains why a certain individual was able to steal a lot of embarrassing data.

I say on many of my phone calls "hello department of defense at Ft. Meade" which is what a certain agency used to be referred to before the government actually acknowledged its existence.  True story, back in the 80's, a work friend agreed to give me a perm (I know, I know). I asked where her husband worked and she gave the "DOD at ft. meade" answer. When I responded "How long has your husband worked at NSA", she gave me a horrified look.  I thought it was a joke because it was so known that is what you said if worked there as was "I work for the US. Government at Langley" if you worked for the CIA.

A side note - I threw Dan Brown's book "Digital Fortress" across the room because one of the main characters didn't know that the NSA existed at Ft. Meade in the 90's.  Well after the NSA got a well labelled exit of the BW parkway. That and there was apparently no way to shutdown any servers at NSA. 

I am going to be watching the browsing stats on this post with interest if only because I mention NSA.  BTW, I have no insider knowledge of anything that may have happened with the NSA data breach.  This was all info shared by the instructor of the presentation I attended so there is a FWIW aspect.
Updated: to add the word expert because of course I am not a database