There is an inescapable truth to the popular quote attributed to Willie Sutton ‐‐“I rob banks because that is where the money is” ‐‐ though there is no record that he really ever said it. As enterprises try to distill more utility out of the data and records they own, the urge toward centralization of their data into massive databanks becomes irresistible. They are ‐‐ in effect – creating a treasure‐trove of data in a single repository, a mother lode of data almost irresistible to hackers. While this concentration of data may offer improved utility, it also becomes a target for the thief to steal the treasure‐data. The commensurate physical security required when concentrating assets was understood when the U.S. built Fort Knox as a gold reserve. The similar implementation of computer security when concentrating data has not occurred. The records and information are concentrated, but the level of security has not been raised commensurately.
But wait, there’s more! Just as I say this, commercial enterprises are exploring “cloud computing” and treasury departments are outsourcing much more of their treasury management and payment processing functions. The concentration of treasure‐data is no longer just within a company but within entire industries. Not only does “cloud computing” create more points of access (read, vulnerability), these access points have various levels of security.
Crimes of the future will target the treasure‐data and the crimes will be larger than ever imagined. Albert Gonzales’ trifle with treasure‐data will be dwarfed just as Nick Leeson was dwarfed by the mega frauds that came only a decade after his conviction. Records are meant to be broken, and it’s getting harder to maintain a #1 position!
Here’s a real quote from Willie Sutton. When asked why he robbed banks with a Tommy Gun, he replied “You can’t rob a bank on charm and personality.”
My how the times have changed …