Security "Bits"

Where's Your Data? Experiment

By Annie Wang | April 7, 2015 at 5:27 AM

Bitglass_Wheres_Your_Data_thumbnail783. That's the total number of reported breaches involving stolen data that occured in 2014 alone. 

When the story first broke about the Morgan Stanley breach, where an ex employee stole corporate data and pasted it on a file-sharing site called Pastebin, it got us thinking. We all hear about these massive breaches that take place, Target, Home Depot, Sony, Anthem, Premera, but what actually happens to the data after it is stolen? Where does it travel? How many people see it, and how much damage can it cause?

In an effort to find the answers to these questions we decided to launch the world's first data tracking experiment located in the Dark Web. So, what did we do? We created an excel spreadsheet of 1,568 fake employee credentials, then placed it on anonymous file sharing sites within the "Dark web," using a Tor browser as our entry point. We tracked the data as it travelled to various sinister locations around the world, and as it was shared amongst cyber-crime syndicates overseas. But how?

Bitglass' patent-pending data tracking technology works like this.

1. File travels through Bitglass proxy when downloaded from a cloud or on-premises application.

2. When this occurs, the document is automatically embedded with an invisible watermark

3. Every time the document is opened, a "ping" is sent to the Bitglass portal displaying: user name, file name, geographic location, IP address and device type.

4. Even if a watermarked document is copied & pasted elsewhere, or mutilated in some way, the watermarks still persist

What we found from this experiment will change the way that our industry views data security today, and shine a light on the need for greater visibility into where sensitive data travels. Especially after a breach.

Whose keeping tabs on your data?



See the results now


Chris Hines

Product Marketing Manager | Bitglass



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