Quantifying the data theft problem is not easy to do, but the answer to the question ‘how much data actually gets stolen?’ is undoubtedly “more than we think”.

A.T. Smith, the assistant director of the United States Secret Service, estimates that in 2010, cyberthieves stole 867 terabytes of data from the United States, or nearly four times the amount of data that is held in the entire Library of Congress.

The US government is quick to point to China as the main culprit. According to Representative Mike Rogers, the chairman of the US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence “The biggest threat, when it comes to cyber-espionage today, is the sheer volume with which China seeks to steal our intellectual property.”

But how can it be that so much data is available for China or any other hostile country or individual to get their hand on? The answer is that it has become easier than ever to hack into networks where massive volumes of data are being stored.

A few years ago hacking was actually pretty difficult and firewalls provided a fairly good, if not totally secure, defence. The theft of trade secrets was in most cases the work of insiders such as disgruntled employees. But today, the demands of staff to have mobile access to network information has changed everything.

While the networks data servers and desktop PCs are still relatively safe behind traditional firewalls, mobile phones and laptops are not. It is far easier to steal secrets when targets carry access to them around on their mobile phones and other devices.

Half of all mobile phones used in the workplace are owned by individuals who bring them from home, rather than being owned by the organisation. Happy, ambitious, staff members hook their latest iphone or android up to our corporate networks and use them to email and text confidential information across the web, usually without any sort of security encryption.

For hostile hackers they simply need to get into the mobile device and from there onward the entire corporate network is open to them.

If you want to discuss how to secure your networks from the latest methods of covert surveillance, contact QCC today.