[Log In] []

Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Monday, January 30, 2023

Report: Unlocking the Value of Personal Data

Information Security, Privacy
Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, March 25, 2013
6:16 pm


An interesting new report came to my attention today, “ Unlocking the Value of Personal Datra: From Collection to Usage,” published by the  World Economic Forum, prepared in collaboration with  The Boston Consulting Group.

Some statements from the executive summary that I like include:

Our world is changing. It is complex, hyperconnected, and increasingly driven by insights derived from big data. And the rate of change shows no sign of slowing.

… the economic and social value of big data does not come just from its quantity. It also comes from its quality – the ways in which individual bits of data can be interconnected to reveal new insights with the potential to transform business and society.

… fully tapping that potential holds much promise, and much risk.

… It is up to the individuals and institutions of various societies to govern and decide how to unlock the value – both economic and social – and ensure suitable protections

The report is organized as follows

  • Chapter 1: The World Is Changing
  • Chapter 2: The Need for a New Approach
  • Chapter 3: Principles for the Trusted Flow of Personal Data
  • Chapter 4: Principles into Practice
  • Appendix – Relevant Use Cases

It is particularly interesting to me that although there are numerous examples about the potential benefits of big data, there are huge challenges, and no easy fixes.  But the report is well written and provocative.  Well worth the time to read.

Plus as an added bonus, the report has some great pictures and graphics – a treat seldom seen in a report like this.  Here is my favorite – it seems to capture the spirit of the crazy world of privacy and security we are in right now.



Comments Off on Report: Unlocking the Value of Personal Data . Permalink . Trackback URL

Privacy and Security by Design: A Convergence of Paradigms

Identity, Information Security, Privacy
Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, March 21, 2013
2:32 pm


In the Oracle Information InDepth newsletter I just received, a new white paper, “Privacy and Security by Design: A Convergence of Paradigms,” was announced. The paper is a collaboration of Ann Cavoukian, Ph.D., Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ontario, Canada, and Marc Chanliau, Director, Product Management, Oracle Corporation.

The forward by Ms. Cavoukian includes this statement:

My hope is that privacy and security – by design, will continue to evolve into an essential component of information technologies and operational practices of organizations, as well as becoming an integral part of entire systems of data governance and privacy protection.

The paper further explains the value of these converging topics:

This paper highlights the convergence of these two paradigms. In the first part, the concept of security by design as understood in the technical community is introduced. In the second, the concept of Privacy by Design (PbD) as understood in the privacy community is discussed. The third and final part explores how these two concepts share notable similarities and how they may complement and mutually reinforce each other.

The paper provides a good overview of Security by Design …

… we address three aspects of security by design: i) software security assurance (designing software systems that are secure from the ground up and minimizing the impact of system breach when a security vulnerability is discovered) ; ii) preserving privacy in the enterprise environment and; iii) ensuring identity across heterogeneous vendors.

… and Privacy by Design.

Privacy by Design … is aimed at preventing privacy violations from arising in the first place. PbD is based on seven (7) Foundational Principles. It emphasizes respect for user privacy and the need to embed privacy as a default condition. It also preserves a commitment to functionality in a doubly-enabling ‘win-win, ’ or positive-sum strategy. This approach transforms consumer privacy issues from a pure policy or compliance issue into a business imperative.

The paper concludes:

It is becoming widely recognized that privacy and security must both be embedded, by default, into the architecture, design and construction of information processes. This is a central motivation for PbD, which is aimed at reducing the risk of a privacy harm from arising in the first place. By taking a proactive approach, it is possible to demonstrate that it is indeed possible (and far more desirable) to have privacy and security! Why settle for one when you can have both?

I found the paper to be thoughtful and timely. By coincidence, this morning I committed to an event next week where I will meet Ms. Cavoukian. I look forward to it!


Of Piggy Banks and Mobility – Oracle White Paper

Identity, Information Security
Author: Mark Dixon
Saturday, March 16, 2013
6:58 am


Oracle recently released a white paper entitled, “Oracle Access Manager Mobile and Social, A Case Study – Piggy Bank.”  This white paper outlines the use of the Mobile and Social component of the Oracle Access Management platform.  Mobile and Social provides a simple means to integrate Mobile applications with the security capabilities provided by Oracle’s Identity and Access Management platform.

The white paper:

discusses the effort involved in executing a Proof of Concept with a major international bank. While the PoC exercise was real and the requirements described in this paper implemented, certain details have been changed to protect the identity of the bank and its security architecture and simplified for those new to OAM Mobile and Social.

The Proof of Concept detailed in this white paper involved three main tasks:

  1. creating a simple electronic banking application
  2. the REST/JSON services for the application
  3. securing the application and services with the Oracle IAM technology stack.

The “Piggy Bank” represents the bank for which the Proof of Concept was completed.  The basic PoC architecture is shown below:



The white paper does a good job of outlining just what is necessary to configure the components in this architecture.

The white paper concludes:

While the PiggyBank application is quite simple, it illustrates the power and capabilities of the Oracle Identity and Access Management platform including Oracle Access Manager, Oracle Adaptive Access Manager and some of the Mobile and Social Services. By using the OAM Mobile and Social SDK a fully functional mobile e-Banking application was created and secured in a very short time, without the need to install and configure any additional software and without the need to write complex code to secure the mobile App and its communication to the services it uses. 

A customer with an existing security infrastructure based on Oracle Access Manager and Adaptive Access Manager can easily deploy Oracle Mobile and Social to extend the same security capabilities to mobile applications. By using the Mobile and Social SDK customers can seamlessly integrate security into their native Apps on popular mobile platforms including iOS and Android.

The need for secure mobile access is already huge and growing rapidly.   The Oracle Mobile and Social product goes a long way towards meeting that demand.



Comments Off on Of Piggy Banks and Mobility – Oracle White Paper . Permalink . Trackback URL
WordPress Tags: , ,

New Word for Today: Idoneous

Humor, Information Security
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, February 1, 2013
5:52 pm

My Dad once told me, “If you keep your eyes and ears open, you’ll learn something new every day.”

Today, I stumbled across that new thing on Twitter.  Thank you @rmogull, for pointing out @451wendy‘s blog, “Idoneous Security.”

What a great word! It describes just how much security we need – the appropriate amount.  Not too much, not too little, just idoneous.

Plus, for good measure, Wendy’s blog post today was hilarious.

Comments Off on New Word for Today: Idoneous . Permalink . Trackback URL
WordPress Tags: ,

Cloud’s Biggest Risks?

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, July 20, 2012
9:14 am

The following excellent infographic produced by AMD Cloud Computing Research shows some interesting statistics about the adoption of cloud computing, based on AMD’s Global Cloud Computing Study.  I was interested to see that while 60% of respondents say they are currently using some form of cloud computing, 63% of respondents specified Security as the biggest risk.


Cloud Computing

Comments Off on Cloud’s Biggest Risks? . Permalink . Trackback URL
WordPress Tags: ,

The Business Justification for Data Security

Information Security
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
12:23 pm

Recently, Jack Crail and I gave a joint presentation at the SecurePhoenix event sponsored by (ICS)2, the folks who oversee the CISSP certification.


Our presentation was based on a whitepaper entitled “The Business Justification for Data Security,” published by Securosis, which outlined a five step process for evaluating data security investments, mapping the potential investment to business needs and building a business justification case.

More to come as I explore some of these topics …

Technorati Tags: ,

Comments Off on The Business Justification for Data Security . Permalink . Trackback URL

Oracle Security Online Forum

Identity, Information Security
Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, February 17, 2011
11:23 am

imagePlease join us for a set of informative discussions about Information Security in the Oracle Security Online Forum, sponsored by Oracle and Accenture, where leading industry executives and Oracle product experts will come together to discuss security trends, best practices, and proven solutions for your business.

The illustrious lineup includes:

  • Mary Ann Davidson, Oracle’s Chief Security Officer—on industry-leading standards, technologies, and practices that ensure that Oracle products—and your entire system—remain as secure as possible
  • Jeff Margolies, Partner, Accenture’s Security Practice—on key security trends and solutions to prepare for in 2011 and beyond
  • Tom Kyte, Senior Technical Architect and Oracle Database Guru—on how you can safeguard your enterprise application data with Oracle’s Database Security solutions
  • Vipin Samar, Vice President of Oracle Database Security Solutions—on new approaches to protecting data and database infrastructure against evolving threats
  • Nishant Kaushik, Oracle’s Chief Identity Strategist—on how organizations can use Oracle Identity Management solutions to reduce fraud and streamline compliance

Additionally, security solution experts will be on live chat throughout the event to answer your toughest questions.

You can register for the event here.

Hope to “see” you there.

Technorati Tags: ,,
Comments Off on Oracle Security Online Forum . Permalink . Trackback URL
WordPress Tags: , ,

Pass the Information, and Stand Back!

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, July 16, 2010
4:28 pm

image Father to young son, “If you eat any more ice cream, you are going to explode!”

Son to Father, “Pass the ice cream, and stand back!”

That is about what I feel like right now, although I am ingesting Information Security information rather than ice cream.  If I try to stuff one more arcane detail about encryption algorithms, security models  or communications protocols into my brain, I think it will explode.

So … pass the information and stand back!

Technorati Tags: ,,

Comments Off on Pass the Information, and Stand Back! . Permalink . Trackback URL
WordPress Tags: , ,

Encryption Games at the Cyber Command

Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, July 15, 2010
7:05 pm

It is was fitting today that as I studied the subject of encryption in preparation for my CISSP exam, I stumbled upon information about the newly-formed United States Cyber Command, a US armed forces sub-command subordinate to United States Strategic Command. The command was officially activated May 21, 2010 and is slated to reach fully operational readiness by October 2010.

The Cyber Command:

“ … plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes and conducts activities to direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries."

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, stated in the official June 23rd announcement:

“Cyberspace and its associated technologies offer unprecedented opportunities to the United States and are vital to our nation’s security and, by extension, to all aspects of military operations. Yet our increasing dependency on cyberspace, alongside a growing array of cyber threats and vulnerabilities, adds a new element of risk to our national security. To address this risk effectively and to secure freedom of action in cyberspace, the Department of Defense requires a command that possesses the required technical capability and remains focused on the integration of cyberspace operations.”

OK.  This sounds like a good thing to do.  But what was really intriguing and fitting for me today was to learn that the command’s handsome new emblem contains an encrypted message its inner gold ring: 9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a.


Can you figure out what it means?  The Wikipedia article for the command states:

“The text "9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a", which is located in the command’s emblem, is the MD5 hash of their mission statement.”

This is consistent with a statement from a command spokesman quoted in an article by John Cook of Yahoo! News.  However, something is not quite right.  John explained:

“We tried encrypting that entire statement using an MD5 hash generator, and we didn’t get a match to the logo code. So it looks like just a portion of the statement has been encoded.”

Wired Magazine has launched a contest to see who can crack to code.  Can you do it?  You can win a t-shirt from Wired or a ticket to the International Spy Museum.

Even better, rumor has it that the Cyber Command wants to hire 1,000 new cyber specialists over the next few years.  Maybe this game is part of the recruitment process.

Or … maybe this will remain another obscure mystery destined to someday being mentioned in a novel by Dan Brown.

Comments Off on Encryption Games at the Cyber Command . Permalink . Trackback URL

National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace

Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, July 15, 2010
8:52 am

imageOn June 25, 2010, the US Federal Government released a draft document entitled, “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.” This document proposes a strategy that:

… defines and promotes an Identity Ecosystem that supports trusted online environments.  The Identity Ecosystem is an online environment where individuals, organizations, services, and devices can trust each other because authoritative sources establish and authenticate their digital identities. 

The Identity Ecosystem enables: 

  1. Security, by making it more difficult for adversaries to compromise online transactions;   
  2. Efficiency based on convenience for individuals who may choose to manage fewer passwords or accounts than they do today, and for the private sector, which stands to benefit from a reduction in paper-based and account management processes; 
  3. Ease-of-use by automating identity solutions whenever possible and basing them on technology that is easy to operate with minimal training;
  4. Confidence that digital identities are adequately protected, thereby increasing the use of the Internet for various types of online transactions; 
  5. Increased privacy for individuals, who rely on their data being handled responsibly and who are routinely informed about those who are collecting their data and the purposes for which it is being used;
  6. Greater choice, as identity credentials and devices are offered by providers using interoperable platforms; and  Opportunities for innovation, as service providers develop or expand the services offered online, particularly those services that are inherently higher in risk;

The strategy proposes four primary goals and nine actions to implement and promote the Identity Ecosystem:


  1. Develop a comprehensive Identity Ecosystem Framework
  2. Build and implement an interoperable identity infrastructure aligned with the Identity Ecosystem Framework
  3. Enhance confidence and willingness to participate in the Identity Ecosystem
  4. Ensure the long-term success of the Identity Ecosystem


  1. Designate a Federal Agency to Lead the Public/Private Sector Efforts Associated
    with Achieving the Goals of the Strategy
  2. Develop a Shared, Comprehensive Public/Private Sector Implementation Plan
  3. Accelerate the Expansion of Federal Services, Pilots, and Policies that Align with
    the Identity Ecosystem
  4. Work Among the Public/Private Sectors to Implement Enhanced Privacy
  5. Coordinate the Development and Refinement of Risk Models and Interoperability Standards
  6. Address the Liability Concerns of Service Providers and Individuals
  7. Perform Outreach and Awareness Across all Stakeholders 
  8. Continue Collaborating in International Efforts 
  9. Identify Other Means to Drive Adoption of the Identity Ecosystem across the

The Strategy Document doesn’t discuss any specific technologies, but rather, addresses the needs and general concepts required for a national Identity Ecosystem.

If you would like to make public comments on the strategy, a good place to visit is this IdeaScale page hosted by the Department of Homeland Security. Reading comments from other parties on that page is quite interesting.

In other areas of Cyberspace, the reactions to this strategy are mixed.  For example, an active proponent is my friend Dazza Greenwood, who encourages everyone to become familiar with the strategy and actively give feedback:

At the other end of the spectrum is a blogger, Arnold Vintner, whom I do not know, who shares a much more pessimistic view. In his post, “Obama Administration Moves to Reduce Online Privacy,” Mr. Vintner opines:

The Obama administration is proposing a new identity management system for the Internet which is calls “Identity Ecosystem.” This new system will replace individually managed usernames and passwords with a taxpayer-funded federally-managed system.

The scheme is outlined in the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. The planned system will tie together all of your accounts into one national online identity.  This will enable the federal government to easily track all online activity of every American.

The system will start with the federal government requiring the ID’s for use in accessing federal web sites — such as for filing your taxes online.  The federal government will then force businesses to adopt the system, starting with banks and credit card companies and slowly spreading to encompass the entire online environment. Once fully implemented, Internet users will no longer be able to comment anonymously on blogs or web forums, because all online identities will be verified with the U.S. government.

Where do you stand?  I personally like the idea of public dialog on this issue and the call for public and private entities to participate in a solution.  I look forward to giving feedback and tracking progress.

Copyright © 2005-2016, Mark G. Dixon. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by WordPress.