TELM – The Four Dimensions of Electronic Communications Security
We are all familiar with the careers and organizations laid waste by hacked emails – Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, the Democratic National Committee, Sony – the list goes on and on. Whether it’s the Russians, the North Koreans, the Romanians, the Chinese, the kid around the corner, the Tooth Fairy or all of the above – nobody knows and it just keeps coming. This is what happens when an outdated and flawed technology meets the real world.
In supposedly sophisticated circles the emerging answer to the problem seems to be encrypt your emails, texts, Snapchats, WhatsApps, etc. and problem solved. Unfortunately this is yet another tech bait and switch. The purveyors of these solutions know very well that encryption alone does not solve anything, but you will never hear it from them.
Let me provide a framework for thinking about TRUE electronic communications security – Transmission, End Recipient, Life Cycle and Meta Data or TELM for short. Only once all these threats are resolved can true security be established. Let’s address them individually to understand the threat.
This is what current encryption of electronic communications is designed to address, the threat that someone will intercept your communication en-route and read it. Fair enough, most forms of encryption do an adequate job. What they do not tell you however, is that encryption evolves, as does code breaking. Old versions of encryption are vulnerable and, by the way, the current architecture of electronic communications leaves several if not dozens of copies of your encrypted communication lying around in various servers totally out of your control. These copies will probably be there for years, long after their encryption standard is past its expiry date and extremely vulnerable.
Another thing the encryption providers will not point out is that your sensitive electronic communication will be decrypted by the end recipient and immediately become unprotected. Who knows what the security environment of the recipient is – perhaps it’s Fort Knox, probably far from it. Once you hit send you have given the recipient total control over your communication. Will they forward, copy, print or archive your communication and with what kind of security? You will never know where that information actually ended up – perhaps on Anthony Weiner’s hard drive, to cite a perfect example of this problem.
Just how long will your vulnerable communications be at risk? Email is eternal – so is decrypted email. Are you sure that five years from now your innocent jokes with friends are not going to pop up with the worst possible interpretation imposed? Or what if your communication was required to be preserved for regulatory purposes, a lawsuit or an investigation, and it got wiped or went mysteriously missing (perhaps an accidental hammer to someone’s hard drive). True security requires total control over electronic communications throughout their life cycle – be it one day or seven years.
Ahhh! – The mystical Meta Data, so mysterious and so powerful. Let’s say you have solved all the problems of Transmission, End Recipient and Life Cycle, are you not now finally secure? Sorry, but the answer is no. Even if your sensitive communication is kept secure throughout its existence it will still reveal much that you do not want prying eyes to know. It is standard practice for governments, security agencies and who knows who else, to monitor network traffic and see who is talking with who, what are the file sizes, how often, are there patterns to the communication, what are the email addresses, phone numbers, etc. This is all mapped and reveals an enormous amount of sensitive information. So even if your communications are fully encrypted and remain so, you are still revealing far too much to prying eyes. If you use conventional email, encrypted email, SMS/texts, chat, social media, phone calls and practically any existing form of electronic communication, you are vulnerable.
So now we have a standard against which to measure true electronic communications security – TELM. Check the methods of electronic communications you use against TELM and see how they stack up – not well I imagine.
Before you scream with total frustration and revert to carrier pigeons, there is a solution. This is why I founded Evizone. We have spent years thinking about the issues involved in true electronic communications security and have patented solutions to these issues. Evizone’s Secure Communications service provides the strongest security for sensitive electronic communications commercially available. It satisfies all the TELM requirements. Contact us at evizone.com to see Evizone Secure Communications in action and understand how it answers all the challenges of TELM. We are waiting for your call!