again, why should an organization disclose security breaches?

DarkReading throws out, Organizations Rarely Report Breaches to Law Enforcement. This is a, “Duh,” moment, but I do like reading the reasons given in the article.

Taking this further, I think data breach disclosure is still a lot like the age-old iceberg analogy. Even despite actual laws requiring it, I would bet all the data breaches we hear about are just the visible top of the iceberg. And there are a whole host of other breaches (both known as well as undiscovered ones) that lurk in a huge steaming pile under our field of view.

I firmly believe that many businesses (if not all of them!) have a first reaction to ask, “Is this public yet? How likely is this to be public?” And then to kneejerk on the side of saying nothing and keeping things hush-hush. Of course, until someone finds out, most likely through third-party fraud detection analysis or the finding of files obviously stolen from that organization. I would actually expect (whether I like it or not) that all companies will stay mum when not given extremely huge incentives to disclose (jail time, extreme fines, jeopardizing of business).

Hell, I would even expect this occurs not just in disclosure to the public or to law enforcement, but internal disclosure as well! Tech finds evidence of attackers, tells manager. And somewhere along the chain up, the message gets quelched for fear of one’s job or a naive misunderstanding of the importance of some incidents.

I wonder how many cases Verizon worked on in their DBIR that should be disclosed, but the host company has opted to stay quiet on….or other security firms. Again, I’d bet it’s a decent number. (Note that I’m not trying to criticize Verizon or security firms who are likely under NDA and certainly have given their strong advice, but rather on organizations making the ultimate decisions about security and disclosure. Props to any sec firm that still makes an effort to distribute as much info as they can [formal or informal] to help the rest of us!)