Google Fi Data Breach: A Lesson in Cloud Visibility

Asaf Weiss, Co-founder & CTO
Asaf Weiss, Co-founder & CTO

Security is the end result of a combination of prevention, detection, response, and remediation - and data security is no different. At Eureka, our goal is to prevent data breaches as much as possible, detect when something goes wrong and rapidly respond to the issue.  While we mostly focus on prevention and reducing the risks associated with storing data in the cloud, the recent Google Fi breach highlights the need for full visibility during remediation.

Last week, Google Fi telecommunications service informed its customers about a data breach impacting 37 million customers and that appears to be related to the recently disclosed T-Mobile cyberattack. Google Fi said there had been unauthorized access to a third-party customer support system containing a “limited amount” of customer data. Google clarified that the breached systems did not hold sensitive details, such as full names, email addresses, payment card information, SSNs, tax IDs, government IDs, account passwords, or contents of SMS and phone calls. Proof that even when something bad happens, like a data breach, knowing that no sensitive data is exposed is extremely important.

Google Fi’s ability to understand exactly what type of data they were working with is a best case scenario. The best-case scenario in a data breach is one in which the breach is detected early, contained quickly, and minimal data is lost or stolen.  By having visibility into your cloud data, your security team can:

  1. Quickly assess the impact of the breach. Knowing what data was breached allows any company to understand the potential consequences and reduce the overall blast radius of an incident. This information can be used to prioritize the company's response and allocate resources more effectively.
  1. Immediately begin remediation measures: Knowing what data was breached enables the company to implement targeted and effective remediation measures, including understanding which resources should be allocated to address it.
  2. Speedily notify its customers: With a clear understanding of the data that was breached, the company can provide more specific and accurate notifications to affected individuals. This can help to build trust and transparency with customers, and may also be required by law in some cases.
  1. Proactively prevent future breaches: By understanding what data was breached and how it was obtained, the company can identify weaknesses in their security systems and take steps to prevent future additional breaches.

Knowing that no sensitive data has been exposed can help minimize the potential harm and reduce the need for extensive remediation efforts. On the other hand, if sensitive information is involved, the impact can be much greater, potentially leading to serious consequences, such as legal and financial penalties, loss of reputation and customer trust, and long-term harm to the organization.

Visibility is important

The power of data visibility lies in the name – it makes everything visible. This allows your organization to understand what your data is, the way in which your data is being used, and the impact of data as it's being used. Ensuring that you have access to your complete data means you get a bird’s eye view of risk status. This offers an unparalleled opportunity for everyone at all levels to clearly see what is happening. You want to make sure that you have the full picture, across all levels. Having a well-managed and constructed data security visibility allows you to keep track of your security obligations, team performances, and overall resource risks.

Visibility allows you to make intelligent and perceptive decisions. Without clear and visible data risks, it’s impossible to make educated or informed decisions, because you can’t understand the full range of your options. However, with data visibility, you have all of the information at your fingertips to make the best decisions in the best moment. Should your project run into a crisis, data visibility also allows you to make agile decisions with all of the necessary information.

Forewarned is forearmed, and data visibility should be at the core of your security strategy. Knowing and understanding where you are potentially open to breaches of security allows you to protect yourself. More importantly, knowing the type of data, its risk posture and severity, you can reclaim control.

Visibility allows you to see where you may have blind spots or weaknesses and allows you to put tests in place before a bad actor has the opportunity to put your resources to the test. It will allow you to see how data is being accessed or changed, which means that you won’t have to suffer any untoward mishaps. And if you should, like Google Fi, suffer a mishap it’ll be the best-case in a worst-case scenario.

Learn more about protecting your data across the entire data lifecycle and how DSPM can help your organization prevent data breaches, detect anomalies, and rapidly respond and remediate any issues.

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