Big Data, Big Target

Hackers are increasingly targeting large collections of data, said Adm. Michael Rogers, head of US Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, on Tuesday when discussing US vulnerabilities. The power of big-data analytics, he told the Senate Armed Services Committee, is behind the increased interest. “…Ten years ago, we would have said to ourselves no one could ever really comb through that to generate insights or find anything—it’s just too large,” he said. “You sure don’t have those conversations anymore.” Rogers cited recent hacks of healthcare and Office of Personnel Management records as examples. But hackers seeing or even stealing the data isn’t Rogers’ only concern. “What happens if the purpose of the intrusion becomes to manipulate the data and so you can no longer believe what you are seeing,” he asked rhetorically later in the hearing. “Think about the implications of that.” (See also Complacency Kills.)