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Off your Lidar? Waymo vs Google

Author: Nate Latessa, President

There has been a lot attention recently on the legal case involving Waymo and Uber. Most of the attention has centered around a former Google employee named Anthony Levandowski who is alleged to have “downloaded 9.7 GB of files containing information about the company’s self-driving technology  to his laptop and then transferred those files to another external storage device.”  A brief summary of the case and people involved can be found here in this Business Insider article.

There is no doubt that a company the size of Google has the technology to figure out the specifics of file storage and who is doing what and when. In fact, this past week various news outlets alluded to the fact that Google had spotted the movement of documents as early as October. This story did, however, get us thinking about how Heureka’s software could assist companies who are smaller than someone like Google (which is almost everyone else). Aside from the ability to track PII information on a daily basis, Heureka’s Interrogate system easily provides an inventory for any number of endpoints through a single search. Combing search results with visual analytics such as Heureka’s Tableau workbook, allows a user to easily spot anomalies on any installed endpoints, regardless of their geographic location. This applies to both large additions or subtractions of data (such as the 9.7 GB mentioned above).

 

Returning to the case of Mr. Levandowski’s laptop data transfer, there is a high probability that Heureka’s Interrogate would recognize the spike in data after an automated daily reindex of the endpoint. If you were to visualize this information you would immediately see a spike in data (Figure 1) for the computer. Our “Growth over Time” visualization allows users to focus on specific periods of time, from years to seconds of the day if necessary. In our example, it is obvious that a spike occurred during the week of December 18 and more importantly Interrogate gives a user the ability to drill down to specific file-level details that caused the spike. Interrogate helps answer questions such as, “did the data contain PII information or intellectual property?”, and “were there any compressed data files” indicating a larger potential data set.

Simply identifying information does not complete the Heureka workflow. When problematic files are identified, Interrogate offers tools to collect, quarantine (collect/stub) or delete files directly from the endpoint with no interaction required from the end-user. Reports on custodians (users), file names, extensions, dates and types of PII are easy to generate and export to visual analytics programs. If after investigating the 9.7 GB of data, the information was deemed as appropriate then a simple report can be created and saved with no remediation required. However, if the 9.7 GB of data contained sensitive information, Interrogate remediation tools could be used for removing or collecting the information from the endpoint. This is true regardless of where the endpoint is located. For example, if Mr. Levandowski transferred the information to his laptop just before Christmas and then went on holiday with the laptop, it would be possible to send remediation commands to the endpoint which then get executed once the laptop reestablishes a connection to the internet. Issues with time, distance and corporate network connections can be nearly eliminated when sensitive data needs to be remediated.

 

 

Providing visibility, creating analytics, and offering fast, efficient remediation tools across vast amounts of data is what Heureka is all about. In today’s corporate environment, data is growing at an alarming rate with file shares becoming massive corporate blindspots. It doesn’t take a big imagination to see the Waymo scenario playing out at many companies, especially those with large amounts of intellectual property or PII information. Recent reports have shown that 60% of all company attacks are carried out by insiders (see Harvard Business Review article).  The real question is, are you prepared?