Security is based on a combination of three main principles forming the CIA triad:
They are a way to describe a vague term like “security” to non-security person, like management etc.
We uses this term to put a meaning and context around security.
Confidentiality is the way to make sure we protect sensitive data from improper disclosure, i.e. making sure that anything which is private or secret is not given to unauthorized people.
Overt vs. Covert
The way to preserve confidentiality is to look at how that confidentiality can be breached. This is often done through was is called either overt (obvious) or covert (hidden) channels.
To find the release of information in an unauthorized way, we can look at the timing and the storage.
The covert timing channel is one that release information through monitoring of system resources: a peak of CPU usage could indicate that something has started on the system. We can’t see which information but it indicates an event.
The other is covert storage, where data was stored in an insecure manner.
Preservation of Confidentiality
There are different ways to preserve the confidentiality of the data:
- Masking: data are masked (like when a password is typed)
- Obfuscation: scramble the data
- Tokenization: we replace sensitive data with a token value (often done with credit card numbers)
- Encryption: data cannot be read or seen by someone without the correct decryption key
The application should be designed and built to support protection of confidentiality.
A disclosure of information can be intentional but most often accidental.