Thursday, October 09, 2008

Starbucks: Coffee Shop Risks and Information Security

Do you have an idea where potential information disclosure is possible? It's not hacking through servers of installing bugging devices in offices or meeting places. It's actually a place popping out of almost every street and buildings in Makati, Ortigas, Fort Bonifacio Global City and other places where yuppies and oldies are present: Starbuck!

Ever notice people dressed in office attire, with laptops and other mobile devices, conducting meetings in Starbucks? The meet up up with officemates and clients and presentations and product pitches. Some of them even discuss confidential items in a public place endangering trade secrets, marketing plans and other information that should only be divulged in the hallowed and secure halls of meeting rooms in their own offices.

Some establishments offering free wifi Internet is also inviting for hackers and eavesdroppers looking for vulnerable and unsuspecting coffee drinkers with laptops unaware of the danger lurking. Bluetooth devices left open is another. There are also risks of connecting to rogue wifi hotspots set up by miscreants to lure people to connect to them and eavesdrop on the connection. Dangerous indeed!

There is also the risk of some outlets to robbery/holdups where robbers target moneyed patrons with laptops and cellphones. This is particularly risky for those on street frontage where the robbers can come and get away on motorcycles for easy escape.

This is not limited to Starbucks, btw, there's also UCC, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Mocha Blends, Figaro and other coffee shops.

I only see coffee in those places as overhyped and overpriced coffee that became some sort of status symbols to some pretentious souls out there :(

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