Information Leak Prevention (ILP) systems typically use keyword analysis of outgoing communications to determine whether sensitive information is being leaked.
Information leakage may occur through a number of means; for example through e-mail, instant messaging or through an internet webhost. This information leak could be done innocently or unintentionally or with malevolent intention (Contos, Crowell, Derodeff, Dunkel, & Cole, 2007).
In case of malevolent users it is possible for them to use several masking or disguising methods to evade the ILP systems. These methods may include replacing known keywords with synonyms, saving files in formats different to the ones scanned or giving files false extensions (such as giving a text document or a spreadsheet an mp3 extension) or sending a bitmap image of a text file which could converted back into text using OCR technology. It is the job of a good ILP system to catch these attempts at evasion (Axelrod, C., Bayuk, & Schutzer, 2009).
A big problem with ILP systems is due to false positive results for leaks. If the security settings are set too high, it may report innocent communication as attempted leaks on the other hand if the settings are set too low, it may let blatant and malevolent attempts at information leakage pass through (Axelrod, C., Bayuk, & Schutzer, 2009).
Since ILP systems are such an invasive and resource consuming system, the deployment of the ILP system and its level of strictness should reflect real world threats to the organization and not be based on paranoid fears of fictional threats (Axelrod, C., Bayuk, & Schutzer, 2009).
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