Archive for the ‘Palantir’ Category

Palantir Hack Report – What’s Missing?

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

How Hired Hackers Got “Complete Control” Of Palantir by William Alden.

From the post:

Palantir Technologies has cultivated a reputation as perhaps the most formidable data analysis firm in Silicon Valley, doing secretive work for defense and intelligence agencies as well as Wall Street giants. But when Palantir hired professional hackers to test the security of its own information systems late last year, the hackers found gaping holes that left data about customers exposed.

Palantir, valued at $20 billion, prides itself on an ability to guard important secrets, both its own and those entrusted to it by clients. But after being brought in to try to infiltrate these digital defenses, the cybersecurity firm Veris Group concluded that even a low-level breach would allow hackers to gain wide-ranging and privileged access to the Palantir network, likely leading to the “compromise of critical systems and sensitive data, including customer-specific information.”

This conclusion was presented in a confidential report, reviewed by BuzzFeed News, that detailed the results of a hacking exercise run by Veris over three weeks in September and October last year. The report, submitted on October 19, has been closely guarded inside Palantir and is described publicly here for the first time. “Palantir Use Only” is plastered across each page.

It is not known whether Palantir’s systems have ever been breached by real-world intruders. But the results of the hacking exercise — known as a “red team” test — show how a company widely thought to have superlative ability to safeguard data has struggled with its own data security.

The red team intruders, finding that Palantir lacked crucial internal defenses, ultimately “had complete control of PAL’s domain,” the Veris report says, using an acronym for Palantir. The report recommended that Palantir “immediately” take specific steps to improve its data security.

“The findings from the October 2015 report are old and have long since been resolved,” Lisa Gordon, a Palantir spokesperson, said in an emailed statement. “Our systems and our customers’ information were never at risk. As part of our best practices, we conduct regular reviews and tests of our systems, like every other technology company does.”

Alden gives a lengthy summary of the report, but since Palantir claims the reported risks “…have long since been resolved” where is the Veris report?

Describing issues in glittering generalities isn’t going to improve anyone’s cybersecurity stance.

So I have to wonder, is How Hired Hackers Got “Complete Control” Of Palantir an extended commercial for Veris? Is it an attempt to sow doubt and uncertainty among Palantir customers?

End of the day, Alden’s summary can be captured in one sentence:

Veris attackers took and kept control of Palantir’s network from day one to the end of the exercise, evading defenders all the way.

How useful is that one sentence summary in improving your cybersecurity stance?

That’s what I thought as well.

PS: I’m interested in pointers to any “leaked” copies of the Veris report on Palantir.

How Many Years a Slave?

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

How Many Years a Slave? by Karin Knox.

From the post:

Each year, human traffickers reap an estimated $32 billion in profits from the enslavement of 21 million people worldwide. And yet, for most of us, modern slavery remains invisible. Its victims, many of them living in the shadows of our own communities, pass by unnoticed. Polaris Project, which has been working to end modern slavery for over a decade, recently released a report on trafficking trends in the U.S. that draws on five years of its data. The conclusion? Modern slavery is rampant in our communities.

slavery in US

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and President Obama has called upon “businesses, national and community organizations, faith-based groups, families, and all Americans to recognize the vital role we can play in ending all forms of slavery.” The Polaris Project report, Human Trafficking Trends in the United States, reveals insights into how anti-trafficking organizations can fight back against this global tragedy.


Bradley Myles, CEO of the Polaris Project, makes a compelling case for data analysis in the fight against human trafficking. The post has an interview with Bradley and a presentation he made as part of the Palantir Night Live series.

Using Palantir software, the Polaris Project is able to rapidly connect survivors with responders across the United States. Their use of the data analytics aspect of the software is also allowing the project to find common patterns and connections.

The Polaris Project is using modern technology to recreate a modern underground railroad but at the same time, appears to be building a modern data silo as well. Or as Bradley puts it in his Palantir presentation, every report is “…one more data point that we have….”

I’m sure that’s true and helpful, to a degree. But going beyond the survivors of human trafficking, to reach the sources of human trafficking, will require the integration of data sets across many domains and languages.

Police sex crime units have data points, federal (U.S.) prosecutors have data points, social welfare agencies have data points, foreign governments and NGOs have data points, all related to human trafficking. I don’t think anyone believes a uniform solution is possible across all those domains and interests.

One way to solve that data integration problem is to disregard data points from anyone unable or unwilling to use some declared common solution or format. I don’t recommend that one.

Another way to attempt to solve the data integration problem is to have endless meetings to derive a common format, while human trafficking continues unhindered by data integration. I don’t recommend that approach either.

What I would recommend is creating maps between data systems, declaring and identifying the implicit subjects that support those mappings, so that disparate data systems can both export and import shared data across systems. Imports and exports that are robust, verifiable and maintainable.

Topic maps anyone?

Using Palantir to Explore Prescription Drug Safety

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Using Palantir to Explore Prescription Drug Safety

From the post:

Drug safety is a serious concern in the United States with adverse drug events contributing to over 770,000 injuries and deaths per year. Cost estimates range from $1.5 to $5.6 billion annually. The FDA closely monitors these adverse events and releases communications and advisories depending on the severity and frequency of the events. The FDA released such a communication regarding the drug Simvastatin in June 2011. Simvastatin, which is used to treat hyperlidemia, is one of the most heavily prescribed medications in the world, and nearly 100 million prescriptions were written for patients in 2010.

A canned demo but impressive none the less.

I have written asking for a link to the “community” version of the software. It is mentioned several times on the site but I have been unable to find the URL.