Users skeptical of security vendors and information about emerging threats

Vendor claims taken with "a grain of salt"

ICT professionals do not trust information provided by vendors about emerging security threats, believing issues are hyped just to sell products, according to a Computerworld poll.

The online poll asked respondents: Do you rely on vendor claims about new threats?

Just 11 per cent were comfortable relying on vendor claims about new threats, while 44 per cent felt vendors hype threats as part of a sales pitch.

A further 45 per cent said they take vendor claims with "a grain of salt."

Michael Warrilow, an analyst from Hydrasight, said these results are accurate.

"I think that's a pretty reflective indication of what's happening among business IT professionals today," he said.

But Warrilow recommended the 11 per cent who rely on vendor-provided information should develop a healthy skepticism.

"Vendors do use fear to sell security products," he said.

"Anyone who relies solely on vendors to learn about new threats is bordering on incompetent in my opinion."

Warrilow said organizations should be using information from independent experts and security consultants, such as the free information provided by organizations like AusCERT (Australia's computer emergency response team).

"The government pays good money to support AusCERT, so we should use that if nothing else," he said.

According to Warrilow, the downside of relying on free services like AusCERT is the information provided can be too extensive.

"AusCERT is going to spew out a huge amount of vulnerabilities and only some of them are going to be relevant to your organization," he said.

Warrilow said organizations need to start prioritizing security information that is most useful to them, regardless of where they receive independent security information.

"I would recommend you prioritize by the value of your asset," he said.

"An Oracle database that contains all your customer information [is] more valuable than a file and print server. Get the intelligence and correlate it to the value of the information asset that needs to be protected."

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