I first heard that the antivirus scanner was dead in December 1989. Experts had postulated that the increase in the number of different computer viruses, which at the time numbered almost 200, would quickly outpace the ability of antivirus scanners to keep up.
Stories by Roger A. Grimes
Here's a sobering prediction: One-third of all adults in the United States will have their personal identity information compromised or lost this year by a company that electronically stores the data, according to figures supported by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. Whether or not that number is perfectly accurate, the list of publicly known data breaches is staggering nonetheless.
Most security solutions are a trade-off of ease-of-use versus security. As computer security measures grow in importance, previously uninterrupted legitimate processes get reined in or stopped altogether -- like my recommendation of not allowing non-admin users to install software without management approval. As companies grow more valuable, they are willing to accept higher levels of default security as measured against legitimate needs.
I was recently contacted by the company that manages my stock to open up a new Web site log-on account. During new account creation, it asked me to input a secure password. So, I put in my normal password that is 21 characters long followed by 10 characters that are unique per Web site, but only uses lowercase letters. The length of the base password prevents basic password cracking and guessing, while the additional characters make the overall password (or pass phrase) unique so that no two resources ever have the same password.
As expected, I caught a lot of flak for last week's column suggesting that one of the better, real security solutions an administrator could implement is to prevent unauthorised programs from executing on business-owned computers.
Last week, the curmudgeon in me had a bad day. After reading about new exploit after new exploit while people keep recommending the same old security solutions, I lost it.
I had yet another computer journalist call me to ask if Vendor X's security solution was THE security product to solve all our security problems. I get a call or e-mail like this about once every two weeks. Usually they've read the vendor's own PR, another newspaper article, or even my own column touting a particular product.
SSL-evading trojans bypass the secure and authenticated tunnel mechanisms that are the safety backbone of today's Internet banking and financial institutions. As with any trojan, this type can do anything allowed by the user's security permissions.
Have you ever had one of those moments where something you knew to be certain was turned upside down and you learned you had been wrong ... for years? A lot of Bruce Schneier's writing gives me moments like that.
A secure connection between browser and back end underlies Internet commerce. But what if it's already compromised?
During my nearly two-decade computer security career, I've always been amazed by how many security myths are propagated as fact by readers, instructors, leaders, and writers.
Ever since Dan Geer was fired in 2003 from @stake.com for being an author of a paper on negatives of a computing monoculture, I've seen article after article recommending that administrators do away with their computer monocultures as a way of minimizing or defeating malware and hackers.
A computer monoculture is a paradigm that says if all your computers are of one type or OS platform, you are more at risk for malicious attack due to all the commonalities the attacker can use.
SSL-evading Trojans bypass the secure and authenticated tunnel mechanisms that are the safety backbone of today's Internet banking and financial institutions. As with any Trojan, this type can do anything allowed by the user's security permissions.
Many, many innovations come from the Linux and Unix world. Few are more intriguing to me than port knocking. As a global security plug-in to protect services, it has a lot going for it and few downsides. However, for one reason or another, it suffers from lack of use and understanding. A lot of administrators may have heard of it, but few know how to implement it. Even fewer have used it.
A large percentage of computer security problems have origins in a common issue: end-users installing or running programs without administrative approval and control.