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Risk

8/1/2007
10:22 AM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
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One Degree Of Vulnerability Separation

No aspect of your business data is more than one degree removed from theft, cybercrime or compromise, and maybe it can't ever be.

No surprise that a survey of more than 250 IT professionals showed zero-day attacks as their number one concern. And even less of one that they identified managing the human element as the major factor complicating zero-day responses.

Just like they complicate everything else.You know what they're talking about -- your employees or co-workers, your off-site staff or on-site visitors, your vendors, maybe your boss.

And maybe... you.

Everyone in your company, in other words, who has a computer, has access to a networked computer, or even those who sit near someone who has access but doesn't have enough sense or discipline to log off when away from the screen. (Look beneath enough employees' desks and it shouldn't take long to find one that has, in addition to gum and God-knows-what-else, a password or two Post-It pasted to its underside.)

Got mobile employees? Got mobile employee security probelms.

Add the spouses, family members, boyfriends, girlfriends, lovers and mistresses who get even occasional access to one of your company's computers, the fantasy football teams and NCAA pool members, the porn surfers, the PTOs and church or volunteer groups your staff "helps out" with "just a little" computer time, and...

And you get the picture.

So do the zero-day exploiters, not to mention the hackers (who placed a distant second on the survey's threat concerns), the phishers, the fraudsters, the resurgent e-extortionists.

Don't forget the dishonest, disgruntled or dismissed employees. And don't forget their thumb drives!

Time as well to bear in mind that the cybercrime playing field is increasingly attracting organized online Sopranos/Corleones, and attracting them from across the globe.

Six degrees of Kevin Bacon has nothing on what your company's data's up against. You're at best one degree -- one big flaw in an app, one unpatched machine after the flaw's discovered, one leaked password or untended log-on, one grabbed-and-gone notebook, one ticked-off worker -- away from an annoying intrusion at best, a catastrophe at worst.

One degree.

At most.

I haven't even come close to scratching the surface of the security vulnerabilities faced by your company, your employees, your customers, your family, you-pick-what-comes next.

We'll be scratching deeper in the days, weeks, months ahead, and our scratchings will take us in some interesting, surprising and unsuspected directions.

There's more -- far more -- to computer security than vulnerabilities, patches and passwords, and we'll be exploring all of it.

Because none it is more than one degree removed from you and your business.No aspect of your business data is more than one degree removed from theft, cybercrime or compromise, and maybe it can't ever be.

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