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Risk

12/4/2007
02:58 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
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SANS Says You And Your Employees Are Top Security Risks. Ya Think?

Computer security trainer SANS Institute came out with its top threats of 2007 recently, and guess what? You're on the list, and so are your employees; so am I, and, probably, so is everybody we know and most of the people we don't.

Computer security trainer SANS Institute came out with its top threats of 2007 recently, and guess what? You're on the list, and so are your employees; so am I, and, probably, so is everybody we know and most of the people we don't.Not at the very top of the SANS 2007 threat-list -- those positions of (dis)honor were awarded to client-side vulnerabilities and Web application vulnerabilities. No real surprise there -- Web apps are among the fastest-growing technologies, and Web app exploitations are the fastest growing threat SANS sees.

But whatever nature of the specific technology threats -- and not just this year -- SANS implies (and virtually states) that the greatest ongoing vulnerability is... us.

Our habits and our devices are the problems, made clear in a SANS sub-head: Excessive User rights and Unauthorized Devices.

Pretty much says it all.

Unmanaged and unrestricted Web surfing, unprotected and possibly infected personal devices connected to your network, unmanaged and employee-installed unauthorized software are all unfortunate facts of digital life that small and midsize businesses -- and enormous enterprises and institutions -- live with every day.

I use the term "facts of digital life" because that's what it increasingly seems to be. The news-peg of user presence on the SANS list isn't that users are part of the problem, it's that users are included on the list.

Well, it's no news to most of us, and while most of us have wrestled with the issue -- or talked about wrestling with it -- too few companies, institutions and, frankly, households have actually addressed it.

Odds are, it's not going to be addressed in the near future, either -- nobody really wants to be the Grinch Who Banned iPods this holiday season.

The solution -- if there is one -- calls for running every workstation and device at your company and your remote sites as a clean room in which nothing gets in, gets out or gets on-line without being thoroughly scrubbed, inspected, filtered and monitored.

Sound likely to you? Me, either.

Sound increasingly necessary to you? Me, too.

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