Four years ago this week, we flipped the switch on a new website -- Dark Reading -- that was designed to meet a simple goal: to tell you everything you need to know about IT security, right up-to-the-minute that it happens.
OK, I said the goal was simple, not easy to achieve.Things were different back in 2006. Botnets were hardly discussed. PCI was an arcane standard that only the largest retailers even understood, let alone complied with. Drive-by downloads, cyberwarfare in Estonia and Georgia, Storm, Conficker -- none of them had happened yet. Spam and malware, though perceived to be epidemic, were occurring at a fraction of the rate we see today.
My, how time flies. Ah, if these virtual walls could talk.
Well, in a sense, they can. Type any security term into the Dark Reading "search" field, and you'll get a mini-history on the past four years of security evolution. In our archives, you'll see the first stories on the TJX and Heartland breaches and how they were later connected to a single group of attackers by researchers and law enforcement officials. You'll see the first "shots" fired on government computers in Estonia and how these sorts of "unattributed" attacks evolved into targeted exploits that nearly sent Google and other companies out of the Chinese market.
In the Dark Reading archives, you won't just see the evolution of news events or even attacks. You'll also see the evolution of security tools -- indeed, of entire security companies -- during the past four years. Type in the term "firewall" and you'll see product launches from Check Point to Palo Alto Networks. Type in the term "data leak prevention" (DLP) and you'll see the rise of an entire class of products that now is considered to be a standard part of the security arsenal. Type in the term "cloud" and you'll see how the notion of cloud security has evolved from a blue-sky idea to the reality of virtualization security in more than 80 percent of data centers.
True, it has only been four years, so the Dark Reading archives can't tell the full history of IT security. But if you'd like to know where a technology has been -- and where it's potentially going -- you can get some pretty strong hints with a simple search. After four years of attempting to post each day's most important security events and developments, we've developed a fairly solid institutional memory here. If it happened in IT security and it was significant, then you can be pretty sure there's something about it here, whether it was last week or in 2006.
In a sense, this has been Dark Reading's charter all along -- to not only give you the latest news and information on security, but to provide some context and analysis about what it all means. We help you sort out the real threats from the false-positives and prioritize the steps you need to take to defend against them. We don't just aggregate all of the security-related information on the Web -- we filter it so that you're seeing only the material that's truly useful.
During the past four years, the question of what's "important" has changed significantly. Instead of focusing on viruses and worms, we're leading with targeted attacks and insider threats. Instead of comparing antivirus tools, we're talking about malware defenses and software-as-a-service offerings. Four years from now, we'll be focusing on new threats that haven't yet been conceived. Security threats -- and the methods of defending against them -- change every day, and Dark Reading will continue to change right along with them.
One thing that won't change -- and I said this in my first blog in May 2006 -- is that Dark Reading is your site. We want to know your concerns, your problems, and what you're hearing from other security pros. In the end, Dark Reading is only successful if the information we provide is truly useful to security professionals in doing their everyday jobs. So please let us know what we're doing well -- and not so well. More important, let us know if there's something we're not covering that you'd like to know more about.
Four years. If you've ever been to high school or college, then you know that four years isn't enough to get everything right. We may have earned our degrees here, but we still have a lot of learning to do. We hope you'll join Dark Reading for the next four years -- and let us know how we can help you in your day-to-day job.
Tim Wilson Editor, Dark Reading Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio