I've been in to way too many networks that had infections that were being overlooked because no one was monitoring the logs. Here, the system administration staff had proof sitting in their logs and they never noticed. Unfortunately, I've seen a couple of incidents where a server had been infected by a bot that was phoning home that wasn't detected for one- to three months.
Of course, the numbers may be much worse than we realize. Damballa released research in September of last year stating that they were identifying 7 to 9 percent of enterprise hosts were bot-infected in 100 percent of their customers and proof-of-concept deployments. Think your odds are better?
Paul, the author of the Tenable blog entry, makes several good points at the end of his post on being proactive to prevent compromises. They are things I've preached in the past like patch management and vulnerability management. The problem that we're facing is that even with all those protections in place, machines are still getting compromised because of zero-day attacks.
So how do you get into the mindset that inevitably, with all of your protections and countermeasures in place, something is going to get past you? It's a hard one because almost no one wants to play a game they know they will never win, but that's what we're doing. I think for many of us, fighting seemingly unbeatable odds is what makes the security field so interesting and exciting. And, since the field is always changing it makes things even more challenging and fun.
John H. Sawyer is a senior security engineer on the IT Security Team at the University of Florida. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are his own and do not represent the views and opinions of the UF IT Security Team or the University of Florida. When John's not fighting flaming, malware-infested machines or performing autopsies on blitzed boxes, he can usually be found hanging with his family, bouncing a baby on one knee and balancing a laptop on the other. Special to Dark Reading.