Sunday, May 13, 2007

Third of the Three Wise Men

I just listened to my third of the Three Wise Men, Ross Anderson, courtesy of Gary McGraw's Silver Bullet Podcast. This is another must-heed. During the podcast Prof. Anderson mentioned the following:

  • With respect to secure software development: As tools improve, we continue to "build bigger and better disasters." That echoes a theme in my previous posts.

  • "If someone is going to call themselves a security engineer, then they have to learn how things fail." This means studying history and contemporary security disasters. That's an argument for my National Digital Security Board.

  • Prof. Anderson mentioned potential compulsory registration for security professionals in the UK as a consequence of legislation requiring the registration of bouncers at clubs. Beware such an event here. Talk about unintended consequences.

  • Finally, Prof. Anderson warned of vulnerabilities in Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. For goodness sake, can we slow down the deployment of fundamentally broken technologies?

By the way, not only is the excellent Security Engineering now online, the first 7 chapters can be downloaded in .mp3 format.


Isam said...

As tools improve, we continue to "build bigger and better disasters." That echoes a theme in my previous posts.
Is that only because of inherited problems from software development tools and enviroment or lack of "secure by default" methods? Or am I missing the big pictutre?

Richard Bejtlich said...

Listen to the podcast for some ideas.

Alex said...

Thanks for the link to his book, Richard. There is some very good material in there, regardless of when it was published, and his diligent use of references opens up a number of avenues for further investigation.

I am somewhat surprised at how much you and he seem to differ in your opinion of the magnitude of and solution to 'insider threats'. He wrote:

"We’ve seen in system after system that the insiders are the main problem, whether because some of them are malicious or because most of them are careless. But it’s imprudent to enforce controls too overtly against line managers and IT staff, as this will alienate them and it’s often hard to get them to manage the controls themselves."