Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Spafford and magical solutions

Eugene Spafford is one of the best minds in the infosec field. This post from him is very aligned with that other one from Anton Aylward that I mentioned here yesterday. I personally agree with a great part of what he is saying there. In a nutshell, he says that we usually spend too much time and money looking for "patch-like" solutions when we already know how to do things in the right way. A good example of that is, quoting him, "We spend huge amounts on detecting botnets and worms, and deploying firewalls to stop them, rather than constructing network-based systems with architectures that don’t support such malware.". If we look at the infosec problem as an isolated problem he is more than right. It's just like Marcus Ranum, who usually goes by a similar line.However, I believe that this approach is too technical, even simplistic. For me it's the same as saying "we already know how to produce electrical cars, so let's replace all the others by them to solve the global warming issue". There are several linked factors on these issues that we simply can't ignore. There are economical factors linked to the environmental issues, just as there are economical issues, compatibility issues, business priority issues, complexity issues, among others, linked to the infosec issue. I wonder if all problems we deal with could be so easily solved as Dr. Spafford suggests. I like to keep my mind open to "out of the box" solutions, but we can't just ignore all the linked matters when talking about security.

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