FUD: Security – The Undeclared War!

Hackers, computer viruses, security breaches, corporate espionage: we’re at war! Can you see that?

Recently Bruce Schneier declared that, “I don’t think, on the whole, we are winning the security war; I think we are losing it.” In the same article Computerworld notes that, “Companies are losing the battle to secure their IT systems from attacks by hackers and other threats.”

It’s clearly FUD. The realities of the situation are far more nuanced and should be explained in terms of degrees of risk.

Yes, there is crime. Yes, there are breaches. But the rules have changed.

Computerworld blogger Jerri Ledford writes, “And all it takes to see just how all of those efforts aren’t working, is to look at the news on any given day. It’s never more than a few days between announcements for the latest security breach.”

The reasoning isn’t sound. First, information security breaches must now be “announced” to a corporation’s customer base (and hence to the public) by law. This wasn’t the case in the past. Second, the scope of what is considered a breach has expanded. Losing a laptop is now a breach that must be reported where in the past it was simply considered a lost piece of hardware.

What to say about hackers and viruses? This isn’t much different that the traditional arms race noted in the past.

The more things change the more they remain the same.

I agree with Schneier when he says to look at the economic levers. Again, this view comes down to loss prevention. And you’d better spend a lot of money to prevent that loss. We are at war, after all, and wars cost money.

[A colleague of mine noted that 1) this wasn’t sarcastic enough and 2) the CSI/FBI shows that “the dollar value of reported intrusions is actually declining, and that this has been a long-term trend.” Viva la VT!]

One Comment

  1. LonerVamp Sep 22, 2006 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Just passing through, but wanted to quickly comment. I like this post and your ideas, although I am skeptical on saying we’re not losing this war and that saying we are is just FUD.

    I agree with all of your other points, however.

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