Forwarded from: Pete Lindstrom <petelindat_private> This whole "grading Microsoft" discussion is completely ludicrous. If Microsoft gets an 'F,' then who got the A's, B's, C's, and D's? If upwards of 100,000 sites were infected with Slammer, does that mean that everyone who was infected gets an 'F' too? Or does Microsoft get their grade because it was their software? Who gets the 'F' for Slapper? Can we legitimately grade Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative, designed to create more secure software, by assessing their own internal practices? Can we grade it if there is nothing to compare to? How is IBM doing? SAP? Oracle? Siebel? Novell? Computer Associates? Sun? HP? PeopleSoft? How about the custom stuff from Accenture? EDS? CSC? Do we really know the difference between what equals "secure" and what equals "luck" in the security space? Is there anyone out there who has a foolproof method for determining an appropriate level of security that is guaranteed to eliminate risk? You can't blame obesity on McDonald's for serving quarter pounders and you can't blame insecurity on Microsoft for serving buggy software that the whole world decided to buy because of the functionality and backward compatibility - both qualities that create complexity and its sister, insecurity. And let's not forget that a large number of our security problems are due to poor configuration and not buggy software (e.g. SQL Spida attacked null passwords). There is no doubt that from a security perspective, our existing model has been unsuccessful due to its reactive nature and the built-in latencies involved. But I talk to companies every day with better solutions (check out www.spiresecurity.com/IntrusionPrevention.htm for some ideas). It is far too easy to blame Microsoft (give them an 'F') for the world's security woes. But you get a completely different perspective when you take a look around at all the potential alternatives and existing poor security practices in place. There, I said it. Please flame me at bill.gatesat_private (just kidding). Regards, Pete Pete Lindstrom, CISSP Research Director Spire Security, LLC P.O. Box 152 Malvern, PA 19355 phone: 610-644-9064 fax: 610-644-8212 www.spiresecurity.com Briefing Requests: http://www.spiresecurity.com/briefingrequest.asp?p=briefingrequest -----Original Message----- From: owner-isnat_private [mailto:owner-isnat_private] On Behalf Of InfoSec News Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 5:49 AM To: isnat_private Subject: Re: [ISN] Experts: Microsoft security gets an 'F' Forwarded from: Mark Bernard <mbernardat_private> Dear Associates, Actually this statement may not be far from the truth, however it needs to be quantified. Typically within the information security program framework we measure the success of any program by the reduction in the number of incidents of a specific targeted group. The question should be, has the number of occurrences of this particular type of incident been reduced overall? If the group making the statement has measured the success of the Microsoft's initiative against how many systems were actually infected they may be using the wrong set of quantifiable criteria, thus their statement would be unjustified. A typical program takes three years to mature and will need to be tweaked a couple times before it hit 100% of the target. I should also qualify my statement, I am in no way a Microsoft supporter. I truly believe that when a group dominates a market place such as Microsoft has, the market in question becomes unhealthy. However, that's good for information security professionals. More balance is necessary. Happy hunting! Mark. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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