Saturday, January 16, 2010


It’s interesting how many people don’t realize what are the priorities in computer security... There are many fields to secure: server security, web applications security, network security, and finally desktop security. Over the last years I met SO many people that always expressed surprise why I would like to focus on desktop systems security? They usually argue that today, as everybody knows, it is the Network that is what computing is all about and that we should focus on securing infrastructure, and forget about the desktops, which are always to be insecure. The network is the computer, as somebody said.

What those people forget about, is that it is always the desktop that ultimately gets access to all the user’s secretes -- all the passwords, all the keys, all the corporate documents, all the nude holiday pictures, all the secret love letters, all the credit card numbers, and many more.

However secure were all the services (remote servers and network protocols) that we use, if our desktop gets compromised it’s all lost. The recent incident with Google is just yet another example of that. Our desktop systems are the most crucial piece of the whole puzzle.

It’s funny how many people think that by using some thin client solution on their desktops they can solve the problem. Of course they cannot! Just the fact that your OS executes on a server, rather then on your hardware, doesn’t make it any less prone to all the attacks that were otherwise possible when the software executed on your system.

The attempts to secure desktops have been failing for so many years. While recently there is some attempt to minimize likelihood of remote attacks via Web browsers (or generally to focus on application security), this is still just the tip of the iceberg -- there are so many other attack avenue that none of the popular OSes even tries to address, that I consider myself a brave person (not to say stupid) that I actually use my laptop everyday and keep some sensitive information on it ;)

Ok, so that’s a nice piece of complaining you say, but what are we, at ITL, gonna do about it? Well, we just gonna sit and patiently wait for better OSes to appear some day... Oh, hell, we won’t!

Happy New Year :)

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