Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Computer security = A fence around your computer

There's an article in ComputerWorld that just surfaced an old memory for me:

Friend of mine takes a course on computer security. My first question is: "So, what did you learn?" His response: "I'm not sure what the big deal is. You just make sure you have a fence around your computer building, some good door locks and a few security guards and you're okay."

I should have known. My friend had recently been promoted to a senior role in the security guard company he worked for so, of course, his computer "security" course was all about the physical security of the building.

If you read the article by "C. J. Kelly" it could have been written by my old friend. Talk about that "security guard" mentality: Wireless is a security hole therefore I must crush/kill/disable all wireless. Her attitude on wireless: "Not on my watch, thanks" she says.

I say what a crock of do-do, Ms. Kelly! Get your head out of the sand and figure out how you can use the 802.1X protocol and certificates to secure communications, or tools that would prevent the wireless from being used in an un-secured environment.

I love her next comment: "We allowed laptops until last year...Now, only systems administrators and a few chiefs trained in laptop security have laptops."

Oh, here's another nugget: "When I travel, my eyes never leave my laptop...I try not to leave it in a hotel room but if I must, I hang out a "Do Not Disturb" sign and put the laptop in the room safe. I refuse housekeeping services." You must be a barrel of laughs when you travel. Do you also handcuff the laptop to your wrist while you're out to dinner because you can't trust it tucked under your chair?

I think you could do better Ms. Kelly. Order everyone back to paper and start installing "Cones of Silence" in meeting rooms, offices and employee's homes.

p.s. For those of you too young to have seen the Cone of Silence in operation I'm hoping they'll reprise its role in the upcoming "Get Smart" movie starring Steven Carell. Check out the trailer here:

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