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January 2005

The Myths of Security

EXPOSE The ancient Greeks spun myths to explain the unexplanable. Modern enterprises use commonly held myths as a foundation for security. In Greek mythology, the closest thing to a "God of Security" wasn't a god at all, but the giant monster Argus, who was considered the perfect security guard because of his ability to keep at least one of his hundreds of eyes open while sleeping. Argus was a fearsome warrior to contend with, but he wasn't invincible. He ended up the wrong side of Zeus, who sent his son Hermes to kill Argus. As the story goes, Hermes lulled the giant into a deep, eye-closing slumber. Then, when Argus was no longer "watching," Hermes cut his head off. Argus is an interesting, if imprecise, symbol for today's infosecurity professional. We, too, pride ourselves on our ability to keep constant vigilance over our systems, networks and data. Unfortunately, we're often undermined by the cunning of our adversaries and their ability to exploit our vulnerabilities. The parallels between ancient mythology and modern ...

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