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Schneier-Ranum Face-Off: Is antivirus dead?
This article is part of the Information Security magazine issue of November 2009
Point: Marcus Ranum What amazes me is that it's 2009 and the security world's response to viruses and malware is still oriented toward "detect the bad" rather than "permit the good." And, consequently, we still have viruses and malware. To me, it just seems so gosh-darned obvious that our problem is that we have lost control over our runtime environment, and regaining that control is "simply" a matter of deciding what programs we want to allow to run. Of course, most organizations don't know (or haven't got the courage to discover) what programs they allow--and, ultimately, isn't that the root of their security problems? When I read the security news and hear that thus-and-such government agency is trying to decide if Facebook is a necessary application, it makes my head spin. In Marcus-land, where I come from, you decide what is a necessary application first, not after you have 40,000 employees who have gotten so used to it that they now think Twitter is a constitutionally protected right. Isn't a virus or malware just ...
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Features in this issue
Spam, phishing and infected attachments continue to plague messaging platforms, despite sophisticated protection. What's the answer?
Rapid7's acquisition of the Metasploit Project takes down one of the few remaining open source security projects. But expect a smooth transition; there have been many success stories and mistakes made to learn from.
Enterprises can no longer differentiate between insiders and external threats. That's such a 2003 paradigm.
Unmanaged changes to IT systems and networks can recklessly increase risk to enterprises. The key is rolling out an accepted change management process, and sticking to it.
Columns in this issue
Security experts Bruce Schneier and Marcus Ranum debate the longterm viability of antivirus software.
The checklist approach to security is easy, but the result is poor security.