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April 2002

Can information security surveys be trusted?

In a few weeks, you'll be hearing about the results of this year's CSI/FBI Computer Crime and Security Survey. Fact: 82.397 percent of you will use this survey in your request for infosecurity funding over the next 12 months. Actually, I just made up this statistic. Even so, it's only slightly less reliable than some of the CSI stats you'll be citing when trying to convince your CIO to spend more money on security. Every year, the Computer Security Institute (CSI) creates this survey, with a few token questions submitted by the FBI. The survey questionnaire is mailed to several thousand people whom CSI believes are responsible for their organization's information security. To encourage a high response rate, those completing the survey are granted anonymity. In recent years, about one in six completed and returned the questionnaire. The answers are counted, graphed and published in a report that receives tremendous media attention. Now let me explain why this process is troubling. There's no evidence of statistical or scholarly ...

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Features in this issue

  • Becky Bace: The IDS security den mother

    by  Richard Thieme

    Former NSA employee and "den mother of computer security" Becky Base built an impressive and successful career that has undeniably influenced the industry.

  • Four computer forensics books worth investigating

    by  Gary C. Kessler & Michael Schirling

    Check out four computer forensics books that can help you learn the ins and outs of computer forensics technology and laws in place to manage cybercrime.

  • Do's and don'ts of building a forensics workstation

    by  Elizabeth A. Genco

    Elizabeth Genco explains the pros and cons of building a forensics workstation from scratch. Read now to learn what forensic tools are beneficial and which ones aren't.

Columns in this issue

  • Secure reads: Wireless Security

    by  Randall K. Nichols & Panos C. Lekkas

    Wireless Security offers a detailed overview of wireless security topics and covers big-picture characteristics of today's wireless security technologies.