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Dave's $30 Billion Smashter Prediction

Sometimes you get a crystal ball prediction and gimmickry. Sometimes you get something with real insight. Dave Aitel’s real insight on DailyDave this morning focused on a NY Times article about the U.S. federal government’s National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 that Bush signed in January 2008:
“Faster, smashter. When I see 30 billion dollars, I can tell you what you’re going to get, as a taxpayer, for your money: Patch management, IDS, Anti-Virus, scanners of all shapes and sizes. Audits. Big rooms full of large screens correlating information that has absolutely no relevance to security. You can’t correlate what you can’t see. You can’t patch what you don’t know about.
Mr. Markoff is trying to tell us that the defenders are losing the battle. But if they are, it’s because they *chose* to. Hackers use 0day and always have. The defenders are off making millions selling things that don’t work against 0day.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that at this point the attackers are just “reasonably competent”. When it comes to offensive information security, we ain’t seen nothing yet.”

NPR, the Washington Post, and the NYT have all been spending more time reporting on computer security. It was very interesting to hear a guest on Boston NPR’s hour long “On Point” this morning discussing characteristics of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ laptop and other PC based resources at the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as the legal arm-twisting used to silence individuals that have participated in security breach investigations. And therein lies the real problem. All the discussion in the world about network security is useless when talk about real issues is silenced, and the individuals that need to protect their organization’s data do not understand or cannot describe what they need to protect it from.

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