Wanted: Improved Security - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

Wanted: Improved Security

Companies and ISPs were urged by government and private-sector security experts at the RSA Conference to get tougher on network security, while software makers were advised to make security features easier to use.

Corporate boards and Internet service providers need to get tougher about protecting their networks against hacker attacks and viruses, and software vendors need to make security features easier to use, according to government and private-sector cybersecurity experts speaking at the RSA Conference this week.

In a keynote address at the cryptography and computer-security conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Gen. John Gordon, assistant to the president for homeland security, called on software developers to improve their products' quality. A panel discussion on information security and corporate governance later that day included former White House cybersecurity adviser Richard Clarke, now chairman of Good Harbor Consulting, which advises companies on selling to the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies; Richard Holleyman, CEO of the Business Software Alliance, an anti-digital piracy group; and Scott Charney, chief trustworthy computing strategy officer at Microsoft.

Among their remarks:

  • Clarke said last year was a "market failure" in cybersecurity, "and 2004 doesn't look much better," he said. In general, Internet service providers "do nothing about security. The market isn't forcing the ISPs to do anything about security--it's not a reason people choose one ISP over another."
  • According to Holleyman, "Information security isn't solely a technical issue." It requires management participation, he said, and corporate board members don't understand their roles and responsibilities.
  • Charney, a former Justice Department lawyer, said the spread of worms and viruses last year wasn't surprising--it takes the IT market a while to work against them. Most companies are using Microsoft software designed before threats like the SoBig and Blaster worms that spread across computer networks last year. Microsoft's latest server version of Windows, he said, prevents infected computers from spreading the worm to other machines. "It's going to take time to fix this problem, because the legacy systems weren't designed for the current threat model," he said. "We're in a tough situation, and it's likely to remain tough."
  • Gordon said the U.S. intelligence community needs to create "a new breed of cybersecurity analysts." Adding security features to home networks also is too difficult, he said. "The industry needs to make it easy for users like me, who are reasonably technically competent, to set up security and encryption features." And if the software industry got tougher on quality assurance, it could close off paths of cyberattacks.
  • We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
    The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
    The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
    Download this report from InformationWeek, in partnership with Dark Reading, to learn more about how today's IT operations teams work with cybersecurity operations, what technologies they are using, and how they communicate and share responsibility--or create risk by failing to do so. Get it now!
    Slideshows
    IT Careers: 10 Industries with Job Openings Right Now
    Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/27/2020
    Commentary
    How 5G Rollout May Benefit Businesses More than Consumers
    Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  5/21/2020
    News
    IT Leadership in Education: Getting Online School Right
    Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/20/2020
    Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
    Video
    Current Issue
    Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
    This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
    White Papers
    Slideshows
    Twitter Feed
    Sponsored Live Streaming Video
    Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
    Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
    Sponsored Video
    Flash Poll