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Showing posts from September, 2009

Mandating Protection, Society and Seatbelts

There are a number of discussions happening regarding the differences in risk based security vs compliance based security. These mostly have grown from discussions around PCI and other imposed standards of control. My opinion is that risk and compliance are two necessary actions.
Agusto, over at securitybalance blog is the latest to discuss the merits of compliance based security. I share his opinion that creating prescriptive measurable requirements goes a long way to improve the security of a large number of organizations. This is a given - I compare this other compliance programs like laws regarding the use of seat belts in automobiles. They exist because it is better to protect everyone to the same level of protection than it is to measure the specific protections required based on the roads that are being driven on that day, or the specific use of the vehicle, etc.
What this doesn't mean is that there isn't some degree of risk management being performed - its just that…

Simple and Free File Examination

I know many people that despise running multiple version of desktop antivirus. One of these programs us usually enough to drop performance to a crawl. For those careful people who like to validate suspect files you get there is a great service VirusTotal.
This service works by accepting uploaded files from users, then running them through a series of tests and virus scanning engines, currently 41 different ones to be exact. This makes it extremely useful for gauging how to treat that questionable email attachment. It manages to do this by making hashes of the files that get uploaded then instead of using additional CPU cycles by scanning duplicate files, just matches the hash then returns the information to the user.
The other really cool part is that it provides detailed file information as well by analyzing the file's actual structure. Someone sends you a .jpg - but really it contains windows executable code ready to infect your machine. Find out what PE information, file s…