Computer Security Is Impossible

Moved stuff to IwannaLearnComputerSecurity

Should be renamed CompleteSecurityIsImpossible. Otherwise it is not a useful title because most companies now have internal Computer Security function. These companies obviously do not feel that their work in SecurityManagement is futile. -- dl

The Physical Access argument

If an attacker has free physical access to a computer system's hardware, and can disassemble, modify, etc. the system at will, then no security except StrongEncryption? or a ScorchedEarthPolicy mechanism can prevent the data from being extracted by the attackers.

If obfuscation is not possible then nothing can prevent someone who has free physical access to a computer system to extract every iota information about what it is computing.

"Security" isn't a binary condition; it's better measured by the amount of resources an adversary needs to breach it. Not all systems or resources (computer or otherwise) need the same level of security.

Likewise with computer systems. This Wiki is hardly secure at all (it uses SoftSecurity). However, there is little to be taken or damaged here. All info is public already, we have no secrets. While deleting pages isn't hard; they can be restored from backup in short order. The main threat is to our collective enjoyment of Wiki.

The first step in any security audit is "how much security do you need"?

Sorry but this has absolutely nothing to do with computer security, or security at all. It has to do with insecurity which is a completely different subject.

Given a set of requirements, whether a design is secure is a binary condition. It either fulfills its requirements or it doesn't. Given that there are a set of standard requirements for computer systems which it is legitimate to expect all systems everywhere to uphold, this makes computer security a binary condition.


View edit of February 4, 2008 or FindPage with title or text search