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Ride The Crime Coaster

With all the dire warnings of how cybercrime is the nation’s top priority, I was wondering how other crimes have been faring

Now that would be a fun amusement park ride – the Crime Coaster – with the hills and valleys designed based on crime statistic charts.  You can even get a digital photo of yourself as you fly thru the Tunnel of Turmoil.  Muuhahahahahahahahahah!

With all the dire warnings of how cybercrime is the nation’s top priority, I was wondering how other crimes have been faring.  And NO, this is not a for/against ‘gun control’ rant but for instance, is burglary loosing its luster to smashing a server’s window?  Since cyber crime is a billion dollar business will the door-to-door thief change tactics?  Probably not for now but as physical, non-cyber crimes drop, does digital crime go up?  Or, since ‘stealing something’ is the ultimate goal, as more available methods (like cyber) to accomplish the goal become available, does all crime go up?  I should also note that crime stats should be taken with a grain of salt since law enforcement can only comment on the crimes that have been reported to them.  Crimes like car theft are often reported due to insurance claims while other crimes, like domestic disputes, are under reported due to embarrassment or other hindering factors.  Add to that, different jurisdictions have various scales of classification, penalties and measurement. Plus, the recent report that says few companies report that cybercrime results in big losses only adds to the confusion.

According to the FBI, violent crimes in the US are down for the 5th year in a row.  Granted, for now, cybercrime is probably more property related than violent but that could change.  Cities like Los Angeles, are reporting that crime – violent and property- is down significantly even though, overall, LA is much higher than the rest of California and violent crime in LA occurs at a rate higher than in most communities of all population sizes in America, according to neighborhoodscout.com.  Most criminologists agree that several factors are contributing to the decline.  We have one of the highest incarceration rates in the world; there has been an increased police presence; there are security cameras everywhere; the aging population; and programs to help both the youngsters and those in need can all be attributed to the decline.

So while our physical bodies and personal property in the material world are safer, our identity, privacy, passwords, infrastructure, and other digital collateral are more at risk than ever.  On a daily basis, companies are getting probed and breached yet might not know or simply might not report it.  I bet, however, if someone threw a rock smashing their lobby window, a couple Five-O’s will be on the scene taking statements.  The company, local employees and the police will have a BOLO issued and everyone will be on heightened alert.  There might also be additional security measures taken, tempered glass, CCTV, key card entry and other physical protection mechanisms.

We readily deploy layered security for our physical property with locks, alarms, dogs, cameras, window bars, weapons, panic rooms, etc all within the context of what we are trying to protect.  We should do the same for our digital assets.  Imagine if we took the same safeguards (or paranoia in this case), albeit with different technologies, to protect our bits and bytes.  Yes, there will still be breaches but maybe things like D/DoS, SQLi and other well known vulnerabilities can be greatly reduced since we do have the technology to protect against such attacks.  It just has to be deployed.

We thwart criminals and protect our personal physical property with a vast array of mechanisms and we feel/are secure…maybe we should take that same focus, fear and fever in protecting our digital self.  Then, as you peel off the pixilated mask you’ll hear, ‘…and I would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling firewalls!

ps

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More Stories By Peter Silva

Peter Silva covers security for F5’s Technical Marketing Team. After working in Professional Theatre for 10 years, Peter decided to change careers. Starting out with a small VAR selling Netopia routers and the Instant Internet box, he soon became one of the first six Internet Specialists for AT&T managing customers on the original ATT WorldNet network.

Now having his Telco background he moved to Verio to focus on access, IP security along with web hosting. After losing a deal to Exodus Communications (now Savvis) for technical reasons, the customer still wanted Peter as their local SE contact so Exodus made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. As only the third person hired in the Midwest, he helped Exodus grow from an executive suite to two enormous datacenters in the Chicago land area working with such customers as Ticketmaster, Rolling Stone, uBid, Orbitz, Best Buy and others.

Bringing the slightly theatrical and fairly technical together, he covers training, writing, speaking, along with overall product evangelism for F5’s security line. He's also produced over 200 F5 videos and recorded over 50 audio whitepapers. Prior to joining F5, he was the Business Development Manager with Pacific Wireless Communications. He’s also been in such plays as The Glass Menagerie, All’s Well That Ends Well, Cinderella and others. He earned his B.S. from Marquette University, and is a certified instructor in the Wisconsin System of Vocational, Technical & Adult Education.