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Complexity the worst enemy of security

Chee-Sing Chan | Dec. 18, 2012
Computerworld Hong Kong (CWHK): Are we actually any more secure today than we were five years ago?

CWHK: So is losing control good or bad here?

BS: In losing control, we simply have to trust Apple and Facebook and many others to be responsible and protect our data. My mother used to go home and clear out all her spam, run her AV and firewalls to clean out her system. But today while we have lost control over these things, in many ways we are more secure. We trust Apple to secure our iPads, we trust Samsung to secure our phones.

So loss of control in many cases does not mean being less secure. But this also depends on who you are. So for those that like control and have the capability to manage many of these security issues -- such as myself -- we hate this loss. I'm still using Eudora mail, there is no better or more secure email program in my opinion. But this is rare and I'll admit I'm a true exception to the norm.

CWHK: So trust is the key issue today and the challenge is who we trust to have this control?

BS: People do in most cases have to get over this sense of losing control. And in security it's something we argued for when I was managing Counterpane to help businesses improve their security monitoring. We would have customers racked with uncertainty and asking if this was the right thing to do. To which we replied with the observation that they were doing such a bad job themselves anyway, there was no way of not improving things for them.

So the question today is not: Is my data secure in the cloud? The question should be: Is my data more secure with you than it is with me?


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