Reflection On Security Vulnerabilities
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Question: Write on the topic: Vulnerabilities in the News. With more focus on vulnerabilities by the media, what opportunities are there and what challenges do you face as security professionals? What biblical principles are applicable here? Do you think that breaches like these will get worse or better in the future? Why or why not?
Answer: Introduction: In recent years, the number of threats getting exposed on day to day has increased a lot. There are several vulnerabilities being observed at present the major vulnerabilities like Heartbleed, shello shock, Poodle, the target breach, Icloud and Sony(Weisman,2014) have caused new apprehensions in the IT domain and changed the perception of the people towards ICT security. The following part of the discussion will focus more on these security vulnerabilities.
Analysis of the security breaches and audits
These vulnerabilities are not something new that are caused from the sources external to the network, these are vulnerabilities that exist inherently in the network and creating susceptibility of these networks to get hacked of the sensitive information contained in the network. For example, Shell shock is the vulnerability contained in the Bash program of every Unix based computer and device located in the world. Typical systems like Linux, Mac, OS X, Android are vulnerable. Hackers can use Shell shock to take control of the devices and they can even run programs from background without getting their identity hacked of. Poodle is a vulnerability which exists in the design of Encryption of standard secure socket layer (SSL) version 3.0, which will make this protocol highly insecure. This is often employed by both the websites and the browsers. Encrypted information contained in the network can be easily get accessed by the attackers who penetrate into this network quite easily through this vulnerability. Some of these vulnerabilities like Shellshock(Delamore,2015) and heart bleed do have some patching possible; however vulnerability in the Poodle is completely insecure and is highly vulnerable for getting breached.
Further the new hack stories observed online include Target breach, where millions of the customer credit card and other social security numbers started appearing online. Icloud hacking revealed the security breaches in Apple which caused stealing of lot of personal information from Apple devices. Sony was hit disastrously and lot of information from Sony back end got stolen and caused lot of financial loss to the company in recent years. Some sensitive financial data of the company also got revealed from the Sony back ends. All this information created disastrous impact on the company progression.
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Now the issue is status of these vulnerabilities, there is no doubt that there can be new vulnerabilities present in the security in the future networks. It can be unavoidable and there is every chance that new systems will result in new security problems to the networks. However still what are not learnt by these victims is security audit, Risk management (Walker,2011) and post attack management of hacking. There is no proper care shown from most of these companies as well. For example snapchat has not listened to the white hat hackers and their advices to augment its security profile. Apple should have protected their user data like Face book and Google, which could not get breached. Similar Home Depot might have studied the case of Icloud to protect its own resources. The security vulnerabilities of heart bleed and Poodle should have alerted the open source coders to make the design more fool-proof. In any case there is ample scope for all these organizations to either minimize the impacts or all together mitigate the threat, but it seems proper risk management is not done.
Reflection: Hence one thing that is sure is that the security threats do exist and they cannot be reduced. With technology advancements it is possible to get new threats and the existing vulnerabilities may become worst. However at the same time, new patching and remedies also will be available to mitigate the risk or altogether to replace the technology with new developments. There lie opportunities to either improve or replace the existing technologies with new developments. What is needed at present is to have a comprehensive risk management system along with reliable and appropriate security audit system. When organizations got ready to take up the lessons from the proceedings and if take systematic defence mechanisms in their security up gradation, they can sustain their security as well as the security of their customers. Being competent in hacking may provide opportunities for misuse of the talent and technology, it is required for the ethical hacker to use his capabilities only with biblical principles like contentment, sovereignty of god, stewardship, honouring god's character, respect for property and veracity etc. These principles will keep the hacker on right track.
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