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Configuration Errors and Passwords

Today, desktop workstations are becoming the tool of more and more scientists and professionals. Without proper time and training to administer these systems, vulnerability to both internal and external attacks will increase. Workstations are usually administered by individuals whose primary job description is not the administration of the workstation. The workstation is merely a tool to assist in the performance of the actual job tasks. As a result, if the workstation is up and running, the individual is satisfied.

This neglectful and permissive attitude toward computer security can be very dangerous. This user attitude has resulted in poor usage of controls and selection of easily guessed passwords. As these users become, in effect, workstation administrators, this will be compounded by configuration errors and a lax attitude towards security bug fixes. To correct this, systems should be designed so that security is the default and personnel should be equipped with adequate tools to verify that their systems are secure.

Of course, even with proper training and adequate tools threats will remain. New security bugs and attack mechanisms will be employed. Proper channels do not currently exist in most organizations for the dissemination of security related information. If organizations do not place a high enough priority on computer security, the average system will continue to be at risk from external threats.

Next: Internal Threats Up: Trends for the Previous: Trends for the
Thu Mar 10 15:32:44 EST 1994