2007-04-03 Security Link Of The Day

Scary Dave scribed thusly, back in November:

Dave's Bit Bucket

I had a rather illuminating discussion with A Really Big Customer a little while back, in the context of a Really Big Project they are working on.

The customer have an issue which states that they are getting worried about "not having an IDS solution on Solaris 10". In terms of IDS, they are typically an ISS shop - they want something agent-based which will do centralised reporting and alerting on perceived usage anomalies.

It turns out that only one IDS vendor - this being Prelude, about whom the customer knew nothing - currently do an agent for Solaris 10. From their perspective, this is "a bit of a bugger".

Now, in my (moderately) humble opinion, there are only three reasons why an organisation would consider having IDS in the first place...

  1. Most of the time folk talk to be about IDS, they are working from a mechanistic risk evaluation and mitigation analysis system such as One I Won't Name Here which gets used when designing lots of Government stuff. This approach sometimes takes people down a technology path which might not be appropriate for them, and IDS isn't for everyone.

  2. Consider that IDS doesn't actually secure anything - it merely alerts an admin team to its belief that an environment is under attack. I've met a very few folk who want IDS because they have their entire underlying security infrastructure well and truly organised, and want to add IDS as not so much "the icing on the cake" as the "100s and 1000s and the cherry on top".

  3. Plain, simple pointy-haired stupidity, usually from some senior manager who just came back from Infosecurity or some other major show with a big wedge of brochures.

I don't find many folk (only two so far) in the situation of 2, and there's a lot more in 1. There's even more folk in 3. Really, IDS is only worth considering if everything else is nailed down properly already.

So, I was fortunate enough to get around a table with some senior geeks in the customer's admin and IDS department, and thrash a few things out in a forum where honesty ruled and political correctness was pretty much left at the door.

Things went roughly like this...

article continues on Dave's site...

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