Why your security stinks

Amit Yoran was the Department of Homeland Security's first director of the National Cyber Security Division of the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection office. But by September 2004 he was frustrated by what he saw as a lack of concern and commitment to Internet security. So he quit his post.

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Amit Yoran was the Department of Homeland Security's first director of the National Cyber Security Division of the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection office. But by September 2004 he was frustrated by what he saw as a lack of concern and commitment to Internet security. So he quit his post.

More than five years later, his frustration goes well beyond government. Everywhere he looks, the vendor community, the typical IT security shop, the boardrooms of private enterprise, he sees that same cluelessness. At next week's SOURCE Boston conference, he'll outline the problems in a talk with a blunt title: "Security Sucks."

In an interview with CSO, Yoran described it like a cancer that has metastasized throughout infosec's body.

"It's bad all around," said Yoran, now CEO of NetWitness. "The technology is inadequate. Decisions are not supported by metrics or realities of the particular enterprise environment. People are unable to grasp modern threats."

He said the recent attack against Google is a textbook example of sophisticated malware has become. Slight modifications of that exploit will continue to work even in well-monitored environments, he said. But what's more telling is how the community responded.

"A lot of attention was put on China, but there's a real blurring of our understanding of what's coming from nation states and non-nation state actors," he said. "More recently, there's been a closer coupling between organised crime and state actors where intelligence services want to procure information collected by criminal gangs."

Meanwhile, he said, the complexity of individual IT environments is such that no one can handle the security of their apps, the behaviour of their users or where in the network their data is sitting or traveling.

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