Monday, September 15, 2008

Let's talk Software Serviceability

Financial Times graciously invited me to write an opinion piece for their publication entitled "Learn from today’s software flaws to protect corporations tomorrow", where I discuss a bit about Software Serviceability. In the wake of Dan K's vulnerability announcement (and others like it), I couldn't shake the notion that no matter how hard to try to write perfectly secure code, given a long enough time line we'll always fall short. We will miss a bug, there will be a new attack technique, hackers will exploit our systems. To me this says our important systems must have speedy and adaptive security measures to identify threats as they happen and the ability to quickly service our deployed software (preferably within days or hours). Some systems have this capability, but it's too few and far between.

"So in the case of the issues found by Dan, Tony, and Alex it is hard to put a top-end market value on them, but consider that other less severe issues have sold for five and six figure sums. Would seven figures be out of the question? Will the next security researcher be influenced by the potential financial reward instead of giving it away for free? We know for sure that there will be a next time, because software is imperfect. Vulnerabilities will be found and long standing encrypting algorithms will be broken or at least weakened. And it’s difficult, if not impossible, to future-proof our code against attack techniques that don’t yet exist."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just a little tee-hee: wanted me to register to read your article, but I didn't want to. So tried the old u: p:test and now I will read it as I enjoy a frosty carbonated beverage.