Beautiful Security - PDF

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Beautiful Security by Andy Oram

IF ONE BELIEVES THAT NEWS HEADLINES REVEAL TRENDS, THESE ARE INTERESTING times for computer security buffs. As Beautiful Security went to press, I read that a piece of software capable of turning on microphones and cameras and stealing data has been discovered on more than 1,200 computers in 103 countries, particularly in embassies and other sensitive government sites. On another front, a court upheld the right of U.S. investigators to look at phone and Internet records without a warrant (so long as one end of the conversation is outside the U.S.). And this week’s routine vulnerabilities include a buffer overflow in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader—with known current exploits—that lets attackers execute arbitrary code on your system using your privileges after you open their PDF.


Headlines are actually not good indicators of trends, because in the long run history is driven by subtle evolutionary changes noticed only by a few—such as the leading security experts who contributed to this book. The current directions taken by security threats as well as responses can be discovered in these pages.


All the alarming news items I mentioned in the first paragraph are just business as usual in the security field. Yes, they are part of trends that should worry all of us, but we also need to look at newer and less dramatic vulnerabilities. The contributors to this book have, for decades, been on the forefront of discovering weaknesses in our working habits and suggesting unconventional ways to deal with them.


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