Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

5/21/2009
04:55 PM
Gadi Evron
Gadi Evron
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Lessons From Fighting Cybercrime, Part 2

In this article we'll examine three basic guidelines on how to implement solutions into social systems, learned from the fight against spam.

In this article we'll examine three basic guidelines on how to implement solutions into social systems, learned from the fight against spam.Last week I blogged about two spam-fighting ideas: email stamps and blocking port 25. We've shown that while security and cybercrime are filled with reactive solutions doomed to failure, it is possible to gain strategic advantage while implementing them.

Email stamps is a good example of a solution doomed to failure. Why do solutions like this fail?

Avoiding resistance from users is the first key to success. Email stamps make sending email more complicated. They also take something that was free and add a price tag to it.

Taking something that is already widely implemented and adding counter-intuitive terms to its use is always going to encounter resistance. Users don't want additional complexity added to email.

Much the same, taking something and raising its cost, or worse, making something previously free cost money, is one of the reasons so many Internet start-ups failed the past ten years (if we are to listen to social psychology). People do not like feeling cheated out of something that is already theirs.

Needlessly added complexity and making something previously free, cost, especially in a competitive marketplace where users can just switch providers, are paths to failure.

Tying it together, these lead us to the concept of naivete. How practical is the system to reach, be accepted, and then implemented by professionals?

The technology for email stamps requires a large part of the world to implement it before it works. The world is a multi-valence of complex inter-connected systems, and expecting everyone, or a large part of everyone, to do as you ask (if you can even reach them) is simply not plausible.

My second example from the previous blog, blocking port 25--a very different approach--worked immediately for those who did implement it.

Anti-spam introduced the world to the FUSSP, or sarcastically, the "perfect solution": You Might Be An Anti-Spam Kook If... http://www.rhyolite.com/anti-spam/you-might-be.html

It enumerates ways by which "new" and "amazing" suggestions on solving the spam problem go wrong... If only "everyone" (or most people) used their solution or "forced users" to act counter intuitively (and similar truisms), spam would be "gone". It is well worth a read.

Trying to map how some solutions work while others can't even get off the ground and seeing how communities and social systems change is fascinating. The examples above and many other lessons of fighting cybercrime are illuminating. Especially when we consider they are mostly derived from failures of technical solutions to solve a human problem, a common design fallacy this day and age.

In my next blog in this series, we discuss security by obscurity as used by attackers.

Follow Gadi Evron on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gadievron

Gadi Evron is an independent security strategist based in Israel. Special to Dark Reading. Gadi is CEO and founder of Cymmetria, a cyber deception startup and chairman of the Israeli CERT. Previously, he was vice president of cybersecurity strategy for Kaspersky Lab and led PwC's Cyber Security Center of Excellence, located in Israel. He is widely recognized for ... View Full Bio

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/9/2020
Omdia Research Launches Page on Dark Reading
Tim Wilson, Editor in Chief, Dark Reading 7/9/2020
Mobile App Fraud Jumped in Q1 as Attackers Pivot from Browsers
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  7/10/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15105
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Django Two-Factor Authentication before 1.12, stores the user's password in clear text in the user session (base64-encoded). The password is stored in the session when the user submits their username and password, and is removed once they complete authentication by entering a two-factor authenticati...
CVE-2020-11061
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
In Bareos Director less than or equal to 16.2.10, 17.2.9, 18.2.8, and 19.2.7, a heap overflow allows a malicious client to corrupt the director's memory via oversized digest strings sent during initialization of a verify job. Disabling verify jobs mitigates the problem. This issue is also patched in...
CVE-2020-4042
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Bareos before version 19.2.8 and earlier allows a malicious client to communicate with the director without knowledge of the shared secret if the director allows client initiated connection and connects to the client itself. The malicious client can replay the Bareos director's cram-md5 challenge to...
CVE-2020-11081
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
osquery before version 4.4.0 enables a priviledge escalation vulnerability. If a Window system is configured with a PATH that contains a user-writable directory then a local user may write a zlib1.dll DLL, which osquery will attempt to load. Since osquery runs with elevated privileges this enables l...
CVE-2020-6114
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
An exploitable SQL injection vulnerability exists in the Admin Reports functionality of Glacies IceHRM v26.6.0.OS (Commit bb274de1751ffb9d09482fd2538f9950a94c510a) . A specially crafted HTTP request can cause SQL injection. An attacker can make an authenticated HTTP request to trigger this vulnerabi...