The news is again alive with reports of hacking and breaches. The latest is operation "Night Dragon", involving the breaching of several large energy companies. Right before that came word that the NASDAQ exchange might have suffered a hacking attack on some of their systems, but on the exchange system itself. Maybe it is because the annual RSA Conference is next week (I will have open source coverage from the show) or not, but security is in the headlines again. But when I see supposedly intelligent people blaming open source for simple SQL injections I see red. Can you spell F-ear U-ncertainty and D-oubt?
"[The use of cloud computing and open source] have been relegated by firms to areas that are not core businesses. But after this incident, all the main businesses may look at whether or not that type of open source environment has made it easier for people to hack into. It may not be the case. As far as I understand it, if hackers put in the hours, they can hack into [any] system. But has open source made it easier? Firms will be looking into that."
Are you kidding me? A simple SQL Injection and you are going to blame open source and the cloud for this? Really? The article says these were similar to the Operation Aurora attacks against Google last year. Wrong again. The Aurora affair was about Advanced Persistent Attacks or APT. What happened in the NASDAQ case is much more garden variety web application security.
But I may be boring some of you with the security details here. The point is that fear mongering like, casting asperstions on both open source and cloud computing, when neither likely bears any blame here does us all a disservice. It also flies in the face of recent reports and surveys.
For instance Gartner recently released a survey that showed that enterprises using open source to gain competitive advantages. Another survey from last August shows that up to 98% of enterprises are using some open source software. Accenture's recent survey showed that two thirds of enterprises were increasing their bet on open source.
So lets be clear. Software is software. Given enough time and resources just about anything can be hacked. Usually the weakest link is the human behind the keyboard. But open source is no more to blame than sunspots are. Spreading FUD in the face of the facts is no way to make friends with this open source blogger!
As co-founder and Managing Partner at The CISO Group, Alan Shimel is responsible for driving the vision and mission of the company. The CISO Group offers security consulting and PCI compliance management for the payment card industry. Prior to The CISO Group, Alan was the Chief Strategy Officer at StillSecure. Shimel was the public persona of StillSecure as it grew from start up to helping defend some of the largest and most sensitive networks in the world.
Shimel is an often-cited personality in the technology community and is a sought-after speaker at industry and government conferences and events. His commentary about the state of security, open source and life is followed closely by many industry insiders via his blog and podcast, "Ashimmy, After All These Years" (www.ashimmy.com). Alan is now also a regular contributor to The CISO Group’s security.exe blog and podcast.
Alan has helped build several successful technology companies by combining a strong business background with a deep knowledge of technology. His legal background, long experience in the field, and New York street smarts combine to form a unique personality.
Disclosure: The CISO Group sells a software-as-a-service PCI compliance application called SAQPro. The company is independent and does not represent any other vendor's products as a reseller.
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