Feeds

Infosecurity is very much like...

New cliches for old

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Infosec After three days, 320 exhibitors, dozens of presentations, and even more extensive marketing guff the Infosecurity exhibition in London is over for another year. Thankfully, next year's trade show will be held in Earls Court, not in the wastes of Olympia, and so much easier to get to.

Adios Olympia

The biennial Information Security Breaches survey set one tone for the show - firms are getting better at securing wireless networks and handling malware attacks, but lost laptops and customer data breaches remain a problem. File encryption is one solution, but this creates key management problems. Hard disk encryption is a better tactic - but it is only a well-thought out alternative in cases where firms have a backup strategy in place.

Historically, firms have been worried that hard disk or software problems would leave encrypted data unavailable, an even more likely scenario than losing the damn thing.

Chris Potter, the partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers who led the survey, told us that this factor, alongside the cost issue, have kept uptake of laptop encryption low, at about eight per cent. Concerns that encryption software would slow down the operation of modern PCs were not much of a factor.

Performance issues of another kind were well in evidence during the show. Few exhibitors were running Vista on their stands, preferring XP instead - an observation first mentioned to us by Robert Schifreen, the Prestel hacker turned respected security consultant.

Microsoft, of course,extolled the virtues of Vista as superior to XP in resisting malware infestation. Separately, its report on the latest trends in use of its malicious software removal tool revealed that many surfers were content to leave adware programs on their PCs.

In the second half of 2007, 129.5 million pieces of potentially unwanted software were found on PCs, but only 71.7 million of these were removed. Microsoft, like specialist security firms, reports a big increase in the number of Trojan downloaders and droppers it detects, up 300 per cent from 2H 2006.

Infosec bunnies

Dolly birds were much less in evidence at this year's Infosec than at previous shows. Perhaps the IT security industry is bracing itself for a possible downturn in the economy? If so, it's nothing anyone at the show much wanted to discuss.

Revenge of the Autons?

Revenge of the Autons?

One of the few firms making the effort to hire artists to appear at the show was Eset, which hired a mime artist to model a robotic humanoid costume, modelled on something from a Kraftwork video, perhaps. We think it was making a reference to botnets rather than the German electro music pioneers, but since the mime artist was too professional to speak we can't be sure.

Away from the fluff, Infosec continues to attract a high calibre of luminaries from the security community. Bruce Schneier, the closest the security industry has to a rock star, made an appearance at the show, along with Howard Schmidt, former White House security advisor whose extensive career spans spells at eBay and Microsoft.

Schmidt

Schmidt: one of the net luminaries at Infosec

Schmidt told us how the US was far ahead of the UK in collating incidents of cybercrime. And he said the amalgamation of the UK's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit two years ago into the larger, less specialist the Serious and Organised Crime Agency was a step backward.

The Metropolitan Police's head of e-crime, Detective Supt Charlie McMurdie, is still waiting for the Home Office to approve plans to create a central e-crime unit in the UK.

Cybercrime has never been high up the agenda at the Home Office, except when it talks about the need for ID cards as a supposed counter-measure against ID fraud. So it's unsurprising that approval for this modest, well-thought out proposal has been a long time coming. Some delegates at Infosec suspect that ministers perceive a central e-crime unit as a u-turn, and may be blocking its formation.

Talk about information security has always been laden with cliches. The favourite of yesteryear -security as a journey not a destination - has fallen out of fashion. These days you're more likely to hear people compare information security with brakes on cars, a feature that allows autos to be driven fast, we heard that at least three times in various presentations. Thankfully, our conversations down the pub were spared of such remarks.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to motor off. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.