10 Immutable Laws of Computer Security

by techtiptom

Originally posted on WIBC.com on 09/21/2010:

This is from Microsoft’s TechNet:
10 Immutable Laws of SecurityHere at the Microsoft Security Response Center, we investigate thousands of security reports every year. In some cases, we find that a report describes a bona fide security vulnerability resulting from a flaw in one of our products; when this happens, we develop a patch as quickly as possible to correct the error.

In other cases, the reported problems simply result from a mistake someone made in using the product. But many fall in between. They discuss real security problems, but the problems don’t result from product flaws. Over the years, we’ve developed a list of issues like these, that we call the 10 Immutable Laws of Security.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for a patch that will protect you from the issues we’ll discuss below. It isn’t possible for Microsoft—or any software vendor—to “fix” them, because they result from the way computers work. But don’t abandon all hope yet—sound judgment is the key to protecting yourself against these issues, and if you keep them in mind, you can significantly improve the security of your systems.

Law #1: If a bad guy can persuade you to run his program on your computer, it’s not your computer anymore

Law #2: If a bad guy can alter the operating system on your computer, it’s not your computer anymore

Law #3: If a bad guy has unrestricted physical access to your computer, it’s not your computer anymore

Law #4: If you allow a bad guy to upload programs to your website, it’s not your website any more

Law #5: Weak passwords trump strong security

Law #6: A computer is only as secure as the administrator is trustworthy

Law #7: Encrypted data is only as secure as the decryption key

Law #8: An out of date virus scanner is only marginally better than no virus scanner at all

Law #9: Absolute anonymity isn’t practical, in real life or on the Web

Law #10: Technology is not a panacea

See the web-site shown above for a full definition of these “laws”…