Little more than a decade ago, IT security was barely a newborn in diapers. With only a handful of security professionals in 1994, few practiced security and even fewer truly understood it. Security technologies amounted to little more than anti-virus software and packet filtering routers at that time. And the concept of a "hacker" came primarily from the Hollywood movie WarGames; or more often it referred to someone with a low golf score. As a result, just like Rodney Dangerfield, it got "no respect," and no one took it seriously. IT professionals saw it largely as a nuisance, to be ignored — that is until they were impacted by it.
Today, the number of Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP) has topped 61,000 (
www.isc2.org) worldwide, and there are more security companies dotting the landscape than anyone could possibly remember. Today security technologies encompass everything from authentication and authorization to firewalls and VPNs. There are so many ways to address the security problem that it can cause more than a slight migraine simply considering the alternatives. And the term hacker has become a permanent part of our everyday vernacular — as defined in nearly daily headlines. The world (and its criminals) has changed dramatically.
So what does all this mean for you, the home/end-user or IT/security professional that is thrust into this dangerous online world every time you hit the power button on your computer? The answer is everything. The ...