Chapter Eighteen. Security Administration Tools and Practices

Eser Kandogan and Eben M. Haber

TODAY, HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF USERS DEPEND ON RELIABLE ACCESS TO COMPUTING AND INFORMATION SERVICES for business, educational, and personal activities. The growth of the Internet puts a world of information and services at our fingertips, yet also opens computers to attack from anywhere around the globe. The same networks that permit a tourist to read email from an airport in Singapore also permit a student in Romania to release a computer virus that disables computers and the businesses that depend on them. In addition, as the complexity of computer systems increases, new vulnerabilities are discovered each day. There is a worldwide community of people, usually referred to as hackers or crackers, who work to discover and exploit such vulnerabilities to attack and gain control of systems, sharing their techniques through various underground channels. Computers across the Internet have been subject to worms, denial-of-service attacks, password-sniffing, and other malicious activity, leading to significant inconvenience and loss of productivity for legitimate users. On the other side, vendors and computer system administrators race to discover vulnerabilities and to create, release, and apply patches before those vulnerabilities are exploited. On the front lines of this battle are security administrators, the people responsible for continually monitoring both their own systems and the ever-evolving ...

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