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Web Security, Privacy & Commerce, 2nd Edition by Gene Spafford, Simson Garfinkel

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Operating Securely

In general, the longer a computer is used, the less secure it becomes. New software gets installed, increasing the complexity of the system and increasing the chance that a vulnerability will be introduced. Sometimes a security measure might be disabled by an administrator who is looking to get something done quickly. Meanwhile, vulnerabilities with the existing system are more likely to be discovered. Operating systems that were believed to be absolutely secure one day can be fatally vulnerable the next.

Thus, if you spend the time and money to deploy a secure system, but you do not maintain the system, you are wasting your resources. Organizations that hire security consultants are often the most guilty offenders: these organizations frequently bring in some high-powered consultants for a brief engagement. The consultants write a report and leave. Even if the consultants actually succeeded in making the systems more secure, the beneficial results are only temporary.

Keep Abreast of New Vulnerabilities

In today’s environment, you must stay abreast of newly discovered vulnerabilities if you wish to maintain a secure computer that is connected to the Internet. The day has long passed when security vulnerabilities were kept quiet. These days vulnerabilities are usually publicized with breathtaking speed once they are discovered. What’s more, once a vulnerability is known, exploits are quickly developed and distributed across the Internet. In many cases, system administrators ...

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