Trevor Dixon

Security is an Afterthought

Thirty years ago, it was already clear to network managers like Clifford Stoll that the username/password method of authentication is faulty. (People tend to pick easy-to-remember passwords that are easy to guess; complex assigned passwords get written down and are easily stolen.) Given that so many other aspects of computing have evolved dramatically after all these years, it’s remarkable that this model is the still the norm.

Because our authentication methods are the same as they were 30 years ago, many of Clifford Stoll’s hacker’s break-in tactics work just as well against today’s networks as they did in the 80s. At least our intolerance for this kind of hacking has caught up with the risks! Such an intrusion would not be taken so lightly by today’s network managers as it was by those Stoll elicited for support.