1.9 Where the Field Is Headed
We conclude most chapters with a paragraph or two highlighting some interesting work being done. For students interested in pursuing a career in security, these sections may identify an area of interest.
The number of computer security professionals is growing rapidly but so, too, is the number of attackers. The U.S. CERT and its counterpart organizations around the world do an exceptional job of tracking serious system vulnerabilities and countermeasures. Several efforts are underway to categorize and catalog computer security incidents and vulnerabilities (for example, Landwehr et al. [LAN94]). Being able to sort and correlate incident information is critical to successful forensic analysis of large incidents.
The severity of the computer security problem is causing many companies, schools and universities, government bodies, and individuals to address their security needs. Looking at these groups separately can be daunting and also risks your missing the ones who do it really well. Several groups have promulgated codes of security best practices. The Information Security Forum [ISF00] and the Internet Security Alliance [ISA02] have published codes of best security practices, which are recommendations for secure computing. Governments and regulatory bodies are beginning to enforce standards.
Obviously, the popular attack point today is computer networks and, specifically, the Internet. Do not be misled, however, into thinking that all computer security is network security. As you will see throughout the remainder of this book, network security problems are often just the latest instantiation of computer security problems that predate the rise of the Internet—problems such as identification and authentication, limited privilege, and designing for security. So although the problems of networks are pressing, they are long-standing, open problems.