Special Points of Interest
Any time you use a toilet to explain something, especially something as serious as the flaws in network security, you should expect the occasional snicker or guffaw. Many people have used "toilet humor" through the years to highlight elements of our society that we don't like to discuss in public forums. From Frank Zappa to South Park, toilet humor has been used as a way of getting a message out. So it is with this chapter. So, I ask you to open your mind up a bit as you read this chapter, because I'm going to apply process control as a method to understand our present security problem, and I'm going to use a toilet to explain why it works.
As you might suspect, this isn't a traditional application, and some people will question the notion that the network can be controlled in such a way. However, I believe that I make a good case for it and provide a solid foundation for my claims.
So, this chapter is about looking at things in a different way. By deconstructing why we're failing, we can gain some insight into a method of understanding that will enable us to apply some "new to us" technology to our solution. I say that it's "new to us" because lots of other folks have been successfully using control processes for quite a few years. As a matter of fact, we will examine one group of dedicated control computers in Chapter 12, "Embedded Devices." (Remember when you read Chapter 12 that I said "successfully" here, not "securely.")
I also suggest that you pay special attention to the section that maps process control modes to existing security; that section reveals some interesting traits regarding our security technology selections to date.
At the end of this chapter, you'll find some proposed icons and symbology that allow us to reduce a large and complex network environment to a simple drawing. I believe that this type of schematic representation of the network and its security functions is crucial to helping us understand how to build better security systems.