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Geekonomics: The Real Cost of Insecure Software

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Geekonomics Audio Podcasts


Geekonomics: The Real Cost of Insecure Software - Parts 1-3

Podcast Part 1: David Rice and Ben Rothke discuss how current market incentives might be changed to protect you and your identity.

Podcast Part 2: David Rice and Ben Rothke discuss the "cement" metaphor as it pertains to software security.

Podcast Part 3: David Rice and Ben Rothke discuss accountability for vulnerable software.

Description

  • Copyright 2008
  • Edition: 1st
  • Premium Website
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-47789-8
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-47789-7

“The clarity of David’s argument and the strength of his conviction are truly inspiring. If you don’t believe the world of software affects the world in which you live, you owe it to yourself to read this book.”
–Lenny Zeltzer, SANS Institute faculty member and the New York Security Consulting Manager at Savvis, Inc.

Geekonomics stays with you long after you finish reading the book. You will reconsider every assumption you have had about software costs and benefits.”
–Slava Frid, Gemini Systems, CTO, Resilience Technology Solutions

“Information Security is an issue that concerns governments, companies and, increasingly, citizens. Are the computer systems and software to which we entrust our sensitive and critical information, technologies that are out of control? David Rice has written an important and welcome book that goes to the heart of this issue, and points to solutions that society as a whole needs to debate and embrace.”
–Nick Bleech, IT Security Director, Rolls-Royce

“If you are dependent upon software (and of course, all of us in the modern world are) this book is a fabulous discussion of how and why we should worry.”
–Becky Bace

The Real Cost of Insecure Software

•   In 1996, software defects in a Boeing 757 caused a crash that killed 70 people…

•   In 2003, a software vulnerability helped cause the largest U.S. power outage in decades…

•   In 2004, known software weaknesses let a hacker invade T-Mobile, capturing everything from passwords to Paris Hilton’s photos…

•   In 2005, 23,900 Toyota Priuses were recalled for software errors that could cause the cars to shut down at highway speeds…

•   In 2006 dubbed “The Year of Cybercrime,” 7,000 software vulnerabilities were discovered that hackers could use to access private information…

•   In 2007, operatives in two nations brazenly exploited software vulnerabilities to cripple the infrastructure and steal trade secrets from other sovereign nations…

Software has become crucial to the very survival of civilization. But badly written, insecure software is hurting people–and costing businesses and individuals billions of dollars every year. This must change. In Geekonomics, David Rice shows how we can change it.

Rice reveals why the software industry is rewarded for carelessness, and how we can revamp the industry’s incentives to get the reliability and security we desperately need and deserve. You’ll discover why the software industry still has shockingly little accountability–and what we must do to fix that.

Brilliantly written, utterly compelling, and thoroughly realistic, Geekonomics is a long-overdue call to arms. Whether you’re software user, decision maker, employee, or business owner this book will change your life…or even save it.

The Alarming Cost of Insecure, Badly Written Software...

and How to Finally Fix the Problem, Once and for All!

Six billion crash test dummies: why you’re at greater risk than you ever imagined.

You pay the price: why consumers are legally and financially responsible for the mistakes of software manufacturers.

Broken windows: how software promotes epidemic cyber crime and threatens national security.

Who runs the show?: Why software manufacturers fought against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s attempts to protect the U.S. blood supply.

Protecting national infrastructure: real incentives for transforming software manufacturing.

Surviving the information superhighway: practical, must-read advice in a world of insecure code.

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xix

About the Author xx

Chapter 1: The Foundation of Civilization 1

Chapter 2: Six Billion Crash Test Dummies: Irrational Innovation and Perverse Incentives 19

Chapter 3: The Power of Weaknesses: Broken Windows and National Security 73

Chapter 4: Myopic Oversight: Blinded by Speed, Baffled by Churn 131

Chapter 5: Absolute Immunity: You Couldn’t Sue Us Even If You Wanted To 179

Chapter 6: Open Source Software: Free, But at What Cost? 243

Chapter 7: Moving Forward: Rational Incentives for a Different Future 273

Epilogue 321

Notes 325

Index 341

Extras

Related Articles

Crime, War, and B.S. in the Electronic Universe

No Time to Patch

Author's Site

www.geekonomicsbook.com

See the First Safari “Search This Book” Widget on David Rice's Site
PTG and Safari Books Online have collaborated to launch a beta release of a "Search This Book" widget for integration into the websites of technical book authors. The widget enhances the experience for visitors by enabling them to go beyond the book description and to locate relevant content from within the book by conducting full-text searches using the widget. Read the announcement.

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

The Real Cost of Insecure Software: The Foundation of Civilization

Downloadable Sample Chapter

Download the chapter

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xix

About the Author xx

Chapter 1: The Foundation of Civilization 1

Chapter 2: Six Billion Crash Test Dummies: Irrational Innovation and Perverse Incentives 19

Chapter 3: The Power of Weaknesses: Broken Windows and National Security 73

Chapter 4: Myopic Oversight: Blinded by Speed, Baffled by Churn 131

Chapter 5: Absolute Immunity: You Couldn’t Sue Us Even If You Wanted To 179

Chapter 6: Open Source Software: Free, But at What Cost? 243

Chapter 7: Moving Forward: Rational Incentives for a Different Future 273

Epilogue 321

Notes 325

Index 341

Preface

Download the preface

Updates

Errata

Warning and Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to make this book as complete and as accurate as possible, but no warranty or fitness is implied. The information provided is on an "as is" basis. The author and the publisher shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damages arising from the information contained in this book or from the use of the CD or programs accompanying it.

ErrorLocation Error Correction DateAdded
ii Missing Author Photo Info: Author Photo Heidi Borgia fixed 1/9/2008
pxx Author bio changed: David Rice is an accomplished information
security professional, educator, and visionary. For more than a decade he has advised, counseled, and defended global IT networks for government and private industry. David is Director of The Monterey Group.
David Rice is an internationally recognized information
security professional and an accomplished educator and visionary. For a decade he has advised, counseled, and defended global IT networks for government and private industry. David has been awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense for “significant contributions” advancing security of critical national infrastructure and global networks. Additionally, David has authored numerous IT security courses and publications, teaches for the prestigious SANS Institue, and has served as adjunct faculty as James Madison University. He is a frequent speaker at information security conferences and currently Director of The Monterey Group.
1/9/2008
p2 2nd para: Roman cement gets its name from its extensive use by the Romans to construct the infrastructure for their republic and empire. Roman cement gets its name from Romans who used it in a vast majority of infrastructure for both the Republic and Empire. 1/9/2008
p8 1st sent: Unlike Portland cement, for more than 50 years software of all types and function has been continuously released into the stream of commerce, plagued by design and implementation defects that were largely detectable and preventable by manufacturers, but were not. Unlike Portland cement, for more than 50 years software of all types and function has been continuously released into the stream of commerce plagued by design and implementation defects that were largely detectable and preventable by manufacturers, but were not. 1/9/2008
p10 4th para: Why do software users willingly and repeatedly accept licensing agreements that absolve software manufacturers of most forms of liability for any design or application defects that might result in injury, harm, or damages? Why do software users willingly and repeatedly accept licensing terms that absolve software manufacturers of most forms of liability for any design or implementation defects that might result in injury, harm, or damages? 1/9/2008
p11 Last para: Costs are not always obvious to the individual at time of “purchase” so to speak, and can be hidden or otherwise obscured. Costs are not always obvious to the individual at “time of purchase” so to speak, and can be hidden or otherwise obscured. 1/9/2008
p13 Last sent: But as software is a human creation, it does need to remain a frustrating ghost. But as software is a human creation, it does not need to remain a frustrating ghost. 1/9/2008
p14 3rd para: This is a challenging task considering that unlike statistics regarding accidental drowning, good data on which to base cost estimates regarding insecure software is notoriously lacking and inaccurate for two reasons. This is a challenging task considering that unlike statistics regarding accidental drowning, good data on which to base cost estimates regarding insecure software is notoriously lacking and inaccurate for three reasons. 1/9/2008
p14 Add to end of 3rd para: Finally, the real cost of something might not be measured in money alone. fixed 1/9/2008
p45 Last para: Unfortunately, the reason might never be known by the manufacturer either for reasons that will be discussed later. Unfortunately, the reason might never be known by the manufacturer either for reasons that are discussed shortly. 1/9/2008
p46 Last para: As far as low production costs go, software is king. In fact, it is not only king, it is the whole royal court. As far as low production costs go, software is king. In fact, software is not only king, it is the whole royal court. 1/9/2008
p47 4th para: This is not true for software manufacturers, so there is no requirement to design correctly and test thoroughly, just enough to get the product out the door in some semblance of working order. This is not true for software manufacturers, so there are few compelling incentives to design correctly and test thoroughly, just enough to get the product out the door in some semblance of working order. 1/9/2008
p48 2nd para: Worse, by being late to the market, a company threatens its chances at becoming a standard by which all others will be measured. Being first to market confers tremendous advantage in the marketplace. Worse, by being late to the market, a company threatens its chances at becoming the standard by which all others will be measured. Being first to market confers tremendous advantage in the marketplace, but especially in the software market. Speed matters greatly. 1/9/2008
p48 3rd para: When a software application, whether a desktop application, search engine, or operating system, is widely accepted, so too are the software’s implicit ways of doing things such as saving files to disk, talking to other computers or software applications, interactivity between users and the software itself, and so on. When a software application, whether a desktop application, search engine, or operating system, is widely accepted, so too are the software’s implicit ways of doing things such as saving files to disk, how information is indexed for searching, talking to other computers or software applications, placement and order of menus or tool bars, and so on. 1/9/2008
p49 2nd para: The underlying message of the commercial and the People Ready campaign in general was simple, “Whereever people go, they will be productive because we have 90 percent market share, and almost everyone at some point has probably worked with our software.” The underlying (and implied) message of the commercial, and the People Ready campaign in general, was simple: “Where ever people go, they will be productive because we [Microsoft] have 90 percent market share, and almost everyone at some point has probably worked with our software.” 1/9/2008
p52 4th para, last sent: The high cost of switching is a powerful disincentive for users and potentially cripples coordinated attempts at iPodaction. The high cost of switching is a powerful disincentive for users and potentially cripples coordinated attempts at consumer action. 1/9/2008

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