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New technology brings new threats

Admittedly, this is up there with revealing that the papal monarch practises something called Roman Catholicism, but it's worth reiterating, so here goes.

Exciting new technology such as Windows Vista may solve some security problems, but it will bring plenty of new security threats too. And it's not just me (and the rest of the world) who thinks this. Someone much more cleverer than me said it recently.

Speaking at this week's Gartner Security Summit in London, Bob Gleichauf, the CTO of Cisco's security technology group (for it was he), said: "When we deploy new technologies, what's scary is we never know what problems they might bring." Scary for you, Bob, pant-wettingly frightening for yer average IT-support worker in the front line.

"For every action," Bob says, "there is a reaction and unforeseen side-effects. Even new regulations bring side-effects that we need to be aware of."

Quite. And if you could then make us aware, we'd be grateful.

Gleichauf denied that he was over-critical of Windows Vista in particular. "It's not just Vista," he said. "Microsoft has done an incredible job with Vista." And then he got to the sell. He said that although it is always a problem building for vulnerabilities you're not yet aware of, you can help yourself by using what he described as 'compensating technologies'. In other words, Cisco's defence-in-depth concept.

I tend to agree. Unless we default to using an abacus for sums and a slate for words, fresh technology is always going to struggle to remain ahead of fresh ideas from nefarious script kiddies. The current format of identifying malware and writing 'cures' is being increasingly marginalised, and more proactive forms of heuristic and holistic defence seem to be the way forward.

It's a bit like zero-tolerence policing for malware, without the made-up statistics and fascistic politicians. Alright, it bears a very slight resemblence to zero-tolerence policing for malware, but let's face it, security can be very dull. Let's leave the last word to Bob:

"You have to be prepared for the unknown that may come with new technology," he said. And I am sure we can all agree.

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