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Security is not a game

There has been a lot of discussion out there recently about the theft of souce code to Half Life 2 from Valve and the subsequent posting of a playable build. While I have seen some threads about how it happened this article from Chris Morris gives a very good overview of how it happened. This should bother you. A lot.

What is disturbing is not that some new exploit was used but that none were. After gaining access to Valve’s network through a vulnerability in Outlook the theives placed a key logger on machines there to begin compromising other systems. The key stroke program was not recognized by anti virus software because it was apparently custom made to infect Valve’s site. This has very disturbing implications.

Now that the crackers are getting sophisticated enough to pull off a coordinated attack like this to get something they want to play with, how long is it before these type of orchestrated attacks are used for profit, espionage or terrorism?

Patching your systems every day (hour) is not the answer to this problem. Virus scanners obviously aren’t the answer either. Unfortunately there is no easy solution like those. Arguably neither of those is that easy in practice anyway, especially in a large infrastructure enviornment. Risk analysis of your systems, user management and strict access control of all of your resources that are connected to  networks (external and internal) and executing on your findings is the best bet for mitigating the threat of this happening to you.

Most importantly of all you need to take the first step. You need to admit to yourself that this can happen to you.

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