Regulation will never be as effective as we need and I believe will
ultimately be counterproductive as many companies use "compliant" as
an excuse to stop. (It may get them to start, but once started, we
need them to go farther.)
In regards to cigarettes, they are still a huge problem in many
places. Many become hooked all the time, in spite of all the
education and efforts. It has been far from effective. Sure it isn't
hip to smoke in some circles, but not all circles feel that way.
The analogy would be interesting to explore.
- Writing insecure code does give an addictive rush - you can do it
faster! (Smoking produces a positive experience, at least at some
- Peer support is there - since most of a developer's peers are
unlikely to develop securely. (Peers push smoking, regardless of the
messages "society" sends.)
- Taxing it won't eliminate it - both will become a "cost of doing
business" for some.
As to seatbelts - the same problem persists. We wouldn't need
programs like "click-it or ticket" if past communications were
successful. I could go into details, but I don't want to argue the
The main factor is that I don't trust government to push much of
anything successfully. It may do some things, but it is incredibly
inefficient most of the time. :)
Your point about insurance is reasonable, though insurance companies
will have to decide they are going to do that for their own
self-interest before it is effective. Even then, we may end up with
something like the modern health care system (including lots of
unnecessary tests) rather than security nirvana.
I agree that changing consumer behavior is not sufficient, but it is
necessary. The other stuff will not work without it. Look at our
modern "war on drugs" (including tobacco). Changing demand is key,
not supply. People will write secure code when those who drive them
(ultimately the customer) demand it.
Even if I am an enlightened CEO, I am not going to survive and thrive
writing secure code if doing so makes me cost more than a competitor
without giving me a clear, fairly immediate business advantage - that
CISM, CSSLP, SANS/GIAC GSEC, GCFW, GCIH, GPCI
Quoting "Goertzel, Karen [USA]" <goertzel_ka...@bah.com>:
I think we need a multifaceted approach that includes supply side,
demand side, insurance companies, consumer protection organisations,
We need regulation with legal penalties - as exist for airlines, for
example - for software firms that fail to meet minimal standards
for quality - which must be defined to include security (using
demonstrated linkages to existing legislation as a catalyst - i.e.,
non-secure software makes it impossible to be HIPPA, FISMA, SOX,
PCI, etc. compliant).
We need a system of evaluation (like Good Housekeeping seal of
approval, but NOT like Common Criteria) for consumers to be able to
easily determine which software meets the minimum standards for
We need the insurance firms that are now offering security and CIP
related products to add software security criteria to their
definitions, so that their customers who buy demonstrably secure
software get breaks on their premiums, and those that willfully
engage in risky behaviours - i.e., persisting in use of bad software
- are penalised by higher premiums or, ultimately, having their
We need to educate end users as we did with seatbelts and cigarettes
- a series of really good public service advertisements that
clearly and engagingly depict what happens as a result of AVOIDABLE
(by developers) security-related failings in software. With outlets
like YouTube, the budget to broadcast such advertisements would be
significantly smaller than it would have been when only the media
outlets were big commercial networks.
Just some ideas - no doubt some better than others. The real message
is "Yes, we need to change consumer behaviour" - but that alone
won't get us where we need to go.
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