The Weak Link in Computer Security

People often talk about the inherit lack of security in Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer. Very seldom does anybody talk about the weakest link in computer security, the users. In the latest Pwn2Own contest, a contest where participants attempt to break into various computers to win them, 64-bit Windows 7, Mac OS X, and even the iPhone all fell. But there was a common theme running here, none of the systems feel to a direct attack.

All the hacked systems were broken into via exploits in their web browsers. Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox 3.6.2 were used to break into the 64-bit Windows 7 systems while Safari was used to break into both Mac OS X and the iPhone. Each browser was broken into by crafting a malicious web page and have the users of the system navigate to it.

But once again none of the systems at this contest were broken into without the need for human interaction. This brings up the fact that human beings are now the main component being attacked (Granted it’s been like this since the dawn of computers). The only way to protect yourself is through education. Do not click on random links that people send you regardless if you known them or not. It’s a simple thing to learn really but the motto in security is trust no one and you should follow that slogan when on a computer.