Steve Riley on Security

Formerly of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group.

Browse by Tags

Related Posts
  • Blog Post: More on the necessity of antivirus software

    A few days ago, I wrote a brief post about my non-use of antivirus software on my own computers. A number of people have asked me privately if I am recommending such a stance to other individuals or to organizations. Let me be perfectly clear: absolutely not. For the vast majority of folks, the four...
  • Blog Post: Domain controller security: it starts at layer zero

    Recently I seem to have had the same conversation over and over again, in places as far apart as Jakarta, Winnipeg, and Berlin. The question is usually worded like this: "What happens if someone steals one of my domain controllers?" There is, essentially, only one correct answer, which is this...
  • Blog Post: August article: 802.1X on wired networks considered harmful

    Several months ago I learned from Svyatoslav Pidgorny, Microsoft MVP for security, about a problem in 802.1X that makes it essentially useless for protecting wired networks from rogue machines. Initially I was a bit skeptical, but the attack he described is in fact true -- I've seen it myself now. So...
  • Blog Post: What's your data worth? More importantly, to whom?

    This week, I'm attending and spoke at a cybercrime conference in Singapore. One of the presenters made a very good point, and I want to share it with you. When considering how to protect your data, don't consider how valuable it might be to an attacker. Always, instead, consider how valuable it is to...
  • Blog Post: Why administrative passwords will never be like nuclear missile launchers

    During the past few months many people have lamented that Windows lacks a nuclear missile style control option for administrator passwords. Surely you've read about or seen photographs of missile silos where two operators, separated by a distance greater than the span of a single human's arms, must each...
  • Blog Post: Autorun: good for you?

    Yes, if you're a five-year-old and you're tired of always asking mom or dad how to start the game on the CD. No need to know how! Just pick up the disc (a little peanut butter on your fingers helps with the grip), slide it in the drive, and wait for the game to start. Groovy! No, if you're a security...
  • Blog Post: Did you know that you ALREADY have an e-mail policy?

    An email access policy can be expressed in one of two ways: E-mail is mission critical to our business. Therefore, we permit employees to read and compose e-mail from any location in the world where employees can access the Internet, using either company-issued devices or public Internet terminals...
  • Blog Post: Airport security silliness

    So today (Thursday 21 July 2005) I flew from Seattle to Dallas for a customer meeting. Since it's a short one-day affair, I packed my small carry-on size suitcase. In it was a pair of shoes, one pants, one shorts, two shirts, a toiletry bag, and my collection of wall warts (AC adpaters). Seems normal...
  • Blog Post: Who should do your security audits? Or, how do you organize the security department?

    An interesting question came up today. The group responsible for configuring and maintaining the firewalls at a customer also believes that they should be the only ones to audit their configurations. Others in the security department are uneasy with this, and prefer that someone else do the auditing...
  • Blog Post: New column - debunking security myths

    There is a lot at stake in security configuration guidance. First, it is easy to understand why people are clamoring for it. Everyone can see the benefit in turning on some setting and blocking an attack. In some environments, doing so is not even an option. A system must be configured in accordance...
  • Blog Post: Antivirus software -- who needs it?

    In the newsgroups a few weeks ago, someone asked about which anti-virus software is best for experts. This is a really curious question. I've been involved in computer security -- as a practitioner, a consultant, and an instructor/speaker -- for several years. I feel fairly confident in calling myself...
  • Blog Post: New column -- The case of the stolen laptop

    Seems like once a week I hear from someone worried about stolen laptops -- or, worse, just joined the ranks of laptop theft victimhood. The best way to stay out of that club is to keep the thing with you at all times, or leave it in your hotel room when you don’t want to carry it around. Yes, everyone...
  • Blog Post: When security breaks things

    Now that the furor has waned, I want to comment on MS05-051. For those of you who don't memorize bulletin numbers (I am part of that set; Susan Bradley , for example, isn't, hehe), this is the security update that fixed a number of vulnerabilities found in MSDTC and COM+; it replaced five other updates...
  • Blog Post: Trustworthy Administrators

    The article is posted in the security management column section on TechNet and is the Viewpoint article in the July security newsletter. Check it out, and please tell me what you think. It's been generating some opinions :) Do you trust your administrators? That seemingly innocent question creates...
  • Blog Post: Configure your router to block DOS attempts

    Some time ago I had a discussion with a friend. He disagreed with my recommendations on how to configure a border router and the firewall behind it. I claimed that in the border router between you and your ISP, configure the six rules to block most denial of service traffic; in the firewall, configure...
  • Blog Post: Poll: do you use scheduled scans for malware?

    An  interesting comment recently appeared on my older post about whether or not to use antimalware software. Peter van Dam wondered whether scheduled scans are really necessary, given that anti-malware products scan files as they enter (and sometimes exit) a computer. He raises a good point, and...
  • Blog Post: But I can't test! My boss won't let me

    Yesterday I mentioned that there's no substitute for doing your own testing of updates. I mentioned virtualization is your friend -- building a model of your environment using Virtual PC and Virtual Server will save you a lot of money and it's something you can quickly tear down and rebuild whenever...
  • Blog Post: It's me, and here's my proof: why identity and authentication must remain distinct

    My February Security Management column is posted: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/community/columns/secmgmt/sm0206.mspx No matter what kinds of technological or procedural advancements occur, certain principles of computer science will remain -- especially those concerning information security...
  • Blog Post: What do YOU need out of two-factor authentication?

    Two-factor authentication continues to grow in popularity and emerge as a security requirement for many people I meet with. At Microsoft, we use smartcards internally for VPN access right now; soon we'll be requiring smartcards for domain logon, too. We are also looking at ways to require two-factor...
  • Blog Post: More on Autorun

    Last month, in my post " Autorun: good for you? " I described why I believe you should disable Autorun on all computers in your organization. I also explained how you can do this for XP and Vista computers. Well, it turns out that Windows will override this setting if you insert a USB drive that your...
  • Blog Post: Article in the works: trusting your administrators

    At TechEd US this year Jesper and I noted a new worry many of you were having: trusting your administrators. Or, more accurately it seems, an inability to trust your administrators. This is troubling, since these are the people who have unfettered access to pretty much everything in your network. Seems...
  • Blog Post: Updated Microsoft Security Assessment Tool

    Greetings. In case you haven’t already read about it, we recently updated the Microsoft Security Assessment Tool (MSAT). Version 4.0 hit the web on 31 October. It’s been four years since the initial release, and two years since the prior version. Between then and now your security world has evolved a...