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The Most Common Preventable Security Hole

most common preventable security holeJonathan James hacked into the Pentagon and NASA computer systems in 1999 at the age of 15 and became the youngest person to go to jail under the federal cybercrime law. Now 23, he was interviewed by PC Magazine (August 21, 2007 issue) about the state of online security. His response to a key question was important:

Question

What is the most common preventable security hole you’ve seen

Answer

Aside from users, I’d have to say updates. Users always ignore messages about updating software, so they’re often running vulnerable apps. I guess they don’t realize that outdated software often is outdated because someone found a way to use it to take over your computer. Even after a vendor releases a patch for a new vulnerability, there are still a lot of people running the vulnerable software. Sometimes (probably not as rarely as you’d think) companies run vulnerable software for years because a computer is functioning as it should and they operate under an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” policy.

Oh — and don’t use Internet Explorer.

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