Vendor risk assessment are not part of everyday corporate managememnt but it should be. If you drive a car and every week you have to get something fixed it would prove pretty annoying, disgusting, outrageous and you probably you would never buy that model again and probably wouldn’t by from that manufacturer either. So why do we accepts buggy software that is vulnerable to things like cross site scripting attacks, buffer overflows, malware and such? But we do that everyday.
Everything from vulnerable operating systems such as Windows to vulnerable applications such as Adobe and weak website such as Facebook. As stated by CIO.com, “SANS and Mitre, a Bedford, Mass.-based non-profit, federally funded technology research and development organization, today is also releasing its second annual CWE/SANS Top 25 list of the most common programming errors currently being made by software developers. The authors say the errors on the list are responsible nearly every major type of cyber attack, including the recent intrusions at Google (GOOG), and numerous utilities and government agencies.” The biggest companies are culprits.
So what are we do to about buggy software? How do you force a vendor risk assessment on all yoru vendors? Maybe scream “I’m mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!” Might feel good for a second or two, but not going to solve the almost daily patch process we have to go through for our software. Patch management is a thriving sector!
As I see it, some theoretical things the end user can do to change the deadly cycle of poor software:
- Sue! I don’t know if that’s possible, but if you bought a car with bad acceleration problems (ahem Toyota) you might just sue the manufacturer if you got into an accident. What can we do that if some hacker breaks in through buggy software?
- Stop buying from that vendor! Apple seems to be taking this tactic by not allowing Flash on the IPad. But can we all move away from Microsoft tomorrow? Probably not.
- Make the vendors conduct Risk Assessments of their products prior to release. A third party risk assessment is probably a good idea. Something with more teeth than a SAS70 type review.
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