Using a layered security approach to achieve network integrity

Friday, 6 February 2004, 8:12 AM EST

It's becoming increasingly clear that the current model for network security -- defend the perimeter and patch, patch, patch -- has some serious shortcomings.

First, relying on signature files and patches doesn't provide the absolute protection that some vendors promise. Even if your perimeter systems are fully up to date, new attacks that signature files don't recognize will still get through. That was the case in January 2003 when the Slammer worm struck, spreading so quickly around the world that it slipped right past signature-based defenses and reached most vulnerable hosts within 18 minutes.

Fast worms such as Slammer and new blended attacks that combine worms and viruses will likely become more common this year. Because only their authors know what forms these attacks will take, IT teams have no way of blocking them with signature files. For all the investment being made in perimeter defenses, enterprise networks remain vulnerable.

By Eric Ogren at Computerworld.

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