It's time to look at real digital security

Tuesday, 10 August 2004, 12:25 PM EST

Digital tools make and take away perfect copies of information, leaving no tracks behind. They can also be used, though, to distort information in ways hard to detect. Sensitive knowledge easily crosses our borders, while once-trustworthy data such as photographs become no more credible than the person who presents them. We don't know what we're losing, and we can't believe what we keep.

This lack of digital security may come from misplaced imitation of physical security methods. If you change the form of a valuable physical object, you also change its value; information security is harder than physical security because information can change among many forms without being degraded. But we're used to the idea that briefcases are searched and car trunks are opened; bad information security mimics these methods with techniques such as keyword scans of e-mail.

By Peter Coffee at eWeek.

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