Is Network Security an Oxymoron?


By Ron Royston

Originally Published 1/1/2018
Updated 1/22/2019

Never Communicate or Record Secrets

There exists a negative correlation between supply and demand. Most people and organizations have no need for extraordinary security. However for those demanding extraordinary security - kings, presidents, celebrities, dissidents, criminals, et cetera; security becomes punishing to maintain and increasingly expensive. The odds of sophisticated deliberate attack increase as extraordinary value is identified. Further, successful people and organizations have a strong desire to be recognized. Low key. Quiet. Loose lips sink ships. This is all easier said than done, and in most cases unrealistic.

These extreme cases of extraordinary security illustrate that network security is an oxymoron, that communication is the heart of telecommunications. Strong passwords, encryption, and keeping software updated delivers adequate computer network security and availability of digital property for most. Extraordinary security does not allow for regular telecommunications. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, recently commented that he is unwilling to use phones, cell phones, televisions, and computers.

Avoid AAA When The Stakes Are High

Telecommunications, a form of communication, is by its very nature intended to share content and messages.

Communicating or digitizing a content bombshell, both the sender and the receiver should maintain plausible deniability. In other words, the pillars of telecommunications security - Authorization, Authentication, and Accounting (AAA) should be avoided. Content bombshells belong offsite in an unremarkable location. For example, a "safe" in your bedroom closet is not a highly secure location for high stakes contents and neither is a bank vault as you are accountable for both.

Who put this thing together? Me, that's who! Who do I trust? Me! -Tony Montana, Scarface (1983)

Content Bombshells

As a professional computer network engineer I recommend that you wholeheartedly believe that anything you digitize will one day be compromised. You do not have complete control over your digitized property. When you require security most, in situations of life and liberty or loss of extraordinary content(s), you will be exposed and insecure. You, yourself, will most likely give your property away attempting to save yourself or your organization. Implement a data retention policy and destroy sensitive content as soon as possible. Extraordinary content is forever at risk.

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