Is it fair to judge an organization’s information security posture simply by looking at its Internet-facing assets for weaknesses commonly sought after and exploited by attackers, such as outdated software or accidentally exposed data and devices? Fair or not, a number of nascent efforts are using just such an approach to derive security scores for companies and entire industries. What’s remarkable is how many organizations don’t make an effort to view their public online assets as the rest of the world sees them — until it’s too late.
A bill moving through the U.S. Senate that would grant the government greater power to shutter Web sites that host copyright-infringing content is under fire from security researchers, who say the legislation raises “serious technical and security concerns.” Meanwhile, hacktivists protested by attacking the Web site of the industry group that most vocally supports the proposal.
Earlier this month, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Protect IP Act (PDF), a bill offered by its chair, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that would let the Justice Department obtain court orders requiring U.S. Internet service providers to filter customer access to domains found by courts to point to sites that are hosting infringing content. The bill envisions that ISPs would do this by filtering DNS requests for targeted domains. DNS, short for the “domain name system,” transforms computer-friendly “IP addresses (such as 184.108.40.206) into words that are easier for humans to remember (typing krebsonsecurity into a browser brings you to 220.127.116.11, and vice versa).