Close the Refrigerator Door!” OR “Were you Born in a Barn!”
Neither phrase seems to make you an IT expert and maybe you’ve heard those phrases a time or two before technology even came on the scene, from your Dad or Mom as you looked for that perfect leftover.
In the IT world it is known as the “attack surface”. The Attack Surface is the number of windows and doors you’ve left open in a sense. Leaving your refrigerator door open is akin to operating without anti-virus protection…things are going to spoil quickly and start to smell. Not checking your doors and windows as securely closed is like patch management, except you need to picture a robot at each door and window ready to check it again and again. And a vulnerability scan is looking for openings you didn’t think about or that have changed, kind of a check on your patch management. And a penetration test is finding out about one of your locks and seeing if a number of different keys can be tried to get inside. Finally, there is the social engineering aspect. In your neighborhood, your school, your workplace or your community you get used to some of the same faces in routine places. But the interconnected nature of the internet means that you’ll have to be wary of names, places and faces you’ll never know.
Take it all together and it is the “attack surface”, a combination of common-sense controls that reduce your overall risk of intrusion, malfeasance or criminal activity touching your life.