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We Need to Learn Encryption

By Steve Jones,

More than learning encryption, we need to demand better encryption tools inside SQL Server. After reading about the issues from the STUXNET worm, it makes me worried that we will see more disruptive attacks, not just from hackers and criminals, but from the virtual vandals and bored teenagers that have more time than morals or sense. The issues from the STUXNET worm spread far beyond any territorial or national issues, and run into all sorts of industrial control systems that may receive more attention from hackers in the future. With some of the brightest hackers in the US and Israeli governments providing a template for compromising those system, I'm sure there will be no shortage of future attacks.

That doesn't necessarily mean there are going to be more and more database attacks in the near future, but I'm sure there is research going on into new ways to attack database or applications, either from governments, criminals, or even graduate students. At some point there will be new attacks that come out, and these vulnerabilities may result in zero-day, or even forever-day vulnerabilities.

We can't change the way SQL Server, or other vendor technologies, work at a base level, but we can reduce the amount of damage that's done by not being the easy prey for attackers. In my mind, that means we should be securing our data as best we can, including encrypting communications and limiting access rights, as well as encrypting the actual data we store.

I'm hoping that Microsoft makes PKI much easier when they release the updated Certificate Services in Windows 2012, and that we also find better private solutions for individuals that allows us to better secure our systems and make it difficult for the casual attacker to compromise our systems. I don't know if we'll see viable products and solutions soon, but as we distribute our systems, data, and backups to wider and wider systems, including tablets and mobile devices, we need better security more than ever.

Steve Jones

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