From the Editor - Security: Yes, It's Part of Your Job
Welcome to our annual issue about necessary information technology security tools for the enterprise, I mean sinister tools of massive repression.
What's the difference? In most cases, only the use to which you put the tool. Security is a fascinating subject because it exercises both your logical, problem-solving side—what would an attacker have to compromise to get from point A to point B—and your conscience.
You've often heard that security has to be designed in, not bolted on. That makes everyone in information technology a security professional, whether it says “security” on your business card or not. And as a security professional, you have to consider security threats at two levels: the many small attacks from people who want to copy credit-card numbers, send spam and deface web sites, and the larger, slower attack from those who want to destroy our civilized way of life on the Net, with all its messy free speech, and institute a tidy regime of surveillance and “digital rights management”.
Professor Lawrence Lessig, in Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, makes the most powerful case for considering your beliefs and your politics when you go to work on technology. Code is law. How you build a system affects how some users of the system can regulate others. So the security you put into place to protect you from small attacks should not facilitate the one large attack on freedom itself.
It's important to let your conscience guide your technical decisions, but it's just as important to back up your political positions with the facts about the technologies to which they apply. Proposals for “trusted computing” are the subject of justifiable concern among freedom lovers. Nobody wants to give up the PC for a sealed box with a so-called Fritz chip, named after authoritarian US Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, that would prevent you from running a free operating system or recording your own music.
But Fritz chip hysteria is sometimes misdirected at new technologies or proposed specifications that wouldn't take away your freedom to run the software of your choice and might even have some beneficial applications. Is the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance unfairly maligned? Read the article on TCPA by David Safford, Jeff Kravitz and Leendert van Doorn on page 50, then get their free TCPA code and decide for yourself.
You can give a big boost to your personal information security by encrypting your home directory. Making it work seamlessly is tricky, though, and Mike Petullo addresses the hard parts head-on on page 62.
The US National Security Agency's SE Linux is one of the hottest topics in security today, and Faye Coker gives us an introduction in Kernel Korner on page 20. Russell Coker follows up on page 56 with a report on what happens if you give out the root password—can the SE Linux rules alone protect the system?
Daniel R. Allen has written a helpful article on one of the most common Linux security tools, OpenSSH, and Mick Bauer continues his series on OpenLDAP, a multifunctional directory service. There's plenty of thought-provoking information this issue, so stay informed and, in the immortal words of the Google employee handbook, “Don't be evil.”
Don Marti is editor in chief of Linux Journal.
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|Working with Command Arguments||May 28, 2016|
|Secure Desktops with Qubes: Installation||May 28, 2016|
|CentOS 6.8 Released||May 27, 2016|
|Secure Desktops with Qubes: Introduction||May 27, 2016|
|Chris Birchall's Re-Engineering Legacy Software (Manning Publications)||May 26, 2016|
|ServersCheck's Thermal Imaging Camera Sensor||May 25, 2016|
- Secure Desktops with Qubes: Introduction
- Secure Desktops with Qubes: Installation
- Download "Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI"
- Working with Command Arguments
- CentOS 6.8 Released
- The Italian Army Switches to LibreOffice
- Linux Mint 18
- ServersCheck's Thermal Imaging Camera Sensor
- Chris Birchall's Re-Engineering Legacy Software (Manning Publications)
- Petros Koutoupis' RapidDisk
Until recently, IBM’s Power Platform was looked upon as being the system that hosted IBM’s flavor of UNIX and proprietary operating system called IBM i. These servers often are found in medium-size businesses running ERP, CRM and financials for on-premise customers. By enabling the Power platform to run the Linux OS, IBM now has positioned Power to be the platform of choice for those already running Linux that are facing scalability issues, especially customers looking at analytics, big data or cloud computing.
￼Running Linux on IBM’s Power hardware offers some obvious benefits, including improved processing speed and memory bandwidth, inherent security, and simpler deployment and management. But if you look beyond the impressive architecture, you’ll also find an open ecosystem that has given rise to a strong, innovative community, as well as an inventory of system and network management applications that really help leverage the benefits offered by running Linux on Power.Get the Guide