March 26, 2001, 4:12 PM —
Shortly before covering security analyst Craig Ozancin's LinuxWorld Conference & Expo session on Linux security, I wandered into the Geek Bowl quiz competition in progress. Through an odd bit of synchronicity, the two events segued rather nicely: One of the many questions the panelists blew completely was "In the movie Tron, the lead character Flynn's voice was provided by what actor?"
I told Eric Raymond we'd have to send him back to the geek reeducation camps, for missing that one. But it helped put me in the proper frame of mind for a security panel -- once you correct the movie's minor flaw of depicting the wrong side as the heroes. In a nutshell, you (the system administrator) are in the villain's role in that computerist's classic, the Master Control Program. Your problem: How do you keep out Jeff Bridges (the outside attacker)?
Ozancin's talk dwelled at length on the methods and tools an attacker (a term he advocates over hacker) uses to select you as his target and worm his way in.