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Hi. I'm a Unix Administrator, mathematics enthusiast, and amateur philosopher. This is where I rant about that which upsets me, laugh about that which amuses me, and jabber about that which holds my interest most: Unix.
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The Lost Art of Situational Awareness

Posted 10-21-2012 at 07:39 PM by rocket357

I was driving to the store tonight. As I drove through the (seemingly) deserted stretch of parking lot, I came up to a man, woman, and child walking through the dimly lit area. I noticed that they were uncomfortably close to the road, so I started to fade to the left to avoid them. As I approached, the man continued narrowing the gap between my 2 1/2 ton vehicle and his body. His wife wisely stayed to the right with their child...but then an amazing thing happened...

I continued to fade left to avoid them, and the man suddenly grabbed the woman's arm and *pulled her over with him*. She snatched the child close to her (as any mother would do), and I slowed to a complete halt so they could cross.

Before I go any further, yeah, I was probably driving a bit fast for a parking lot...but what gets me about this situation is this:

What if, like many Americans, I had an undiagnosed heart problem? What if, in that critical moment when the man grabbed his wife by the arm and pulled her and his child over in front of me, I had a heart attack and lost control of the vehicle?

What if I wasn't a law abiding citizen and had no regard for human life?

Point is, the people who are most often victims of crime are those who put themselves in position to become victims. Now, I'm not saying that situational awareness can prevent ALL crime...that's as naive a concept as expecting the law to protect you from all crime. What I'm saying is that an aware target is a "hardened target", and is much less likely to be on the receiving end of a disaster.

The same can be said of computer security. You have to enforce some manner of "situational awareness" to harden your machines against assault. You get points for logging everything, but how often do you read those logs? How often do you patch your machines? How often do you read up on the latest security threats for your platform?

Given enough time, any platform will fall victim to attackers if the admin isn't paying attention.

What are you doing to improve your "situational awareness"?
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