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HOW TO

Desktop Software Risks
By: Jase Dow
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    2005-01-05

    Table of Contents:
  • Desktop Software Risks
  • So now we...
  • For example, when...

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    Desktop Software Risks


    (Page 1 of 3 )

    This is the second in a series of articles highlighting reasons why we need a new model for anti-virus and security solutions.Reason #2: the Desktop Security Software Risks

    The risks of placing software on the desktop are such that I will be breaking this article into two parts.

    Fundamentally we think of having software on our desktops as a good thing. I love downloading or installing new packages and seeing what new creative things people do to the user interface or what they do to make certain aspects of my life easier or more fun.

    But there are problems inherent with software that resides on the desktop, especially security software. All developers will know what I mean. First and foremost, desktop software can be reverse engineered. What's that mean? Have you ever inadvertently double-clicked on a file and had garbage show up or seen something that looks similar to this?



    The old hex dump. Programmers will know it well. We actually spend a good deal of time trying to read this stuff. Basically, if there are programs that can (and do) turn instructions like the following

    If UserBirthDate < "01/01/1960" then
    IsReallyOld = "Yes
    Else
    IsReallyOld = "No"
    End If

    into something like the picture above, then the reverse is true: people have developed software that can take that gobbeldy-gook in the picture above and turn it somewhat into the if-statement I wrote out. The reversing software won't know that I had an item called UserBirthDate, but it will know I was testing for a value of January 1, 1960 and it will be able to say that based on that value I set another item to Yes or No.

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