Heartbleed and System Defense

It crosses my mind that this is a perfect opportunity to discuss system defense options against unknown threats such as Heartbleed (over the past two years, anyway).  How does one defend against a threat which “leaves no trace” and is as dangerous as Heartbleed?

Well, for a large organization, the task is more difficult to scale, but for a small operation (say an individual who runs his own little website from his home), it’s not too hard.  With proper network monitoring, you’ll notice if someone begins attacking your website.  Sure, it may simply look like an inordinate amount of traffic from an unrecognized or strange client IP address, but that’s typically the first major indicator of any trouble from a network monitoring perspective.  If you keep tabs on your site with good monitoring software and you see that you are suddenly being hit with connections from Russia or something, block the clients or take down your site to formulate a defense plan, and you’ll survive.

Network monitoring isn’t the only defensive solution, but it is powerful, important, and often overlooked due to the cost involved with the expertise required.  The solution?  Develop some expertise!  Get in there and learn, and don’t just throw together a server and “play around” (I hate it when people say that).  Study the texts appropriate to the subject, thoroughly read and understand the software being used, and excel.

Protip:  That’s always the solution.

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