CSE 127: Lecture 3

In this lecture we finished up topics from lecture 1 and lecture 2, mentioned the concept of the weakest link, and I gave you an assignment.

Weakest link

In addition to the desirable security properties from earlier, an important notion is that of the weakest link. A smart attacker will look for the weakest link in the computer system's defensive armor, and so the efforts to secure a system should be directed at the weakest link. A real life analogy to this is protecting your home from a robber who wants to break in and steal your valuables. Adding steel reinforcements to your front door is not very useful if you have a nice large plate glass window that can be easily broken.

Of course, we may not want to get rid of our nice picture window. This brings us to the notion of when are the security measures enough. Certainly, living in a fortress is not as pleasant as living in a normal home -- and while it is possible to build very secure computer systems, those systems will end up being not very usable. The primary mission of the computer system is to let you do your work -- for example, to build software for some new product (majority of programmers); to conduct research / teach (for me); and to do homework / learn (for you). Determining the proper amount of security is difficult, and we'll discuss this some more later in the quarter.

Assignment 0

Send me email from your OCE Unix account, with the Subject of CSE127. If you do not have an OCE account, you will need to get some form of ACS unix account -- email me or come speak to me.

This is due midnight Wednesday January 16. Get your computer accounts ready now!

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bsy+cse127w02@cs.ucsd.edu, last updated Mon Mar 25 15:22:10 PST 2002. Copyright 2002 Bennet Yee.
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