The Art of War by Sun Tzu is among the most famous works on military strategy. Over the coming weeks, Accellis will adapt many of these timeless lessons to the modern cybersecurity theater. By understanding fundamentals of security and military theory, firms will be in a better position to respond to these threats.

Quote

Sun Tzu said, “…if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

Lesson

Throughout the work, a recurring theme is putting oneself beyond the possibility of defeat. Several of our posts will explore this concept. Today, we explore this concept as it relates to knowing the nature of the threats you face.

Sun Tzu is saying that, if one understands his or her strengths and weaknesses, and understands (for us, by a first approximation), those of their enemy, then most of the necessary data are ascertained. One knows what they need to know, all things being equal, to put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat or, since perfect security is impossible, beyond the possibility of an easy-defeat.

Almost invariably, whether targeting the White House, Sony, or the DNC, hackers get in by exploiting unpatched or unprepared systems, or by fooling well-intentioned employees and contractors. Social engineering attacks and exploits against unpatched systems account for a majority of the threats to the average business.

Rather than be intimidated, one should be empowered by this news. It tells you exactly what you need to know. Listen closely. The majority of threats to the average business are unpatched systems and socially engineered attacks. If the U.S. or any other country knew the precise location and nature of a surprise attack, wouldn’t it lack the quality most needed for success – surprise?

Don’t be surprised. Windows, JAVA, Silverlight, Adobe, and other updates address known vulnerabilities. Don’t be fooled. That UPS, QuickBooks, Alumni, or Bank of America spam email is just that – spam.

Next Up

Our next posts will include lessons drawn from the following famous quotes:

  • Sun Tzu said, “…water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows…just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.”
  • Sun Tzu said, “…there are not more than [three] primary colors…yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been [sic] seen.”
  • Sun Tzu said, “…He wins battles by making no mistakes…making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory.”