McNealy: Kill Frankenstein, Dolly

SAN JOSE, CALIF. -- Organizations, especially the federal government, must vanquish two monsters that threaten their information technology security, the chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems said today.

The first threat is Frankenstein, security systems cobbled together from different manufacturers that follow different standards, Scott McNealy said at the RSA Conference 2006, which is being held here through Feb. 17.

The IT industry needs more standardization of equipment to ensure interoperability and eliminate the needless complexity that can expose organizations to attack, McNealy said.

The second threat is Dolly the cloned sheep, or systems with identical security settings that, if breached, can bring down entire networks, McNealy said. “There’s not enough genetic diversity on the desktop,” he said.

Organizations must apply security protections based on the risk to particular data, McNealy said.

The Defense and Homeland Security departments are particularly vulnerable to the latter threat, McNealy said. It is essential for those departments to keep their data secure because lives and national security are at risk if data or devices containing it are lost, he said.

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