and the cow jumped over the moon

We use a Cisco SSL VPN at work. One of the features we have turned on when a user connects is a keylogger scanner. It just scans and alerts, but takes no administrative action. This scan seems to be rebooting the client machine on a couple of our users, and we’re not yet sure why. While discussing this in a team meeting, my boss made mention that when the keylogger check runs on his system, it flags two benign files that are false positives. He clicks Ok and continues on. The question he raised is, “What value is this check giving us if users will just click through?”

I gave it some thought over lunch. The direct value may not be much. In fact, it may result in 0 improvement to users (since they won’t know what to do with the keylogger alerts) and may not prevent any infected systems from entering our network (users can just click through). If we turn on administrative action by the VPN client, obviously legitimate users will be denied ability to do work.

There are a few indirect values to still having the keylogger on, even if it ultimately fails.

1. The keylogger may log what it detects on and whom, so we have some statistics and auditing in case something bad happens, or someone else gets in.

2. Information is given to those few users who may investigate the issues and improve their knowledge and system health. Not doing alerts perpetuates ignorance.

3. We potentially can prevent bad systems from entering our network, or capturing login information. And let’s face it, logging our VPN IP and login information is instant ownage. This potentiality may be worth it alone.

Of course, there are costs which might outweight these indirect “vaules” that I see.

Ultimately, my boss mentioned in the meeting that it is clear that digital security is still not ready to be consumer-grade. And people certainly aren’t ready to handle it themselves, for the most part. I tend to agree with him. I prefer my controls to be transparent to users as much as possible, but as good as possible as well. Unfortunately, we won’t achieve security this way, but I feel the best returns are available on the technical side rather than relying on people.