Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Security Costs of Logging

In “Online Dirty Tricks at American Airlines
” Gary Leff reports:

The Wikipedia entry on the Wright Amendment (the law which restricts destinations of flights taking off from Dallas’ Love Field, which serves — and was intended — to protect American Airlines from Southwest) was edited by someone using an American Airlines domain.

    Someone using an Internet service provider registered to American edited online encyclopedia Wikipedia last week to describe Southwest Airlines as “a notoriously litigious company constantly seeking to change laws to gain an advantage.”

American dismisses the event as actions by rogue employees that it cannot identify.

I’d bet that American has a firewall, and probably even some net nanny software that controls where employees can go. I’d also bet that both log, as a matter of standard business practice.

Now, if Wikipedia were a, umm, “a notoriously litigious company,” or even a litigious one, they might choose to sue American Airlines. Subpoena some logs. Maybe even request that the web browser caches of marketing department employees be examined.

There are lots of benefits to keeping great logs. It’s important to remember that there may also be hidden costs, as I mentioned last week in “Businesses for privacy.”