Browse Definitions :
Definition

security through obscurity

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Security through obscurity (STO) is reliance upon secrecy in software development to minimize the chance that weaknesses may be detected and targeted.

Security through obscurity is often achieved by developing code in secret, protecting it from unauthorized access and maintaining the software’s proprietary closed source status.  The approach can be effective in combination with other measures but STO on its own is deprecated. Used to bolster more effective approaches such as security by design, security through obscurity can add another layer of protection.

Security through minority is a subcategory of STO that is based on code that is infrequently used.  That approach relies on the knowledge that hackers looking for vulnerabilities to exploit typically seek commonly-used software to maximize sales of malware and hacking scripts and increase the number of computers they can reach.

Similarly, security through obsolescence relies on the fact that programs that are no longer used are less likely to be exploited because few are familiar with coding for them-- let alone exploiting their code.

Security through diversity can also be effective. This approach involves using a combination of piecemeal components.  Security through diversity can make a system harder to target and can be inherently more secure than a well-known monolithic solution.

This was last updated in July 2015

Continue Reading About security through obscurity

Join the conversation

2 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

The other aspect of security through obscurity is the political issue of whether vulnerabilities should be publicized, so people can be aware that they need to be fixed, but which also alert the unscrupulous to the vulnerability.
Cancel
Sounds like obfuscation, maybe.  I worry that its really just complacency.
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance as a service (CaaS)

    Compliance as a Service (CaaS) is a cloud service service level agreement (SLA) that specified how a managed service provider (...

  • data protection impact assessment (DPIA)

    A data protection impact assessment (DPIA) is a process designed to help organizations determine how data processing systems, ...

SearchSecurity

  • spyware

    Spyware is a type of malicious software -- or malware -- that is installed on a computing device without the end user's knowledge.

  • application whitelisting

    Application whitelisting is the practice of specifying an index of approved software applications or executable files that are ...

  • botnet

    A botnet is a collection of internet-connected devices, which may include PCs, servers, mobile devices and internet of things ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • disaster recovery team

    A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an ...

  • cloud insurance

    Cloud insurance is any type of financial or data protection obtained by a cloud service provider. 

SearchStorage

  • DRAM (dynamic random access memory)

    Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) is a type of semiconductor memory that is typically used for the data or program code needed ...

  • RAID 10 (RAID 1+0)

    RAID 10, also known as RAID 1+0, is a RAID configuration that combines disk mirroring and disk striping to protect data.

  • PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

Close