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Communications of the ACM

The profession of IT

An Interview with William Hugh Murray

William Hugh Murray

Credit: (ISC)2 Blog

William Hugh (Bill) Murray is a management consultant and trainer in Information Assurance specializing in policy, governance, and applications. He has more than 60 years experience in information technology and more than 50 years in security. During more than 25 years with IBM his management responsibilities included development of access control programs, advising IBM customers on security, and the articulation of the IBM security product plan. He is the author of the IBM publication Information System Security Controls and Procedures. He has been recognized as a founder of the systems audit field and by Information Security Magazine as a Pioneer in Computer Security. He has served as adjunct faculty at the Naval Postgraduate School and Idaho State University. In 1999, he was elected a Distinguished Fellow of the Information System Security Association. In 2007, he received the Harold F. Tipton Award in recognition of his lifetime achievement and contribution. In 2016, he was inducted into the National Cyber Security Hall of Fame. In 2018, he was elected a Fellow of (ISC)2—see

Bill Murray has been responding for years to security threats with nonconventional thinking. When he sees a security breakdown, he asks what is the current practice that allows the breakdown to happen, and what new practice would stop it? Most of our security vulnerabilities arise from poor practice, not from inadequate technology.


Martin Smith

Could you comment on why we have not implemented accountability for the origin of email messages? It seems that if an email could be reliably traced to a sender (via the owner of the purported sender's domain) then lots of phishing (and SPAM) would be easier to stop. Would you agree this would be helpful from a security perspective?

If so, what would it take to have e-mail services be able to verify with a domain owner that a given message was sent by the account holder of the address?

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