Back from the dead: the original virus writers.

Hi all!

A great many computer security events occur around the world all the time, but the RSA Conference is one of the most important of all of them. What exactly it’s all about here I’ll not go into; instead I’ll just share with you some pics from the gig. The photos were taken the day before it started while the stands were still being set up, so though all the installations aren’t ready, at least you can see the near-completed scene without throngs of visitors getting in the way…

RSA Conference 2013Stylish stands

More: Jam of resurrection Joes…

MDM: Mobile Discipline Mastery.

You’ll no doubt concur with the following observation:

You see them everywhere: folks in elevators, coffee shops, subways, taxis, airports and airplanes, at concerts and parties, on sidewalks, and in darkened cinemas (dammit!), in fact, folks in just about any situation possible – you’ll always find some – no, lots – of them concentrating on, and/or tapping away at the touchscreens of, their smartphones and tablets. And let’s face it – you too do the same, right? (Apart from in the darkened cinema, of course :)

So just what is it these perennial smartphone tappers are up to? Gaming? IMing? Watching movies, or reading the news or an e-book?

All are possible. But more often than not I’ve been observing that at any given convenient moment, any time of day or night, and in any weather, lots of folks tend to be checking their work email and solving work tasks. Yep, on their own absurd-money smartphones! Outside business hours. Without coercion and with plenty of enthusiasm, or, at least, without grumbling :). I sometimes even see them sighing and unconscious pouts forming upon their lips in disappointment that no one’s writing to them!

So why all this 24/7 “at the office, kinda”, all of a sudden? Maybe it’s a cunning virus that infects users’ brains directly from the screen? (Hmmm, that gives me an idea for April 1, 2013:) Or is it that the business management gurus have had it wrong all along re employee motivation? All that was needed in fact was to just connect pretty little glass devices armed with an Internet connection – bought by the employee I might add – to the corporate network! What could be simpler? And that’s exactly what’s been happening; here’s proof: according to Forrester 53% of employees use their own devices for work.

Mobile Device Management

More: The other side of BYOD…

Obama: patents patently barmy.

A serious issue I’ve been critically writing and talking about for several years now has finally made its way up through the echelons of power to find itself being officially recognized – and condemned – by no less than the President of the USA! Indeed, the day before President’s Day Barack Obama issued a strong rebuke against patent trolls! When asked to comment on the current situation as regards the protection of intellectual property and abuses of patents, he came out with the following gem:

“The folks that you’re talking about [patent trolls] are a classic example; they don’t actually produce anything themselves. They’re just trying to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them.”

Ye gods. At last some sense from the top! He went on to say that patent trolls (not the term he used!) represent one of the main things very wrong with the current American patent system. Then he commented on his administration’s attempts at patent reform:

“I do think that our efforts at patent reform only went about halfway to where we need to go, and what we need to do is pull together additional stakeholders and see if we can build some additional consensus on smarter patent laws.”

You can read a bit more on Obama’s comments here, or check this video out – from the 16th minute:


More: How to stop feeding these parasites?…

Yukatan: You can tan, while conferencing.

On the news of late I’ve been seeing an awful lot of reports about very woeful wintery weather all around the world. In Moscow they’ve had the heaviest snowfall in something like centuries, and Northeastern USA also got a fair overdose of the pretty white precipitation. I start thinking that it’s all just signals warning of impending doom caused by global warming. But then, who wouldn’t – bar ostriches – after all the freak snow and then looking at the results of ice drillings in Antarctica at the Vostock Station? :( But I digress…

So it seems that everyone from New York, to York, to Yakutsk is suffering big time with loads of weary winteriness. So that leaves me + cohorts + partners feeling… well, a little bit guilt-stricken, to say the least. Why? Because we’re all on the sun drenched, snow-free, profoundly picturesque Yucatán Peninsula.

KL N.American Partner Conference

More: Why conferencing in paradise?…

A Move in the Right Direction.

Last Tuesday, February 12, President Obama issued a long awaited Executive Order on cyber security intended to expand and deliver more robust information sharing between government and the private sector.  The Executive Order also requires the development of a voluntary cyber framework and standards to improve protection of U.S. critical infrastructure.  The Executive Order rightly focuses on a risk-based approach.  Resources are limited and prioritization to secure those areas most at risk is smart policy.  The sophistication of threats and targeted attacks on key economic sectors around the world stresses the urgency of action to be taken to better secure critical infrastructure.  This effort by President Obama is a positive step to address the significant gap in the protection of critical assets necessary to the well-being of the United States.

The risk to critical infrastructure is real and represents an international challenge that must be addressed by governments and the private sector together.  As we see more threats to the national and economic security of countries, action must be taken to better protect critical national infrastructure.  Attacks like StuxnetFlameGauss and Shamoon are becoming commonplace and keep growing in sophistication.

I believe this executive order is a move in the right direction as it seeks to increase digital defenses of critical infrastructure, and tries to facilitate the exchange of threat information between government and the private sector.  Better cooperation between governments around the world and their private sectors to improve sharing of timely and relevant cyber threat information is essential. Likewise, operators of critical infrastructure must work to implement flexible performance-based standards to secure their assets.

We are at a critical juncture of cyber security protection, and leadership in the U.S. and around the world is essential.  We hope that other nations and unions will follow this example and take steps to better protect their national critical infrastructure.

We’re ready to support and assist in national and international cyber defense efforts with our research, technologies and people.

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