- Blog (12)
Happy 11th Birthday, Google
September 27, 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin with a $100,000 check from Andy Bechtolsheim (co-founder of SUN Microsystems) started Google in Susan Wojcicki’s garage. Susan is Sergey’s sister-in-law and current VP at Google.
Cyber Control: White House or DHS?
There is ongoing and heated debate over who should be in charge of Federal cybersecurity policy, a yet-to-be named CZAR in the White House, a Defense/Intelligence agency, or Department of Homeland Security that now has jurisdiction over many of the important civilian and private sector functions. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) is preparing cybersecurity legislation that would give DHS and not the White House primary authority to protect Federal civilian and private computer networks from attacks. http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20090925_9014.php?oref=topnews
Ant Tactics as Model for Cybersecurity
Ant use “swarming intelligence” to deter intruders, when one ant detects a threat, he is soon joined by many others to overwhelm their opponent. Now the strategy is being incorporated into security software at Wake Forest University. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/6236631/Cyber-security-experts-learn-from-ant-tactics.html
Politically Motivated Hackers
Chinese hacktivists (politically motivated hackers) have launched a targeted malware attack against foreign news correspondents, attempting to trick them into executing a malware-embedded PDF attachment coming from a non-existent editor working for the Straits Times. China is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the PRC.
Cybersecurity Experts Agree to Share Attack Forensics
Cybersecurity experts will soon be able to exchange information on network attack forensics and vulnerabilities using a standard vocabulary and message exchange system. An International Telecommunications Union (ITU) security standard group agreed on a cybersecurity information exchange framework based on standards from government agencies and industry. The ITU and the Forum for Incident Response and Security Team (FIRST) will also start work together to produce the first worldwide web-based directory of cybersecurity organizations and centers.
USA.gov in the Cloud
The transition of the Federal Web portal USA.gov to the cloud, where a vendor maintains the infrastructure and applications, has been successful enough that the General Services Administration is considering the same approach for sites such as Data.gov
ARMY Keeps Soldiers from Using New IT
An article in the National Defense magazine states that the Army is taking a painfully slow approach in letting its soldiers use new networking technology on the battlefield. The Army’s “Land Warrior” Systems connects a small group of soldiers into a command-and-control network and shows the location of each soldier on digital eyepieces that the troops can use without voice communication. As currently designed and regulated, Land Warrior can only be used by soldiers who have a secret clearance. BG. Peter N. Fuller, the Army’s Program Executive Officer Soldier, said it is not practical for every soldier and marine to have a security clearance to tap into databases they use in day-to-day operations. He says that the restrictions are “killing us” because they impede Army efforts to deploy wireless systems, and much more.
Senator Seeks Proof of Jobs from H-1B Visa Applicants
Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) is asking immigration officials to toughen their demands for evidence from companies hiring visa workers. Senator Grassley writes, “Employers need to be held accountable so that foreign workers are not flooding the market, depressing wages, and taking jobs from qualified Americans.”
MIT Tracks the Path of Garbage
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s SENSEable city lab are curious about the pattern and cost of urban waste disposal. They placed tags on 3,000 pieces of trash in New York, Seattle, and London. The preliminary result showed the movement of the tagged trash which was illustrated on visual paths superimposed on satellite images of the cities – they found out that trash travels a lot farther than one might think.
DHS Hires 1,000 Cybersecurity Experts
Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, kicked off National Cybersecurity Awareness Month by announcing that the department has new authority to hire 1,000 cybersecurity professionals over the next three years.
ICANN Declares Independence, Breaks Ties with U.S. Government
The keeper of domain names and IP address has gone global. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the U.S. Department of Commerce said the agency will no longer have ties to the U.S. government and will remain a private not-for-profit organization. It is expected that ICANN will expand beyond “.com, .gov and .org” and big companies will pay large amounts of money for custom domain names. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/26/AR2009092600128.html?sub=AR
“Let it Rise”
In an article titled “Let it Rise” about cloud computing in Economist.com, they write,
“In the beginning computers were human then they took the shape of metal boxes, filling rooms before becoming ever smaller and more widespread. Now they are evaporating altogether and becoming accessible from anywhere.”
Cloud Definitions and Cloud Formations
There are many different definitions given for cloud computing. I won’t try to find a new one; instead I’d like to show you some beautiful and rare cloud formations:
Word from the Wise
Age is an issue of mind over matter, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. -- Mark Twain
A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age. -- Robert Frost
An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have, the older she gets the more interested he is in her. -- Agatha Christie
DoD Rethinks Buying Versus Building Software
In the past, Federal agencies have embraced the idea of using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software whenever possible. DoD is launching a number of initiatives that might indicate that the pendulum is starting to swing in the other direction. As an example, DISA has released, as open source, a suite of applications built in-house, many of which had no commercial equivalents – known as Open Source Corporate Management System (OSCMIS). The agency is releasing these apps in hopes that other agencies will reuse and modify them.
“The Architecture of the Nation’s Digital Infrastructure, Based Largely on Internet is Neither Secure nor Resilient”
The Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, unveiled overarching strategy for the Nation’s intelligence agencies – which for the first time, lists cybersecurity and counterintelligence as top mission priorities. The mission objective for cybersecurity is to “understand, detect, and counter adversary cyber threats to enhance protection of the Nation’s information infrastructure.”
Congress Considers Building a Bailout Database
Congress is considering a bill that would build a massive database to track bailout funds. The database will collect information from all Federal agencies that administer various aspects of the $700 billion in the Federal Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) who introduced the legislation (H.R.1242) said the TARP data isn’t useable, “You have to go to 25 different agencies to put it together.” The TARP legislation previously drew interest from the IT industry because of an amendment that set restrictions on H-1B visa use by banks receiving bailout money.
Trade Groups Outline Cybersecurity Bill Concerns
The Business Software Alliance and Tech America, representing more than 1,000 firms, joined the Center for Democracy and Technology in urging Senator Rockefeller’s staff to alter language that would give the National Institute of Standards and Technology a major role in how IT systems are designed.
Technology Issues On Back Burner
With a huge fight over health-care reform unresolved, many observers of technology-related legislation before the U.S. Congress have low expectations that major bills like net neutrality, cybersecurity mandate, and patent litigation reform will be passed in the remainder of 2009.
FREE, Federal Government’s Gift to Teachers
Thirty Federal agencies got together and created a Web site called Federal Resources for Educational Excellence, or FREE. FREE is an effort to give teachers in America a place to go to find resources that previously were not accessible. Teachers can search this site in number of different ways such as grade level and subject matter.
Pay Online or Pay for Being Billed
T-Mobile started by offering to plant a tree for every customer who signed up for paperless billing. When the one green appeal failed, they tried a more direct green approach. T-Mobile is now charging a $1.50 monthly fee for all accounts that continue to receive a paper bill.
Technology Helps OPM to Reduce Processing Time on Security Clearance Cases
OPM Director, John Berry, indicated before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee that OPM got the help it needed from a more centralized computer database of cases and methods of automatically deciding cases without red flags. Berry vowed that OPM would continue to work on the clearance issue until it was removed from GAO’s high risk list of IT problems. In 2007, initial investigation took an average of 115 days in 90% of the cases; by the end of second quarter of 2009 the average time was 42 days.
NBA Player Pays $111,000 for a Stolen Domain Name
A New Jersey hacker has been arrested after he broke into a site owner’s account, transferred the domain name ownership to himself, and then sold it on eBay to an NBA player. The domain name P2P.com was sold in 2006 for $111,000 to a Los Angeles Clippers player.
Worst Threats Come From Within
An analyst at a Defense Department spy satellite agency is facing Federal hacking charges for allegedly surfing through a top-secret system used in a classified terrorism investigation involving the FBI and U.S. Army.
Electronic Databases: What’s New with Privacy Concerns
A University of Colorado professor suggests the privacy laws governing electronic databases are insufficient, creating conditions where sensitive information is discoverable. http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/security/?p=2350&tag=nl.e036
Thomas Edison was a judge at the first “Miss America” beauty contest in 1880.
We use “sincere” to mean without deception. The origin of this word comes from ancient Rome. Quarryman in ancient Rome sometimes rubbed wax on their marble blacks to conceal cracks and flaws. The Roman Senate passed a law that all marble purchased by the government must be “since cera” or without wax. From this root comes “sincere.”
“I am” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
The first novel to be written on a typewriter was “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain.
The term “whole nine yards” comes from WWII fighter pilots in the South Pacific. When arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50 caliber machine gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet. Before being loaded into fuselage, if the pilot fired all their ammo at the target, it got “the whole nine yards.”
The phrase “rule of thumb” is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn’t beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.
It rains more in Rome than it does in London.
Happy 50th Birthday COBOL
September 18 was Common Business Oriented Language’s (COBAL) 50th birthday. COBAL was designed by RDML Grace Hopper who served in the U.S. Navy and rose to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). She wrote the first compiler, the “A Compiler.” COBAL is still being used. There is U.S. Navy destroyer named after her.
Trade Group Concerned About In-Sourcing Mandate
The Professional Services Council is concerned that the Defense Department is haphazardly shifting work from contractors to Federal officials without careful analysis on who can provide the best value for taxpayers.
U.S. Lawmakers Question ICANN gTLD Plan
Several U.S. Lawmakers urged the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to back off on a plan to offer an unlimited number of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD) until concern about trademark protections and other issues can be addressed. http://idgconnect.com/index.cfm?event=showarticle&cid=116&pk=11440
House Panel Approves Cybersecurity R&D Bill
A U.S. House Subcommittee on September 23 approved legislation requiring Federal agencies to develop, update, and implement strategic plans for cybersecurity R&D. The Cybersecurity R&D Amendment Act of 2009 calls for agency’s cybersecurity role and the level of funding required to fulfill the research objectives. NSF will be required to support research on the social and behavioral aspects of cybersecurity.
IG Blasts Management of Energy’s Classified Information Network
The National Nuclear Security Administration took nine years and spent $150 million to develop a project to improve cybersecurity. On September 21, the Energy Department Inspector General said it failed.
IRS Kills “My IRS Account” Project
The Internal Revenue Service had a good idea for a project called “MY IRS Account” to provide online access to tax records and to help taxpayers with tax preparation. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported that the IRS spent $10 million to develop the project – only to kill it near the completion date because it was never properly planned.
Making Money the TOYOTA Way
The automaker is asking the state of California for $2 million in taxpayer reimbursement for recent training of TOYOTA autoworkers in their plant that is planned to close in 2010. “We made them more skilled workers,” TOYOTA says. “There is not another automaker in California equipped to use those skills when the plant closes.”
PC Industry on Brink of Recovery
“The PC industry is set to come out of the most damaging recession in decades. Chip shipments are stabilizing as PC shipments start to rise. The recovery has already started and the best is yet to come,” said Paul Otellini, Intel’s CEO. “The PC industry has been more resilient than expected, and the trend should continue going ahead.”
Some Amazing Pictures from NASA
Here on earth:
And up there:
How would you like to have a street address like this:
This Ain’t It Road – Alexander City, Alabama
Where O Where Drive – Nantucket, Massachusetts
Skunks Misery Road – Oyster Bay, New York
Oh My God Road – Central City, Colorado
Psycho Path Road – Traverse City, Michigan
Bimbo Drive – Fayetteville, North Carolina
Man on a Horse
If a statue in a park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
39th and 40th States
No one knows which state was the 39th to be admitted into the Union. North and South Dakota were admitted the same day. President Harrison never revealed which of the two proclamations he signed first.