Cyber-Attack - Lessons from Morgan Hill

Bruce Perens posted an article at http://perens.com/works/articles/MorganHill/ that qualifies as a must read. If you followed the news closely, you might have heard of a phone outage in the Morgan Hill, California area a week or two back. I say might, because it was just a tiny blip on the big world view radar, and easily ignored as a simple fiber cut. Bruce covers the 'cut' in enough detail to quickly dispel any notion of a simple situation.

When we hear the words cyber-attack we tend to think of flashing messages on big monitors, fast typing cyber-heroes fending off the cyber-villains, just like in the movies. OK, some of the more technically fluent think of firewalls, intrusion detection signatures, key logging trojans and many other far less visually appealing, but more realistic things. In this case, both chains of thought would be wrong.

Would you believe the cyber-weapon cache could be a big pair of pruning shears and a crowbar?
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Skimming at the Gas Pump

Recently, the TV news was warning of the discovery of card skimming devices at multiple (undisclosed) area gas stations. Skimmers have been around for quite a while, and are not typically so newsworthy. What sets the current wave apart from some earlier versions is the slickness of the hardware, and the addition of wireless communication to make the resulting theft potentially instant. The news team in their typical alarmist ways tried to instill fear by implicating all that that nasty modern hi-tech stuff. They worked in phrases like "identity theft," when in fact is, it is just good old fashioned opportunistic thievery. As with most such cases, a little bit of common sense applied at the right time could have made this current problem far less severe.
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Hello, world!

As I installed the software for the first incarnation of this blog, it created a short first post. The title was just one comma off from the output of the classic K&R C program that I recall laboriously typing in on an IBM-XT a couple of decades back, all ready to run through the command line compiler and linker. That little bit of nostalgia was a good enough reason for me to leave the title (mostly) intact.

This "Hello" goes out to the world from a new venture, Geekwright, which is my own response to the current economic climate. Some people ask why I would start a new company when the current outlook is so bleak. The answer is really quite simple. I think small businesses are our brightest hope for growth, and ultimately recovery. And I want a company that can respond to the needs of those small businesses with a flexibility that I know from first hand experience is lacking in the typical "Big Business" approach. That “Big” approach has too many layers with too many places for inefficiencies to hide, things that a savvy small business owner would never tolerate. And for that small business owner, I see a lot of opportunities to achieve sophisticated technological goals at lower costs than ever before in the history of the computer industry.

Over time, this blog will explore some of these motivations in more detail, along with more on the key technologies that I think small businesses can embrace to their benefit. But for right now, I'll just leave it at this: Hello, world! Geekwright, LLC is open for business.
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