• Mar 01
    2016
    In the old days, the way you took care of your car was to bring it to the dealership on a regular schedule for an oil change and inspection of its various systems. These days, you still have to bring the car in for oil changes (although they are far less frequent than they used to be), but the inspections have been largely supplanted by electronic diagnostics. The dealership technician ...
  • Feb 23
    2016
    When I access my Amazon.com account, after I enter my email address and password, Amazon's software texts a six-digit number to my mobile phone. I need to enter this number in a subsequent screen before Amazon allows me into my account. This is multi-factor authentication. Texting a unique number to a mobile device is probably the most common way that commercial websites implement multi-factor authentication. But it’s not the only ...
  • Feb 16
    2016
    Since the days of B. F. Skinner's teaching machine, researchers have understood the power of reinforcement in training. Some early researchers tried to turn the quest for reliable and perfectly timed reinforcement into a means of training learners without human intervention. And so we had computer-based training programs that posed problems to students who were rewarded with “attaboys” when they successfully overcame the problems. The reinforcement effect is what makes ...
  • Feb 09
    2016
    About a year ago, I compared cybersecurity to the siege of Helm's Deep (an episode in the Lord of the Rings saga): "a small group of stalwarts defend a thoughtful and well-designed position (and everything they hold dear) against an unlimited number of orcs. The orcs aren't particularly competent, but they don’t have to be. From time to time, their efforts are enhanced by explosives and siege technology. But their ...
  • Feb 02
    2016
    The 2016 Vormetric Data Threat Report is out, and it's worth your reading time if you’re at all interested in data security. You can download it at vormetric.com. I suggest reading the entire report, which is based on a survey of more than 1,100 senior security executives across the globe. But I wanted to discuss a couple findings that caught my eye. The first finding that interested me was that ...
  • Jan 26
    2016
    When they announced the Powerball jackpot was over a billion dollars a couple weeks ago, I almost bought a ticket. It's only two dollars, so why not? But when I thought about it, I could see I stood a better chance of finding a billion dollars in the street than I did of winning it at Powerball. And I could get more out of my two dollars by setting them ...
  • Jan 19
    2016
    The 2015 Vormetric Insider Threat Report polled 800 senior executives and IT professionals worldwide, finding that 89% report feeling vulnerable to insider attack. In the U.S. alone, it's 93%. Most cyber-attacks still come from outside, but insider attacks may well pose greater risk because the damage can be so much more devastating. Insiders are in a position to know your organization's assets intimately, and they know where your weak points ...
  • Jan 12
    2016
    Nuix, a big data software developer that originated in Australia, has released its second annual Defending Data report. (The link goes to a page from which you can download the entire report.) It is based on in-depth interviews with 28 corporate security officials. Nuix points to nine key findings from these interviews: Compared to last year, corporate officials are more aware of how they are spending their security budgets. The ...