Month: October 2014

Moving?

If you are a CEO, or owner of a company, you know that the logistics of moving are a nightmare!

I have moved data centers while keeping the existing company going.  That is what got me interested in Disaster recovery.  If you are going to provide business continuity during a disaster, providing the same for a move is a little simpler.

If you have a disaster recovery plan, this would be an excellent way to test it.  If you don’t; may I suggest you create one before the move and then use the move as a way to test it?

The simple facts are that most CEO’s are oblivious as to the true state of their data infrastructure.  It seems to work and beside the occasional glitch, business continues.

As a DR specialist I see things way too often that are far from “best practice” and usually so sub-par that the person in charge of the mess does everything they can do to get me out of there before their boss learns the tenuous situation that they have going on.

Rule of thumb.

You don’t have to understand too much of the technology to know if you are being snowed.

Go into the wiring closets and or data center and look at how things arranged.

Are the cables dressed as they should be or are they simply plugged in with no rhyme or reason?

Is everything in the computer room labeled?

Can your CIO or manager or sysadmin produce an up to date network map?

Can they produce your software licenses in case the SBA comes for a visit?

Can they produce an accurate inventory of all of the software in your company?

Can they show you the “run book.”

These are just real simple things that you can look for to get a feel for how prepared your company is to either move, or recover after a disaster.

Usually the turnover in such a company results in messes being piled on top of messes.  Before the Gordian knot becomes truly inexorable; a review is necessary.

The review turns into an audit which inevitably makes those who are responsible anxious.  My job is not to point fingers, but simply point out that which needs to change.

See my blog “attention Ceo CiO etc…

https://thetimedok.com/2014/06/02/attention-ceo-cfo-president-cio-and-hr/

There are many things in there to ask of your staff.

The point to this writing today is simple this.  If you are pondering a move, using your disaster recovery plan as an outline for the move, has lots of advantages.

The main advantage is that you get to test it, and work on it.  While it may not be complete it is a starting point.

We live in difficult times; not having a DR plan is like driving without insurance, risky.  While driving without insurance could get you a ticket, or paying for the other guy out of your pocket, not having a DR plan could cost you the entire company.

Feel free to contact me if you need some help.

Staylor AT guard-protect.com

Yes, robots see e-mails and spam me so simply replace the AT with the @

-Best

They’re on TV, they know the right answer!

Not so fast… Liberal hacks have been spewing out verbiage (verbal garbage) for years, and people suck it up as the Gospel.

Why?  You see them on the “silver screen” and they appear “all knowing!”

They are actors, which is what they do, they act!  Do you think that the “actors in Big Bang really have a clue about particle physics?  I am dubious that they could spell Higgs-Boson much less know one if it bit them in the ass! Please understand I have no ill feelings towards this group of actors.  I have watched them through most of their careers and enjoy their talents. If I met them however; would I like them?  Who knows?

Their entire claim to fame is that they can read a script, remember it long enough to regurgitate their lines and emote.  I am certain that looks and who you know has a lot to do with it.

When liberal elites run things, it is almost never good for the “little people.”  I would expand that to say the “elites” period.

Let’s take the tax code for example.  Each and every election cycle we have people talk about changing it, making it simple.  Makes for great talking points and for a great control of the narrative but in reality, it will never be simplified. It is thousands of pages of text which benefit the people with the gold, written by the people with the gold for the people with the gold! It is a way to legally extract money from you and give it to them or at least distribute it in ways that buys votes from the disenfranchised, aka those who refuse to work no matter what!  There is a part of the population that vote, as their sole job, they vote for a living; and you pay them to do it.

Hey Hollywood, if your so damned bright how come California is bankrupt?  How come every liberal idea of socialism and communism has never worked in history, ever!  The only people that this ideology benefit is the 1% who look down from their ivory tower and say stupid shit like “let them eat cake” thinking cake is cheaper than bread!

If Guns are so damned evil, how come you guys have them?  You want gun laws for the peasants, but not for you.  The people know, and surely you must know; that laws are for the people who are not criminals!  Passing gun legislation will only hurt law abiding citizens.

If you don’t like guns, don’t buy them!  If I were president; I would push legislation that would have every “able” person in the country that was willing and able to take the proper course and get from the government free guns and ammo.  Once every year or two they come in and re-fresh their proficiency and renew the certification.  Don’t you know that crime would go down to nothing!  We who make an industry out of locking people up would change that quickly.  Would more people die in burglaries and other stupid criminal acts, Yes!  Would the courts be busy at first, probably, why? Because people, (dumb people,) would test the system.  There are stupid people out there that would have to see if grandpa or grandma would really shoot them.  “Tap it three times grandma!”

The truth is that the typical response time for a 911 call is twenty minutes.  Let me say that again, TWENTY MINUTES!  Do you have any idea how fast a criminal can kill you and your entire family and be gone?  Long before the first police car ever arrives on the scene.

By the time you hear the door kicked in, pick up the phone “instead of a gun,” that bad guy is already in your home looking for you, and or a family member.  Now you can grab your shotgun and fire a warning shot like Mr. Biden suggested, or you can call 911 and try to stay alive while the cop finishes eating dinner, or writing up that guy that was going 5 miles over the speed limit, or investigating a domestic disturbance or; you can pick up your gun, that you know how to use and save the taxpayers some money, and your life!.  The simple truth is that the cops will get there in time to write up the incident (most of the time.) What will they be writing up?  If you have a gun that Matthew Mcconaughey and other liberal silver screen people (who have guns and body guards) think that you don’t need, or should not have, they hopefully will be writing up that there is either an injured or dead person that was attempting a break in, which needs to be dealt with.

When the people that you love from the silver screen come out and advocate for this or that or for some candidate remember that you have no idea who that person is, or what they are about.  I loved Ed Asner.  Did I really?  Lou Grant, Mary Tyler Moore and even the bumbling news anchor Ted Baxter.  Those are the people I loved, to watch. 

Ed’s philosophy and activist rolls he has taken are diametrically opposite of mine in every way.  This man believes that we took down the Twin Towers.  When he talks in public do you see him as the lovable, intelligent all knowing news editor, Lou Grant?

Mr. Obama seems like a real nice person.  I am certain that I could be friends with him but, as president I could not agree with his politics.  With him, I learned and embraced the word “Feckless.”  That is a terrible thing to have to admit and relate to a sitting president.  I thought that Jimmy Carter would go down in history as the worst president ever, I think he got spared that title.  I think President Obama’s  ideology is flawed beyond repair.  I do believe that he believes that what he is doing is good.  This is the classic Ivory tower syndrome.  Cake is not bread Mr. President.  People need a hand up, not a hand out, Mr. President.  With your approval rating so low, how about stop governing by the damned polls and just do the right thing.  Stop leading from the rear!  If you are lost; call me.  I don’t have a red phone but I am certain that your guys can find my number.  I am not a yes man and will tell you like it is! I am older than you; and I probably know more history than you do.  I have run a company and I know how balance a budget,  I do like it when you don’t have the teleprompter, when you talk and it is from you, and not half a dozen script writers.

Did I say script?

Yes, Script, only Mr. Obama does not memorize it, he simply reads it.  His wife has aspirations of being on the silver screen too, as she has been in at least one show that I saw; Parks and Recs. She is pretty and has the right connections, so who knows.

I am unsure what drives people to want to be on the silver screen in the first place; I suspect narcissism but, psychology is not my main interest.  This country is!

I dislike the process of politics.  What kind of life is it where one begs for money and votes the entire time that they are in the public eyeNo damned wonder nothing gets done in Washington, they are too busy setting things up for their next election!

Things need to change so these guys can actually get some work done.

I have some ideas that would fix it and guess what, they are from history and some are simply common sense which, we as a nation seem to be short of these days!

 Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It’s a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing!  Scene 5 of Macbeth, if memory serves…

-Best

Vote!

This time of year is rife with ads on TV and Radio telling you how awful the other guy is.

Here is the truth about those ads; for the most part they are all lies.  There may be a smidgen of truth in them but for the most part they are complete fabrications designed to either get you to vote for their person, or to become so disgusted with the “process” that you simply stay home.

It is an easy decision to stay home, no lines, not having to think about who is really the best, or care. Many will take that route and than bitch about the outcome.  When it turns into a decision between the “lesser of two evils” they have done their job!

Someone released a plea from a former state representative to vote for their democratic candidate, or simply stay home.  This is ludicrous, and anyone asking you not to vote should throw a  “red flag;” telling you that they are spewing utter BS!

It is your civic duty to vote!  Just like Jury Duty is a civic duty, so it voting. Not only is voting a civic duty, it is a privilege that many died for you to have.

When folks are desperate they run horrible ads slamming the other guy.  

While I would really like to see a debate or political discussion, where each side offered solutions and not simply bad mouthed the other guy; I don’t think it will happen.

Why, because they are politicians and for the most part don’t really give a damned about your problems.  They may tell you that they do, but they don’t.  They may start out by caring about your problems but once they start selling their soul to get money for the election, they only keep their eye on the prize, power!

Politics is all about controlling the narrative.  The Press Secretary Josh Earnest and others are spin doctors whose sole job is to control the narrative.  The truth never enters into the equation, unless of course it serves the agenda at hand.  These folks are professional liars.  Sound Jaded?  Not really, been around long enough to realize that this is what it is about.  This is the “process,” that Obama said sometime “gets messy.”

Ron Klain is the new Ebola CZAR. One would think that he would be a medical guru!  Nope, not at all.  He knows nothing about medical things, he is a political strategist and is there to “control the narrative.”  His sole job is to make sure that anyone from the white house or under this administration that talks about Ebola only says things that are approved “spun” by him, to fit an agenda.  The agenda may be as benign as to control panic, or as malevolent to buck common sense and keep the flights coming and going from Ebola ravaged countries. Either way you can not believe anything that this administration says about this as it has proven time and time again that they don’t have your best interest at heart!  The last argument made against stopping the flights was that stopping the flights might damage these third world economies, as they are fragile!

I don’t know how or if Ebola will fit into this 2014 vote but it might.  Anyone that says we should not have commercial flights going to or from those places should be in the “vote for” category.

So, when you vote consider this, we have their record to look at, and that is what you should be thinking about when you step into the booth.  Vote on their record, their character, and if they represent what you believe.

Obama should never have won. Had people not been so elated about voting in a Black Man they might have looked at his record better.  The narrative of Obama was scrubbed, sealed and spun away!  He was distanced from his former radical pastor who married them, his affiliation with Bill Ayers (the self proclaimed terrorist and his abysmal voting record of his short time in the senate, “present.”  His school records were even sealed!  Someone had been grooming him for this and it would really be nice to know who he really answers to as it is not the people. Who is the puppet master?

Move-ON.org is up to its tricks again using George Soros’s money to scare the undecided and independents to vote for liberal candidates.

The last 6 years is an example of liberal thinking; do you want more of that? While Obama is not on the ticket, all of his policies are!

There is no war on women, it is a complete fabrication.  It is easy to sell because they appeal to what, emotions!  Women and men think differently and most women that I know start a conversation with “I feel..,” well men start it with “logically…” I can manipulate women much easier than men, and the spin doctors know how to do this all too well!  Of course this is not all women but the voting block as a whole is enough.  Simply tell them that men want to control their ovaries and they will vote for the devil.  If you watched the DNC when Ms Fluke got up and gave her contrived speech, the audience was comprised of mostly women who appeared hypnotized or somnambulistic.  Some women voted for Obama because he is good looking…according to polls.  

Before you write me and call me a sexist, or a misogynist, take a breath and read everything. I am most certainly non-of-those things! I have a huge respect for diversity, intelligence and anyone that thinks outside the box even just a little. I have studied too many of these topics and I know how this stuff works.  Politicians spin the facts in such a way to manipulate everyone!  Why else can you be anti Gay marriage in one location, and pro-gay marriage in another? Same person, same  political affiliations just a different message for a different group.  The more you know about yourself and the facts, the less easily you can be manipulated.   The easiest and most simply way to manipulate you is through your emotions.  Women are generally more emotional than men. If I tell you that there is a war on women and I make up some facts, a large percentage of women that read those facts will buy into them. Hopefully more of them might say Bullshit, and look a little harder.  It is kind of like all of those things that people pass around via e-mail or Facebook that is complete Shit!  When you send them the SNOPES link with the article I often wonder if I offend them.  That is certainly not my intention but, my god folks, use your heads.

Just for the record, Snopes is run by a couple in California which may or may not be biased.  Don’t stop your investigation with snopes.

Before Obama we were fine with racial relations, not great but we did not have polar bear hunting, and now we do.   By the way, where the hell is Al Sharpton and Rev Jackson on this? They are all up in arms when a thug gets shot but; when innocent old white guys are beat up or killed because they are white, nothing!  I would have a whole lot more respect for these two if they would denounce all violence!  Before Obama the Ferguson debacle would not have had the focus of the world, would certainly not been talked about at the United Nations and we certainly would not have sent several White House representatives to a THUGS funeral.  As the facts are trickling out we are learning more and more that the cop was justified.  The local mob is calling for vigilantism.  Sharpton and company stirred this pot; they need to stop it!  If anything goes wrong and they do nothing to prevent it, I would hope that the folks wronged would get litigious in a hurry!  We are a nation of laws, this is not the wild west!

“If you don’t want to get shot, don’t screw around with COPS!”  I am not saying they are perfect but, for the most part you have to have something going for you to even want that job. All cops should have a body camera that is on when they are on the clock!  I would like to see a bill written and passed to that effect. When cameras are on, people seem a little more civil.

No one will ever do anything with the Tax Code, because it is the government’s way of controlling the masses.  It makes for great talking points and distractions from the real issues but if a candidate is talking about it, it is a distraction.  The Tax Code consist of several thousand pages of code which force anyone making more than minimum wage to seek the advice of a tax service, or a CPA.  “The Tax code is written for people of means, by people of means, and and by no means written for the masses, you and I.”

Minimum wage laws will be bandied about by the democrats to entice young voters to vote for the “liberal agenda” because young people have yet to have enough life experience to see that it is all smoke and mirrors, and that nobody should be depending upon starter jobsminimum wage” for a living wage.  If you are, you are doing something wrong.

Public Pensions will be of interest as many States who have pensions for their retirees that are very generous, will run out of funding and bankruptcy will most certainly follow. Will we bail them out on the tax payer dime?  If democrats control things, probably!

Immigration needs to be looked at very carefully.  Many states are experimenting with laws that allow undocumented immigrants who graduate from high school to receive in-state tuition to public schools on the tax payer dime.  As far as natural born folks, you know Americans; you still have to pay as well as pay for theirs.  This will be a topic of discussion / debate that will certainly pass, if your state turns blue.  This thinking has also caused lawmakers to think about granting drivers licenses to undocumented people. WTF?  I am surprised that we don’t take out advertising on their television stations telling them about how great it is over here, and how we love to pay for everything!  Come on down, or up!

Nothing could be further from the truth!  We are paying for education for them, and I am guessing that if they stay undocumented and we educate them then we have smarter slaves!  More workers equal guess what, lower wages for everyone! Yeah, that is what you want right?  Not only do you too get lower wages, you still have to pay for your college tuition.  GO Blue!

47 million folks are living below the federal poverty line and one section of government wants to get them back to work and the other, wants to figure out creative ways to help them, financiallyThat is 47 million votes, paid for by tax payer dollars!   Who says you cant buy an election?

People need a hand up, not a hand out!  Democrats are hurting them and one day, when the printing press stops, there will be utter chaos in the streets as those that are sitting home watching cable TV, playing video games while you are out busting your butt working two part time jobs to make ends meet, run out of money.  Stores will not take IOU’s and when the cable, electricity, and free phone stop working; it will end up being some sort of Racial thing where the fat white man is to blame. Of course we know that it is the food stamp president who is doing this but when the feces hits the rotating oscillator it will be someone else’s fault…Bush…yeah he takes the blame for everything!

This administration has built its key economic strategies around transportation and infrastructure but has kept its level of funding stagnant. States are looking at this as a possible state issue, dealing with it at that level. Look for bonds and or taxes to pay for this; as the feds have failed.  Personally, I think that there will be more toll roads which amounts to hidden taxes into perpetuity! .

Drones will be part of the politics in the future as the laws around them will most certainly benefit the government and not the public. This is a topic for you the voter to watch carefully as your rights to privacy among other things, may be on the line.  Make certain that you know how your candidate feels about this issue.

Abortion, the war on women, which is really a war on babies, should not be addressed at a federal level but each state should handle this.  This is not a one size fits all solution but, the pendulum has swayed too far in the liberal direction and needs some correcting. Look for more scare tactics in the 2014 and 2016 elections.  I look for this to be really blown out of proportion if Hillary runs. When topics appeal to your emotions you are being manipulated and politicians are expert manipulators! They actually have people who have degrees in how to manipulate you.  Isn’t that nice? 

Fracking is a topic which should be addressed at the ballot box.  I am certain that the public is being kept in the dark regarding full disclosure, and the public is not sharing in the rewards, only in the possible hazards.  If for instance there is an earth quake in an area of the world that has never had them, and houses are damaged the “frackers” will say, it was a coincidence and leave you to fix your house yourself; and by the way,” some states don’t sell earth quake insurance as they don’t have earth quakes.  I would argue that the “frackers” should be on the hook for paying for earth quake insurance at the very least, or be on the hook for any damage caused by an earthquake in areas which are not prone to such events. Either way a bill should be drafted and language to this effect should be included before Fracking is allowed. In that same bill I would push for more transparency as we really don’t have a clue what they are pumping into the ground and if it will have an affect on drinking water. Again I would call for civilian over-site.

The border should be in this list as there are more issues with this than ever before.  For some reason the government does not really want to close it as, more potential voters are crossing it every day! Never mind the fact that we have people from countries that mean us harm  also crossing that same border.  Never mind that if Ebola gets loose down south that they too will cross that border in droves; this is simply a common sense problem that no one wants to take care of!  Democrats want the voters, and Republicans want the cheap labor, slaves!  We need to wise-up and close the damned border!  Maybe it is time for an independent to run.

Privacy is a concern to most voters so make certain that you are up on how your candidate feels about such things.  Since the end of GW Bush and all of Obama’s reign, our privacy has been under assault.  From porn scanners, to searches without warrants to phone taps as well as data mining.  Technology is such that drones can peer into your open window and count your freckles from over a mile away!  Satellite technology is also intrusive.   Electronic surveillance is easier than ever before.  Your movements tracked, your picture taken, your transactions tracked just because they can.  We really need a technology expert who is on the side of the public. You are no doubt thinking that our government should be doing that, better stop voting for the progressives if you want a government that actually respects the constitution and ah, works for you, and not against you!

One outfit that I know of just released a hand held device that can see in the dark.  This device also has thermal imaging as well as infrared, and can not only record what it sees, it has a super sensitive microphone so audio can be recorded as well.  This device will end up in the hands of anyone with money to purchase it, and certainly into the hands of police.  If used for “lawful” purposes, that is ok but, I must confess, listening to the police on the scanner, I am not ready to surrender my worries about these guys as they can get full of themselves fairly easily.  You know this to be true as you see it every day, even if you don’t listen in on them via a scanner.

How many times a week during your commute, are you passed by a cop who is speeding, for no apparent reason?  Many I suspect but, if you passed them, you would have a ticket to contend with.  We really need to be careful who gets what technology and how it is used. Get a police scanner and learn what your servants are up to.

Just like we need term limits, we really need civilian over-site of the government, and local municipalities.  Lets see some politician float that bill!

 I am very much against voting party.  These guys are all politicians and they switch the R and or the D to match their demographics.  Progressives can wear either shirt, and that is who you don’t want to vote for.  Vote for those who are for smaller government which protect the country, your rights, stand by the constitution, and create an atmosphere that is friendly to business. Before you “pull the lever,” make certain that their track record matches that.

I realize what I am asking.  Put it this way, if the ballots were fill in the blank, less then one tenth of all ballots cast would be valid.  By fill in the blank I mean that nobody was coaching you once you were inside the building, no signs or cheat sheets.  Even if it were multiple guess, if you threw in  two bogus names like Humphrey Bogart and Carry Grant would you care to guess who would get the most votes!   Yep, dead guys! That my friends is why we are in the mess than we are in. That is APATHY! Apathy combined with ignorance is a really bad combination!

You have seen what voting the party gets; now we need to do it better.

-Best

C Copyright All Rights Reserved 10/2014

Pick Your Battles

Sitting back watching the Houston Mayor run roughshod over preachers has been entertaining.

annise-parker-houston-mayor-600

The LGBT community has in many ways influenced the lives of everyone on this planet who has a TV, or a radio or even use a PC or other device to get on the internet.

Hollywood insists on putting “gay” into many of their products, which may be a sign of the times, or it may be part of an agenda, or both.  The public can either accept and embrace it, turn a blind eye, turn the channel or turn it off.  As Reagan once said “vote with your feet, or in this case your remote.”

When the Mayor of a huge city like Houston who is openly lesbian gets elected, I think that Hollywood has done a pretty good job of indoctrinating the masses.

The simple facts are that few of us care what folks do in the privacy of their own home.  That is between you, your partner and your god.  Most people simply don’t care, and if you read the bible you would understand that Christians are called not to judge others.  They are taught to hate the sin, not the sinner. Christians are not your enemy!

“Sin” is where the rub is, and why the attack on religion.

If I had to guess I would say that is the reason that there is more animosity towards religion and God. If you “believe” you are called to live a different lifestyle “hate the sin” than if you simply do as you  please.

The human race is under attack from every angle.  Pornography for instance is now incredibly easy and prolific.  We have legalized Pot in a few states and more people want it on the ballot in their state even though those that have done it, now say that it was reckless!

We have stuff at the box office which comes from such twisted minds one has to wonder what they were smoking when they wrote it.  Even worse, people pay good money to go see it. Our moral compass is way off. The people driving this lack of morality, attack God, and those who follow him.  The entertainment industry as a whole is giving the people what they want from pornography to violence to incredibly violent video games which are nothing more than simulators designed to desensitize one to violence.

We have programs that explain everything through science except how did it all get started?  Science would tell you that there is no room for God and Religious folks would tell you that there is not room for science.  Only when they each realize that they must necessarily co-exists, will they find the answers which they seek! Indeed if God has a language I believe that you will find it to be math!

Mrs. Parker, the same constitution that allows you to live your life as you choose, also allows Christians to live their life as they choose.  By attacking organized religion and trying to get them to submit to the gay agenda “whatever that is” is biting off more than you can possibly chew.  This is not Canada, we still have Freedom of speech.

Here is the problem.  The Bible is what it is.  The words in it are what Christians believe to be the inerrant word of God; the same God that judges them, will judge you!  Unlike public opinion, the Bible is static, it does not change at some whim of bloated officials such as yourself. While atheist have made a religion out of being atheist; forcing the removal of God from Schools and public places, the Bible will not change.

Live your life as you like, causing others to stray has penalties all of its own; if you believe the words in the bible; and again, that is between the people who do it; and their God.

Denouncing God does not make him any less real but, if that helps you live with your life choices, so be it.

Not my Monkeys; Not my Circus!

If however; you use your powers of office to try and circumvent the constitution; than we have a whole other problem.

The constitution is not out of date as Ruth Ginsburg would have you believe; but a very timeless document that is just as salient today as it was when it was drafted.  It was crafted in such a way to protect the public from people, such as you who abuse your power to fit an agenda.

The Gay community did not happen in just the last few decades, but way back before Jesus ever trod the sod.  I know of no one that holds any animosity towards them but, if you choose to believe that people do, that is your problem; don’t make it ours.

Houston needs a lot of things and you can do a lot of good, taking on the church or religion or God is not what you were elected for, and I doubt that most of the people who voted for you would want you to continue on with this.  Your foolishness is making national news and not only are you hurting your cause but, you are hurting Houston, and you are hurting the Democratic Party. Stop tilting at Windmills.  If you are serious about turning Texas Blue, this is not the way to do it!  If you want more people to accept gay people, stop making them look bad!

Pick your battles carefully…

-Best

OBAMA EXECUTIVE ORDER ALERT!!!!

Arlin Report

NO PRESIDENT EVER MADE SO MANY AND SO RECKLESS EXECUTIVE ORDERS, NONE WITH INTENTIONS OF DESTROYING US, YET WE DO NOTHING.  HERE IS AN IMPORTANT ALERT FROM CONGRESSWOMAN KAY GRANGER.
by Kay Granger
kaygranger.house.gov
Dear Friend,
With all that is going in Washington these days some things don’t make the news the way they should. Fourteen days ago President Obama issued an Executive Order that you should know about.
This order gives an unprecedented level of authority to the President and the federal government to take over all the fundamental parts of our economy – in the name of national security – in times of national emergency.
This means all of our water resources, construction services and materials (steel, concrete, etc.), our civil transportation system, food and health resources, our energy supplies including oil and natural gas – even farm equipment – can be taken over by the President and…

View original post 195 more words

Ebola / Virus

After the death of the first Ebola patient in American today, one really has to look at this with an objective, forensic attitude. We need to take a  pragmatic approach when dealing with this.

Ebola came to this country via a man who became infected.  This man allegedly lied to get onto a plane and into this country to get medical help.  Further, when he knew that he was sick; he went to the hospital for help.  Not tipping his hand that he knew that he had contact with someone who had the disease, he told the people treating him that he had been in that area of the world, but did not offer up the fact that he indeed had contact with people who were victims of this outbreak.

The triage team missed his semi-obscure clue, misdiagnosed him, and sent him home with antibiotics, where he languished for a few days in an small apartment with other people.  The disease progressed to the point where this man had to go back to the hospital once again; this time by ambulance.

Had he been forthcoming on his first hospital visit, his outcome might have been better. The experimental drugs were showing signs of working.

Family members were exposed, paramedics were exposed, nurses and doctors were exposed.  People in the emergency room were exposed.  Anyone who came close to this person was exposed.

The clock is ticking, who next will show signs?  Was he contagious on the airplane? How about at any of the airports?

We now know that the virus can be viable for 6 (six) days on a surface. Any sneeze, blood, sweat, vomit or other bodily fluid from an infected person can contain this virus.

Today a man in Frisco Texas not feeling well went into a health clinic reporting symptoms of Ebola.  Are his symptoms psychosomatic? Did he just expose everyone in that clinic to his ailment? He is a deputy sheriff that was in the mans apartment.

This is how outbreaks start.  This is stage one.

The CDC really needs to amend their protocol in dealing with this for now.

Anyone who thinks that they have these symptoms “imagined or not,” should call 911 or some other special number where a CDC doctor will come to you, or they send a special ambulance to come get you.  Containment of this disease is paramount before it gets to stage two, or three. I would call on the CDC to change their protocol and make this happen before it is too late.

The simple facts are, we don’t fully know how virulent this virus is.  What we don’t know about this virus eclipses what we do know, and making mistakes now could cause the next pandemic.  People walking into clinics, doctors offices and alike who are infected, endanger the collective.

So what is a Virus?

It is interesting to note that a virus is neither dead, nor alive.  It does not eat, reproduce by itself nor defecate.  It is a parasite of sorts.  It contains genetic material that it “infects” a host cell with.  The host cell then is forced to do its dirty work.  The cell’s normal genetic instructions shut off, and it now creates proteins of a different sort, viral proteins, which make new viral particles.

The interesting thing about viruses is when they infect, they can obtain some of the host DNA in the process.  When the new virus’s proliferate into yet more cells, they may in fact bring with them some of the host original DNA.

MS and Hemophilia are two diseases which researchers believe are the result of this ‘transduction.”

Make no mistake; viruses are the original “replicators” (excuse the reference to Stargate).  These guys’ sole purpose is to reproduce or “replicate.”

Virus’s are either made up of DNA or RNA and are encased in something called a “capsid” which is made of protein and some also have an envelope which is made up of lipids.  One note of interest is that RNA viruses which make up 70% of all viruses mutate much more readily than DNA type Virus’s, due to the error rate of enzymes that are actually involved in the replication process.

“Look out Daniel Jackson!”  This must be where the writers of Stargate got their idea for the replicators… I digress…

Ebola is a member of the Filoviridae family of the RNA viruses.  Ebola can have a 90% mortality rate however; it should be noted that this number is derived from areas of the world with remote, substandard medical care / facilities.  This area of the world is filled with people who believe that this is a work of the devil; and frequently seek out their local witch doctor for assistance.  I am not being ugly, those are the facts.

We have a government that is downplaying this, and we have news agencies that are scaring the hell out of people, for ratings. Somewhere in this minutia, is the truth.

If this virus mutates to airborne, which it may already be; allowing unfettered access of people from that part of the world here in this country could be a huge mistake with dire consequences. All peoples from that part of the world should be quarantined until we get a handle on this outbreak in Africa. Their excuse might be, “who knew?”

The simple facts are we need to “Assume” that this disease is very catchy.  We need to assume that it can be spread by air, water, touch etc.  We need to assume that it can be spread by mosquitoes. Until there is hard scientific evidence that it cannot be, we need to assume that it can.  We need to assume that other animals including family pets can become carriers of this disease.  Assume the worst, and make your plans around it!

Update 10-14-14

Now with one of the care givers of Mr. Duncan testing positive for the Ebola virus, we have even more questions than answers.

How?

Immediately a breach of protocol was assumed.

It would be very interesting to examine the air handlers in that facility to see if there are any Ebola virus on any of the filtration systems or associated duct work, fans etc.

It was of particular interest to me that the ashes of the bedding and other things that were in Mr. Duncan s apartment are treated as hazardous waste, and being transported to a special facility for such, in Louisiana. Think about this for just a second.  Our government is telling us that one must come in direct contact with some bodily fluid of not only an infected individual but someone who is in the later stages of the disease; and yet we are not even comfortable with dumping the ashes in a regular landfill.

My guess is that there was no breach of protocol for the infected Nurse.  Again, there is more that we don’t know; than what we do about this disease.

Our heartfelt prayers are offered up to the caregiver who is affected.

This would be one prime use of robotics; we could remotely do what needs to be done via a robot, much like the robot assisted surgery that we have today. Our technology is probably not quite there yet but, I would call for some company that is already in such a field to get some “seed money” to make this happen faster, rather than at its usual pace.

Instead of sending humans into harms way; in this case highly infectious areas of the world, much less our own hospitals, we could send in a robot that was managed by a nurse.

If we can send a robot to Mars and have it do all sorts of scientific test, we should be able to come up with one that can do what needs to be done with extreme infectious patients.

Update 10/15/14

Another health care worker from Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for the virus.

This health care worker traveled by commercial air with at least 139 other souls, not to mention the crew of the airplane.

What did they do and where did they go?  Who were they in contact with?

What about the taxi that she took to the airport, how about the ticket agents, what about anyone who she may have had contact with in the airport(s), bathroom(s) eating establishments? Did she stay in a hotel? What about the maid who cleaned their room or the person(s) who handled the sheets / towels from the room? You folks who enjoy playing with fire are woefully unprepared for what you are doing.

If we are treating the ashes of Mr. Duncan s sheets and so forth as toxic waste, which Louisiana has now stated they will not allow it to come there for burial; should we not be all over this?

It seems to me that anyone who is a health care worker, working with Ebola patients, should be quarantined as well; until such a time that it can be proven that they are not a risk to the general population.   We cannot afford mistakes, unless of course you are looking to witness another pandemic here in this country.

We need to error on the side of caution and not hubris.  You clearly don’t know what you are doing.

Update 10/17/14

The two Ebola infected Nurses have made their way out of Texas to two hospitals that are better equipped to deal with the situation.  The Dallas Hospital has a lack of nurses now because so many of them are on “Ebola watch.”

The nurse, Amber Vinson, who flew to Cleveland on the 10th may have made some very bad decisions in taking public transportation. Flying commercial with a fever, knowing that you had been taking care of an Ebola patient who died of the disease is not very smart.   At least she had sense enough to call the CDC and ask if she should fly and they gave her the green light.  This is really common sense and she should not have even had to call and ask.  If the CDC indeed gave her the green light as reported, than we have bigger problems than a nurse lacking common sense.

Besides all of the people on the plan for that one plane ride from Ohio to Dallas, we have to consider that the plane went on to fly several different places that day, each time with 139 souls on board.

Keep in mind that a Virus is neither alive nor dead.  This talk about it being alive for X amount of hours is really not telling the truth.  They are depending upon your ignorance of the facts so you don’t ask the real questions.  Is the virus viable?  How long is the virus viable on a surface or in fluids?

I am thrilled that Nina Pham is doing better and getting good care.  My heart goes out to the nurses and doctors who are on the front lines, taking care of people.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to both of the nurses Nina and Amber Vinson.

It looks like Frontier Airline is going above and beyond to ensure the safety of their customers.  Miss Vinson’s decision to fly home was ill advised, and has already cost millions.  We have no idea what the future holds for all of the other people who could have been exposed to her illness. Anyone from ticket agents to baggage handlers to people in public restrooms to janitors to the folks that work the restaurants and anyone who sat in close proximately at the airports.  The next two weeks should have the CDC and most hospitals on pins and needles.

The CDC is flailing around with this and they truly need to get a grip.  Anyone treating Ebola patients should not be allowed to be in public transportation until they have passed a date that they could not be a carrier of the disease.  Compensate them for what they are doing but they have a greater responsibility to sequester themselves until they are deemed clear of the disease.

Flight bans from countries with this outbreak should be observed now.  While I am always perplexed by this administrations aversion to the truth or lack of common sense, their number one priority it so protect the American People.  We currently are not doing that.  Travel bans to and from these countries are just common sense.

Our southern border needs to be closed now!  If this disease gets into South America those folks will come here by hook or crook for medical care and I don’t blame them.  The issue is that they will come in such a way that we will not be able to trace them, evaluate them and quarantine them.  By the time they make it to some ER room, or clinic for help, we will have no clue how many others that will have become infected.

Look at the chaos we have for just one person who came here under false pretense!

This wont stop at our southern border, Canada will be in line for this too.

Rapid response teams should be created now to be able to assist those south of our border should the need arise.  Looking into the future, this is not that hard to foretell. If they don’t need the help, great; but if they do I would much rather take the battle there than have people crossing our border under the cover of night hoping to get some sort of medical care.

If you are a praying person; keep these two nurses in your thoughts and prayers.

Update 10/30/14

Both infected nurses recovered from the disease.  While we are grateful for their recovery the CDC was totally not prepared for this.  The total cost of this is of course unknown, and I am certain that the taxpayers are paying for this too.

We have a nurse who just came home from that area of the world who currently is not exhibiting any symptoms and also is not quarantining herself either.  Even though she is a nurse she is not taking any precautions and is out and about as she sees fit.  This is course is making the news nightly and I hope for her sake that she remains symptom free as she is playing fast and loose with more lives than her own.  She is in violation of the orders she has been given, to self quarantine and test her temperature twice daily, but it appears that thwarting the rules is her current plan.  As a nurse she should know better.

Recently leaked information from the White House documents the planning and logistics bringing non-citizen Ebola patients to this country for treatment.

I am not sure (A,) how something like this gets leaked and (B,) why anyone thinks this is a good idea!

If you truly want to get the patient together with our technology; how about sending a hospital ship over there?  If things get too far out of hand you only loose the ship and the “volunteers” that are manning it.  If things get loose over here well, who knows how far it will go.  Do you really want to risk a pandemic to the entire North American Continent? Since we are a very mobile people you very well might be risking a world wide pandemic!  Someone needs to pull their collective heads out!

The CDC has continuously displayed incompetence dealing with this.  Their Ebola CZAR is nowhere to be seen and knows nothing of this in the first place so, “from me to you,” why not mitigate the risk?

As far as this nurse in Main is concerned, I would lock her butt up until she passes the quarantine period.   She has crossed the line!  When you do that you get your freedom taken away.  When you endanger the public you get stopped.  That is the way it works!

I am in hopes that I can stop updating this thread as there is nothing to report.  Lets pray that is the case.

-Best

c All rights reserved 2014

Security

Happy Friday!

Today I want to talk about security.  With the recent events involving our President, along with major companies data base’s of credit card holders being hacked, it seemed timely.

Companies either focus on cyber-security, physical security or both or neither.  I realize that this statement seems ambiguous but, the simple facts are that few companies think about hiring a Security Officer, much less installing the systems to make certain that their physical plant is secure; not to mention their Data infrastructure. A security Officer is well rounded and incorporates all facets of security into their repertoire.

Part of a Disaster Recovery plan is an audit of security measures taken.

Thanks to recent hacks by various outside entities, companies are becoming more in tune with things like passwords that change, that the user sets, as well as administrative passwords that also are forced to change and be “strong in nature.”

Instead of vilifying some of my clients practices which; many would find audacious, some entertaining, and some down right stupid; allow me to pontificate about “security in a nutshell.”

Let’s start with the employee.

All employees (present and future) should have a background check completed.  Are they who they say that they are and do they have any criminal history?  What is their credit score and, can they pass a “drug test” now and at some future date?

What someone writes on their resume is not a legal document therefore; you must necessarily have them fill out an application for employment which “is a legal document.”  You can buy these at Office Depot, so there is really no excuse not to do this.

The resume is an instrument to get a person in the door for an interview, not to hire them by. What one writes on the application are grounds for termination, if fabricated.  I can write that I am King of the Emirates on my CV, if that gets me in the door, so be it.  Once I write that on an application, I have committed fraud..  Some would argue that the CV should me more sacrosanct than it is.  That would be nice but the truth is, that few do.

There is a complete art regarding your CV and making it stand out among others.  Like English 101, it is subjective, research the company to whom you are sending it to.  That is why one must have several different resumes.  I will not belabor that point or this subject here, suffice it so say, if it gets me past the first cut that is all that I care about.   Until you are sitting in front of a person who gets to know you personally and uniquely from the masses, your resume is one of tens of thousands languishing in a sea of anonymity.

Once your HR department is satisfied that this person is a viable candidate for the job at hand; then and only then, should the hiring manager start the interview process.

Q. What difference does it make if the person has a less than stellar history?

A.  If they have a track record for making bad decisions, there is nothing to stop them from doing so again. Once you hire them, they represent you and or your company.

Q.  What difference does it make regarding their credit score?

A.   If they have a lousy credit score that simply means that once again they have a higher probability of making poor decisions and even more germane, might be someone who has character issues.

One company I know of ran reports of how many coffee creamers, sugar and toilette paper their individual branches went through. They tied that data together with the branches that had “shorts.” (Shorts meaning the cash drawer did not balance, was missing money.)  The interesting thing was that the branches that used more supplies, had more shorts thus; the criminal element was behind the counter.

Q. Piss Quiz? What does a little pot, or drinking, have to do with a person being a good and faithful employee?

A. Once again we are looking at character traits. If a person plays loose with the rules, they too will have a proclivity to play loose with your rules. Good behavior should be rewarded. If someone plays by the rules, they should be first up for the job.

Q. What about pre-employment test?

A. Having total empathy for those of us who suffer from test anxiety, I am more interested in a person’s history and track record. The EU is really big on all sorts of pre-employment test to get the “brightest and best” however; as a hiring manager for most of my adult life, I am here to tell you that test are not the end all be all. If HR does their part, I trust that I can weed out the rest.  While a test may give you some idea of a person’s character, remember that if they are nervous or not feeling well that particular day, the results will be skewed. You may in fact be overlooking a diamond.  Get to know the person.

Once a long time ago I interviewed with Microsoft.  As it happened I was suffering from bronchitis, had not slept well but; I would have still gone to work as I could function so why not go on the interview.  There were several parts of the process including test of different parts.  Did I know the materiel?  In truth I was over qualified for the job in so many ways but I thought that working for Microsoft would be a good thing so I went through with the interview.  The last part of the interview some very attractive young lady brought me into an office and ask me “Why was a pothole cover round?”  In the haze of DayQuil and the anxiety of the entire process, the question threw me.  I chucked at her and looked at her like I was waiting for the real question like “what are the different layers of the OSI model and how are they relevant to data communications?”  That question I could have handled and was expecting; not why is a pothole cover round.

After a short period of silence which seemed like an eternity I realized that she was quite serious. “I had never thought about before.” i said, “I suppose that it might have something to do with the fact that if it were any other geometric shape, it could fall in.”

That answer was met with a dis-approving  look, which again threw me; as I could not think of any other reason why.

She then started asking me another question about a farmer, and a boat, and grain, and chickens, and a fox, and a river..

At this point in the process I ended the interview.  I was not feeling well and this to me seemed like games that one might play with someone who had never worked in the industry before; not someone who had the years doing this that I had.

My next job was that of an IT Director (instead of working at Microsoft) , where I would be the one in charge of purchasing tens of thousands of dollars at at time of software from “Microsoft.”   Microsoft has a tendency to hire a lot of young pretty girls to do their bidding, much like the drug industry does to push their pharmaceuticals  to doctors.  It is good to be a customer.

Physical Security

Physical security should be well thought out. I know of some companies that think this is too-expensive or don’t want to invest in this.  They have a key pad entry that they change once a quarter or so, if they think about it.  I have seen others who simply use a lock and key and they don’t even change them out when they have employee turnover.

Q. What should my building security look like?

A. Depending upon your business, let’s take a typical office environment.

The reception area has your normal door locks for after hours as well as video surveillance. Today we have technology that allows surveillance to be somewhat obscure but not so much so that the people who come into the lobby don’t notice it.  Today’s casinos for instance have tons of cameras and you know that if you scratch yourself someone somewhere watched you do it.  My point is that they are barely noticeable.  They are there and you know that they are there but you quickly might forget.  Your lobby should not be intimidating because your customers come through there too however; it should be obvious that you have security.

Each entrance to areas past the reception area should be hard keyed with electronic pass devices that respond to individual key cards.  Piggy backing of employees traversing these doors should be discouraged however; video surveillance of these doors from both the inside and outside will allow you to track employee movement should the need arise.

Electronic time clocks which use RFID or even bio metrics are not only good for payroll but, once again a good way to track employee movement.  Again the clock(s) should have video cameras in them and pointed at them so there is no way someone could be clocking in someone other than themselves.  The more secure the area is, the more visible you should make your security.

Depending upon your organization doors, controlling access to certain areas aka HR, development, data center etc should be keyed to allow only people with a need for entrance to that area.  Again these doors are also under video surveillance from both the inside and outside.

Employee cards should have a picture of the employee on them and should be visible at all times when the employee is on campus.

With unique employee key cards and programmed entrance to the areas that each unique employee will need, the only changes to the system will be when that employee leaves and it only has to change with that one person.

Not only does this give your physical building / plant a security that this day and time calls for but, it allows you to track your employees movements if the need arises.

Q. Why would I need to track an employee?

A. Lets say you have an area of production that is suffering and you don’t know why. What if you pulled a report and found that your manager of that area was spending a lot of time in places other than where he or she should be? This actually happened at one of my clients. They had several thefts one night and found that by tracking the people that came and went and correlating those times with security footage were able to actually see the person perpetrating the crime.   This person spent some time behind bars and the company was quickly able to remove undesirable elements from their work staff.

Q: Is there any other physical security measures that I should look at?

A:  Glass breakage detectors, motion detectors, smoke and gas detectors and I like to add water detection equipment.  The later inclusion would have come in handy a couple of times in my career.  We were in the middle of a remodel and one of the plumbers forgot to solder a fitting.  They turned on the water and it held pressure so they left.  Sometime over the weekend the fitting let loose and the entire building was flooded.  Water detection sensors would have kept the damage to a minimum instead of flooding an entire high rise.  Since most fire suppression system are water, this too would let you know if something failed with that system.

Note: there are several different fire suppression system and water is good for general purpose however; a data center needs a little more thought.

How about your computer systems?  While the above is an abbreviated look at employee and physical security, what about your data?

  • Passwords that change
  • Cable infrastructure
  • Admin passwords that change and are strong
  • Firewalls with the appropriate updates and configurations
  • SNMP manageable devices that are updated and set to user specific user name and passwords
  • Physical cable plant that is locked down to only allow access from expected devices.
  • WiFi that is locked down
  • VLANS segregating departments and traffic
  • Servers with specific access to files and or data needed by departments and or users.
  • S.A.M.  (Software Asset Management) in place and kept up to date
  • VPN encrypted access with security token
  • All outside connections to the network identified and locked down.
  • Roaming profiles up dated and checked for security
  • No remote control software on company computers either remote or host.
  • Admin access to user computer restricted or not at all.
  • Thumb drives and laptops encrypted.

You would be shocked if I told you how many times I find loose if not non-existent password policies.  It is almost as if they are begging for industrial espionage or begging  some disgruntled employee to have their way with them.

Much like having a PC without a locking screensaver is down right idiocy; these folks beg to be burned.

User passwords must change every 90 days at max and should be strong, meaning special characters, numbers and so forth.  One company that I know of keeps a spreadsheet of everyone’s assigned password that never changes. That keeps the sys-admin from re-setting passwords but opens the company up to so many security violations it is unbelievable.  This practice is in direct violation of policies set forth for publicly traded companies, and those that follow ISO standards. 

Admin or super user passwords should also change on no particular date but often, more often than every 90 days but with no predictability.  There might be some inventive programmer who could write an app that would randomly go off and invoke a password change for administrators and not let you continue on until you have done so.

Another ambiguity with our illustrious data folk is a lack of documentation with their data plant.  Why is that important?

In the server room that contains the switches should be a map.  This map should contain a map of each floor and the data drops.  Not only should these drops be labeled as such they should be secured.  How do you secure a data drop and why?

Let’s start with the Why?  If I were a bad guy I might come in disguised as a janitor.   I would have a small laptop and that would have on it some software to sleuth your network with my goal being to get into your servers.  The first thing that I would do is find a data port that had nothing in it and plug right in “assuming that there was no wifi that I could get into.”

Now if you do your cable management correctly, that vacant port that I just plugged into is not hooked up via the patch panel.  That forces me to go unplug a computer or printer and try it there as that is an active device so it is cabled..  In our switch we can have it only talk to the device if it is the MAC address that it is programmed to expect.  The idea is to make it is difficult as possible for the would-be intruder to gain access to your data.

In most shops, we have no idea what drops are live, and where they are or what they are, much less what is plugged into them.

With VLAN’s we offer yet another layer of security in that if this guy plugs into some port that the secretary uses, he will not be able to get access to the engineers VLAN.

Many times I see networks where more ports were needed so a switch was just thrown into the drop, problem solved.  This is poor on many levels.  Anyone with any networking sense knows better but yet I see it every day.  You take a multi-thousand dollar cable plant and install a $30 switch screwing up collision rates, security, traffic throughput and so forth rather than do it right.

Jumping down the list to S.A.M.  While most things on this list are common sense S.A.M. might not be that intuitive.

Q. Why do I need to keep up with what is on each and every computer and how does that relate to security?

A. Really good question. In running an audit of all software on all computers within an organization you will quickly find that your organization has a lot of software that the business owner is responsible for. If some disgruntled employee calls the Business Software Alliance http://www.bsa.org/ and reports that you are using pirated software; it then becomes your responsibility to prove otherwise.

  • Can you show proof of purchase for all software within your organization?
  • Can you show the license keys for that software, if so, prove it to yourself.
  • Do you know what each and every executable is on each and every desktop?
  • Do you have software on computers that is not being used?

The long and the short of this exercise is that I do an inventory of software on PC’s as part of a DR.  While this is a painful exhaustive process, it is important because you have to know what you have, if you want to re-create it in the case of a disaster.

I always find software that the company was unaware of.

I most always find Trojans, viruses, games and more importantly, I find remote control software.

While this is a real good reason why people should not have access to the administrative rights on their computers, it is also a real good reason to do this inventory.

The normal computer user does not need to modify their computer to use word, excel and power point.  IT should be in charge of adding software and then the PC should stay fairly static.

Remote control software is used to either allow a user to take control of their computer from outside the building or control another PC outside the building or inside the building.  Maybe that is perfectly legitimate or very possibly it is not.  That Is why I insist that things like copy inhibit, and auditing, be enabled on the servers. If forensic investigations are needed down the road, we have the tools to do so, we simply must use them.

Industrial espionage is real and the business owner should take it real seriously.  There are “certifications for data security experts” out there.  What I know of this stems from over 30 years of doing this. It actually might be interesting to go through the class and see what I have not thought of.

A word about industrial espionage.

People often wonder if I struggle with paranoia.  I assure you that I am purrrfectly normal, I don’t struggle, I submit to it; everyone has their children followed, and thinks that their cats are spying on them, right?

So I am not a comedian..

The idea that I wanted to mention here is really from WWII.  “Loose lips sink ships.”  The idiom means “beware of unguarded talk.” No, I am not that old but; I am a student of history among other things.  We live in a high-tech world and we live in a social world.  We have several areas of town where there are high tech industries and where employees of those industries gather for lunch, or to have a beer and shoot pool after work.  Too many times I am in ear shot of engineers talking shop, in public.  If you own or manage a company that has “secrets” I would caution your employees about talking shop in public.  There are most likely posters that someone sells that you could hang on the wall as a subtle reminder about this subject.

someone-tweeted

The above picture proves that this concept is not lost on today’s companies.

 

If I worked at company Y who had company X as a competitor, I might very well have someone go down to the area where company X was and scope out restaurants where there were known hangouts for their engineers or technical guys.  I might also; if I were unscrupulous, have someone go stake out the place and make certain that I had them there when their folks had lunch.  In this day and age where there is a complete science behind “blending in,” it would be rather easy to go eaves drop.  In this day of technology, bugging someone would not be out of the realm of possibility.  When fountain pens that are a self-contained Digital Video Camera / Recorder which can record up to an hour per charge are less than $20; you had best beware that your cats may very well be spying on you.  Ok, not your cats, but certainly your employees or strangers.

Thinking back to Mission Impossible, where the tape recorder would start spewing smoke out ten seconds after the message had been listened to, devices are worth mentioning here.

Devices that leave the confines of the building; in this case laptops and thumb drives need to be secure.  Folks it is downright foolish not to have these things encrypted.  We have so many different types of encryption techniques available today.  Encrypting your data should it fall into the wrong hands will still make it useless to those who take it.  Even the smart phone has a failsafe built into it.

Because we store so many things on our Smartphone’s, they are more than just a phone. The courts recently rules that police can no longer take your phone and access it to see what you have been up to as the phone is so much more than a simple phone.  My iPhone for example after X attempts to guess my password will wipe itself.  Can we write such security programs for thumb drives and laptops?  Not a programmer; well since COBOL, but I am guessing that it is do-able.

Is the Cloud safe?

At this point in time, I would say no.  As much as we hear how safe that it is, each and every day we also hear about how it was violated, or how some major organization was hacked.

Back up your data and send a copy to your safe deposit box at the bank.  Make certain that your safe deposit box is a few miles from your office or residence so that if a tornado or other type disaster takes out your business or residence, your data stored in that safe deposit box and is still there.  Utilize a service to take your data off site if you like, or set up your own “cloud” via a secure tunnel over the internet to another location.

Hard drives are cheap and UNIX or Linux is not all that difficult to use to set up an FTP server.  While anything is better than nothing, have a strategy and test it; even if you do use the cloud.

With the White House being violated by a crazy person, the president in an elevator with a known criminal with a gun, not to mention the secret service allowing him to go to Mandela’s Funeral and speak just a few feet away from the translator who was not who he said he was, we must question everything.

The only way to really trust that your data is safe and for that matter your business or residence; is to test your plan once you implement it.  There are people you can hire “good guys” that will test your security from different angles as well as your disaster recovery plan.

The framework above is an excellent starting point. Trust me when I say this, many CEO’s have no idea how vulnerable they are as they trust that their CIO or SysAdmins know this stuff.  Each and every DR that I do, I find that most do not. The more that I dig; the more truculent these folks become and are really happy when I leave.  They don’t want their boss’s to know the truth. While I would happily work with them to fix these things and offer as much, they would rather hide the facts from those that should know their vulnerabilities.

If you are a CIO or head of a company that is interested in this, read my blog “attention CIO CEO ….

-Best to you and those that you care about!

Good Luck Jim

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved

The below is an addendum to this article which really puts things into perspective…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Four Members of International Computer Hacking Ring Indicted for Stealing Gaming Technology, Apache Helicopter Training Software

Four members of an international computer hacking ring have been charged with breaking into computer networks of prominent technology companies and the U.S. Army and stealing more than $100 million in intellectual property and other proprietary data.  Two of the charged members have already pleaded guilty.  The alleged cyber theft included software and data related to the Xbox One gaming console and Xbox Live online gaming system; popular games such as “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” and “Gears of War 3”;  and proprietary software used to train military helicopter pilots.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III of the District of Delaware and Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office made the announcement.

“As the indictment charges, the members of this international hacking ring stole trade secret data used in high-tech American products, ranging from software that trains U.S. soldiers to fly Apache helicopters to Xbox games that entertain millions around the world,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “The American economy is driven by innovation.  But American innovation is only valuable when it can be protected.  Today’s guilty pleas show that we will protect America’s intellectual property from hackers, whether they hack from here or from abroad.”

“Electronic breaking and entering of computer networks and the digital looting of identities and intellectual property have become much too common,” said U.S. Attorney Oberly.  “These are not harmless crimes, and those who commit them should not believe they are safely beyond our reach.”

Nathan Leroux, 20, of Bowie, Maryland; Sanadodeh Nesheiwat, 28, of Washington, New Jersey; David Pokora, 22, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; and Austin Alcala, 18, of McCordsville, Indiana, were charged in an 18-count superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Delaware on April 23, 2014, and unsealed earlier today.  The charges in the indictment include conspiracies to commit computer fraud, copyright infringement, wire fraud, mail fraud, identity theft and theft of trade secrets.  The defendants are also charged with individual counts of aggravated identity theft, unauthorized computer access, copyright infringement and wire fraud.

Today, Pokora and Nesheiwat pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer fraud and copyright infringement and are scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 13, 2015.  Pokora was arrested on March 28, 2014, while attempting to enter the United States at the Lewiston, New York, Port of Entry.  Pokora’s plea is believed to be the first conviction of a foreign-based individual for hacking into U.S. businesses to steal trade secret information.

According to the superseding indictment and other court records, from January 2011 to March 2014, the four men and others located in the United States and abroad allegedly hacked into the computer networks of Microsoft Corporation, Epic Games Inc., Valve Corporation, Zombie Studios and the U.S. Army.  The defendants and others allegedly obtained access to the victims’ computer networks through methods including SQL injection and the use of stolen usernames and passwords of company employees and their software development partners.  Once inside the victims’ computer networks, the conspirators accessed and stole unreleased software, software source code, trade secrets, copyrighted and pre-release works and other confidential and proprietary information.  Members of the conspiracy also allegedly stole financial and other sensitive information relating to the companies – but not their customers – and certain employees of such companies.

Specifically, the data cyber-theft allegedly included source code, technical specifications and related information for Microsoft’s then-unreleased Xbox One gaming console; intellectual property and proprietary data related to Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online multi-player gaming and media-delivery system; Apache helicopter simulator software developed by Zombie Studios for the U.S. Army; a pre-release version of Epic’s video game, “Gears of War 3;” and a pre-release version of Activision’s video game, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.”  The defendants also allegedly conspired to use, share and sell the stolen information.

The value of the intellectual property and other data that the defendants stole, as well as the costs associated with the victims’ responses to the conduct, is estimated to range between $100 million and $200 million.  To date, the United States has seized over $620,000 in cash and other proceeds related to the charged conduct.

In addition to those charged in the United States, an Australian citizen has been charged under Australian law for his alleged role in the conspiracy.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

This case is being investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Patrol, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  The investigation also has been coordinated with the Western Australia Police and the Peel Regional Police of Ontario, Canada.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney James Silver of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. McAndrew of the District of Delaware.