Tag: email

Bulletin: #Lois Lerner’s #Email has been lost!

Bulletin: Lois Lerner’s Email has been lost!


As an IT expert I have to say, “REALLY!”  “How stupid do you think the American people are?”  I realize that is a rhetorical question because obviously there are either some awfully stupid people or awfully gullible people or even awfully greedy people who vote; but this is over the top!


There are federal laws that govern how e-mail is to be stored and for federal agencies, it is not on the desktop.


As a disaster recover expert again “do you really expect us to believe that the IRS does not store files in a redundant fashion either using RAID or SANS or the cloud…


Let’s examine the issues here.


Firstly as a publically traded company (which the IRS is not, but they are aware of the standards 😉 you are required to keep all e-mails under SOX.  For that purpose you would use something called e-mail journaling which keeps a copy of the e-mail in a separate area that cannot be deleted.  One would think that a federal agency would at least be required to do that.


Secondly, there is FISMA (Federal information security management act of 2002.)  According to FISMA, the term information security means protecting information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction in order to provide integrity, confidentiality and availability.  This is the FREAKING IRS, do they really expect us to swallow that her e-mails were only stored on her local computer?


Thirdly; there are multiple types of redundant technology available and I would have to guess that the IRS takes advantage of Either NAS, OR SANS or the cloud and of course Tape Backup, just in case.  NAS (network attached storage) or SAN (storage area network) allow data from the “email store” to be stored on multiple drives in something known as a RAID configuration meaning, if a drive fails the data is stored on multiple different drives so there is no data loss. With VMWare they can have multiple servers with multiple copies of the data so the e-mail system is incredibly robust.  They have access to all the money in the world; do they really expect us to believe that all of her e-mail was on a laptop?


There is also FIPS200 which is part of FISMA…  FIPS 199 (Federal Information Processing Standard Publication 199, Standards for Security Categorization of Federal Information and Information Systems) is a United States Federal Government standard that establishes security categories of information systems used by the Federal Government, one component of risk assessment. FIPS 199, along with FIPS 200, are mandatory security standards as required by FISMA.

FIPS 199 requires Federal agencies to assess their information systems in each of the categories of confidentiality, integrity and availability, rating each system as low, moderate or high impact in each category. The most severe rating from any category becomes the information system’s overall security categorization.



Just for grins and giggles let’s assume that the IRS is really that deficit of IT talent.  There is forensic software out there that can get e-mails and other data off of purposefully deleted drives or crashed drives.  Often time’s data that has been removed via formatting the drive can sometimes be recovered.  If the NSA wanted it; they could get it!

My final thought on this; the IRS is supposed to manage Universal Healthcare.  All of your personal information will be out there at their disposal; umpteen millions of us will be out there.  Is she going to keep it on her laptop?

This “excuse” is an affront to anyone with a brain; much less anyone with any IT knowledge.








Breaking Hearts

The news of the day is horrific.  We may never know the motivation behind this young person.  Not only have over 20 families been affected by his actions but the entire nation!  The debates will rage on over guns and with enough of these types of actions some misguided fool may actually try to solve it by a knee jerk reaction to remove guns from law abiding people.

The problem is much deeper than guns.  The world would be such a better place if gun powder had never been invented.  I would happily sacrifice fireworks to not have any more weapons of this type anywhere.  Of course you know that if you want to kill someone there are thousands of ways.  A gun is simply more expeditious than a slow supplement of antifreeze in the ice tea.

We live in a society that is filled with violent rhetoric.  On top of that we glorify movies and video games that have as a main theme, violence.  We actually are transfixed on shows like CSI, which is always about murder!  It is my contention and I will be surprised if it is not the case that if you looked at the history of these shooters, you would find a common thread of violent video games.  If you are unaware of them, go to the nearest electronic superstore and see what the kids are playing.  They are playing mock war games where the player has automatic weapons in a war type situation and is killing people, for hours at a time for many weeks or months until someone writes an even more graphic game.  How much of that do we have to expose ourselves to until we take it one step further, if we become angry?

This cretin not only took out his mother, but executed several kindergarten aged children.  The news is not in totally and we don’t know the entire story.

If you are buying your children such a game for Christmas you might want to re-think this.  A message needs to be sent to game makers that these are not games, these are simulators and training tools and after a while, they (the children, your children) will be trained to do what?  This person today was “very efficient” in his actions according to local law enforcement.  How did this 20 year old become “so efficient?”  We know that people who hijacked airplanes in the past learned to fly via Microsoft flight simulator so why not learn to “mass murder” with “a game”?

Will everyone that plays these games go psychotic one day?  Of course not, but why chance it?  What ever happened to the day when we got a puppy for Christmas?  There are thousands of puppies that need homes, take back the game for a refund, and buy the only kind of love that you can purchase legally, it has a cold nose, four paws and a wagging tale. It also loves you even when you are in a bad mood.  How much better would the world be if everyone turned off the games and got a puppy?  How much better would the world be if kids had to feed and walk the dog and oh yes learn the responsibility of cleaning up after it.

Several dogs need Furrever homes and several children need to be outside walking the dog, playing with the dog vs sitting on their butts killing virtual people.



Communication has always fascinated me.

With a simple look your child or spouse will know if they have done something that you approve of or have disdain for. With a look they will know if you are joking or are serious. In poker an astute player will know if you are bluffing or not, simply by a look, tic, or other visual cue.

There is in fact a science built around body language that absolutely enthralls me. Recently one of my good friends was talking about another and while his words and facial cues spoke one thing, his fist in his unclenched hand; told another.

When we speak over the phone we can still tell by the tone in ones voice if that person is serious or kidding or angry or what have you.

Today we have e-mail and texting along with other texts forms of communication such as this article or social media. You in fact can only guess what I am feeling as I write this, or for that matter why I am writing about such a mundane subject as communication.

The simple facts are that we can bring others up or tear them down; with words. Words are powerful weapons in the skilled hand of the writer or orator. Hence the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword.”

Here is the reason for this epistle. When we text or e-mail we absolutely loose those visual cues. Hence the “LOL or emoticon” was invented. Even with these wonderful little things, it is incumbent on the reader to give the benefit of the doubt to the writer. Did he or she mean this or that, are they mad at me?

Having run the gambit of communication; from Morse code to texting, I have fallen in many traps. Recently one such trap that I fell into is that I was joking around and even though the entire content of the text was rich with levity, the end result was one phrase was taken out of context, and then a phone call was necessary to mend things up.

Something I learned as a child and most probably needs to be spread around are these few simple rules.

Is it true, is it nice, is it necessary? No to any of these, and it is probably best left not said; or in this modern day, not texted.

-Best to you and those that you care about.