October 2009 Archives

As noted on Sept. 22nd (see "IMMEDIATE AVAILABILITY: Looking for Work"), I lost my job in Phoenix and was in need of work. 2 weeks later (Oct 6th) I accepted a position with Foreground Security as a Senior Security Engineer, which will be moving us back to Northern Virginia. My initial engagement will be on a large contract with a civilian federal agency. Overall, an excellent opportunity!

I promised some people that I'd talk a bit about how the job search process went, and in particular look at how I was fortunate enough to get a job so quickly when others are looking for work, and have been for quite some time. Overall, it comes down to networking and luck. However, there's probably more to it than that.

If you've been following my writing of late, you'll know that I've hopped on the Survivability bandwagon with both feet (see my blog post "Defensibility and Recoverability" and the slides from my recent full-day course "Total Enterprise Assurance"). Key to this notion of Survivability is being able to operate under degraded conditions. After all, it's not if you're going to be attacked and compromised, but rather when. As such, your organization is already operating under less-than-ideal circumstances. Acknowledge this, accept this, and plan for continuing to operate in such a degraded fashion.

This notion of operating under degraded conditions does not always resonate immediately with people. After all, how can an enterprise function when key systems are under attack or out-right broken? By way of explanation, allow me to provide a human analogy. The human body is, in fact, usually very good at operating under degraded conditions. However, this is not always the case, which can have some very bad results. Allow me to explain further.

I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to see advanced copies of the NSS Labs' reports on consumer and corporate endpoint protection (AV/anti-malware). It was rather interesting reading the corporate report (both available here), in particular, as it highlights how little progress we've made in this industry. No solution had a 100% success rate (how could a signature-based solution? answer: it can't). It was also interesting to find that the heavier the software install, the better it generally performed in detection. Products with a much smaller footprint (e.g. ESET) just don't hold up very well in comparison.

The report emphasizes some interesting points. First and foremost, the AV vendors are having to reinvent themselves, and dramatically at that. They realize the inadequacy of traditional approaches, and as such are trying to come up with new ideas. The increasingly relevant role of web 2.0 and social networking, in particular, is forcing some of these changes.

At the suggestion of a friend I picked up The Ender Quartet Box Set: Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind and set about reading through it. I'm currently through the first two books, Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. Overall, I liked the first book, scary though it was in terms of potential parallels with the future. It just didn't seem far-fetched enough, I guess (just like Orwell's 1984).

In contrast, the second book (Speaker for the Dead) was interesting, though it was a more challenging read. I think I enjoyed the story, though it was kind of, um, different. I don't know, maybe I had just become too jaded after the first book. The biggest thing that jumped out to me was the disconnect between timeline and technological evolution. The book jumps forward about 3,000 years, but the tech seems not to have changed all that much? That seemed rather odd to me. *shrug*

Overall, I think the series is interesting and worthwhile, though I'm taking a break (reading more of Pratchett's Discworld series) before I finish off the quartet.

Today is Helio Gracie Day

In memory of the Grandmaster, who passed early this year, October 1st (his birthday) has been declared "Helio Gracie Day" by his family.

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