November 21, 2011    /    by

Hacking Illinois Water: Seven Questions and Six Answers

The top technology story at the end of last week involved multiple news sources reporting a cyber attack that penetrated a US public water system in Illinois. Heres what we know, and what we dont.

The top technology story at the end of last week involved multiple news sources reporting a cyber attack that penetrated a US public water system in Illinois. Here’s what we know, and what we don’t.

Question 1) What happened to prompt the concern? READ MORE

November 13, 2011    /    by

Hacker Group Spends Years Developing Sophisticated Duqu Trojan

The Duqu Trojan, which is also known as son of Stuxnet, was discovered just two months ago and is getting headlines for the sense of humor that its creators have revealed in the code. According to Kaspersky Lab, the hacker group behind the Duqu Trojan may have been working on the code for more than four years.

The new Duqu malware is a sophisticated Trojan that appears to be similar to the more well known Stuxnet code. Headlines over the weekend were telling stories about both the effects in Iran, as well as offering reports that the malware was now “under control.”

According to Kaspersky Lab, the hacker group behind the Duqu Trojan may have been working on the code for more than four years. The article describes the stages of attack and actions at each stage. Here’s an excerpt, but the entire article is worth reading: READ MORE

November 6, 2011    /    by

Cyber Crime: Hackers Are Hacking Each Other Too

New reports sound like they could be promoting a popular television drama series on mobsters - with a new technology twist. Something like: The Sopranos go cyber.

  New reports sound like they could be promoting a popular television drama series on mobsters - with a new technology twist. Something like: “The Sopranos go cyber.”

 That’s right, we now know that hackers have formed gangs and hack each other. Computerworld ran this story which describes: Hacker selling access to compromise websites gets hacked. Here’s an excerpt: READ MORE

October 30, 2011    /    by

New Core Services Taxonomy for State IT Security Programs

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIOs) Security and Privacy Committee has released a new report entitled: The Heart of the Matter: A Core Services Taxonomy for State IT Security Programs.

The National Association of State Chief Information Officer’s (NASCIO’s) Security and Privacy Committee has released a new report entitled: The Heart of the Matter: A Core Services Taxonomy for State IT Security Programs. The PDF version of the document is available for free download from the NASCIO Publications website.

Why is this document important and worth reading? Here’s an excerpt from the opening paragraph: READ MORE

October 22, 2011    /    by

Weatherford an Excellent Choice for DHS Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity

Mark Weatherford has been named as the new deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Mark is a thoughtful executive who has both military service and hands-on experience dealing with every aspect of our cyber ecosystem. I am confident that he is the right person for this job as we head into 2012.

According to Politico and other sources, Mark Weatherford has been named as the new deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Mark will fill the role formerly held by Philip Reitinger, who resigned in May.

Politico wrote: “Weatherford will manage the department’s cybersecurity operations, which include overseeing the agency's partnership with the private sector and security of the dot-gov network. The Obama administration gave DHS an elevated role in managing the federal government’s cyber defenses in its legislative proposal released this spring, making Weatherford a key player for the government.” READ MORE

October 19, 2011    /    by

What Should Get Cut Out of Technology Budgets?

There have been several recent articles and reports that offer ways to save Information Technology (IT) dollars. The lists of potential cuts are worth reviewing, but I urge some caution as well.

 There have been several recent articles and reports that offer ways to save Information Technology (IT) dollars. The lists of potential cuts are worth reviewing, but I urge some caution as well.

According to Computerworld, Gartner is urging IT managers to reexamine many common practices with an eye towards stopping ineffective or wasteful approaches. One conference in Florida urged “creative destruction” by killing spending or making radical changes to business as usual. For example, here are a few of the 16 items suggested: READ MORE

October 8, 2011    /    by

A New Call to Action - Backstage at the Michigan Cyber Summit

Governor Snyder quickly raised the bar: "If people walk away tomorrow saying that we had a nice conference with good speakers, we will have failed. We need everyone walking away saying that it is time to act now on cyber whatever their role."

It was Thursday night, October 6, 2011, and we were listening to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder share his thoughts on the soon-to-be launched Michigan Cyber Initiative. About seventy-five Fortune 500 technology and defense executives, leaders from federal, state and local governments, university presidents, keynote speakers and other VIPs were gathered at the Eastern Michigan University in preparation for the Cyber Summit the next day. The picturesque room, overlooking a golf course with a lake, was decorated with Detroit Tiger banners, in preparation for game five between the Tigers and Yankees in a few hours.  

Governor Snyder quickly raised the bar: “If people walk away tomorrow saying that we had a nice conference with good speakers, we will have failed. We need everyone walking away saying that it is time to act now on cyber – whatever their role.” READ MORE

September 24, 2011    /    by

Career Moves: All Roads Lead to Security

As reported by Government Technology Magazine last week, Michigan is merging physical and cyber security. I will be moving to the newly created role of Michigan Chief Security Officer (CSO) in October. The reaction from my friends and colleagues from around the country has been all over the map ranging from Great move to Are you really ok with this?

As reported by Government Technology Magazine last week, Michigan is merging physical and cyber security.  I will be moving to the newly created role of Michigan Chief Security Officer (CSO) in October. The reaction from my friends and colleagues from around the country has been all over the map – ranging from “Great move” to “Are you really ok with this?” Here’s a brief look at some of my thoughts about the change and the technology and security industries as we head towards 2012.

Some Background: READ MORE

September 10, 2011    /    by

The Day That Changed the Decade: Remembering September 11, 2001

I had just come out of an e-Michigan meeting in the Romney Building in downtown Lansing. It was a few minutes after 9 AM on 9/11/01. Someone yelled, A small plane just hit the World Trade Center in New York!

I had just come out of an e-Michigan meeting in the Romney Building in downtown Lansing. It was a few minutes after 9 AM on 9/11/01. Someone yelled, “A small plane just hit the World Trade Center in New York!”

Several of us rushed over to watch the events unfolding on a small TV. We were shocked when a second plane hit the other tower, and we stared in disbelief when both towers collapsed.  After that, I remember the rumors flying for hours. Scary (false) reports like: “The While House is on fire.”   READ MORE

September 5, 2011    /    by

Why Computer Geeks Need Sports

Where did you first learn what it means to out-hustle the competition? How did you develop that strong will to win? When was the first time you worked hard with teammates to accomplish a goal? For many readers, the answer is likely to be playing sports.

Where did you first learn what it means to out-hustle the competition? How did you develop that strong will to win? When was the first time you worked hard with teammates to accomplish a goal? For many readers, the answer is likely to be playing sports.

Or, if you were not an athlete, what brought your diverse high school or college student body and faculty together when so many forces pulled them apart? What often unites liberals and conservatives today in your city? That’s right, the answer is cheering for your favorite local baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, or other sports team. READ MORE