Tag: conference

There's a clear shortage of cyber warriors

It looks like all this talk of cyber warriors, and elite teams of internet butt kickers is being stymied by a lack of skilled hackers willing to work for the men in black.

While the US military’s Cyber Command is due to quadruple in size by 2015 with 4,000 new personnel while Britain announced a new Joint Cyber Reserve last month, Reuters claims that there is little chance of the jobs being filled.

To make matters worse, every time a hacker is hired, they are often headhunted by corporations.

Chris Finan, who is now a senior fellow at the Truman National Security Project, warned that there was not enough human capital for cyber security plans.

Part of the problem is culture. A hacker will choose where they get a lot of dosh, have a good lifestyle and a lack of bureaucracy. Neither of which are the sort of things that a government job offers them.

Governments say that most cyber expertise remains in the private sector where firms bid for cyber expertise.

To make matters worse, to get a government job you need a degree, yet a western university degree is considered too theoretical to do much that is useful.

Hackers don’t need a computer science degree as long as they can do the tricky jobs such as finding bugs in software, identifying elusive infections and reverse engineering computer viruses.

The only way the government is attracting hackers is to appeal to people’s sense of public service and patriotism. This is a little tricky when most of them are anti-establishment.

Russia, China, Iran and North Korea solve the problem by doing deals with their own criminal hacker community to borrow their expertise to assist with attacks. 

Britain plans offensive cyber war capability

The UK is to recruit hundreds of computer experts to form a cyber-army, defence secretary Philip Hammond announced over the weekend.

The unit will defend vital networks against cyber-attacks and launch high-tech assaults of its own, it is claimed at the Conservative party conference. Hammond proudly announced to the true blue loyalists that while there’s no cash for anyone else, Britain is spending increasing amounts on defending the great unwashed from people they are unlikely to ever meet.

Hammond said that while the UK is broke, it has the fourth largest defence budget in the world and a big chunk of the cash is not being spent on cyber intelligence and surveillance.

He said last year, cyber defences blocked around 400,000 advanced malicious cyber threats against the government’s secure internet alone, so the threat is real.

But he added that building cyber defence is not enough, as the UK also has to deter attacks. Hammond said Britain will build a dedicated capability to counterattack in cyberspace and, if necessary, to strike.

He told the Wail on Sunday that clinical “cyber strikes” could disable enemy communications, nuclear and chemical weapons, planes, ships and other hardware.

Hammond told the conference the government will recruit a new Joint Cyber Reserve.

The “reservists” will work alongside existing experts in various government agencies such as the Ministry of Defence and the extremely unpopular GCHQ surveillance agency.

His speech did not go that smoothly.

Hammond was heckled by former soldiers Colonel Ian Brazier and Captain Joe Eastwood who interrupted the minister’s speech to complain about cuts to regimental size. Conservative party officials escorted him from the conference building to the library where he was given a revolver and told to do the decent thing. 

Wikipedia admits it needs to change

Wikipedia appears to have woken up to the fact that its crack editorial team of fake Phds, and false penis experts with a chip on their shoulders, are not cutting the mustard.

For a while now Wikipedia has been edited by a select bunch of people who have a habit of erasing people and things from history that they don’t like.

The downside of this is that people who do know what they are talking do not touch Wikipedia with a barge pole.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales told the Wikimania 2012 conference at George Washington University’s campus in Washington that it was time for things to change.

The 11-year old site is struggling to draw new editors, especially women and is showing its age.

Wales told AP that it was time for Wikipedia to update itself and its community needs to be a little more welcoming.

The moment a person makes their first edit they are immediately corrected or deleted by someone who knows very little about the subject.

Sue Gardner, president of the Wikimedia Foundation warned the conference that the outfit was losing editors and the problem may be that Wikipedia is “homely, awkward and hand-crafted”.

This has made it difficult to attract new blood who want to add to the site’s collection of at least four million entries.

Most of the current batch of editors are young men and only 10 percent to 15 percent of Wikipedia’s editors are women. This is possibily because young men on Wikipedia do not like women, particularly if she is the Everywhere Girl who must be hunted down and deleted wherever she is found.

Wikipedia has launched easier editing software and partnered with groups such as the Ada Initiative, which works to support women in the open-source technology community.


Dell exec slags off the iPad

At a conference in Australia, Dell Australia’s MD Joe Kramer claimed Apple’s iPad was “shiny” but not fit for business. 

Kramer told delegates at the conference in Sydney that businesses were unable to afford to support the devices, adding: “If you are giving a presentation and something fails on the software side it might take four days to get it up and running again – I don’t think this race has been run yet”.

Dell’s Streak 5 and 7 tablets, which were launched to much fanfare, mostly from Dell itself, didn’t do quite as well as the company had anticipated, and ended up discontinued. 

According to the Next Web, the company has its fingers in some Android and Windows 7 tablets, but Micheal Dell himself has admitted that he believes Android will never challenge Apple’s dominance in the market.

Dell has announced that it will be giving the iPad a run for its money with a business-focused Windows 8 tablet, which launches later this year.

Although Kramer has a fair point about the iPad’s usefulness, CEOs and executives love them. Arguably, Apple products have sparked the BYOD, security at an app level trend, where IT managers are having to find a way around security headaches by making sure the top brass can operate their toys without threatening enterprise infrastructure.

US IT contractor could get 20 years for speaking at a conference

An engineer with a US military contractor, L-3 Communications could be jailed for more than 20 years on charges that he illegally exported military data to China.

Steve Liu was stopped by US Customs and Border Protection officers on November 29, 2010. He was flying back from a speaking engagement at a highly technical nanotechnology conference hosted by local universities and Chinese government officials.

The border guards were suspicious when they found conference material in his luggage after Liu had told them he had been to China to visit family.

According to the FBI they then found a folder containing multiple pages of technical language, pictures of military weapons systems, and documents written in Chinese and a laptop.

On the laptop they found hundreds of company documents on Liu’s computer, including several that contained technical data on guidance and control systems governed by U.S. arms export control laws.

Liu’s job at L-3 was to build micro-electro-mechanical system chips to build complex aerospace navigation systems, according to his résumé.

The FBI claimed that Liu had downloaded the data found on his computer without his company’s knowledge and was presenting at the conference without permission. In fact he had told a co-worker that he was vacationing in Chicago. Liu’s presentation was sponsored by the Chinese government.

However there is a little bit of “not quite right” about the black and white approach and declaring Liu a spy.

Computerworld said that William Parker, founder of biotechnology company Creative MicroSystems , who spoke at the conference in 2009, regards the event as a legitimate international forum for international researchers, designed to advance understanding of specific aspects of nanotechnology.

While it was unusual to speak without clearance from your company, a lot of the information goes public.

It seems like a jolly odd spying operation that involves you talking at a public event in China and then going back with all the stolen documents in your briefcase.

The US has a habit of paranoidly chucking the book at anyone they think is spying. Ask the Ethel and Juilius Rosenberg or Bradley Manning.

Logitech buys Paradial AS

Logitech has bought out Norwegian maker of firewall and NAT video communication tech Paradial AS for an undisclosed amount.

It says that Pardial’s technology is one of the best in the game for internet based video communication when calling over protected networks, and will stop firewalls from bugging you while still maintaining a high level of security  during a video call. Logitech already has some Paradial technology on the go for its LifeSize customers after an OEM agreement, but now that it has bought out Paradial it will be able to integrate firewall and NAT traversal across the board.

Except for an unlucky few getting the sack, the majority of Paradial employees will go on to work within Logitech’s LifeSize division, including its founders. 

CEO at Logitech Gerald P. Quindlen reckons that it’s good news for its enterprise and business efforts. “By integrating Paradial’s technology into our future product portfolio, Logitech is positioned to deliver a complete HD video conferencing experience for companies of any size.” We don’t know why HD is a priority for business conference calls, but apparently it is for Logitech.

LifeSize itself was bought by Logitech in December 2009 in an effort to ramp up its HD conferencing abilities.