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Day #11 of Conditioning Month

Mixed-Messages-1I have to admit – there are times when I wonder if I’m ever going to get anywhere with Nacho.

Ok, I understand. Nothing happens in five minutes. I’m trying to undo five years of who knows what, and that’s going to take time. But all the same, I’m simply cannot deny that now and then little moments of doubt don’t come creeping into my head.

To be fair, I can’t really read the signs with any level of accuracy. I do not speak woof, so I have to go by the few phrases I’ve picked up from my doggie phrase book.

I mentioned how I’d come across Nacho playing one evening – just for a few moments, but unmistakably playing. Tonight – while I was eating my dinner – I noticed what appeared to be play between Nacho and Jasper. They stood looking at each other for a while, then Nacho chased Jasper and Jasper ran away. Nacho’s tail was up and wagging all the time. His ears were up and he seemed happy. Then they swapped places and Jasper chased Nacho. This is always where the problems set in. I think Nacho just feels really threatened all the time – which would probably make sense – but particularly when he’s got The Mighty Jasper bearing down on him at a hundred miles per hour. That’s when Nacho gets all growly and snarly, baring his teeth.

The confusing part is that he doesn’t back down, and sometimes can even be wagging his tail. He’ll raise a front paw and maybe pat Jasper with it. I’ve even seen Jasper lay down in a submissive position at this point, but immediately afterwards Jasper will stand up and dive back into the mix.

I’m of the opinion that Jasper is just really poor at picking up the social clues, and so doesn’t realize that he’s pissing Nacho off. But surely the growling and snarling stuff is pretty easy to understand, even to a socially inept puppy like the Japst? Or is this some sort of confusion/power play about who is the alpha between the two of them?

Everyone is very clear about my position as pack leader – I get all the right signs most of the time. They wait for me to lead them out of the house when we go for a walk. At mealtimes they’ll sit and wait until I tell them they can start to eat – even though their full bowls are right in front of them. They both walk pretty well on the lead – ok, Jasper still likes to run about and do his own thing, and I don’t really mind that too much. Hey, he’s only a pup. But perhaps there’s still a little jostling going on between the two of them for their respective ranks.

I placed Nacho ahead of Jasper in the pack simply because he’s much older and really reserves the respect. So Nacho gets fed first – for instance – but in many other respects it’s hard to see Jasper showing a great deal of subservience to the other guy.

Really it’s difficult to keep a handle on what’s going on when there’s just myself and the two of them in the house. It’s hard enough to keep a handle on everything that needs doing to keep the house in order and get my job done, without also having to try to remember to scrutinize those two, and trying to get any meaningful training done when they’re both clammering for my attention.

This stuff is going to have to wait for a while I think, until I’ve another pair of helping hands.

Nacho is due back at the vets next week to finish off his top-up injections and also to get a new chip. His old one has either died or it’s a completely different type that our vet cannot read.

part_logo_hidInterestingly, I remember way back in about 1991 I had a bunch of RFID animal tags that I was given by a rep during a visit. At the time this guy worked for Hughes (as in Howard Hughes’ corporation) and they were about to get into the field of identification. As I recall, they bought up an animal tag manufacturer for their technology, then went forward with their own range of products. At the time, they really did not have a clue what to do with it, and they were searching for applications for the technology that they’d bought…although clearly not in the field of pet tagging.

Shortly afterwards they formed HID (Hughes Identification) and to some extent the rest is history. HID are now owned by Assa Abloy, but they’re also probably the biggest in the field of RFID readers and credentials in the security market, and really have been for quite some time.

There are a lot of parallels between HID and their RFID technologies and Assa Abloy and their many traditional lock companies, both relying for their security upon a single piece of hardware that can be lost, stolen or used by unauthorised users. Do you think they’ve consciously decided to buy up all of the inevitably obsolete identification technologies on the planet for some reason?

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The Art of Not Getting Things Done

too-much-workSome people might say that I’m really smart, but it seems to me that I’m actually a complete idiot.

If I really was as clever as people seem to think, I wouldn’t keep managing to create more work for myself. Some day, I will have done enough, but not today.

The trip to Kuwait went as well as it could have done, and I think I got my point across, but the end result is that I now have to do a whole bunch more work. Somehow I did not foresee that outcome – or maybe I did, but it remained subliminal…

At the moment I seem to be having very strange days. Each one certainly has some extremely positive points to it, and great foundations seem to be getting themselves laid for the future, but the present is just looking awfully busy.

The summer is passing quite quickly, and the temperatures aren’t getting so ridiculous as usual. Kuwait is a much hotter place than Dubai, and I have to admit it was pretty toasty up there. The wind was gusting, and you get this weird feeling when that happens, like you’re getting blasted with hot air followed by little jets of cold air. The “cold air” isn’t really cold, it’s just that the crazy hot air stops for a second, which gives the impression of coldness, even though it’s still well over 40 degrees.

Temperatures North of 60 Celsius are not unheard of in Kuwait. Ouchy!

I have a lot to get done before the end of the summer. One of my challenges right now is to find a spectrum analyzer with a detection range up to 18GHz that I can integrate with. I saw these and even nicer again I say these, but they’re pricey. I did find another that was ok, but only works up to 9.4GHz which is a little lower than the client is expecting. Personally I don’t think the 9.4 to 18GHz band is really of any interest to them, but you know what clients are like.

Today my time in the office was broken down into little two minute segments of work interspersed with much longer periods of interruption. I’m looking at my to-do list now and thinking like a lot of it looks like work for the weekend. Sigh

A Necessary Pause From Conditioning

passwordstrength_slaneconzToday and tomorrow I am in Kuwait for a meeting, so Jasper and Nacho get to enjoy the company of the dog sitter instead of me. I hope they’re ok…all three of them.

I had one of those odd pangs of insecurity today when the dog sitter sent me a text asking for the wireless password for the house so that he could use the internet while he’s dog sitting. Passwords creep me out they’re so incredibly nonsensical. You go through all the agonization of picking one that’s both memorable and gives you a green light for password strength on all the services, then when somebody needs to use your stuff you just give it away. It doesn’t matter how strong the damned thing is if you give it away!

Of course I could have set up another temporary one for this guy, but I was at the gate getting on my plane. I had to give away my Apple ID a couple of months ago so that we could set up a bunch of iPads we were giving away as corporate gifts. They all needed loading with a bunch of content via DropBox, so needed to add the App. The other guy helping had no Apple ID, so it was all me. I changed it immediately after we’d finished, of course, but then I was totally paranoid for a month afterwards wondering whether somehow somebody was stealing money off my credit card.

You see?? Cyber crime my arse! People steal things by stealing things, not by being a super black-hat mega-hacker.

Interestingly Ramadan doesn’t exist up in the sky – actually, it doesn’t exist in the airport either – and from what I saw in both the terminal and up in the air, there are plenty of Muslims who feel the same way.

Day #8 of Conditioning Month

snoopy_dancing_unpixled_by_petertwnsnd-d4l2vo4Jasper has a little metal bone-shaped name tag with his name and a mobile phone number on the back, along with his Dubai Municipality tag – which is basically his dog license – which dangle from his collar but make no noise at all. That’s mostly because of all the fluff that’s also around Jasper’s neck, which tends to muffle things pretty well.

Nacho also has a name tag. His is shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head (I don’t know why) and also has his name, but has somebody else’s mobile number. We’ll get him a new one soon. He also has a funny little metal bone on his collar too, and when he moves around the entire assemblage jingles like one of Santa’s reindeer.

This is actually quite a good thing, because I can hear him wherever he is in the house and know whether he’s active or not, or whether he’s coming my way. When he first arrived with us this was really useful just to find him, because he’d be away hiding so much of the time. These days he doesn’t hide so much, but he still jumps up at the tiniest sound. He also follows me everywhere – which is the biggest bone of contention (hey…that was a doggie joke!) in the house, because with the rest of the family away I am the only source of attention for two attention seeking animals…and there’s only so much of me to go around!!

Over the last couple of days I’ve noticed that Nacho is managing to venture around and do his own thing a lot more than usual. I hear the jingling from the next room or another part of the house, so I know he’s doing something, but as soon as I move to go find out what it is, he hears me and comes running – then just stands and stares at me like it’s walk time or meal time or scratch under the chin time (and ANY time is scratch under the chin time in Nacho’s day planner).

But finally today – when I managed to persuade both Nacho and Jasper that I was actually asleep on the couch and hence ‘not really there’ – I got to see Nacho playing for the first time! Ok, he was playing on his own, but he was definitely playing. He had one of Jasper’s old rawhide bones and was batting it with his foot then prancing around it like it was going to run away. Then he’d spin around with his tail wagging and have a scratch, then do it again. This went on for a minute or so before he noticed I was watching him, then he got all embarrassed and came over to me for a chin scratch. This is huge progress. It’s the first sign that buried underneath all that neurosis and fear there actually is a dog personality that’s dieing to get out.

One week down. Three to go.

The Birth of a Police State: UK Police to be Granted Sweeping New Powers

And yet…here I am in a state with no need for any of these draconian measures, virtually no crime on the streets and very little anti-social behavior.
One of the main reasons I originally left the UK was because I was tired of having one eye over my shoulder everywhere I went. I was tired of sitting in pubs wondering WHEN the fight was going to start rather than IF the fight was going to start. There’s a lot wrong with society, and no easy fixes. Can arming the police with these sorts of powers offer these fixes? I don’t think so.

Scriptonite Daily

PS4 

The UK Government is about to pass legislation which will make any behaviour perceived to potentially ‘cause nuisance or annoyance’ a criminal offence. The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill also grants local authorities, police and even private security firms sweeping powers to bar citizens from assembling lawfully in public spaces.  Those who refuse orders under the new rules will face arrest, fines and even prison time.

The Ever Increasing Powers

 PS5

Since the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, which introduced Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) the government has invented and legislated for a litany of such orders covering everything from dog poo to drug addiction, including but not limited to: Control Orders; Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Orders; Intervention Orders; Crack House Closure Orders; Premise Closure Orders; Brothel Closure Orders; Gang Related Violence Injunctions; Designated Public Place Orders; Special…

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These Are the 300 Biggest Data Leaks Ever

Look at the size of these incidents…think of how many thousands of tiny information losses happen every day. Cyber security is not the answer. You need a Enterprise Risk Management strategy that integrates the whole organisation, and puts risk management at the head of the agenda instead of buries somewhere in the appendix.

Tech

It seems like companies these days are collecting more data on us than ever before. Every time you give that car dealership your email or give a store your zip code, you’ve given up a piece of yourself that can be used to uncover even more of your personal data. Your information is worth a lot, given how Facebook and Google make billions per year off it.

To use pretty much any piece of technology these days, you have to have a certain amount of trust in corporate America to do the right thing and safeguard the information it has on you. Of course, most companies do handle data responsibly. But there are bad guys out there – hackers, disgruntled employees and other assorted criminals – who are eager to exploit your data. And sometimes, even corporate computer security just isn’t enough to prevent a data leak.

But a…

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Situational Cyber Crime Prevention

crimeI just made chilli, and to be honest, eating it was the highlight of an otherwise unfulfilling week. It’s been a challenging to get into the swing of having the household to look after, now that Mrs SecurityGeezer has gone away for the summertime, leaving me here with Jasper and Nacho to psycho-analyze. It’s also been a bit of a challenge to get things done in the office. The last year has been spent getting some additional fitout work done there, and it’s just sort of dragged on a little, so now that we’ve imposed a deadline on ourselves, there’s been a lot of little things that have needed to be sorted.

Do you know how difficult it is to find a conference room table in glass that’s longer than 2.4m? Sheesh…

But what is also a somewhat exasperating is the market we’re in. It amazes me that we can work in this industry and this region for all these years, and with the wealth of experience accumulated within the walls of our organization we still frequently look at each other and shrug our shoulders, wondering what on earth will happen next. Life seems to consist of a constant cycle of meeting people you don’t trust but whom you have to take tiny leaps of faith, being introduced to dead-cert opportunities that turn out to be anything but, and working your way through a minefield of products and manufacturers that either don’t work or don’t understand the market.

This is a really nice infographic that popped up on a blog I follow, showing the 300 biggest data leaks in a lovely blobular representation. It feeds neatly into a topic I’ve been discussing a lot lately.

You look at this image and it’s obvious that lots and lots of data has been lost by lots and lots of organisations. These are just the biggest ones, so in amongst the blobs really there are millions of tinier blobs that represent the data loss that’s going on in companies all over the world all of the time. But who’s letting it happen? Security??

No – and this is possibly the most important point I can make in this or any other of my blog posts. Whilst organisations compartmentalize loss prevention into an isolated “Security” response, they will continue to fail to prevent the big blobs from appearing on this infographic.

When supermarkets “lose” tins of beans, it’s because beans that were part of the business’s inventory become not part of the inventory. That can be through theft or errors or damage. Beans that were on shelves move from the shelves to somewhere else. How do you prevent it from happening? Reduce theft by applying strong security methodologies, reduce errors by applying strong accounting methodologies, reduce damage by applying strong management methodologies.

When businesses “lose” data you cannot rationalize the situation down to a few simple scenarios. Imagine the business in question is a supermarket, and it loses the data on all of its online delivery shoppers. Same business – totally different problem – totally insoluble through simply implementing strong security, strong accounting or strong management, because the data wasn’t sitting on a shelf.

The uncertainty inherent in many of the more traditional crime prevention concepts resulted in the Situational Crime Prevention methodology developed by Ronald V Clarke. The idea here is that you can’t easily understand the motivations of a criminal, so you cannot outwit him by predicting his behavior. Instead, crime can be prevented by simply removing the opportunity for crime. Remove the asset. Limit access to the asset. Create an environment that discourages the commission of crime or places significant obstacles between the criminal and his quarry.

The end result of Situational Crime Prevention can often be displacement rather than prevention – but from the victim’s perspective, there is nothing wrong with displacement, because at least the victim is somebody else.

I’m proposing a similar set of countermeasures and crime preventing techniques that I’m calling Situational Cyber Crime Prevention.

Over coming blog posts I’m going to explain some of the principles of this approach.

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