Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dude, you're getting Bit9!

Dell SecureWorks Adds Innovative Advanced Endpoint Threat Detection Service to its Cyber Threat Services Portfolio

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Principles of seeking employment

Educate! Network! Present!

“It is interesting that the first recorded instruction given to Adam after the Fall, dealt with the eternal principle of work. The Lord said: ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.’ (Gen. 3:19.) Our Heavenly Father loves us so completely that he has given us a commandment to work. This is one of the keys to eternal life. He knows that we will learn more, grow more, achieve more, serve more, and benefit more from a life of industry than from a life of ease.”
- Howard W. Hunter
https://www.ldsjobs.org - Tools for unemployed, underemployed, employers, self-employed, and employed. Excellent resource. Open to other faiths. Create an account and check it out!
“Education provides understanding and skills that can help people develop self-reliance. . . Work is the foundation upon which self-reliance and temporal well-being rest.”
- Handbook 2


Here are some sites that offer MOOCs.


“This is your phone call” - Richard C. Edgley


Have three resume formats:
  • Everything (including kitchen sink)
  • Text only (for online forms)
  • One page (for handing out)

Find creative ways to leverage non-work experiences!
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Link to the original document: http://bit.ly/LYPWUB

Saturday, October 5, 2013

No comment

The comments on my blog seem to not show up on postings after June 12th. Not only that, but I cannot even read them. I have a thread going over on the help forums to hopefully figure it out, but until it gets resolved I won't see any comments. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mysteries of the kingdom

I do not consider myself "old," but I have lived enough life to have seen a thing or two. In fact, I've seen enough to know and accept that I do not know everything. That does not mean it does not frustrate or needle me from time to time. I recently had a number of things happen which brought to the forefront some things I do not know.

In the context of my religion, things I do not know often fall under the realm of "mysteries of the kingdom." A lot of these things are really obscure and are often fodder for those who seek to discredit the church. When things fall into that category I might initially raise my eyebrows a bit, but in the end I find a way to make peace with it.

I feel the more interesting category surfaces only when an individual really understands and believes the gospel. As of right now I have three items in that category:

  1. Priesthood keys play a central role in the restoration, ministration, and administration of the LDS church, but what does that actually mean? What do keys give a person that the Priesthood or faith do not? Why don't all leadership roles in the church hold keys? Why do the ones that do hold keys need them? How does one exercise keys (as opposed to other forms of church leadership)?
  2. One of the recent triggering events I mentioned earlier was a blog post describing how Mormons don't understand the Atonement. I implies a very liberal and generous view, full of good feelings for everybody. That approach seems to get preached often in the church these days. How does that reconcile with the straight & narrow, gnashing of teeth, and all the other things which indicate a more narrow view?
  3. Elder Neal A Maxwell pointed out that the only thing we can really give God is our agency. That makes sense because He gives us everything. The problem then becomes one of destination. Consider the council in heaven. Heavenly Father presented a plan where we would come down to earth to learn how to be like him, and the way we would do that would be to subjugate the natural man and our will to the will of the Father. Then Satan got up and said that he'd take away our will and make us do the right thing. Success in either plan means giving up our will. A bit of a paradox.

At this point I don't really expect any satisfying answers for these three items. Then again, maybe something said in General Conference this weekend will address part of one of these. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Widening the bell curve

My wife calls me a hero worshipper. My hero worshipping manifested itself at an early age by my love of He-Man and Superman. Thank goodness we did not have YouTube during my childhood and therefore will never again see 5-year-old-me running around in Superman underwear with a cape and boots. I grew out of that, but did not grow out of wanting to be a hero. In the years since my youthful admiration of fictional heroes I have learned that real heroes exist, but they often start out as normal people. Men such as Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Roger Bushell rose to the occasions into which they were placed. The key to becoming a hero is recognizing a need and then filling it.

Famous heroes manifest themselves in difficult situations when the need is great and filling it seems impossible.The horrors of war provide those circumstances in abundance. I like learning about wars for that reason. Heroes can appear anywhere and everywhere during a war. That includes anything from the battlefield heroics on Omaha beach to the decryption of Enigma at Bletchley Park. Considering those two scenarios as a computer geek, I can more easily picture myself assisting in the war effort alongside Turing and his bombes. Maybe that would not make a great Spielberg movie, but it could definitely fill a lengthy novel.

I recently finished Cryptonomicon, a historical/science fiction novel by Neal Stephenson that reviews the Enigma decryption effort in significant detail. A large portion of that story deals with a real practice that one character calls “widening the bell curve.” With regards to cracking Enigma, having it cracked only remained valuable so long as the Nazis did not know the Allies had broken it. Unbridled use of cracked information would yield short-term victories, but then Allies would tip their hand and reveal the weaknesses of Enigma. The Axis could then address those weaknesses and upgrade their encryption. On the other hand, not using the information rendered it equally useless. The trick became figuring out how use it without revealing knowledge of it. 

That brings us back to “widening the bell curve.” A normal distribution follows a bell curve: extremes happen much less often than the average. Something not following that probability, such as “magically” finding every Nazi transport, would appear as an extraneous bump on the bell curve. The information theory solution of widening the bell curve ahead of time tries to avoid exposing that bump. Widening occurs by adding additional data points to smooth out the distribution, and must be added in many places to ensure a smooth and symmetrical bell shape. Figuring out just what to do to maintain the normal bell curve became the job of one protagonist in Cryptonomicon.

The Allies, both in the book and in the real war, introduced additional data points through various means. Instead of magically showing up with a fleet to attack a transport, they sent out “spotter” submarines and aircraft to “find” the transport. Even better, they sent out additional spotters to other locations, providing false negatives. The Allies had to occasionally ignore information from the Enigma because acting on it would reveal the cypher’s weakness.. At one point the Allies transmitted a congratulation to a non-existent spy in Italy for the excellent information provided, which covered up an out-of-the-blue convoy attack. These and similar techniques resulting in the Enigma cracking remaining secret until publicly disclosed nearly three decades later. The most accurate word to describe the effort involved to maintain that secrecy is heroic.

This all has direct applications to today’s security landscape. We can look for irregularities in computer usage, or bumps on the bell curve, to indicate a threat. However, in order to find the bumps we must already know the shape of the curve. Bad actors will try to widen the bell curve in order to avoid detection. Organizations something to fill the role of identifying washed-out bumps. Bit9 can map the curve and identify the bumps so you can become a security hero!