Wikileaks finds a business model


1Within minutes of the electrons drying on my last column about the Wikileaks CIA document drop called Vault 7, Julian Assange came out with the novel idea that he and Wikileaks would assist big Internet companies with their technical responses to the obvious threats posed by all these government and third-party security hacks. After all, Wikileaks had so far published only documentation for the hacks, not the source code. There was still time! How noble of Assange and Wikileaks!

OR, Wikileaks has found a new business model. When organized crime offers assistance against a threat they effectively control it’s called a Protection Racket and is against […]

The CIA, WikiLeaks and Spy Versus Spy

Spy_vs_SpyAs pretty much anyone who reads this column already knows, WikiLeaks has dropped a trove of about 8700 secret documents that purport to cover a range of CIA plans and technologies for snooping over the Internet — everything from cracking encrypted communication products to turning Samsung smart TVs into listening devices against their owners. Two questions immediately arise: 1) are these documents legit (they appear to be), and; 2) WTF does it mean for people like us, who aren’t spies, public officials, or soldiers of fortune? This latter answer requires a longer explanation but suffice it to say this news is generally not good for anyone, not even for spies unless […]

When Engineers Lie

Twenty years ago, when I was writing Accidental Empires, my book about the PC industry, I included near the beginning a little rant about how good engineers were incapable of lying, because their work relied on Terminal A being positive and not negative and if they lied about such things then nothing would ever work. That was before I learned much about data security, where apparently lying is part of the game. Well, based on recent events at RSA, Lockheed Martin, and other places, I think lying should not be part of the game.

Was there a break-in? Was data stolen? Was there an unencrypted database of SecureID seeds and serial numbers? All we […]

By |June 9th, 2011|2011|100 Comments

Remember Billy Mitchell

generalbillymitchellBilly Mitchell was an iconoclastic American military airman from the early 20th century.  He was a firm believer in military air power and was ordered court-martialed in 1925 by President Calvin Coolidge for criticizing his military superiors over the issue.  My kind of guy. Gary Cooper played Mitchell in a 1955 movie, by which time everyone knew he had been right all along.  My fear is that when it comes to cyber warfare there is no Billy Mitchell today in Washington.

Cyber warfare was big news last week.  President Obama said he would name a cyber warfare czar to be a single point of contact on the issue for his Administration and that person would have […]