Incite 11/10/2010: Hallowreck (My Diet)

I fancy myself to have significant willpower. I self-motivate to work out pretty religiously, and in the blink of an eye gave up meat two and a half years ago – cold turkey (no pun intended). But I’m no superhero – in fact over the past few weeks I’ve been abnormally human. You see I have a weakness for chips. Well I actually have a number of food weaknesses, but chips are close to the top of the list. And it’s not like a few potato chips or tortilla chips will kill me in moderation. But that’s the rub – I don’t do ‘moderation’ very well. As I mentioned last week, for XX1’s birthday weekend we had a number of parties, which meant we had to have snacks around for all the visiting kiddies. Rut Roh. Yeah, the big bag of Kettle Chips from Costco. Untouched by the kids. Mowed through by me. Not in one sitting, so I guess I’m improving a bit. But over the course of 4-5 days I systematically dismantled the bag one bowl at a time. I guess I figured I couldn’t have a full-on binge if I did one bowl at a time, right? I’d have to get up and down to keep filling the bowl. I guess that’s how I got a portion of my exercise last week. Moderation, no so much. And of course, hot on the heels of the parties was Halloween. So the kids came back with bags and bags of candy. Normally my sweet tooth is contained. Maybe once a week I’ll have some ice cream with chocolate syrup. But with Almond Joys and Butterfingers and Peanut M&Ms around, you might as well put a crack pipe in Lindsay Lohan’s bedroom. Even worse, the Boss (who can’t eat chocolate – food allergies) got a 56oz bag of M&Ms. My hands aren’t big, but they can grab about 30 M&Ms in one swoop. And they did. Arghhh. So on Saturday night I put my foot down. The candy had to go. Thankfully they were collecting candy bars for the troops – and by the way, what the hell is that about? What better to send to the frackin’ desert than a couple of truckloads of chocolate bars. I heard those don’t melt on the surface of the sun, and that speaks nothing of their nutritional value (or lack thereof). But I guess they don’t want us donating produce to send to the troops, even though that makes a lot more sense. So, I put my foot down and decreed that the candy must go. The kids dutifully sorted their candy and we let them keep about 10 pieces to be doled out over the next few weeks. The Boss also stashed away some surplus for movie days, so we could use that instead of paying $10 for a box of Raisinettes at the theater. Maybe that’s kind of a dick move, getting rid of the candy because I struggle with self-control. But I’m cool with it. You don’t stock your fridge with beer if you are an alcoholic. You don’t buy a bong for a pothead’s birthday. And you don’t leave the Halloween candy in the house for those who struggle with their weight. Yes, I’ve made progress and working out hard 5-6 days a week gives me some buffer, but having that stuff around is just stupid. So we won’t… – Mike. Photo credits: “That’s a lot of Halloween candy. Bartell’s Drugs, Queen Anne, Seattle, 09/01/06” originally uploaded by photophonic Incite 4 U SCADA hysteria, coming to critical infrastructure near you: As I mentioned in my Storytellers post last week, I was at SecTor, and a lot of great discussion emerged from the conference. I have to give a shout-out to our contributor James Arlen, who from all indications did a great job of deflating the hype around SCADA attacks. Yes, Stuxnet happened and showed what is possible, but the sky isn’t falling. James points out that these systems are built for fault tolerance, and that compromising one control system isn’t likely to take down the power grid. Listen, I don’t want to minimize the risk – we all know these systems are vulnerable. But we do need to be wary of overhyping the issues, and James did a good job presenting both sides. His conclusion is key: “But, he encouraged security professionals to take a deep breath and assess the situation rationally.” Look for this one when it gets posted by the SecTor folks. – MR Cutting out the middle man: The Wall Street Journal highlights how major websites are limiting the number of tracking technologies they allow leeches ‘partner’ sites embed into their web pages. Why? Are they doing this for privacy concerns? Hell, no! And they’re not doing it to save the children, lower your cholesterol, reduce carbon emissions, or any other smokescreen. It’s about money and control, as always. The have lost control by allowing marketing firms to directly gather customer data, resulting in less data and money for site owners. Some firms found tracking software that they did not know about, while others found partners gathering information they did not even know was available. With many web sites desperately trying to stay in business, there will be significant investment into their own tracking software and data marts on the back ends, in order to monetize their data directly. We’ll see them code their own, and we will also see spyware “marketing software” vendors selling more plug-ins. And user privacy will be exactly the same as before, only the web sites will get a bigger slice of the financial pie. But that’s okay … it says so in the new end user (you have no) privacy agreement. – AL If you can’t beat ‘em, sue ‘em: There is no doubt that Microsoft once abused their position with anti-competative practices. I don’t mean in terms of what features they included in Windows, but all that back-room dealing and wrangling with hardware providers. That’s why I’m so amused by Trend trying to drum up antitrust

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LinkedIn Password Reset FAIL

It’s never a good day when you lose control over a significant account. First, it goes to show that none of us are perfect and we can all be pwned as a matter of course, regardless of how careful we are. This story has a reasonably happy ending, but there are still important lessons. Obviously the folks at Facebook and Twitter take head shots every week about privacy/security issues. LinkedIn has largely gone unscathed. But truth be told, LinkedIn is more important to me than Facebook, and it’s close to Twitter. I have a bunch of connections and I use it fairly frequently to get contact info and to search for a person with the skills I need to consult on a research project. So I was a bit disturbed to get an email from a former employer today letting me know they had (somewhat inadvertently) gained control of my LinkedIn account. It all started innocently enough. Evidently I had set up this company’s LinkedIn profile, so that profile was attached to my personal LinkedIn account. The folks at the company didn’t know who set it up, so they attempted to sign in as pretty much every marketing staffer who ever worked there. They did password resets on all the email addresses they could find, and they were able to reset my password because the reset notice went to my address there. They didn’t realize it wasn’t a corporate LinkedIn account I set up – it was my personal LinkedIn account. With that access, they edited the company profile and all was well. For them. Interestingly enough, I got no notification that the password had been reset. Yes, that’s right. My password was reset and there was zero confirmation of that. This is a major privacy fail. Thankfully the folks performing the resets notified me right away. I immediately reset the password again (using an email address I control) and then removed the old email address at that company from my profile. Now they cannot reset my password (hopefully), since that email is no longer on my profile. I double-checked to make sure I control all the email addresses listed on my profile. To be clear, I’m to blame for this issue. I didn’t clean up the email addresses on my LinkedIn profile after I left this company. That’s on me. But learn from my mishap and check your LinkedIn profile RIGHT NOW. Make sure there are no emails listed there that you don’t control. If there is an old email address, your password can be reset without your knowledge. Right, big problem. LinkedIn needs to change their process as well. At a minimum, LinkedIn should send a confirmation email to the primary email on the account whenever a password is reset or profile information is changed. If fact, they should send an email to all the addresses on the account, because someone might have lost control of their primary account. I’m actually shocked they don’t do this already. Fix this, LinkedIn, and fix it now. Share:

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