Incite 4/25/2012: Drafty Draft

It feels like Bizarro World to me. I woke up this morning freezing my backside off. We turned off the heat a few weeks ago and it was something like 65 this morning. Outside it was in the 40s, at the end of April. WTF? And the Northeast has snow. WTF? I had to bust out my sweatshirts, which I had hoped to shelve for the season. Again, WTF? But even a draft of cold weather can’t undermine my optimism this week. Why? Because it’s NFL Draft time. That’s right, I made it through the dark time between the start of free agency and the Draft. You know it’s a slow time – I have been watching baseball and even turned on a hockey game. But the drought is over. Now it’s time to see who goes where. And to keep a scorecard of how wrong all the pundits are in their mock drafts. Here’s another thing I learned. There are pundits in every business, and the Internet seems to have enabled a whole mess of people to make their livings as pundits. If you follow the NFL you are probably familiar with Mel Kiper, Jr. (and his awesome hair) and Todd McShay, who man the draft desk at ESPN. They almost always disagree, which is entertaining. And Mike Mayock of NFL Network provides great analysis. They get most of the visibility this week, but through the magic of the Twitter I have learned that lots of other folks write for web sites, some big and most small, and seem to follow the NFL as their main occupation. Wait, what? I try not to let my envy gene, but come on, man! I say I have a dream job and that I work with smart people doing what I really like. But let’s be honest here – what rabid football fan wouldn’t rather be talking football all day, every day? And make a living doing it. But here’s the issue. I don’t really know anything about football. I didn’t play organized football growing up, as my Mom didn’t think fat Jewish kids were cut out for football. And rolling over neighborhood kids probably doesn’t make me qualified to comment on explosiveness, change of direction, or fluid hips. I know very little about Xs and Os. Actually, I just learned that an offensive lineman with short arms can’t play left tackle, as speed rushers would get around him almost every time. Who knew? But I keep wondering if my lack of formal training should deter me. I mean, if we make an analogy to the security business, we have a ton of folks who have never done anything starting up blogs and tweeting. Even better, some of them are hired by the big analyst firms and paraded in front of clients who have to make real decisions and spend real money based on feedback from some punk. To be fair there was a time in my career when I was that punk, so I should know. 20 years later I can only laugh and hope I didn’t cost my clients too much money. Maybe I should pull a Robin Sage on the NFL information machine. That would be kind of cool, eh? Worst case it works and I’ll have a great Black Hat presentation. -Mike Photo credits: “Windy” originally uploaded by Seth Mazow Heavy Research We’re back at work on a variety of our blog series, so here is a list of the research currently underway. Remember our Heavy RSS Feed, where you can access all our content in its unabridged glory. Vulnerability Management Evolution Core Technologies Value-Add Technologies Enterprise Features and Integration Watching the Watchers (Privileged User Management) Clouds Rolling In Integration Understanding and Selecting DSP Use Cases Malware Analysis Quant Index of Posts Incite 4 U Don’t go out without your raincoat: I tip my hat to the folks at Sophos. To figure out a way to compare the infection rate of Chlamydia to the prevalence of Mac malware is totally evil genius. That stat really resonates with me, and wasn’t a good thing for some of my buddies at school. So do 20% of Macs really have malware? Not exactly – they include the presence of Windows malware, which obviously doesn’t do much harm on Macs. Only 1 in 36 had actual Mac malware, and I’m sure a bunch of those were Flashback users who downloaded AV only after being infected. Though I guess the malware could spread to PCs via VMs and other unsafe computing practices. Of course the Sophos guys never miss an opportunity make an impassioned plea for Mac AV, especially since it’s free. Reminds me of something my Dad said when I came of age. He told me never to go out without my raincoat on. He was right – just ask my fraternity brothers. I wonder if “The Trojan Man for Mac” would work as the new Sophos tagline? – MR Killer apps: Will (Mobile) Apps Kill Websites is Jeff Atwood’s question, one I have been mulling over the last few months. All Jeff’s points are spot-on: Well-designed apps provide a kick-ass user experience that few web sites can rival. Fast, simple, and tailored for the environment, they are often just better. And considering that mobile devices will outnumber desktops 10:1 in the future, replacement is not hard to imagine. But Jeff’s list of disadvantages should contain a few security issues as well. Namely none of the protections I use with my desktop browser (NoScript, Ghostery, Flashblock, Adblock, etc.) are available on mobile platforms. Nor do we have fine-grained control over what apps can do, and we cannot currently run outbound firewalls to make sure websites aren’t secretly transmitting our data. Mobile platforms generally offer really good built-in security, but in practice it is gradually becoming harder to protect – and sandbox – apps, similar to challenges we have already face with desktop browsers. It looks like we get to play security catch-up

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