I got distracted by email. The Friday Summary was going to be about columnar databases. I think. Maybe it’s the flu I have had all week, or my memory is going, or just perhaps the subject was not all that interesting to begin with. But the email that distracted me was kind of funny and kinda sad. A former friend and co-worker contacted me for the first time is something like 10 years. Out of the blue.

The gist of the email was he was being harassed by someone with threatening emails. After a while he started to worry and wondered if the mystery harasser was serious. So he contacted the police and forwarded the information to the FBI. No response. Met with the police and they have no interest in further investigation unless there is something more substantive. You know, like a chalk outline.

In frustration he reached out to me to see if he could discover the sender. Now I am not exactly a forensics expert, but I can read email headers and run reverse DNS lookups and whois. And in about three minutes I walked this person through the email header and showed the originating accounts, domains, and servers. Easy. Now I must assume that if you know about email header information and don’t want to be traced, with a little effort you could easily cover your tracks. Temp Gmail or Yahoo accounts? Use cloud or hijacked servers, or even the public library computer can hide your tracks? No? How about using your freakin’ Blackberry with your real email account, but just changing the user name? Yeah, that’s the ticket! I am occasionally happy that there are stupid people on the planet.

Oh, and since you asked for it (and you know who you are), here’s the Monkey Dance: (-shuffle-shuffle-spin-shuffle-backflip). The video is too embarrassing to post. Yeah, you can make us dance for a .99 cent Kindle subscription. You ought to see what we do for an $8k retainer!

On to the Summary:

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Blog Comment of the Week

Remember, for every comment selected, Securosis makes a $25 donation to Hackers for Charity. This week’s best comment goes to Ian Krieger, in response to Datum Entanglement.

Whilst it is a really stupidly-complex [sic] introduction it gets you in the right frame of mind, that is the complexities in securing data (yes I’m talking the plural here) when you have the ability to copy, or extract, it.

Looking forward to the next pieces and see where your presentation goes.