I wouldn’t say I’m a control freak, but I am definitely “control aligned”. If something is important to me I like to know what’s going on under the hood. I also hate to depend on someone else for something I’m capable of.
So I have no problem trusting my accountant to keep me out of tax jail, or hiring a painter for the house, but there is a long list of things I tend to overanalyze and have trouble letting go of.
Pretty damn high up that list is the Securosis Nexus.
I have been programming as a hobby since third grade, and for a while there in the early days of web applications it was my full time profession. I don’t know C worth a darn, but I was pretty spiffy with database design and my (now antiquated) toolset for building web apps. I still code when I can, but it’s more like home repair than being a general contractor.
When Mike, Adrian, and I came up with the idea for the Nexus I did all the design work. From the UI sketches we sent to the visual designers to the features and logic flow. Not that I did it all alone, but I took point, and I’m the one who interfaces with our contractors.
Which is where I’m learning how to let go. The hard way.
I have managed (small) programming teams before but this is my first time on the hiring side of the contractor relationship. It’s also the first time I haven’t written any significant amount of code for something I’m pretty much betting my future on (and the future of my partners and our families).
Our current contractor team is great. Among other things they suggested an entirely new architecture for the backend that is far better than my initial plans and our PoC code. I wish they would QA a little better (hi guys!), and we don’t always see things the same way, but I’m damn happy with the product.
But it’s extremely hard for me to rely on them. For example, today I wanted to change how a certain part of the system functioned (how we handle internal links). I know what needs to be done, and even know generally what needs to happen within the code, but I realized I would probably just screw it up. And it would take me a few hours (to screw up), while they can sort it all out in a fraction of the time.
I don’t know why this bothers me. Maybe it’s knowing that I’ll see a line item on an invoice down the road. But it’s probably some deep-seated need to feel I’m in control and not dependant on someone else for something so important.
But I am. And I need to get used to it.
On to the Summary:
Webcasts, Podcasts, Outside Writing, and Conferences
- Me (Rich) in a DLP video I for Trend Micro. I really liked the video crew on this one and the quality shows. I may need to get myself a Canon DSLR for our future Securosis videos instead of our current HD camcorder.
- I also wrote up how to recover lost iCloud data based on my own serious FAIL this week.
Favorite Securosis Posts
- Mike Rothman: Virtual USB? Not.. Adrian has it right here. Even though it’s more secure to carry (yet another) device, users won’t do it. They want everything on their smartphone, and they will get it. It’s just a matter of when, and at what cost (in terms of security or data loss).
- Adrian Lane: How Regular Folks See Online Safety. Lately news items are right out of Theater of the Absurd: Security Tragicomedy.
- Rich: Tokenization Guidance: Audit Advice. Adrian is really building the most definitive guide out there.
Other Securosis Posts
- Incite 11/2/2011: Be Yourself.
- Conspiracy Theories, Tin Foil Hats, and Security Research.
- Applied Network Security Analysis: The Advanced Security Use Case.
- Applied Network Security Analysis: The Forensics Use Case.
Favorite Outside Posts
- Mike Rothman: 3 Free Tools to Fake DNS Responses for Malware Analysis. This is a good tip for testing, but also critical for understanding the tactics adversaries will use against you.
- Adrian Lane: The Chicago Way. Our own Dave Lewis does the best job in the blogsphere at explaining what the heck is going on with the Anonymous / Los Zetas gang confrontation.
- James Arlen: Harvard Stupid. Two posts in one – interesting financial story tailed by an excellent example of how security should be implemented from a big picture view. If you run IT security for your company, read this!
- Rich: Kevin Beaver on why users violate policies. I don’t agree with the lazy comment though – it’s not being lazy if your goal is to get your job done and you deal with something in the way.
Research Reports and Presentations
- Fact-Based Network Security: Metrics and the Pursuit of Prioritization.
- Tokenization vs. Encryption: Options for Compliance.
- Security Benchmarking: Going Beyond Metrics.
- Understanding and Selecting a File Activity Monitoring Solution.
- Database Activity Monitoring: Software vs. Appliance.
- React Faster and Better: New Approaches for Advanced Incident Response.
- Measuring and Optimizing Database Security Operations (DBQuant).
- Network Security in the Age of Any Computing.
Top News and Posts
- UK Cops Using Fake Mobile Phone Tower to Intercept Calls, Shut Off Phones.
- Malaysian CA Digicert Revokes Certs With Weak Keys, Mozilla Moves to Revoke Trust.
- Four CAs Have Been Compromised Since June.
- Hackers attacked U.S. government satellites.
- How Visa Protects Your Data.
- Exposing the Market for Stolen Credit Cards Data.
- ‘Nitro’ Cyberespionage Attack Targets Chemical, Defense Firms.
Blog Comment of the Week
This week we are redirecting our donation to support Brad “theNurse” Smith. This week’s best comment goes to Zac, in response to Conspiracy Theories, Tin Foil Hats, and Security Research.
I personally think that the problem with the media hype is that it seems to distract more than inform.
The overall result being that you end up with “experts” arguing over inconsequential details… in the same way passengers on a crashing blimp argue over the best way to use the parachutes instead of just using them.
I don’t care (as a security guy) at the moment if the Duqu coders had access to the original Stuxnet code or if they were all wearing blue shirts when they uploaded it… I just care about what I need to do to detect it and what preventative measures it makes sense to use.
That’s my half-nibble.
PS: your drivel is at least interesting… and much less reactionary.