Wednesday, April 16, 2014
As the media, the IT security industry, open source pundits and Joe User alike get swept away by the story so the FUD floodgates have opened. And FUD (that's Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) would be a more unwelcome trio than if Jedward were triplets.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
The clock has stopped ticking as far as the countdown to 'end of life' for Windows XP. As from today, Microsoft has officially pulled all support for the veteran operating system. That means no more software updates and, rather importantly, no more security updates. Depending upon which research you read, around one in five of all the computers on the planet are still running a version of Windows XP. If your enterprise is one of them, what does the future hold?
Saturday, April 12, 2014
For a professional writer of any description, there are three things that matter when it comes to the keyboard that they are using: key spacing, key travel and key feedback. The Minisuit 3-in-1 Folio manages, as far as any such small keyboard is ever going to achieve, to get the key spacing and feedback right. The scrabble tile keys are far enough part, in that there is sufficient gap between them and above/below them to prevent too much mis-keying. This is the bane of most travel keyboards, the keys are badly spaced and you end up making so many typos that you give up. Not so with the 3-in-1 Folio, my typo count was low enough not to be problematical (and I say that as someone with compromised eyesight - so although my typing speed is relatively slow on a small keyboard it isn't compromised too badly overall). Key travel is decent enough, and there's sufficient feedback to know you've hit the key. Thankfully, neither keyboard I tested were of the rubber membrane variety which provide no depth of travel and no feedback and are consequently of no use whatsoever.
As I stated when reviewing the Minisuit 3-in-1 Folio Case for the Nexus 7 2013, the most important things a writer looks for in any keyboard are key travel, spacing and feedback. Obviously a travel keyboard throws some additional requirements into the mix such as weight, size and battery life. However, when it comes to the single most important factor for me personally, and that's key spacing, the Minisuit Ultra-Thin Aluminium Bluetooth Keyboard Cover falls flat. There is simply no spacing at all, the keys just seem to merge together and it is very hard indeed not to hit the neighbouring keys when typing at any rate above 'slowly hunt and peck with extreme care'. This lack of spacing does allow for a very small keyboard solution, there's no denying that, but it comes at the cost of usability and as far as I am concerned that's a deal-breaker.
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Was it really just two months ago that I was predicting trouble in the cloud for Oracle? I made my prophecy following the disclosure by Security Explorations of 28 unpatched Java Cloud Service vulnerabilities of which, 16 were considered serious enough to break the Java sandbox of a WebLogic server. At the time I suggested that Java for the desktop was a dead man walking. I couldn't see Java in the cloud surviving as anything but a zombie technology for legacy applications, until and unless Oracle started dealing with security issues in a more timely fashion. Unfortunately, that zombiefication process could happen sooner rather than later, given the somewhat surprising events of this last week.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
Scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Centre in the US have discovered the aroma of earwax varies from person to person. More accurately, the chemical compounds that make it smell vary and create a unique waxy identifier. In fairness, the boffins behind this discovery have not suggested earwax as a replacement for computer passwords, but some security experts are already talking up its potential as an authentication mechanism. I am not surprised, given my exposure to equally daft-sounding biometric authentication projects in recent years.
Monday, April 07, 2014
With sophisticated ransomware you generally have only two options: pay the ransom or reformat and backup. The former is a contentious issue, with some security experts recommending paying up and trusting the criminals not to abuse your credit card data and to provide you with a working key. I am not in that camp, and wonder why I would trust someone who has already blackmailed me into paying a fee like this and who obviously doesn't care if I get my data back or not? The second option isn't always much better either as it relies upon many variables, including whether your backup data has been infected/encrypted, whether your PC is accessible enough to perform a full reformat and start again, and so on. In the case of CryptoDefense there is a third way, for a lucky (or should I say unlucky) few whose computers were infected before April 1st, 2014.
Friday, April 04, 2014
Davey Winder advises businesses of all sizes on how to create a workable security policy that's not just a piece of paper. If my consultancy conversations usually start with "so, you think your business is secure?", they invariably end with a response of "so, what can we do about it then?". This is where I really confuse them by not immediately talking about solutions and software, but instead about best practices, education and policy.
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
What is a disruptive technology? Obvious examples would include the internet generally and the web specifically, smartphones and tablets more recently and, of course, the cloud. The one thing that all these technologies has in common is that they came along and threw a proverbial spanner in the works, challenging and changing the way we do business, creating new markets and threatening the established players. That's what we mean by “disruptive”. Spotting emerging technologies that are likely to bring web or smartphone levels of disruption into our lives over the next few years isn’t as easy as you might imagine. That's not stopped people trying, and even mooting that certain tech advances are already disruptive. Here we take a reality check on the potential of five much-hyped technologies.