A moving speech from Steve Jobs

Love it or hate it, Steve Jobs has changed all of our lives. It has been his sense of cool that drove Apple, and his demand for coolness in the products they make overrules every other consideration. I fear for Apple sans Jobs.

I have to thank the incomparable Dennis H. for directing me to the text of Steve’s 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University. It has an eerie, sort of haunting quality, given that the death he had then recently escaped has come looming again. But this makes the message he speaks all the more clear: If you think you’ve got anything to lose, you’re a fool, because Death already has absolute claim on you; so go, go directly toward what you love and damn the criticism!

See it here at WSJ.com: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903596904576520690515394766.html#ixzz1W6RusOKM .

LAN/WAN: Fastest growing job category for the next decade

Don’t just take my word for it:

The information technology industry is heating up again. There is currently a high volume of LAN/WAN positions and not enough qualified candidates. In fact, LAN/WAN positions (network systems analysts) are rated as the fastest growing job category for the next 10 years by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Link to BLS webpage: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.t06.htm

This comes from a LAN/WAN internship posting here: http://www.4jobs.com/job.asp?id=36488016&src=IALR . As my contact put it, “2good2btrue!” But it is, in fact, true. The only thing I don’t understand: why people aren’t flocking to the field, in this time of high unemployment. Although, actually, I do understand. This is a challenging, rigorous field. If you’ve got what it takes, they’re looking for you.

Here’s a nasty problem: Windows 7 has an IPv6 flaw

Oh yes, this is just what we need. Everyone is jumping on the Windows 7 bandwagon, just in time for researchers to find a fatal flaw in the Windows 7 IPv6 stack. Basically it can inflict a slow death on your workstation, as system functions fail in sequence until lockup. The vulnerability lies in the implementation of DHCPv6. And like many flaws, it can be exploited from other platforms, for instance a mis-configured Linux DHCP server.

See the ZDnet article at: http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/security-threats/2011/08/17/ipv6-handling-flaw-found-in-windows-7-40093710/ . (And thanks to DW!)

PsyOps: How the U.S. plans to fight the “information wars”

I’m not sure I can buy into the strategies, not all of them. The U.S. military has plans for fighting information wars, including hacking networks and spreading disinformation. That false information is intended for foreign audiences, but is also unwittingly consumed by Americans.

The document’s authors acknowledge that American news media should not unwittingly broadcast military propaganda. “Specific boundaries should be established,” they write. But they don’t seem to explain how.

To encourage your suspicions read more at the BBC (hopefully not a purveyor of disinformation):

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4655196.stm

Dark Reading: the State of Stuxnet

The statistics inspire awe, or fear: 90-95% of all organizations have already been penetrated.

Already.

McAfee has exposed what it calls the ‘Biggest Transfer of Intellectual Property in History’, a massive transfer of intellectual capital that represents a huge threat to the U.S. and the rest of the industrial world – aside from China. Why? Because:

“The likely culprit: China.” –

http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2011/08/03/epic-cyber-espionage-network-exposed-biggest-transfer-of-intellectual-property-in-history/

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So what we’re dealing with is true economic warfare, being engaged at the level of cyberspace. The big, deep, baddie threats are the APTs, the Advanced Persistent Threats. And the biggest, and baddest, of them all is Stuxnet. Arguably a product of our own NSA, or maybe Israel (surely home of some badass coders), or both. Or somebody else.

Where is Stuxnet now? Read an update at http://www.darkreading.com/advanced-threats/167901091/security/attacks-breaches/231002783/a-stuxnet-comeback.html . Executive Summary: it’s too closely targeted on the Siemens controllers used by centrifuges – authorities think. I’m glad they’re confident.

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Australia isn’t. It’s been the victim of a “massive” cyberpenetration. Once again, its nearby neighbor China would appear blameless. Or not.

”Electronic intelligence gathering is now a huge industry,” Mr Irvine said. ”It is being used against Australia on a massive scale to extract confidential information from governments, the private sector and ordinary individuals.”

He hinted that Australia is often targeted by foreign spies as an easy access point into the intelligence holdings of the US and Britain.

***

So basically, enterprises, organizations and governments are being hit with much more advanced cyberattacks. The game has escalated from viruses infecting individual users’ computers, to APTs that are stealing companies’ crown jewels. See this article at eWeek.com:

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/Enterprises-Hit-With-More-Advanced-MalwareBased-Attacks-in-2011-Report-250823/?kc=rss

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Yeah, we know this department:

“There is still a reluctance amongst organizations to believe this is happening.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/04/us-security-cyber-raids-idUSTRE77314K20110804

Talent Wars: Now this I can appreciate!

Now comes the return on long, long hours, short-staffing, lean-and-mean dues-paying: you are suddenly valuable. Very valuable. Surprise.

Computerworld – Dan Herrington says his first inkling of a brewing IT talent war came early this spring, when he noticed that “college kids weren’t accepting our offers on the spot.”

This was a first for Herrington, who is executive sponsor of college recruiting for IT at USAA, a San Antonio-based Fortune 200 insurer and financial services company that has been No. 1 on Computerworld’s Best Places to Work in IT list for two years in a row.

Herrington adds that another disturbing new trend is a “marked increase” in the number of college hires who accept job offers but then later change their minds. “We’ve seen college students reneging on internships as well,” he notes.

We have known for a long time that IT is critical to business. Like the engineers on a steamship, we have to be both highly skilled and resourceful. Those of us who survive know just how hard it is to maintain the technical chops to do our jobs, and keep them. Not everyone can do it. Those of us who can are finally being appreciated in the best way: money.

See the article at http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/357513/Talent_Wars .

China blames the U.S. and India for 500,000 cyberattacks

Uh huh.

China claimed on Tuesday that it was hit by nearly 500,000 cyberattacks last year, according to the South China Morning Post — a Hong Kong-based English newspaper published by the SCMP group.

Out of half a million cyberattacks reported by China, nearly half of the attacks allegedly originated from overseas countries, including the United States and India as the main perpetrators.

Yup. That’s us, all right. Read the whole story at the International Business Times:

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/195431/20110810/cyber-attack-hacking-hacker-united-states-india-china.htm

The U.S. cybersecurity education initiative

Couldn’t have said it better myself department:

The U.S. government will work to develop an “unrivaled” cybersecurity workforce and broaden the nation’s pool of skilled cyberworkers under a draft cybersecurity education plan released Friday by a U.S. agency.

“The cybersecurity vulnerabilities in our government and critical infrastructure are a risk to national security, public safety, and economic prosperity,” the agency said in the draft plan. “Now is the time to begin a coordinated national initiative focused on cybersecurity awareness, education, training, and professional development. The United States must encourage cybersecurity competence across the nation and build an agile, highly skilled workforce capable of responding to a dynamic and rapidly developing array of threats.”

As I say far too often, I’m sure, there is no single more spectacular opportunity for the American worker now than in information technologies. See the whole article at http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/081211-us-agency-releases-cyber-education.html .