Saturday, January 23, 2016

For the bored: Infosec Noir

Instead of doing productive things I’ve found a new outlet for self-entertainment, and I seem to be amusing a few others, too.

My newish Twitter account is @InfosecNoir, it is:

“The adventures of Jimmy Black. He decrements the TTLs of cybercriminals so you don't have to.

He has a drinking problem, but only when his glass is empty.”

It is pretty low volume, and is meant to entertain me.  If it entertains you, too, then maybe follow, or just check in occasionally.

Important note: While some of it is autobiographical, and some is “based on true stories”, much is pure fiction.  I’ll admit the first tweet is autobiographical,

image

after that, your guess is as good as mine.  And for the pedantic, it was Atorvastatin, not Lipotor™.  Yay generics.

 

Jack

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Open Live Writer

Oh, hey- bloggy thing.  I know I should blog more, both here and over on my travel drinking blog, but you know…

Open Live Writer

One very nice recent development is that a team at Microsoft has created an Open Source fork of Windows Live Writer.  WLW used to be a really sweet, lightweight WYSIWYG blog tool for Windows- then it got Microsofted and bloaty, then abandoned.  Open Live Writer brings it back from the dead, updates authentication to work with modern platforms, and pulls out a lot of cruft.

It is still early in development, but so far it is working well for me and I do not miss any of the “missing” features.  I’m enjoying the speed and functionality of Open Live Writer, and I’m grateful that some folks at Microsoft have revived this great little tool.  If you are a blogger and Windows user, check it out.

 

Jack

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Introducing the PIVOT Project

OK kids, this is cool.  Know a hacker or computer club or school that could use some free, community-contributed labs?

Pivot Cyber Challenges

 

From the website (pivotproject.org):

“People who earn great jobs in cyber security have mastered both academics and hands-on skills.  But where can people with a wide variety of skill levels get hands-on practice with real-world cyber security problems?  On January 12, the PIVOT project goes live to help meet that need. PIVOT makes it possible for students and others, all over the world, to build their hands-on skills in a fun, challenging, real-world cyber environment.  PIVOT provides exciting hands-on labs and challenges for student groups and associated faculty, completely free.  Through a variety of engaging downloadable materials, participants build their hands-on skills to help them pivot from academic studies to their future cyber security careers.”

To kick things off there’s a contest to get things moving and gather feedback:

“We’re launching PIVOT with a special contest and over a dozen prizes so you can help make PIVOT even better.  Prizes include gift cards, club pizza feasts, t-shirts, and more!

To participate in the contest and help us make PIVOT even better, all you need to do is have your group work through your choice of at least two of our current labs, and then have a student leader or faculty member fill out our contest form by February 15, 2016.  The contest form gathers information about your experiences with the labs and recommendations for additional PIVOT challenges.  From all submitted entries, we’ll select the top 5 with the most useful input to receive our grand prizes.  Then, from all submitted entries, we’ll select another 10 at random to receive a prize.”

Please check out PIVOT Project and spread the word, it is off to a great start but now we need to build the community.

 

Jack

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A different kind of magic

Yesterday the world lost a good man, and the hacker community lost a great friend.  David Jones, better known to many as Rance, or @RevRance, ended his battle with cancer early yesterday morning, his suffering is over.


A great photo of Rance by Kevin Riggins
Throughout history we’ve called anything we don’t understand “magic”.  To those of us in technical fields we often think of Arthur C. Clarke’s third law:
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”
but many things we don’t understand other than technology have been called magic as well.

Rance had a special magic.  We may not have understood how he always seemed to know who needed a kind word, or how he knew exactly what the needed word was, but he did.  In the last couple of years it was sometimes hard to understand how he remained so kind, generous, and happy in the face of his cancer battles- but he did, because he was Rance.  That is a special kind of magic, and we will miss it dearly.

While we mourn our friend we can remember him best by trying to find a little of that special Rance magic in ourselves and each other.



Jack