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09 Sep Exactly How Good Is Good Enough For Data Security?

In the past 24 hours, I have read several articles that would make a small business owner like me throw his hands up in exasperation.

One article states that malware can actually spy on your Mac and read emails and text messages according to News360.
“Researchers have unearthed new malware that turns a Mac into a remote spying platform that is able to intercept e-mail and instant-message communications. The malware uses internal microphones and cameras to spy on people in the vicinity of the OS X machine.”

Are you kidding me?  Still aren’t a bit paranoid?  Try this one on for size.

“This innocent looking power strip can hack almost any computer network.”
Well, that is just great news.  I wonder what the government is going to do about this. Are companies that have computer networks supposed to stay this far ahead of the curve? What is a reasonable degree of security when even using a power strip or your Mac computer can result in cameras and exposed files?
I ask this because evidently the FTC seems to think that going after the victim is actually going to protect the consumer.  CNN Money.
Is it? Hell no, it is not! Only the rantings of a high-level government bureaucrat would be arrogant enough to think this is going to have the slightest ding in the battle to keep the Internet a safe place. Their chasing Wyndham is clear evidence that they “don’t get it.”
Has anyone ever seen the FTC at a cybersecurity conference? Do they contract with industry experts to learn, or is that just the State Department and the National Security Council that are attending these conferences? The FTC trying to manage technology is similar to their trying to practice medicine. Not having a license makes them a danger to those and themselves. The FTC needs to BOOK UP before they start punishing companies or they risk creating self-inflicted wounds that will hurt their credibility.
The FTC looks like an old fool running around with a flyswatter trying to control a swarm of bees. They need to learn from experts and get their game plan together before they enter the field. Punishing a hotel chain does nothing to protect consumers. One would hope that the FTC would aspire to having a greater impact by aiming before they fire.  Sigh………….come on guys, since when has punishing the victims of theft made the thieves slow down or protect other potential victims. I think is time for the FTC to walk outside the Beltway for some badly needed fresh air.
Until that happens they are going to suffer from stinkin’ thinkin.’

 

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07 Sep Breaking News – Michael J Daugherty interviewed in the Atlanta Business Chronicle

I was interviewed by Amy Wenk, staff writer of the Atlanta Business Chronicle today.  They asked some interesting questions about the Federal Trade Commission and how they conduct themselves.

To see a full copy of this article, click to download .

For a link to see the preview on the Atlanta Business Chronicle, click HERE.

What are your thoughts on this?

 

Stay tuned for more news about this and my new book The Devil inside the Beltway:The Devil Inside the Beltway Cover

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06 Sep The US Government’s Offensive Cyber Defense

I read a very compelling article by Jorge Benitez and Jason Healey in The National Interest last week. Pulling no punches, it is titled Cybersecurity Pipe Dreams.

Here are my favorite lines: “There is a popular misconception that perfect cybersecurity is obtainable if you invest in sufficient defenses and practice reasonable access procedures. The cold, hard truth is that we live in an age where cyber-offensive capabilities are dominant.”

 

I appreciate and respect the authors for pulling no punches and stating the obvious.

 

My number two favorite line is, “For all the talk about cyber protection and the billions of dollars being spent ($3.2 billion in 2012 for the Pentagon alone) to improve defenses in the public and private sectors, your bank account PIN and the secrets in President Obama’s computer are both vulnerable.”

 

The United States Government, holder of top secret information and data, has had their pants pulled down so many times with data breaches that violate their own “standards,” which are outdated moments after their ink is dry (yes, still not paperless!), that they ought to just stop wearing pants. It would save time. It would not be pretty, but it would be cheaper.

 

When there is a fast moving, nimble, never before experienced, technology explosion like the internet, what better than a bloated lumbering elephant to be able to solve the problem? (Yes, when I have a virus I immediately look for a government toll free number for tech support.)

 

That was a JOKE. It is also a JOKE that the US Government thinks they can solve this issue by regulation and bully tactics. Take one part intellectually arrogant Inside-the-Beltway government agency, throw in a bureaucrat kissing his boss’s ass, add a few lawyers, top off with an asleep at the wheel Congress, and stir. There you have your recipe for disaster and a whole bunch of wasted tax dollars.

 

While they are trying to kill one fly at a time with swatters to scare all the other flies, the locusts are coming. PLEASE shut up and take care of your own house before they go attacking citizens and businesses in this country. Work WITH THE INDUSTRY AND THE PEOPLE, not against us.

 

Learn about technology outside of the FBI and NSA. We all know how well these agencies play with each other in the same sandbox. It does not paint a pretty picture. What do the Feds have to show for it? Are there laws passed yet? No. Are there standards yet to adhere to? No. Do the lawyers and agency heads have enough education to lead from a place of knowledge rather than power? No.

 

There have been more than a few instances where the government needs to ‘heal thyself,’ before they start playing one of their favorite games, which I call “Head on a Spike.” The Heritage Foundation shined a light on the government’s “problems at home” in an article titled FEDERAL CYBER WOES CONTINUE.

 

I wonder if these government branches will sign a consent decree agreeing to future audits from an outside third party that will cost them a fortune, misrepresent the truth, harm their reputation and solve nothing. Perhaps they will just admit that we are all in this together. Perhaps Nancy Pelosi will buy a summer home in Alabama. Well, probably not.

 

Unfortunately, hypocrisy is not covered in the Bill of Rights.

 

Make sure you read my previous post Another Day, Another Cyber Story

Michael Daugherty is President & CEO of LabMD, an Atlanta-based clinical and anatomic medical laboratory with a national client base. Mike founded LabMD in 1996 after 14 years in surgical device sales with U.S. Surgical Corp. and Mentor Corporation.

Outside of LabMD, enjoys playing tennis, travel, and flying his Cirrus SR22 Turbo single engine aircraft.

Mike can be found:

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02 Sep Another Day, Another Cyber Story….

 

Another day, another story of the cyber tail wagging the cyber dog (let’s call him Astro).

“Astro”

The cyber security threat to all portions of our society seems to be growing faster than Jack’s beanstalk on steroids…and the government knows it.  Why else would the head of the NSA and General Keith Alexander run to the Black Hat and DEFCON conventions a few weeks back making all nicey nicey, showing up out of uniform, and in blue jeans and a T-shirt no less?  Just by its very existence, the government is about control, and I would not be surprised if they know this sandstorm is gaining on them faster than they can run.

 

Of course, the Feds admit they don’t know it all?  That is a tough one for them to swallow. Hello, government investigators and lawyers, here is a hint: if you want to recruit hackers to your team, you may want to stop acting like investigators and lawyers. Hackers, well, they like rockin’ that boat, right? They don’t really like rules and order and restrictions. Not really a good fit for a government agency…. team play and pretending that you don’t smell a skunk being crucial skills to survive inside the Beltway. I guess they are just going to have to put on a training course before these new recruits will fit in.

 

In the meantime, it isn’t cool to have a stressed look on your face when in the enforcement business. Therefore, I was very intrigued to read in The IT Daily recently:FBI Surveillance Backdoor Might Open Door to Hackers

 

 

Basically, the FBI wants back doors encoded into Google, Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft, to name a few. They are afraid that they are going to get frozen out of communications when trying to rein in any threats to the country. (I will save my concern for the slim chance the Feds might abuse their powers for another blog, as there is such a slim chance of governmental abuse of power…yeah, right. Ahem.).

 

The problem as I see it is that the government is not usually voted the smartest guy in the room, so what happens if someone opens these back doors with a plan other than defending the USA? I get that we need security.  It is critical to every citizen in this country that we maintain our security and our privacy, but here we go again with the debate on the public sector or the private sector being better equipped to handle such sensitive tasks.  The government doesn’t build planes; they buy them from Boeing and Lockheed.  The government doesn’t build computers, they get them from Dell, Apple, and is Wang still around (just saw that antique in a government office last month)?

 

Oh, wait, now I get why the NSA head was at BLACK HAT and DEFCON! Smart guy that General Alexander. Why, I bet he thinks they need help! Now does anyone else in DC get that there actually are a few geniuses outside the Beltway? I hope so, boy oh boy do I hope so.

 

And please be nice to those of us outside the Beltway…I know this may be a stretch for you, but we are smarter than you think.

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Michael Daugherty is President & CEO of LabMD, an Atlanta-based clinical and anatomic medical laboratory with a national client base. Mike founded LabMD in 1996 after 14 years in surgical device sales with U.S. Surgical Corp. and Mentor Corporation.

Outside of LabMD, enjoys playing tennis, travel, and flying his Cirrus SR22 Turbo single engine aircraft.

Mike can be found:

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25 Aug Report from Pilot Camp!

Earlier this month I attended AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, which I like to refer to as Pilot Camp. This is the largest general aviation show in the world and it is a total blast!

I studied for my pilot’s license somewhat late in life, getting my ticket at the ripe old age of 50. It has been full steam ahead ever since.

There are so many great things about being a pilot. The freedom, of course, is great, but there are also many other perks. So many people from so many other professions are pilots, but to be one you have to have discipline and be a life long learner, so the other pilots are a plethora of diverse backgrounds, professions, and interests.

Everyone is under one roof in our love of flying…and we escape the daily grind. Once those wheels come off the ground, you have to control that bird, and as you see the ground grow farther and farther away, it is funny how your perspective changes. Your worries melt away and your brain kicks right into flying, even if it doesn’t want to. Seems like a pretty simple choice to make, doesn’t it?

Oshkosh is my love of flying on steroids. First of all I “rough it” in the dorm. No A/C, bus rides so no traffic jams, people from all over the world all in a good mood, and cheap meals across the street for $8-$12. What is not to love?

When I get to the field the toughest thing is what to do first. Usually I hit the vendors first to shop for deals on oil and headsets. Then I look at all the planes and jets and drool all over the new toys. The FAA always has great courses going on and the forums have endless courses from industry pros that’s bigger than one can imagine. All this makes a week seem like a very short time.

Usually the day flies by and before you know it you are reminded it is mid-afternoon as the blaring of the planes at the airshow grabs the attention. This year I sprang the $125 entrance fee for the Aviator’s Club tent. This is an air-conditioned tent with all you can eat breakfast, lunch, snacks, ice cream, drinks (non-alcoholic). When the skies opened up twice on Thursday, I knew I had gotten my money’s worth.

As I was sitting there having my late breakfast, I looked over at someone who looked important judging by the eight people surrounding him in rapt attention. I thought he was some guy on that home building cable show until I was told it was George Lucas. I was glad I didn’t go up and tell him how much I enjoyed his cable show. I prefer to leave the famous to their peace and quiet, until something happens that makes me break my rule.

When I returned later that afternoon for my lunch buffet (better known as making a pig of myself), I sat down at an empty table set for eight. A few seconds later, two men sat down with their Tuskegee Airmen shirts on. I thought, “Whoa, this is pretty cool.” I introduce myself and find out that they are from the Detroit chapter. I didn’t want to act starstruck or make them uncomfortable, but after a fun discussion about Detroit and sharing that my family is from there, they agreed to pose for a nice photo. Here is my pic of two of the Airmen with one of their caregivers.

Tuskegee Airmen at the Air Venture Show

Just goes to show you that pilots are from everywhere and do everything.

What a blast!

Michael Daugherty is President & CEO of LabMD, an Atlanta-based clinical and anatomic medical laboratory with a national client base. LabMD specializes in analysis and diagnosis of blood, urine, and tissue specimens for cancers, micro-organisms and tumor markers. Mike founded LabMD in 1996 after 14 years in surgical device sales with U.S. Surgical Corp. and Mentor Corporation.

Outside of LabMD, enjoys playing tennis, travel, and flying his Cirrus SR22 Turbo single engine aircraft. He is a member of the University of Michigan Alumni Association, the Atlanta Aero Club, and the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Mike holds a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and has resided in Atlanta since 1987, when he moved to Atlanta from Portland, Oregon.

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