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MY TAKE: How I came to cover two great ‘beats’ in my journalism career

By Byron V. Acohido

I’ve had the great good fortune to spend most of my career as a “beat reporter” covering two astounding beats.

The articles you see here on LastWatchdog are the work of my second great beat, which I’ve been immersed in since approximately 2004: cybersecurity. Or to put a finer point on it, I live and breathe developments having to do with the for-profit leveraging of the Internet, by both good guys and bad guys.

A journalist couldn’t ask for a richer topic. Cybersecurity affects how we live, work and play. Cybersecurity, at this moment, underpins the profound shifts in culture, economics, politics and national security we are all experiencing.

Related: Univerisity of San Diego lists LastWatchdog as top cybersecurity blog for 2017

Related: VPNMentor includes LastWatchog as Top 20 security blog

I’ve won my fair share of recognition for my work as a journalist. This can be attributed mainly to practicing the craft professionally since 1977, and being blessed to work alongside iconic mentors and inspiring colleagues. I reached the pinnacle of my profession covering my first great beat, aviation safety, for the Seattle Times. I was awarded the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting for my coverage of a deadly design flaw incorporated into the rudder actuator of Boeing 737 jetliners.

That said, two recent acknowledgements of the work I’m doing here at The LastWatchdog on Privacy & Security are top of mind at this moment. I’d like to thank the University of San Diego for naming LW as one of the top cybersecurity blogs of 2017. And my gratitude also goes out to  vpnmentor.com for placing LW on its list of Top 20 online security blogs of 2017. …more

MY TAKE: The way forward, despite overwhelming cyber threats

By Byron V. Acohido

NEW YORK CITY – Cyber Connect 2017 cybersecurity summit that just wrapped up at the beautiful Grand Hyatt located adjacent to Grand Central Station here in the Big Apple. I got the chance to be on the other side of the interview, sitting down with John Furrier and David Vellante, co-hosts of The Cube. We did it live; here’s the recorded stream.

Q&A: How the ‘PKI ecosystem’ could be the answer to securing the Internet of Things

By Byron V. Acohido

Google is making a big push to compel website publishers to jettison HTTP and adopt HTTPS Transport Layer Security (TLS) as a de facto standard, and it’s expanding use of this important encryption technology.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and its successor, Transport Layer Security (TLS), are the underpinnings of secure online transactions. They come into play in the form of digital certificates issued by Certificate Authorities (CAs) —  vendors that diligently verify the authenticity of websites, and then also help the website owners encrypt the information consumers type into web page forms.

This robust protection gets implemented by leveraging an encryption and authentication framework called the public key infrastructure (PKI.) This all happens in the blink of an eye when you visit …more

Q&A: Cisco privacy chief Dennedy says good privacy practices can improve bottom line

By Byron V. Acohido

When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg infamously declared that privacy “is no longer a social norm” in 2010, he was merely parroting a corporate imperative that Google had long since established.

That same year, then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt publicly admitted that Google’s privacy policy was to “get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.” Indeed, the privacy of any consumer who spends any time on the Internet is owned several times over by the likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Twitter, LinkedIn and other media companies and cloud service providers.

Canada and Europe require corporations to give individuals the clear choice to “opt in” to any services that collect behavioral data useful for profiling an individual. But in …more

MY TAKE: How Russia’s election meddling relates to industrial control hacks

By Byron  V. Acohido

While America’s attention has been  riveted on stunning disclosures of how Russia meddled in the U.S. presidential elections, the significance of a parallel, equally important development, may have gotten lost. Don’t look now folks, but the world’s superpowers are steadily marshaling forces to engage in an all-out cyber war.

History may yet prove that Russia’s manipulation of elections in America and elsewhere is, in fact, connected to the steady escalation of attacks on industrial control systems. And it’s not just Russia. Evidence has surfaced that China, USA, Israel and North Korea have also been maneuvering to take full advantage of the profoundly vulnerable state of so-called “OT” systems.

Quick context here: Gartner a few years ago coined the buzzphrase “operational technology,…more

GUEST ESSAY: A call to reinvent security by following the ‘Three Ways of DevOps’

By Jeff Williams

How do you know that your bank’s software is secure? Your airline? Your government?

The average application has 26.7 serious vulnerabilities, 82% of breaches in financial organizations are due to applications, and the average breach costs $4 million. With roughly 20 million developers worldwide, we’re producing vulnerable code faster than ever before.

Other industries have wrestled with similar pervasive problems and made progress. Automobiles are safer, food is more nutritious and so on. DevOps has shown dramatic benefits for other aspects of software development: 5x lower change failure rate, 96x faster mean time to restore service, and 2x more likely to exceed business goals. Perhaps the secret to effective security can be found in DevOps too.

Related podcast: What is DevOps and …more

PODCAST: How ‘Identity Access Management’ – IAM – authenticates network connections

By Byron V. Acohido

From the start of this 21st century companies continually scrambled to embrace ever more complex digital systems. Business networks connect an astounding variety of devices than to a vast array of tools and services residing on company premises and in the Internet cloud.

An amazing cascade of logons and digital handshakes routinely takes place to enable convenient digital commerce as we’ve come to know it. The problem is, from a privacy and security standpoint, not nearly enough attention has been paid to assuring the authenticity of each and every connection.

That’s where their identity and access management, so-called IAM, systems come into play. I recently spoke with Jeff Bohren, senior solutions architect at Optimal IdM, a prominent vendor in the IAM space. …more