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Showing posts from January, 2015

Getting a little closer creating a @CiscoNetAcad #PacketTracer solution for iPad ...

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While there is much yet to be accomplished. In teaching and technical terms, I am impressed to see the work accomplished to date by colleagues within KMI at the Open University. Having found the right programmers, the project is evolving, having a working early prototype embedded within an iBook using a JavaScript front end.

The affordances of a touch screen differ considerably from the typical desktop environment. Creating interfaces, adding devices, dragging/dropping are all different experiences. As well as the use of the CLI, but these are issues yet to be resolved.

Forgive the quality of some of the images, we had an iPad strapped to a large flatscreen. With colleagues giving a demo to senior representatives of the Cisco Academy programme.

It is still early days, however the idea has grown some legs.

Creating an Internet Alibi ...

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A term often used in crime novels and in the movies, an alibi is a claim; which may be evidence or a witness testimony that an accused individual was elsewhere when a criminal act took place. We have all experienced classics like … “It wasn’t me guv, I was down the pub with the lads when it ‘appened. You can ask ‘em.” The challenge for any investigation is proving that a suspect was at the scene of the crime. Beyond doubt, where an alibi, either valid or false serves to create reasonable doubt and may alter the outcome of an investigation. What about technological alibis? Forensic Science has moved on a couple of steps over the last ten years. While we cannot expect the CSI experience of the geek hacker guru finding the answer in a few short keystrokes. Digital Forensic experts will systematically explore all manner of systems for evidence. Your computer and smart phone often gives more away about you than you are aware. Therefore criminals are becoming equally savvy in creating false tra…

Creaking ship ...

An old ship of the line, creaking away is listing from side to side. Every so often news falls out of the former ranch that either saddens, amuses or concerns me. It would seem that following a nautical analogy, one hand is jumping ship and another is being keel hauled and may walk the plank.

Leaving only a couple of worthy hands, rudderless, captain ashore yet to embark. With the remaining officers clueless and the ratings in disarray. What else can happen to this old scow.

What really worries me, is that the existing hands and their passengers are suffering greater pressure. How many holes does this ship need to bear before something really sinks.

Still pleased that I left, but do feel for some still there.

From carjacking to carhacking: computerised vehicles are more vulnerable than ever ...

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By Andrew Smith, The Open University and Blaine Price, The Open University

Theft of vehicles is about as old as the notion of transport – from horse thieves to carjackers. No longer merely putting a brick through a window, vehicle thieves have continually adapted to new technology, as demonstrated by a new method to steal a car without the need to be anywhere near it.

Modern vehicles are built with a range of computerised systems that control and monitor security, fuel, engine management and more. Most new cars are fitted with Bluetooth connectivity and USB sockets, so it was only a matter of time before reports of criminals abusing these systems appeared.

The use of so-called Bad USB memory sticks to hijack systems has been reported, but the most recent issue involves a port fitted in virtually every car on the road today, the 30-year-old On-Board Diagnostic port (OBD-II). So put away that coat hanger – car theft has got a lot more technological.
Fleet attacks At the recent S4 secur…

Doing a Twitter Q+A with @FutureLearn @arosha and @doctorow ....

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Always up for new experiences, new ideas and a different way of reaching out. Today culminated in an interesting experience, involving a Q+A session via twitter.
To put it in perspective, I need to state that I was the side show. With +Arosha Bandara and Cory Doctorow being the prime protagonists. Nevertheless, with three 'experts', support from the team at +FutureLearn it was a busy hour fielding five questions and dealing with a visual deluge of tweets, replies, retweets, favourites and hashtags.
Having set myself up with hootsuite, tweetdeck and another twitter client. I could watch the interaction take place. Once the first question built up a little momentum, the time quickly passed. To be honest, one soul cannot see all conversations. Using one column for hashtags, another for mentions, I could see that some souls followed the rules using the tag. Others replied directly to oneself or one of the other accounts I had access to.
With Cory and Arosha in the fray; I am sure…

Academia understanding the customer supplier relationship ...

Earlier (this week) I had a very interesting email from a 'supplier' the kind that makes you think if they understand how the relationship with a customer actually works. Copied to their line manager, with a 'I will let you form your own opinion' it was interesting to see how quickly they reacted to their subordinates indiscretion.

Around the same time frame, we get an informed insight from one of our customers into some (sadly repeated) issues with another supplier. It will result in an unannounced visit, when/where to be determined.

So, the moral, if there is one. Over the years I have been left somewhat amused at the way academic establishments operate. We are in 'interesting times', for considerably longer than you have realised. When extra income comes your way, try and keep in mind that we can easily go to others. For the two organisations in question. I have already considered alternates. I keep a map in my office, showing the location of 'academic …

Moving forward with different aspects of 'teaching by twitter' ...

It is a case of watch this space ... having had some interesting conversation with souls in the MOOC world where one is linking the idea of teaching by twitter as an extension of a current popular Cybersecurity MOOC experience.

I am sure you may guess which MOOC this is; so for those who follow me a pretty please request. Could you start following @OUCyberSec my colleague Arosha and I are working on tying in social media interaction (and education) with the general synchronicity of the teaching within the MOOC.


The persistent internet hoax endures, now on Facebook ...

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By Andrew Smith, The Open University

With somewhere in the region of 1.3 billion users, Facebook is the largest ever internet social engagement phenomenon. With so many people interconnected through the site, information can speedily propagate around the world – without any clear indication whether it is correct – and this has given new life to the phenomenon of the internet hoax.

Once hoaxes arrived as urgent steps to carry out to remove viruses that didn’t exist from your computer, or warnings about waking up in a bath of ice with no kidneys. On Facebook, one of the most frequently repeated is of the supposed power of making a declaration of rights over the user’s own content to prevent Facebook from using it for financial gain. For the record, declaring that under various (non existent) conventions that Facebook has no right to use your data is wholly meaningless.
Here we have the dilemma of using a service provided for free by Facebook, yet we are all keen to protect our privacy.…

Ebb and Flow ...

Once accused of being a 'lifelong learner' I have to accept that the moniker does fit in with many of my pursuits. Today I have been watching with interest the ebb and flow of one of my 'the conversation' articles.

Taking its own sweet time to evolve, it has just been picked up by one of my now seemingly regular syndicators. With the expected surge in readers. It would seem that timing is everything and time of week makes a significant difference. I have not formed a truly scientific view of when the magic moment is, actually I doubt there is one. But, it is clear that there are better times to present a story.


Its free yet we get so upset about privacy ...

Facebook as well as many social media platforms offer us a free way of staying in touch with others, promote our ideals (good or bad), share ideas and do what we apes do best ... communicate.

So, how much do you actually pay for social media.

Last time I looked, apart from a resource I use for my research, the answer is nothing. Social media in a fiscal sense is free. You pay sweet flip all, a round total of nothing. So long as you avoid buying 'stuff' on some of the social media monetised games. You can have a world at your finger tips for ... yep, free.

Having seen the rise of these platforms since 06, they have changed the way we engage with each other (en masse). Sometimes its great, sometimes not so good.

Yet, the majority of us who 'like' social media seem unable to recognise that if they are offering this service for free. It is a deal, you use their platform, they sell your 'online id'. Careful at what I put on social media, I tend to take the view tha…

My 'Bot' is twitching ...

Having worked, played and studied geekery for far too many years, I am a firm believer in technology coming to me rather than spending inordinate amounts of time trawling the world for information.

I have noticed over the last couple of weeks that a page for a local further educational college on a well known inspectorate quango is twitching. This seems to be a precursor to each report being published, as they make sure all the supporting details are accurate.

Considering the timing and the not too public (but already known) news that they did not do very well. I look forward (not in the positive context) to reading this report with a tinge of pathos.

Keep an eye on this page, I am sure something will appear soon.

Highlights and lowlights of 2014, a golden year for cybercrime from @ConversationUK

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Looking back, 2014 was not a good year for keeping things safe under digital lock and key. If a score was being kept, it might seem that the cybercriminals are in the lead, despite the valiant efforts – and own goals – from the cybersecurity profession worldwide.

Cast your mind back to March, everyone was panicking about the HeartBleed bug. Based on an error in code upon which the majority of the world’s secure servers relied, experts had plenty of time to fix the issue. Sadly there was an array of conflicting information about changing passwords, leading to widespread confusion. While most IT administrators made sure this was managed in a professional manner, it created a stir that seemed to set the tone for the year.

In May, online auction giant Ebay admitted to having been compromised. The site said its systems, with personal details of tens of millions of users, may have had been vulnerable for months. Everyone was advised, indeed forced, to change their password.

In the same mon…