Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

What Every IT Professional Should Know About 802.11n

CWdot11nPostAre you one of the thousands of people who already read, “What every IT professional needs to know about 802.11n”?  If so, thanks for reading!   

Please feel free to comment, either here at WiFiJedi.com or on the actual Computerworld post.   

I also recently found out that someone submitted the story to Reddit.com (thank you to “Geek” for picking up the story).  

I have to admit that I am still learning about the social bookmarking sites such as Digg, Reddit, and Delicious.  However, I always appreciate the additional exposure, so please consider adding any of my stories that you think are worthy.  I also love the comments that come back from getting listed on a social bookmark system.  They help me focus on what’s most helpful for you, the reader.  

Stay tuned to my Computerworld blog (http://blogs.computerworld.com) for Part 2 of this series, in which I will discuss some of the main deployment considerations for 802.11n WLANs.  NOTE: I am attending INTEROP this week, so it probably won’t appear until sometime next week. 

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My Customized Twitter Background

 

As many of you know, I have started an account on Twitter under the user name “wifijedi”.

No, I wasn’t influenced to join by Oprah, or the Ashton Kutcher vs. CNN competition.

I see it mostly as a micro-blogging tool and enjoy sending out shorter, yet more frequent updates.

Recently, my Twitter profile page got a makeover. Thanks to friend and co-worker John Merrill, I now have a customized background.

My background serves as a central repository for WiFi Jedi branded content including my blog, my Computerworld blog, my LinkedIn profile, and my lens on Squidoo.

You can check out my new background at http://www.twitter.com/wifijedi

Price of Wireless IDS/IPS

I realize that it has been almost a week since I posted new content on WiFiJedi.com  – don’t despair!   Over the last week, I wrote two guest posts for other notable blogs.  

Last Wednesday, I made another post to my Computerworld blog (“Cautiously Cutting the Cord”) entitled “RSA Inspired Thoughts on Wireless Security”.  The post spoke about different Wireless Intrusion Detection System (WIDS) designs.  I just started blogging for Computerworld last month and that is my third post – please visit those posts, Digg them (if you think they are worthy), and comment – I love the conversations generated by comments! 

Last Thursday, I wrote a blog post on CWNP.com addressing pricing concerns of 802.11n networks.  The article had sections outlining the costs and benefits of 802.11n networks.  It even had a section titled “WWWBD? (What Would Warren Buffett Do?).  

I was actually going to summarize these posts on WiFiJedi.com over the weekend, but I ran into a technical difficulty. I originally typed out this post using the WordPress application for my iPhone while on a flight from Phoenix to Seattle. Since I was on a flight, I had to save it in the “local drafts” folder of the iPhone app.  However, when I went back to publish the post, the information wasn’t there! I Googled the issue, and found out that this was a known (and fairly common) issue with the iPhone application for WordPress.  The recommended “fix” was to uninstall and reinstall the application. While this method didn’t allow me to recover the data I had already drafted, it did seem to remedy the issue.  Just to be sure, I wrote a test post, saved it to the local drafts, and came back later and pushed it to the WordPress website.

Lastly, if you can’t get enough discussion of RSA, WIDS/WIPS, and Pricing, you can check out Joanie Wexler’s Network World article on “How intrusion prevention costs compare”.  Happy reading!

Copycat Twitter Worm?

I originally wrote this piece as a guest post for An Information Security Place. However, I wanted to re-post at WiFiJedi.com FRIDAY 4/17 Update: Apparently the behavior described below is tied to a buggy Pidgin plugin. I haven’t been able to confirm that 100%, but thought I should deliver the latest & greatest…

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As most of you know, Twitter was hit with a series of worms this past weekend. They were created by 17 year old, Mikey Mooney, creator of the website StalkDaily.com (don’t visit the site). The original worm seemed fairly innocuous, with messages that were created to drive traffic to the StalkDaily website.

I wrote a Computerworld blog post, where I detailed the original attack as well as provided a list of security recommendations. In that post, I commented that Twitter users should be on the lookout for modified worms, especially as additional details of the original attack come to light.

After Twitter patched the original cross site scripting (XSS) flaw, which exploited the “link” field in a user profile, another variant of the worm appeared. This time, the worm exploited the “color” setting of the user profile. Modifying the worm highlighted that the XSS vulnerability was not limited to a single field and that Twitter would have to institute a comprehensive patch, not a band-aid solution.

The variant of the worm automatically generated tweets with the term “mikeyy”. These were sarcasitic in nature and seemed to be tounge-in-cheek. Examples include:

  • Mikeyy I am done…
  • Mikeyy is done…
  • Twitter please fix this, regards Mikeyy

The general consensus today is that the “StalkDaily” and “Mikeyy” worms have been adequately addressed. However, I am not fully convinced. Four days after the original worm, I am still seeing suspicious behavior. A colleague of mine has a Twitter account that automatically started generating tweets saying “I am not here right now.”

Using a third party iPhone application, TweetStack, I am conducting periodic searches on the string “I am not here right now.” I found that this is not nearly as wide spread as the “StalkDaily” Twitter worm, but has affected at least a couple dozen accounts.

While this could be yet another variant of worm created by Mikey Mooney, my suspicion is that this is a copycat worm created by another party (most likely a Scriptkiddie).

Are YOU still seeing anomalous behavior on Twitter? I would love to hear about it! Please comment below as well as notify the Internet Storm Center if you see anything noteworthy.

Stephen Northcutt Interview

I am very excited to announce that I was recently invited to blog for Computerworld!  My blog is titled “Cautiously Cutting the Cord”.  In my first post, I spoke with Stephen Northcutt (CEO of the SANS Institute). We spoke about wireless networking & security, social media, and other topics.  While I posted the wireless portion of the interview at Computerworld, the rest of the interview follows:


DH: Another topic that I know we are both interested in is Social Media. I want to know your thoughts on where social media is headed, what the security risks are, and how you plan to either use or not use social media to expand and protect your brand with SANS.

SN: My first observation with regards to social media is that we may go through some transitions, but on the longer haul it’s going to definitely be a change in the way we think, the way we work, and the way we process information. Just this morning, I was watching a video of some research that they’ve done where you wear a camera and projector around your neck and when you run into information, the system helps you process it in context. So if you run into another person, the system might display word tags about the other person on their chest to help guide your conversation. Another example of that system is if you’re going to the airport you might just hold your ticket in front of the camera and it will begin to give you information about your flight status and gate and that sort of thing. So these things have very bona fide, obvious uses.  


DH: What about the security risks of social media?

SN: Well, the biggest security risk for social media is the OPSEC (operational security) kind of stuff.  We are going to be giving out more information about ourselves than ever before.  Bad people will use that to craft attacks against us pretending to be someone else or pretending to give us some sort of opportunity. But we will get through this – we will be wise.  Speaking only for myself, I’m not terribly worried about someone being able to fool me by the information that’s out on social media in the same way that I can look at in an inbox, and if the subject line is fishy, I can usually tell without opening the message. I see the subject line and I know that it’s not for me.


DH: Do you think that social media and its threat will legitimize the need for more security awareness training?

SN: I certainly hope so.  One of the experiments that we are trying on Twitter with SANS is to tweet a security tip of the day, every single day.  If we are fortunate enough that this works and people follow us, then more and more people will be exposed to these tips.  Furthermore, if security people encourage others to follow us, then we are reaching the right audience, which is a really cool thing.  The investment is so low. With 140 characters, how much time does it take to read? I guess 4 or 5 seconds.  You can read a tweet in almost no time. 


DH: How do you see social media as an opportunity to expand your brand?  How do you see social media as a potential threat to your intellectual property or your brand?

SN: Well I don’t see social media as a threat to our intellectual property. We sort of have a fixed problem of people trying to steal our intellectual property, with a fixed solution (the legal system) and I don’t think social media changes that. In terms of a threat to our brand, obviously if anyone that we would view as a competitor does a better job of using social media –  get more followers or get more press – then obviously that could take some shine off our brand. On the positive side of things, with LinkedIn, I’m approaching 600 connections at this point and they’re all business. Wherever those people go, they remain linked to me unless they choose not to. I’m not linked to Stephen Northcutt, I’m linked to SANS Institute so I’m building connections for the business.  There’s a guy who has already written an application already that ties Twitter to Salesforce and so there is some serious opportunities to leverage the technology if we can believe in it.  My one concern is that if too many people from SANS go chasing  too much social media it will dilute the brand message and also churn up some time that could’ve been spent doing other things. So while I do get on Twitter, I am a bad Twitterer. I’m on there once every three or four days because I know there is a SANS Institute account and I know they’re going to do something every day, and I don’t feel the pressure.


DH: The Internet Storm Center also has a Twitter account that they update a few times a day with different threats as well. 

SN: That’s great! I didn’t even know that – I try to follow them.


DH: That’s really all I wanted to cover but I figured you are gracious enough to talk to me about two things I am passionate about, was there anything you wanted to communicate, either about your organization or something that you think needs more coverage?

SN: I think that we have two exciting opportunities right now as a community. Neither one of these are SANS specific and I want to be VERY clear about that. The NSA blue team has wanted to put their methodology into the hands of the public for some time (maybe not all the secret sauce you understand) but to try to begin to turn around the absolute devastation that American corporations and US government are facing under the persistent technical threat of other countries infiltrating our information for their purposes. The project is called the Consensus Audit Guidelines.  SANS does host them, there found at http://www.sans.org/cag but they’re not ours and we’re not claiming they are ours.  We’re not the sole arbiters of them.  The person in charge of the project is the former CIO of the Air Force, John Gilmore -somebody who is definitely his own man. We’re just excited that we get to participate and make suggestions.  I would love to see more attention to the CAG, more of the community contributing to the CAG effort of people trying to implement some of the controls in their organization and then reaching back into the community with their experiences.  I think this is potentially one of the most important things we are doing.

SN: The other is that the government is about to announce a scholarship program for younger people that show talent in science and technology area, who have an interest in information security. Apparently something along those lines has been happening in China, and is a big part of how the Chinese developed their ability to extract information from both the US and other part of the world assets.  They found a few good hackers who were willing to train others and so forth.  We’re less interested in the United States in hacking, but we certainly do need to be interested in configuring well, and so I’m hoping this program is a success. You know, the government starts many, many, many programs (and not all of them succeed), but I hope this one succeeds. I hope that SANS can have some part in that success.  Additionally, I hope that anyone who ever hears this recording or reads the transcript will be interested in doing what they can to mentor some promising young person.  For one thing, some of these folks who have an interest in security are going to end up in organized crime or hacking, and so trying to give them an chance to do something exciting and challenging as well as being part of the community is too important of an opportunity to pass up.

 

Do You Squidoo?

squidoo-logoI recently created a web page (called a “lens”) on Squidoo.  Squidoo allows people to create a lens on what they are passionate about.  Therefore, my Squidoo lens is on Wireless Networking & Security!

Squidoo was a site that was, in-part, created by Seth Godin (the author).  I also have Seth’s Blog in my blogroll on the left-hand side of WiFiJedi.com 

I don’t want to spoil the actual content, but I will give you a few clues as to what’s on my lens – text modules, YouTube videos, ties to Twitter streams, links to some of my favorite books on Amazon, etc.  Go see for yourself!  

You can check out my Squidoo lens at http://www.squidoo.com/wifijedi

 

Don’t forget to find my other cross-linked content: 

My LinkedIn profile – http://www.linkedin.com/douglashaider

My Twitter stream – http://www.twitter.com/wifijedi

Insider’s Guide to a SANS Conference – Setup

This is the first blog post in a series, “Insider’s Guide to a SANS Conference”. It corresponds to my attendance at the SANS Phoenix Conference March 23-30, 2009.

As a disclaimer, this “Insider’s Guide” will not provide you confidential information.

Also, you should know that I am “nobody special” within the organization. This is the third conference I have attended, all through their work-study (volunteer) program. I have Mentored the wireless course and taught a wireless Stay Sharp course in Dallas a couple years ago, but that’s it.

The series is meant to be detailed description of my participation and to hopefully encourage others to attend. (I am a big fan!)  I am taking the “Security Leadership Essentials for Managers” course, which is being taught by Stephen Northcutt – the CEO of SANS.  

I am also “micro-blogging” about the conference via Twitter. You can find my updates with the hashtag #SANS_PHXbetter yet, you can “follow me” on Twitter @wifijedi to see all the updates in your own time line!

Today the conference organizers & volunteers set up the conference. Since this is a smaller, regional conference, there are only 5 volunteers (one for each course they are running). Setting up consisted of the following activities:

  • Preparing name badges 
  • Preparing registration folders 
  • Recieving and sorting courseware (books)
  • Stuffing totes with courseware and other inserts 
  • Sorting conference shirt by size 
  • Placing signage throughout facility directing attendees to registration, classrooms, internet cafe, etc.  
  • Setting up registration station 
  • Preparing course evaluation forms & folders 
  • A briefing regarding volunteer duties & expectations
  • Etc. 

I am looking forward to seeing all the attendees at the registration booth from 7:00 – 9:00 AM tomorrow morning!  

Related Posts: 


Check out my updated sidebar!

There are a couple new features to my blog’s sidebar.   Go ahead.  Look left.   You’ll see them there.   🙂  

The first is the following row of graphics: 

[Slashdot][Digg][Reddit][del.icio.us][Facebook][Technorati][Google][StumbleUpon]

These are meant to make it easy to share WiFiJedi.com with your friends & family (and complete strangers). Included are links to SlashDot, Digg, Reddit, Del.icio.us, Facebook, Technorati, and StumbleUpon.   I really appreciate any votes of confidence that you submit to these websites! 

Just beneath that set of graphics, you will see an expanded set of links, which now includes my BlogRoll.  For those that are fairly new to blogs & blogging, a blog roll is simply a list of my favorite blogs.  Feel free to suggest other blogs (particularily those about wireless networking & security) within the comments section of this post!  

Lastly, I wanted to let you know that I really getting more involved with Twitter.  This seems to be a great micro-blogging and communication tool where I have barely scratched the surface.  You can “follow me” @wifijedi

Can IT Vendors be Objective?

Here is another guest post that I wrote for An Information Security Place.   This is something that I am worked up about, so I am re-publishing it here to maximize the audience.  🙂  
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Can IT Vendors truly be objective?  Or does everything they say have to be viewed through a lens of “they are trying to sell me something”?  

 

Join me while I rant… 

Personally, I think IT vendors can be objective.  

Sure, we manufacture and sell things…

*Gasp* – We even profit from selling.  

But that doesn’t mean we can’t be objective.  

i.e. – I try to provide solid vendor-neutral information to the wireless community through my blog, http://wifijeidi.com.  

(In fact, only 2 of the nearly 40 blog posts I have completed to-date have been about my employer, Xirrus.)

However, not everyone sees it that way.  


Let me give you an example…  

I requested press access to an industry event as a blogger.  

However, I was told that I can’t get a pass of this nature because I work for a vendor.  

Furthermore, I was told that bloggers of major publications (ComputerWorld, Network World, ZDNet, etc.) would qualify.  

So I went out seeking a spot with one of these publications as one of their bloggers.  

(I even had a solid lead directly to an editor with a reference from another well know blogger at one of these publications.)

However, I was turned down again.   Because I work for a vendor.

 

My “commentary”…

Presumably, working for a vendor means that I can’t be objective.  Which I personally think is %^&$*&

Let’s take a look at some profiles of bloggers who have been picked up by these publications.  I would like to take a closer look at two common blogger profiles: Value Added Resellers (VARs) and Independent Consultants.

I have noticed that if you work for a VAR, you can blog for major publications.  Correct me if I am wrong – as a VAR, don’t you sell some vendor’s equipment, but not others?  It would seem to me, in that position, it is possible to have nuances or conflicting agendas.  At least working for a manufacturer, you know where my “official” loyalties are

Other common profile for bloggers on these publications is that of an “independent” consultant.   I would think a large portion of their livelihood depends on their ability to provide consulting services.  If that’s the case, don’t you think they would blog about things that (at least indirectly) drive their own business?  After all, their financial success is directly tied to the success of a single person – themselves.   Working for a manufacturer (or any large organization) mitigates this factor because my financial situation is determined by the success of the group, and not by what I do or say to drive my own consulting business.  

This isn’t intended as an attack on publications or their bloggers, just an honest discussion of how they can be objective, but somehow it is perceived that I can’t.  What about my credentials?!?

Besides working for a vendor (for several months), I have also worked as a consultant and auditor (for many years).  I hold over a dozen IT certifications, ALL of which are vendor-neutral.  On my LinkedIn profile, I have the coveted “500+ connections”, many of who are employed by my competition – Aruba, Meru, Motorola, etc.  I started my blog to serve as a thought leader and I am a frequent speaker at industry events, professional organization meetings, and universities. 

If you know someone at an IT publication that is willing to have me as a wireless networking and security blogger, have them contact me at douglas.haider@xirrus.com  

Wait, I had better not use my corporate email address.  That might signal I can’t be objective.  🙂  

Instead, have them contact me at douglashaider@hotmail.com

An Information Security Place

If you are wondering why I didn’t post yesterday, it is because I served as a guest author on another blog, An Information Security Place.  This blog was created by a friend and former colleague of mine, Michael Farnum.  It is *really* popular – you should check it out!  How popular do you ask?   Well, if you type “an information security place” into the main page of Google, you will get approx. 25 million results.  That is pretty impressive, considering the terms “802.11n” and “WiFi hotspots” only return approx. 12 million results combined.

My post yesterday was titled Factors Determing Installed WLAN Quality, and came out of a phone conversation that I had with Veriwave’s CTO and VP of Marketing earlier in the week. We spoke about the focus on wireless coverage and low interference when field testing WLANs.  At a high level, we all agreed there were many other factors to consider, shown in the chart below:

Factors Determining Installed WLAN Quality

Factors Determining Installed WLAN Quality

Check out the post at An Information Security Place.   Happy Reading!

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