Monday, February 26, 2001 - solutions - case studies - vpn - no internet access I'm reading up on VPNs and security in preparation for a presentation I'm giving in March at the Telecom Supply Chain conference in Scottsdale, AZ. This site describes an almost totally secure implementation. Unfortunately, to achieve this security, you need to remove all Internet access points. Not generally a feasible solution. A really good overview of VPN and security technology is a white paper by OpenReach. Very readable and simple enough for most folks to be able to follow.

Saturday, February 24, 2001

Secret Messages Come in .Wavs Steganography is the practice of hiding messages somewhat invisibly in other files, typically graphics files. By altering a small percentage of the bits in a file, bad guys can send messages to one another. Recently, it was reported that Big Baddie Osama bin Laden now uses steganographic applications to pass messages through sports chat rooms, sexually explicit bulletin boards and other sites. This is yet another reason why law enforcement is not going to be able to put the digital genie back in the bottle. Unfortunately, law enforcement will need to use good old fashioned investigative methods to catch the bad guys, because outlawing cryptography and even stenography just isn't going to work. Someone will always find a way around it, and, now that the Internet makes communicating this type of information relatively easy, every little script baby will have access to the latest bad guy tricks soon after they're invented. The answer, IMHO, is to change the world so criminals don't develop or at least limit the megalomaniac terrorists that are produced. That's probably impossible, but we won't know unless we try. How about better child care and social services? How about a decent living wage? How about help for developing countries, including services to help them get a long a little better? I guess that's idealistic, but it seems a whole lot more doable than using law enforcement to catch the crazies before they blow a hole in the side of the world. Or, we could put the oil company in charge of the environment, a Northwest airlines board member in charge of labor, and a Christian zealot in charge of enforcing the laws. Yeah, that could work.
Spam Oozes Past Border Patrol So finally Congress is getting around to dealing with the problem of Internet spam. But it's way too late, as a list of the most prolific 100 Usenet spam hosts reveals that 52 of them are now offshore. Sites in Russia, France, Greece and the Netherlands are among the worst foreign offenders. If you have Outlook, just set up a filter to ignore them. Other email programs have similar features. If you have AOL or any other provider that charges you for receiving email, my condolences. Regardless of mail provider and mail program, I don't know that there's going to be anything else any of us can do, even in the long run.

Friday, February 23, 2001

Interesting pair of articles on In this one, Richard Branson and the CEO of Orange, a UK wireless provider, say that content will rule wireless. In the other, ( Olav Ostin, UK managing director of global venture capital firm ETF Group, says half the 3G companies will be gone in a year, and the ones most at risk are the content providers. Makes you wonder who's going to turn out to be right. I think both will be. Content and services will be the driver of wireless, and lots of those folks will get it wrong and go quickly out of business. Also in the second article, there's an assertion that micropayments will be the thing for wireless. See my previous blog for my take on that.

Monday, February 19, 2001

Feature Driven Development I've been reading about Extreme Programming, and how one of my clients has built a project management methodology called Code Science(r) on top of it. It's difficult to understand how this can be better than traditional methods, although I can see how if would be faster.