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Richard Forno

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The farce of federal cybersecurity

Over the past several years, various Washington entities, from the General Accounting Office to assorted Congressional committees, conducted surveys and issued reports on the state of the federal government's information security posture. In each case, with few exceptions, the findings range from the scathing to the downright …
Richard Forno, 22 Mar 2004
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Anti-virus industry: white knight or black hat?

Opinion One has to wonder whether the anti-virus industry sleeps well at night. On one hand, it purports to serve the world by defending our computers and networks from any number of electronic critters and malicious code. On the other hand, sometimes its "cure" is worse than the problem its products allegedly treat. Add to that the …
Richard Forno, 16 Feb 2004
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Windows-style security hell stalks Mac OS X? Yeah, you wish…

Since Apple released Mac OS X, even the PC industry trade publications have raved about its quality, design, and features.  PC Magazine even gave Mac OS X "Panther" a 5-star rating in October 2003. Perhaps it was because Macs could now seamlessly fit into the Windows- dominated marketplace and satisfy Mac users refusing to …
Richard Forno, 16 Dec 2003
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Microsoft's New Security Mojo

Opinion Recently, Microsoft announced a program to offer rewards in exchange for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who exploit its flagship Windows product through viruses, worms, and other forms of malicious code. Yet, despite the software giant's own executives saying publicly over a year ago that their …
Richard Forno, 13 Nov 2003
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Spinning SiteFinder: FUD, brought to you by VeriSign

After significant public and regulatory opposition, and in danger of being found in breach of its government agreement to operate the Internet Shared Registry, VeriSign removed its controversial SiteFinder "service" this past weekend after receiving a direct request from its oversight body, the Internet Corporation for Assigned …
Richard Forno, 07 Oct 2003
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High-Tech Heroin

Opinion Dostoevsky once wrote that "in the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, 'Make us your slaves, but feed us.'" His prophecy is relevant when examining the modern Information Age -- a dark, corporate-controlled society predicted by such artistic legends as Bruce Sterling, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, and …
Richard Forno, 15 Sep 2003
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Forget California, it's time to recall Microsoft

Opinion A sign on a Trenton, NJ railroad bridge says "Trenton Makes, The World Takes."  In light of recent history, a sign at Sea-Tac airport should probably read "Microsoft Makes, The World Quakes." For the second time this year, Microsoft is the source of a major internet security event. First was Slammer/Sapphire in January that …
Richard Forno, 21 Aug 2003
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Overcoming ‘Security By Good Intentions’

Opinion Last week Microsoft announced plans to revise the process it uses to provide patches that fix problems with its software. While IT executives around the world may be swooning in gratitude at this latest demonstration of 'Trustworthy Computing' in action, those in the real world of IT, such as system administrators, network …
Richard Forno, 09 Jun 2003
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The Curmudgeon's Crystal Ball: security predictions for 2003

SecurityFocus logo Opinion For better or for worse, 2003 will be an exciting year for information assurance professionals and for the Internet in general, particularly on the policy and technical fronts. As always, the phrase "never a dull moment" will apply to us involved in the security field, which will hopefully mean that …
Richard Forno, 19 Jan 2003
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America's National Cybersecurity Strategy

Yesterday the White House released its long-awaited "National Strategy To Secure Cyberspace." This high-level blueprint document (black/white or color), in-development for over a year by Richard Clarke's Cybersecurity team, is the latest US government plan to address the many issues associated with the Information Age. The …
Richard Forno, 01 Oct 2002
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An open letter to the CIO

Dear esteemed corporate leader: By the time you read this, our summer vacations will be winding down, the long days of summer will rapidly recede into memory, and, for those of us slaving away in the corporate trenches, work will begin to pick up again. Given that summer may be a time for forgetting the drudgery of work ( …
Richard Forno, 23 Aug 2002
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Hollywood's private war for social control

A July 25 letter sent to Attorney General John Ashcroft by 19 American legislators asked him to devote more Justice Department resources in the fight against peer-to-peer networks and users swapping digital media without permission. Forget the fact that the FBI is neck-deep in an internal crisis of confidence and competence, …
Richard Forno, 13 Aug 2002
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MS to micro-manage your computer

A recent MSNBC article by techno-pundit Steven Levy discusses Microsoft's plans for a new computer operating environment (code-named "Palladium") that links hardware, software, and data into a neat package, allegedly more secure and convenient for users. Or, putting it in simpler terms, it's Microsoft's answer to fixing …
Richard Forno, 24 Jun 2002
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Operation Enduring Valenti

The United States is engaged in a war against oppressive regimes run by ignorant fanatics barely able to comprehend the intricacies of modern society. Through actions favoring the ruling class, secret midnight deals, and restricting public distribution of information, citizens in these societies are unable to evolve and live …
Richard Forno, 27 Mar 2002
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MS security memo a mere gesture

Opinion By now, you've seen the news articles. Microsoft Founder and Chairman Bill Gates announced that security would have the 'highest priority' in MS products and that security is now 'more important' than any other part of the company's work. This is Microsoft's latest public attempt to address security concerns with its products …
Richard Forno, 17 Jan 2002
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Who needs hackers when we've got MS?

By now, people know that I'm not the world's greatest Microsoft fan. Truth be told, I'm not completely biased against the company, and will even acknowledge that it has, at various points, produced some decent products. I also don't 'bash' Microsoft because it's the 'in' thing to do these days, but because there are serious …
Richard Forno, 03 Jan 2002
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White House CyberSecurity ignores bad (MS) software

Diane Frank's December 5 article Bills Aim at Cyber R&D in Federal Computer Week reports that the Cyber Security Research and Development Act, introduced by US Representative Sherwood Boehlert (Republican, New York), seeks to provide nearly half a billion dollars in funding for research and education of information security …
Richard Forno, 14 Dec 2001
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MS ‘Security Framework’ is another .NET vulnerability

In late October 2001, Microsoft's Security Manager Scott Culp published a missive calling for 'responsible disclosure' of security vulnerability information on the Internet, claiming it was because of the public availability of such information that major Internet security problems or cyber-terrorist events could occur. His …
Richard Forno, 14 Nov 2001