From the Editor

Higginsville

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“It is not that we are old,

we are just not young anymore.”

The words are not mine, and I am afraid I may not have quoted them correctly.  I heard them, on the original Magnum P.I., spoken by Tom Selleck’s character, and thought about how true they rang.

Magnum P.I., the original series, has become our 2020 diversion.  For unknown reasons, I did not watch the show when it was originally on; for which I am now most thankful, as I have enjoyed this bit of escapism.

In case you are unfamiliar with the premise, of the show, it is about four friends, who live in Hawaii, and I think live out every make-believe fantasy of adolescent boys, from the last century.  By the way, that is not a criticism.  None of them appear to take life too seriously, though they always come through for each other, and any other character, which seems to have a need.

The principle character and two of his friends are about twenty years younger than me right now, when this line was delivered.  The words instantly spoke to me; so much so I got off of my treadmill to write them down.

Perhaps, I should feel older than I do; but lately what I feel is just “not young”.

These days, everything feels so heavy, and completely opposite of carefree.  So many serious issues are at play, in my world; not just things which directly impact me, but also the people I love.

One of the problems with not feeling young anymore is that you feel that you must be so much more responsible all of the time, than you might like. You cannot look at news and brush off stories, which make you sad or upset; you must calculate what they mean and how they might impact your life, and that of people you love.

Yes, aches and pains have caught up with me, there are too many names being scratched out of my phone book, because people have passed away, and my “to do” list is also shrinking; mostly because I have been able to do what I had wanted to do.  But also because what I want to do is in flux.  I think I am okay with not having walked on the Great Wall of China.  It is not that I have completely given up on the idea, but when asked recently if I wanted to go to Egypt, I just said maybe.  Before, when I was “not old”, I would have said an enthusiastic yes and asked when we leave.

But these days I am weighing the cost of my choices differently.  Repeatedly, one of the things I find is that the moments on the road, which have meant the most to me, are always tied to some interaction with people.  I have seen the Eifel Tower alone and in the company of others, and the experiences cannot be compared.  I find that odd, as I have done a lot of traveling alone and always enjoyed it, but I feel like that pleasure has changed.

Being grown up is supposed to offer you power, but I have found that the power is limited and it cost so much more than we were told it would.  I cannot turn my head away from the numbers of people getting sick, or the protest, which continue to grow, or the things happening to my family and friends, which are not joyful.

I find it odd that I would rather watch Magnum P.I. than the presidential debates; yet that is what I did, and I am not sorry.  I have found comfort in these characters, some more eccentric than others, who build models of bridges, shoot off canons, and have dress up parties.  After all, I too am a bit eccentric.

I have needed this television show about adults who deal with a good dose of make believe in order to survive life (they are all veterans).  They drive fast sport cars, play with model planes, practice every sport known to man, and treasure a rubber chicken and gorilla mask.  Oddly, it has all brought more than one smile to my face, while delivering ideas, which I find myself writing down, to think about later.  In honor of my experience with this show, I am naming my Christmas Village after one of the four characters.  Hence forth it will be Higginsville.  Maybe I am feeling a little younger, as I write these words.  That is all for now.

A View from the Road

Library Walk

“Truth exists. Only falsehood has to be invented.”

George Braque (1882-1963) – Le Jour et La Nuit

Sometimes we must look down to see the view.  One of my favorite places in New York is the Public Library, on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street; you know where the two large marble lions, Patience and Fortitude live.  I have loved exploring this library.

On one occasion, I approached the library on 41st Street; and found embedded in the sidewalk, are a series of bronze plaques about words; many by authors I love, from Kate Chopin to William Styron.

“The knowledge of different literatures frees one from the tyranny of a few.”

José Martí (1853-1895) “On Oscar Wilde”

 

Sculptor: Gregg Lefevre

Connected

The Anatomy of a Cybersecurity Attack

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I have felt lately like we, in the cyber security community, are failing at our posts.  Our clients are suffering from real day to day cybersecurity threats, turning off their computers at night, to wake up to the same scenario that they just left.

We keep saying if you do a little more, you will be okay, you are more secure.  But then another data breach and they are back at square one, wondering what do they need to do, to be better.

I thought it might be interesting to understand the anatomy of a cybersecurity attack, because I had someone ask me about a VPN and what if they bought additional technology.  While the attack below is on an industrial control system, the method of the attack is often the same.

The first step shown as number 1 is the Planning and Preparation Stage, which lists Reconnaissance, Weaponization, and Targeting.  Reconnaissance is about the bad actor selecting their Target, doing research and attempting to identify vulnerabilities.  Weaponization is about the bad actor creating remote access malware, or buying remote access malware, which is readily available on the Internet, towards a discovered vulnerability.

The second step shown as number 2 lists the attempt and or success of the designer malware.  If not successful the first time, it is not unusual for the attempt to be multiple times, in the thousands if not more.  There are some tools that are able to pick up multiple attempts and the malware can be thwarted at this stage, but unfortunately, this does not happen often.  But if the attempt is successful, then the bad actor now has their launching pad, a place where they may set up a backdoor to the system as an example.

The third step shown as number 3 is the command & control, known as C2, and the actually execution of the attack, will take place.  This is an area where they may just observe and you will not even realize that the bad actor is in your system.  It is not unusual for these attacks to have a dwell time of over a 100 days.

The fourth step shown as number 4 is the act.  This is the area that the bad actor will use for data theft, ransomware or data destruction, and can just repeat their goal over and over again, until they are caught.  As an example, data exfiltration may happen a little every night, this way they can remain under any thresholds that might be set in the cybersecurity tools.

The fifth step shown as number 5 are the actually use cases that have made the bad actor successful, and the sixth step, shown as number 6, takes the attack one step further in to the Industrial Control Systems, such as the electrical grid.

Film’s Recommended by Marcial


 

“This is a trading world and men, women and children, who cannot live on gravity alone, need something to satisfy their gayer, lighter moods and hours, and he who ministers to this want is in a business established by the Author of our nature.  If he worthily fulfills his mission and amuses without corrupting, he need not feel that he has lived in vain.”

 
~ Phineas T. Barnum ~
 
In July, Germany, 2001, 100 minutes, comedy
 
The Big Year, US, 100 minutes, comedy
 
Shine, Australia, 1996, 106 minutes, biographical
 
Legends of the Fall, US, 1994, 132 minutes, romantic drama
 
Road to Perdition, US, 2002, 117 minutes, crime drama
 
L.A. Confidential, US, 1997, 138 minutes, crime thriller
 
Capote, US, 2005, 114 minutes, crime drama
 
The Jacket, US, 2005, 103 minutes, Science fiction thriller
 
Hugo, UK, 2011, 127 minutes, family drama
 
Source Code, US, 2011, 93 minutes, Science fiction thriller
 
It’s a Wonderful Life, US, 1946, 132 minutes, classic drama
 
Casablanca, US, 1942, 102 minutes, drama/romance
 
How to Steal a Million, US, 1966, 127 minutes, classic comedy
 
Beginners, US, 2010, 105 minutes, comedy/drama
 
The Debt, US, 2010, 114 minutes, espionage thriller
 
Larry Crowne, US, 2011, 99 minutes, romantic comedy
 
Ed Wood, US, 1994, 127 minutes, comedy
 
Keeping Mum, UK, 2005, 136 minutes, black comedy
 
The Mouse That Roared, UK, 1959, 83 minutes, comedy
 
The Party, UK, 1968, 99 minutes, classic comedy
 
Fair Game, US, 2010, 108 minutes, political thriller
 
The Right Stuff, US, 192 minutes, Drama
 
The Black Balloon US, 97 minutes, Drama
 
Shopgirl, US, 2005, 106 minutes, Romantic Comedy

Public Square

Public Square

Thomas Wolfe House     “You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but...

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My Mother’s Favorite Verse

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”~ Jeremiah 33: 3 ~

~ Aristophanes~

High thoughts must have high language.

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