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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Which Country is Best Suited to Host Cyber Privateers?

If I were King of the World (yes Mel Brooks, "It's good to be king.") I'd probably make Israel the host of world-wide cyber privateering. They're insular, they've been playing defense since they declared their independence, they don't care if people like them, and they have arguably the smartest technological gunslingers on the planet. That said, their plate is full right now with all kinds of threats, so I'll create my list below them as I see the benefits to the various countries.

  1. Israel
  2. Australia (see my post on this scenario here). Main reason: Australia would be tough to invade, and nobody would dare nuke them.
  3. Poland (or other new democracy looking to start a technology gold rush). Former Communist countries have little going for them technology wise, except maybe as a home for international banking thievery. A country like Poland could use a trillion-dollar shot in the economy, and sharing cyber privateering loot fifty-fifty with the best and brightest around the world is just what the doctor ordered. Overnight they could become Mecca.
  4. The United States, if and only if we'd get out of the spying business and declare a Monroe Doctrine-like and highly public RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. Then the NSA could become the bonding authority to keep licensed and bonded cyber privateers honest. Also, the USA has a set of legal precedents dating back to the Revolutionary War and explicitly stated in the U.S. Constitution (see U.S. legal justification here).
  5. Great Britain, another insular society that bought the world time from the Nazis while the U.S. blithered its way into World War II.
  6. France, another democracy that needs a gigantic shot in the economic arm. Maybe, somewhere in France, the spirit of The French Foreign Legion could be resurrected.
  7. Planet Google in an off-shore eco-independent floating Pirate Server Farm.
I'd appreciate comments to or additions for my list.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Win an iPad Mini with Retina Display by Seeing How BMH is Hacking the Healthcare System

If you're located in the United States and are willing to look at 3 30-second television commercials and then answer 10 questions about them, you could win an iPad Mini with Retina display the day before Thanksgiving (11/27/2013). That's in less than a week. Louis Kraml, CEO at Bingham Memorial Hospital in Southwest Idaho is a rather revolutionary genius behind a remarkable way to provide healthcare. Take the survey (click here) and register for the iPad drawing.

Of course, there are multiple levels of "method to my madness" on this project. I'll be using Quantum Leap Innovations' predictive analytics technology to "grok" the survey data for Mr. Kraml in ways that will never be publicly announced. But I will predict that Louis Kraml is going to revolutionize everything about American healthcare within the next 10 years. Everything.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Shameless Bribery for Your Good Review of Daddy's Little Felons

Chenoa, one of the main characters in the sequel to Daddy's Little Felons, sitting with a test-mailed 1000 Warriors water bottle. Only 1000 were produced, and about 600 riders received them in the 2009 Tour of Utah bicycle race. After shrinkage (ie, my giving them to my bicycling buddies) there are just 200 left. The bottle commemorates the hardest stage of the hardest stage race in the United States, and racers got the bragging rights of racing the same day on the same course as the pro riders, leaving several hours before the pros rode the same course. The bottles are highest-quality low-density polyethylene and the first class postage to mail them anywhere in the United States is $2.07. That's just about the commission on your $2.99 purchase of Daddy's Little Felons. So not only do you get free shipping if I like your review, but you get a high-quality memento of the damndest bicycle race ever held (the course was so dangerous and there were so many injuries that I swore off putting on bicycle races after that year).
Alright, here's the deal. If you buy a copy of Daddy's Little Felons on Amazon (click the link to the left) and then write a review as an "Amazon Verified Purchaser" of the book, I will reward reviews I like with my gift to you of the above-described bicycling water bottle. My treat. Including postage. Unfortunately, I can only make this offer to readers who want their swell collectors-edition water bottle mailed somewhere in the United States. Heck, the bottle is worth a fortune all by itself. And I'm picking up postage equal to the Amazon commission.

All you need do to get your shamelessly offered bribe is write a review I like and paste a copy of it in an email to me: rick@rickbennett.com. Be sure to include your mailing address. Of course, if you are a cyclist and want to ride some Utah mountains when the snow melts in early 2014, feel free to stop by and pick up the bottle in person. We can ride together and I'll tell you all about Chenoa the wonder dog.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Perfect Virus Principle #3 Would Have Solved All The Healthcare.gov System Snafus

My creation of the 22 Principles of the Perfect Virus (click here to see them all, in their glory) really evolved from a seminal work by Jeff Walker when he created a software company called TENFOLD (see the nomination of Jeff to my Cyber Privateer Fantasy League here). Jeff's 22 Principles of the Perfect Application saw reality as TENFOLD delivered a working Chicago Board of Trade commodities trading floor as well as the Allstate Insurance system. These systems were infinitely scalable, bullet proof, and worked perfectly right out of the box. TENFOLD no longer exists, but that's a whole other story completely unrelated to the technology. I know the story, because I sat on their board of directors, and for a time I was chairman of the board audit committee. Again, that's another story I won't spend time discussing here. I've never gotten permission from Jeff to publish his 22 Principles of the Perfect Application, but I did get his approval as I modified them for my own 22 Principles of the Perfect Virus.

Adherence to principle #3 alone, which happens to be identical in both our topographies, would have saved our healthcare computer system (just today, Computerworld ran this story the "War Room" notes describing the chaos at Healthcare.gov). Both Jeff and I call Principle #3 "Self Awareness" and you can read all about it here. I described the key benefits of Self Awareness as follows:
  1. The Perfect Application (and The Perfect Virus) is analogous to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. It does whatever you want it to do, and does it perfectly. Whatever hardware or operating system underpinnings support the spreadsheet, those are invisible to the application. Furthermore, the spreadsheet user can immediately see if it's doing what he wants it to do, because it runs instantly. No compilation. No human errors introduced through punctuation errors in assembly language or C++ coding. No SQL infinite loops because of mistyped syntax in queries.
  2. The Perfect Application functioned in a bullet-proof virtual machine, independent of hardware architecture, network protocol, or operating system.
  3. The Perfect Application was written in itself, which meant that it could self-diagnose and change its own DNA as it were.
In other words, Self Aware applications work perfectly out of the box every time. They automatically scale as server load increases. They self-diagnose and self-repair as needed.

On October 7th of this year, I seriously offered how Jeff Walker could have saved the healthcare website (see my story here).  As the story of Healthcare.gov has unfolded (Stratfor's George Friedman recently shared an intelligence gathering truism that "The first story is not always the right story."), more and more of "the right story" is unfolding. And I am more certain than ever that TENFOLD's demise will remain one of the great ironies of my professional life.

In my nomination of Jeff Walker as the #3 man on my Cyber Privateer Fantasy League team, I wrote:
When Jeff tracked me down to help him with his public company Tenfold, he immediately endeared himself to me by saying, "You wouldn't know a good application if it bit you." Now since my training is really in mathematics and since I'd once written a real-time operating system that took less than 700 bytes of computer memory, I could have been offended. Instead, I kept my ego in check and paid close attention. Over the next few years, first as a consultant and then as a member of his board of directors, I learned about applications. And guess what? Jeff was right. Before that time, I absolutely didn't have the faintest idea what constituted a good application.
I make the identical observation of the creators of Healthcare.gov: "They wouldn't know a good application if it bit them." And they obviously didn't give Jeff a call.

Taman Shud.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

2014 Headline: Law Firm Stings Hackers for $60 Million

Based upon "data exhaust" produced by Quantum Leap Buzz from Twitter and Facebook feeds, and Quantum Leap Analyst simulations on cyber security breach escalation, I predict the following story (or one substantially identical with different players) will appear in mid to late 2014.
NEW YORK, NY - December 17, 2014 - In a first-of-its-kind press conference held after the close of markets today, the number-one M&A legal firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell (http://www.davispolk.com) announced a massive. and what they contend to be legal, sting operation against a foreign government attempt to penetrate the security of their super-secure mergers and acquisitions working documents. Senior Counsel Peter R. Douglas (see bio here) outlined the basics of a sting operation which netted Davis Polk's client some $60 million. Those funds will be donated in their entirety to several zero-overhead charitable organizations (see a discussion of zero-overhead charities here).

"Davis Polk would like to thank the news media for attending what we think is an historical event," began Davis Polk's Senior Counsel Peter R. Douglas. "Only one organization had any detailed information on the subject of this announcement, and we purposely misdirected that source to believe in a substantially different scenario. We believe that source to be an arm of the Chinese government who had infiltrated our most sensitive M&A computer systems. Nowhere but in those top secret files did we allude to a major announcement of a shell public company for which we were preparing a spectacular announcement. The organization which illegally accessed those files spent over $75 million buying shares in our shell company, which netted our firm, the owner of those shares, approximately $60 million dollars."

"I would like to assure all Davis Polk clients that our real data security was never at risk," said Douglas. "It was only because of persistent attempts to break into our systems that we devised a 'honey pot' system to lure and trap intruders. Since U.S. cyber law prohibited us from taking direct retaliatory action against the intruders, we came up with a plan to stab them with their own sword."

"Trading in this stock has been suspended," continued Douglas. "Our clearing house has expedited settlement in our favor, and we hereby announce the donation of all $60 million to worthy charities around the world. The funds—all $75 million, including commissions of $15 million—will be held in escrow until we receive authorization from the Securities and Exchange Commission that they anticipate no civil or criminal actions will be taken against Davis Polk or our shell client organization."

Concluded Douglas, "We are providing authorities with the names of the entities who acted on illegally obtained information to buy this stock and profit from it. Except for one domestic buyer, all the funds came from organizations closely tied to the Central Bank of China. The one exception was a domestic buyer who appears to be related to a senior analyst working for the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)."

Mr. Douglas then closed the press conference without taking questions from the media, indicating that details would be released as deemed appropriate by legal counsel and as authorized by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stanford Security Conference Keynote This Week by Morgan Rapier

Time Magazine reported today on cyber security leaders from 40 countries meeting at Stanford University this week to discuss worldwide cooperation (see story here). Following is an excerpt from the keynote address prepared by licensed and bonded cyber privateer Morgan Rapier.
Minister Mingzhao [China], Cyberissues Coordinator Painter [U.S. State Department], members of the East West Institute, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is my pleasure to report to you that this meeting is in no danger of being overrun by brain-eating Zombies, because there isn't enough mental mass in this room to feed even a Chinese-sized family of the walking dead. Larry Ellison was right back in 1985 when he talked about Oracle hiring practices (see the whole article here):
"If I want to hire someone for the Oracle kernel DBMS development group, I'll go to MIT and hire the guy who got a 5.0 GPA (4.0 was merely an "A" while the 5.0 got "As" in honors classes). If I want someone for the applications division, I'll hire a 5.0 (honors classes again) out of U.C. Davis. And if I want someone to run the mail room, I'll get a 5.0 out of Stanford." 
So if this cyber security gig doesn't work out for you, you can always apply for a job in the Oracle mail room. The only remotely intelligent statement to come out of this conference was by economics professor John Shoven, who directs the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research:
He warned of the “tremendous disruption the lack of trust in the security of the Web would do to the economy.”
The United States has essentially re-established this trust in the security of the Web. As I stated in my testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee (see the final chapter of Daddy's Little Felons, available here):
We are splitting sixty-two billion with the Israelis [operating under a Congressionally issued letter of marquee and reprisal]. Thirty-one billion is our share. And by the way, most of that money came from oil-producing countries that backed a massive jihadist attempt to hack the electronics of every computer-equipped car in America and cause a one-day massacre on September 11th. .
Notwithstanding China Minister Mingzhao's call to "…establish new international rules for behavior in cyberspace…" I suggest that our licensed and bonded cyber privateers, operating under the auspices of the U.S. Justice Department, have effectively established and enforced your so called international rules for behavior in cyberspace. Those rules are clearly and, more importantly, publicly defined in the Cyber Privateer code (read it here). 

[Commander Rapier's remarks were disrupted when representatives of Iran and North Korea rushed the speaker's dais. Rapier, a former U.S. Navy SEAL, had no trouble subduing his attackers.]