Home > Standards Blog

Advanced Search 

Welcome to ConsortiumInfo.org
Thursday, October 02 2014 @ 09:38 AM CDT

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Flame and DuQu: Precursors to “Weapons of Mass Cyber Destruction?”

Alexandria Project (a Cyber Thriller)

 Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

 
The BADGER explosion on April 18, 1953, as part of Operation Upshot-Knothole, at the Nevada Test Site.. courtesy of Conscious at the Wikimedia CommonsUp until now, the ultra-sophisticated Stuxnet computer worm has held pride of place as the most impressive cyber weapon known to have been launched against an international opponent. Unlike the usual criminal attack, which usually takes a shotgun approach to exploit common weaknesses, the Stuxnet worm demonstrated the type of exceptionally convoluted access and attack plan that a fiction writer might well admire.
 
Happily, while the number of garden variety cyber attacks continues to rise, malware with the sophistication of Stuxnet has been extremely rare.  Recently, though, two new programs have been uncovered that appear to equal or exceed the complexity of Stuxnet.  And that's not good.
 
Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Adventures in Self-Publishing: The Electric Kool-Aid Book Promotion Test

Adventures in Self-Publishing

 

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?
 
It’s been awhile since I last provided an update on my adventures in book self-publishing, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy. Quite the contrary – I’ve been as busy as ever. That said, the questions for me are the same as for you: where exactly have I been, and where should I go next?
 
The reason for such uncertainty is this: what I’ve found is that trying to self-promote a book is the ultimate exercise in pushing a string: no matter how much effort you put into it, your ability to achieve the desired result is extremely slight. Matter of fact, your ability to do more is, in all likelihood, close to nil.
 
But what the hey. One reason I started this site, this blog, and my law firm, was to see how things work, and what I could achieve. This has been especially interesting in the case of my Internet-based efforts, since the Webscape continues to evolve rapidly, and there’s no substitute for trying things out yourself and seeing what works best.
 
Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Life Imitates Art in Pyongyang and Washington

Alexandria Project (a Cyber Thriller)

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

In an interesting example of life imitating art, the events unfolding in North Korea this week are directly paralleling those that I envisioned in my book, The Alexandria Project. Specifically, if you’ve been watching the news, the North Koreans intend to launch a new, three stage missile which they say is intended to put a communications satellite into orbit.  

This is placing other countries in an uncomfortable position, as the same launch system, if it proves to be viable, could be used to deliver nuclear weapons to distant targets – including the United States.

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Google Pulls the Plug on its Indie Bookstore Reseller Program

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

In a blow to diversity and independence in book publishing and distribution, Google announced yesterday that it will discontinue its partnering portal with independent bookstores next January (reproduced in full at the end of this blog entry). Despite the fact that the program was only six months old and had already signed up 16 reseller partners around the world, representing thousands of bookstores, Google concluded that the reseller program “had not gained the traction that we hoped it would.” 

The impetus for the unusually rapid decision may presumably be found in Google’s announcement on Tuesday that it will combine all of its currently separate, media-specific storefronts (e.g., books, apps, etc.) into the single iTunes-like outlet it calls Google Play.
 
Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

The Global Knock-on Effects of China’s Home-Grown Standards Preferences

China

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Forbidden City Imperial Guardian Lions, Courtesy of Allen Timothy Chang/Wikimedia Commons - GNU Free Documentation License 1.2 +For years now, China has annually invested hundreds of millions of dollars in developing and implementing a sophisticated IT standards strategy. That strategy is intended to advance a variety of national interests, most obviously to enable Chinese manufacturers to retain a larger share of domestic market sales, and gain a larger and higher margin share of global sales.  But there are other motivations at work as well, one of which ensuring that Chinese authorities can keep a close watch on the Chinese people. 

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

The Lafayette Deception, Chap. 13: What Goes Around (can come back and bite you)

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Westfälisches Museum für Naturkunde (Münster), feathered headdress of the Sioux - Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/GNU Free Documentation LicenseFirst the engine of the minibus died, and then the lights. In the sudden darkness, Frank’s light-bedazzled eyes could see nothing, leaving him temporarily immobilized. He heard the door to the VW open and close quietly. And then, a quiet voice from a shadowy figure by his side.
“Hello, Frank. How have you been?”
“Fine. And you?”
He heard a familiar, musical laugh. “I suppose I have some explaining to do, yes?”
“Yes, Josette, I suppose you do.”

 

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Adventures in Self-Publishing, Chap. 13: The Future of Writing and Publishing

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Wiki Wine Bottle, courtesy Nevit Dilmen/Wikimedia CommonsAbout two weeks ago I interrupted my current cybersecurity thriller series to post an essay I titled Intermission: The High Cost of Free. It could as easily have been posted as part of this series, but I wanted to make a point to the readers of that series. If you’re planning on self-publishing a book and haven’t read that piece yet, I believe that it would be worth your while to do so.

That post generated some interesting responses, some appearing as public comments and others arriving by email.  Two struck me as being particularly relevant to this series, because they suggest the goal posts between which the future of writing and publishing is likely to lie.

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

The Lafayette Deception, Chap. 12: In-tro-du-cing the Next President of the United States!

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Cigar label, c. 1868 - Courtesy Thoma Ruefner/WikipediaFrank closed the back door of his camper behind him and peered carefully around its corner. There had been no room for a vehicle his size in the motel’s main lot when he arrived, so he’d found it necessary to park in an overflow lot beyond the pool area. Only a few cars and pickup trucks shared the lot with him now, one of which must hold the person who was helping himself to Frank’s wireless connection.

But no one could be seen in any of the vehicles nearby. Some were at odd angles, though, and the faint glow of a laptop might not be visible, especially if someone was being careful to avoid detection. He’d have to walk around the lot and try to get a better angle to tell for sure. Suddenly he felt insecure; how many of those pickup trucks had gun racks in their cabs, he wondered? Maybe it wasn’t so important after all to know who the hacker was. 

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

Interoperability, Standards and Market Power

Open Source/Open Standards

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

 
Flag of Europe, Courtesy WikipediaYesterday the European Commission issued a brief press release (reproduced below) announcing that it has opened a formal investigation:
 
...to assess whether The MathWorks Inc., a U.S.-based software company, has distorted competition in the market for the design of commercial control systems by preventing competitors from achieving interoperability with its products.
 
The press release states that the investigation was triggered by a complaint, but does not disclose which company alleged that it had been denied a license for reverse-engineering purposes.
 
This latest investigation arises in the context of a broad array of litigation, investigations and policy announcements in the EU focusing on the importance of standards in achieving interoperability, principally involving mobile device manufacturers and technology owners, such as Motorola Mobility and Samsung. It also highlights the different strategies that dominant companies may adopt in relation to market demands for interoperability, and also the divergent positions that U.S. and EU regulators sometimes take in response.
 

 

Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version

The Lafayette Deception, Chap. 11: I Guess I've Just Got to be Frank with You

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Okay, so maybe you haven't bought my book.  But that's not Frank's fault, so I couldn't just leave him stranded in the midwest, could I?

Courtesy WikipediaFrank shook his head in disbelief as he turned his radio off. Who could have predicted that talking heads on the evening news would ever look to Fidel Castro to provide a cogent assessment of an American primary season? Frank might be having a hard time starting a non-fiction book about cybersecurity, but thank goodness he hadn’t set out to write a satire about this bizarre election season. How would you parody a parody? All you could do would be to quote the actual candidates. Anyway, that wasn’t his problem.

What he was wrestling with at the moment was what to do when he got to Iowa. Heading to where the political action was had seemed like a great idea when he first turned east. It wasn’t until he crossed into Colorado that it occurred to him that a caucus state would offer next to no opportunities for a hacker to corrupt the voting results.