J Wolfgang Goerlich's thoughts on Information Security
Happy New Year 2014

By wolfgang. 1 January 2014 15:19

TLDR: 2013 rocked and 2014 will be even better.

My 2013 resolution was "Read less, do more." Do more, I did. Let’s recap.

Software development. I added new channels to the #incog library and rewrote it as a PowerShell module, which I released at a talk at Source Boston and taught at a workshop at Eastern Michigan University. I contributed to the PowerShell Security or PoshSec project, which I presented on with the project lead’s Matt Johnson, and this became one of the most popular talks on the #misec YouTube channel. I also contributed to a variety of side projects with Charles Green of SimplyCubed.

Systems engineering. My DevOps team at Munder Capital architected and designed a new private cloud infrastructure that offers significantly higher performance and security than public cloud, at a lower price point. I presented on both the design and on my team leadership at CIO Symposiums in Grand Rapids and Sioux Falls. I left Munder in August, confident in my team’s ability to execute on the vision. 

Cyber security. I joined VioPoint as the VP of Consulting in August, and I have been building out the security team and the new Security Operations Center. Collaborating with MiSec, we began working on a threat modeling approach. It is a unique model in that it encompasses communication, threat intelligence, mitigating controls, and security exercises. We have since presented at this approach at a number of conferences and taught it at a workshop, and are working on a whitepaper.

This brings us to 2014, where my resolution is growth. Growth for my MiSec community. Growth for my VioPoint team. Growth for me, personally and professionally. We have expanded the MiSec monthly meeting space and we will be launching a new conference this summer. I will be adding several more talented folks to my VioPoint team, and expanding our security monitoring and testing services. You can expect to see me engaging more with the security community and being a bit more out in front than I have been in years past. It is time to take it up a notch.

As always, thank you for reading and joining me. Let's roll.

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December 2013 wrap-up

By wolfgang. 27 December 2013 16:09

Quick round-up of things that has been happening:

We competed in the RuCTFe event last weekend. David Schwartzberg from Barracuda has a write-up: Moar Security War Games. "The team of ethical hackers is called MiSec, short for Michigan Security, and were testing their metal against 173 teams spread across the planet. The team captain, Wolfgang Goerlich, asked if I would join the MiSec team to deploy a Barracuda Web Application Firewall (WAF) and Barracuda NG Firewall in front of a highly vulnerable Linux server."

VioPoint continues to grow and we are in the final stages of build a new Security Operations Center. Metromode did a brief piece: VioPoint doubles space and adds jobs in Auburn Hills. "If timing is everything, then the leadership team at VioPoint thinks it has the right ingredients for a significant growth spurt. 'We have the right people and the right services and we're going at the market at the right time,' says Wolfgang Goerlich."

BSides Columbus accepted a talk from Mark Kikta and me: Rapid Fire Threat Modeling. Everyone is talking about threat modeling. But when you get down to it, few are doing threat modeling. The reasons are simple: modeling can be complicated, there is conflicting information, and it is not clear what to do with the finished model. This session presents a pragmatic threat modeling exercise that can be accomplished in an afternoon. We will review how to find sources for threat models, communicating the findings, auditing and assessing the available controls, and driving change within the organization. In sum, this talk presents a practical approach to rapidly getting the most from threat modeling. (January 20, 2014. Columbus, OH)

ConFoo accepted my software development lifecycle talk: SDLC in Hostile Environments. What happens when end-users have the motive, opportunity, and skillset to attack our software? When two hacker conferences hosted a six week capture-the-flag contest, organizers learned first-hand how this impacts the software development life cycle (SDLC). We will discuss wins and losses, successes and failures, and hard lessons learned. (February 24 - February 28, 2014. Montreal, Canada)

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Friday Books and Talks 12/06/2013

By wolfgang. 6 December 2013 18:52

Here are some of the books and talks that I enjoyed this week, in no particular order.

Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You
Retrain Your Brain to Conquer Fear, Make Better Decisions, and Thrive in the 21st Century
by Marc Schoen

"Thanks to technology, we live in a world that’s much more comfortable than ever before. But here’s the paradox: our tolerance for discomfort is at an all-time low. And as we wrestle with a sinking “discomfort threshold,” we increasingly find ourselves at the mercy of our primitive instincts and reactions that can perpetuate disease, dysfunction, and impair performance and decision making."

"Your Survival Is Killing You can transform the way you live. Provocative, eye-opening, and surprisingly practical with its gallery of strategies and ideas, this book will show you how to build up your “instinctual muscles” for successfully managing discomfort while taming your overly reactive Survival Instinct. You will learn that the management of discomfort is the single most important skill for the twenty-first century. This book is, at its heart, a modern guide to survival."

Differentiate or Die
Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition
by Jack Trout

"In today's ultra-competitive world, the average supermarket has 40,000 brand items on its shelves. Car shoppers can wander through the showrooms of over twenty automobile makers. For marketers, differentiating products today is more challenging than at any time in history yet it remains at the heart of successful marketing. More importantly, it remains the key to a company's survival."

"In Differentiate or Die, bestselling author Jack Trout doesn't beat around the bush. He takes marketers to task for taking the easy route too often, employing high-tech razzle-dazzle and sleight of hand when they should be working to discover and market their product's uniquely valuable qualities. He examines successful differentiation initiatives from giants like Dell Computer, Southwest Airlines, and Wal-Mart to smaller success stories like Streit's Matzoh and Connecticut's tiny Trinity College to determine why some marketers succeed at differentiating themselves while others struggle and fail."

 

Why Leaders Eat Last
By Simon Sinek

"In this in-depth talk, ethnographer and leadership expert Simon Sinek reveals the hidden dynamics that inspire leadership and trust. In biological terms, leaders get the first pick of food and other spoils, but at a cost. When danger is present, the group expects the leader to mitigate all threats even at the expense of their personal well-being. Understanding this deep-seated expectation is the key difference between someone who is just an 'authority' versus a true 'leader.'"

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Friday Books and Talks 11/22/2013

By wolfgang. 22 November 2013 18:27

Here are some of the books that I enjoyed this week.

Working Relationships
by Bob Wall

"From C-level executives to front-line supervisors, the research is clear: emotional competencies are more important than training, IQ, and technical experience in determining who succeeds and fails at work. Into this exciting business arena, the revised and expanded edition of Working Relationships takes its rightful place as a classic toolkit for mastering the personal characteristics and social abilities of emotional intelligence (EQ), with new contributions that include two chapters focused exclusively in the power of EQ to influence success regardless of job type, level of education, or scope of responsibility."

Leading So People Will Follow
by Erika Andersen

"Leading So People Will Follow explores the six leadership characteristics that inspire followers to fully support their leaders. Using Erika Andersen’s proven framework, new leaders and veterans alike have increased their capacity for leading in a way that creates loyalty, commitment and results. Step by step, Andersen lays out six key attributes (far-sightedness, passion, courage, wisdom, generosity, and trustworthiness) and gives leaders the tools for developing them. This innovative book offers a practical guide for building the skills to become a truly 'followable' leader."

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Friday Books and Talks 11/15/2013

By wolfgang. 15 November 2013 05:02

Here are some of the books and talks that I enjoyed this week, in no particular order.

The Art of Explanation: Making your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand
by Lee LeFever

"You've done the hard work. Your product or service works beautifully - but something is missing. People just don't see the big idea - and it's keeping you from being successful. Your idea has an explanation problem."

"The Art of Explanation is for business people, educators and influencers who want to improve their explanation skills and start solving explanation problems."

"Author Lee LeFever is the founder of Common Craft, a company known around the world for making complex ideas easy to understand through short animated videos. He is your guide to helping audiences fall in love with your ideas, products or services through better explanations in any medium."


By Arthur Benjamin

"Math is logical, functional and just ... awesome. Mathemagician Arthur Benjamin explores hidden properties of that weird and wonderful set of numbers, the Fibonacci series. (And reminds you that mathematics can be inspiring, too!). Using daring displays of algorithmic trickery, lightning calculator and number wizard Arthur Benjamin mesmerizes audiences with mathematical mystery and beauty."

By Abha Dawesar

"One year ago, Abha Dawesar was living in blacked-out Manhattan post-Sandy, scrounging for power to connect. As a novelist, she was struck by this metaphor: Have our lives now become fixated on the drive to digitally connect, while we miss out on what's real?"

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Friday Books and Talks 11/08/2013

By wolfgang. 8 November 2013 19:54

Here are some of the books and talks that I enjoyed this week, in no particular order.

Getting More: How to Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals in the Real World
by Stuart Diamond

"Based on more than 20 years of research and practice among 30,000 people in 45 countries, Getting More concludes that finding and valuing the other party’s emotions and perceptions creates far more value than the conventional wisdom of power and logic. It is intended to provide better agreements for everyone no matter what they negotiate – from jobs to kids to billion dollar deals to shopping."

"The book, a New York Times bestseller and #1 Wall Street Journal business best seller, is based on Professor Stuart Diamond’s award-winning course at the Wharton Business School, where the course has been the most popular over 13 years. It challenges the conventional wisdom on every page, from “win-win” to BATNA to rationality to the use of power. Companies have made billions of dollars so far using his new model and parents have gotten their 4-year-olds to willingly brush their teeth and go to bed."

TED: Architecture at home in its community
By Xavier Vilalta

"When TED Fellow Xavier Vilalta was commissioned to create a multistory shopping mall in Addis Ababa, he panicked. Other centers represented everything he hated about contemporary architecture: wasteful, glass towers requiring tons of energy whose design had absolutely nothing to do with Africa. In this charming talk, Vilalta shows how he champions an alternative approach: to harness nature, reference design tradition and create beautiful, modern, iconic buildings fit for a community."

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Friday Books and Talks 11/01/2013

By wolfgang. 1 November 2013 17:06

Here are some of the books and talks that I enjoyed this week, in no particular order.

Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent
by Nolan Bushnell, Gene Stone

In Silicon Valley legend Nolan Bushnell's first book, he explains how to find and hire employees who have the potential to be the next Steve Jobs. Here Bushnell explains how to find, hire, and nurture the people who could turn your company into the next Atari or the next Apple. Bushnell's advice is constantly counter-intuitive, surprising, and atypical. When looking for employees, ignore credentials. Hire the obnoxious (in limited numbers). Demand a list of favorite books. Ask unanswerable questions. Comb through tweets.

Just because you've hired creatives doesn't mean you'll keep them. Once you have them, isolate them. Celebrate their failures. Encourage ADHD. Ply them with toys. Encourage them to make decisions by throwing dice. Invent haphazard holidays. Let them sleep.

The business world is changing faster than ever, and every day your company faces new complications and difficulties. The only way to resolve these issues is to have a staff of wildly creative people who live as much in the future as the present, who thrive on being different, and whose ideas will guarantee that your company will prosper when other companies fail.

Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization
by Dave Logan, John King

Within each corporation are anywhere from a few to hundreds of separate tribes. In Tribal Leadership, Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright demonstrate how these tribes develop—and show you how to assess them and lead them to maximize productivity and growth. A business management book like no other, Tribal Leadership is an essential tool to help managers and business leaders take better control of their organizations by utilizing the unique characteristics of the tribes that exist within.


In today's constantly shifting marketplace, "innovation" has become the catchword of companies large and small. In The Innovation Premium, Ron Jonash and Tom Sommerlatte draw on years of research and experience to demonstrate-for the first time-that those companies that consistently achieve innovation leadership enjoy measurable advantages, including an average 15 percent increase in shareholder returns. Bridging the gap between the technological and organizational aspects of innovation, the authors show managers at all levels how to move beyond continuous improvement of products and processes to create the "Next Generation Enterprise," an organization that thrives on innovation and knows how to harness it to create and capture value, spark and speed growth, and achieve the highest standards of performance.


By Onora O'Neill

Trust is on the decline, and we need to rebuild it. That’s a commonly heard suggestion for making a better world … but, says philosopher Onora O’Neill, we don’t really understand what we're suggesting. She flips the question, showing us that our three most common ideas about trust are actually misdirected

By Itay Talgam

An orchestra conductor faces the ultimate leadership challenge: creating perfect harmony without saying a word. In this charming talk, Itay Talgam demonstrates the unique styles of six great 20th-century conductors, illustrating crucial lessons for all leaders.

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Friday Books and Talks 10-25-2013

By wolfgang. 25 October 2013 07:46

Here are some of the books and talks that I enjoyed this week, in no particular order.

Strategic Renaissance: New Thinking and Innovative Tools to Create Great Corporate Strategies
by Evan M. Dudik 

"In this insightful primer on corporate strategy development, Dudik shows why the traditional strategic goal of sustainable competitive advantage is being replaced with a new goal: opportunity creation and exploitation. Dudik also explores the business application of a classic military strategy: the hammer and the pivot."

Engaged! Outbehave Your Competition to Create Customers for Life
by Gregg Lederman

"Customers love it when employees are ENGAGED to deliver an experience. However, it doesn’t come easy for most companies. The level to which your workforce is ENGAGED also has a significant impact every day on employees’ happiness and productivity, the customer experience, and your company’s profitability. Your company can be one that customers love to do business with ... one that turns customers into loyal followers who buy more and more often. The journey through ENGAGED!, will teach you what leading companies do to create customer love."

 

TED: Psychedelic science
By Fabian Oefner

"Swiss artist and photographer Fabian Oefner is on a mission to make eye-catching art from everyday science. In this charming talk, he shows off some recent psychedelic images, including photographs of crystals as they interact with soundwaves. And, in a live demo, he shows what really happens when you mix paint with magnetic liquid--or when you set fire to whiskey." 

I enjoy the transfer of one sense to another, from sound to motion, motion to light, light to visuals, and so on. Oefner is a great example of capturing scientific moments and creating artwork from these moments.

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Friday Books and Talks 10-18

By wolfgang. 18 October 2013 13:48

Ideas Are Free: How the Idea Revolution Is Liberating People and Transforming Organizations
by Alan G Robinson, Dean M Schroeder

"Because they're doing the day-to-day work, front-line employees see many problems and opportunities their managers don't. But most organizations fail to realize this potentially extraordinary source of revenue-enhancing ideas. The authors of "Ideas Are Free use real-world examples from their work with hundreds of organizations to show how to exploit the virtually free, perpetually renewable resource of employee ideas. The book explains how sustainable competitive advantages in areas ranging from productivity and responsiveness to cost reduction and quality assurance are only possible with the attention to detail that comes from getting and implementing large numbers of ideas from employees. Subjects include how to make ideas part of everyone's job, how to set up and run an effective process for handling ideas, how to help people come up with more and better ideas, and how a strong flow of ideas can have a profound impact on an organization's culture."

The Ten faces of Innovation
by Tom Kelley, Jonathan Littman

"The role of the devil's advocate is nearly universal in business today. It allows individuals to step outside themselves and raise questions and concerns that effectively kill new projects and ideas, while claiming no personal responsibility. Nothing is more potent in stifling innovation. Drawing on nearly 20 years of experience managing IDEO, Kelley identifies ten roles people can play in an organization to foster innovation and new ideas while offering an effective counter to naysayers. Among these approaches are the Anthropologist—the person who goes into the field to see how customers use and respond to products, to come up with new innovations; the Cross-pollinator who mixes and matches ideas, people, and technology to create new ideas that can drive growth; and the Hurdler, who instantly looks for ways to overcome the limits and challenges to any situation."


Alessandro Acquisti

"The line between public and private has blurred in the past decade, both online and in real life, and Alessandro Acquisti is here to explain what this means and why it matters. In this thought-provoking, slightly chilling talk, he shares details of recent and ongoing research -- including a project that shows how easy it is to match a photograph of a stranger with their sensitive personal information."

Application to social engineering. The presenter creates facial composites using photographs of a target's friends. The resulting composite photograph is registered, by the target, as being more trustworthy.

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Friday Books and Talks 10-11

By wolfgang. 11 October 2013 13:17

Here are some of the books and talks that I enjoyed this week, in no particular order.

Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation
by Tim Brown

"The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that most innovations come from a process of rigorous examination through which great ideas are identified and developed before being realized as new offerings and capabilities. This book introduces the idea of design thinking‚ the collaborative process by which the designer′s sensibilities and methods are employed to match people′s needs not only with what is technically feasible and a viable business strategy. In short‚ design thinking converts need into demand. It′s a human−centered approach to problem solving that helps people and organizations become more innovative and more creative."

Tipping Sacred Cows: Kick the Bad Work Habits that Masquerade as Virtues
by Jake Breeden

"You should try your best, work well with others, and produce excellent work. Right? But these cherished nuggets of advice, in practice, have a dark side that can lead to career-limiting unintended consequences. And they're not alone. Based on Jake Breeden's experience coaching thousands of leaders in 27 countries, and new research in economics, neuroscience, and psychology, Tipping Sacred Cows reveals how to overcome the dangerous behaviors that masquerade as virtues at work, and how to lead with fewer self-imposed limitations and greater results. It's a guide for curious, courageous people at work."

 

The First 20 Hours - How to Learn Anything
By Josh Kaufman

"Josh Kaufman is the author of the #1 international bestseller, 'The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business', as well as the upcoming book 'The First 20 Hours: Mastering the Toughest Part of Learning Anything.' Josh specializes in teaching people from all walks of life how to master practical knowledge and skills. In his talk, he shares how having his first child inspired him to approach learning in a whole new way."

The game that can give you 10 extra years of life
By Jane McGonigal

"After suffering a severe concussion, Jane McGonigal expereinced physical debilitaion and suicidal tendencie. She searched the medical research for an answer to her problem. She discovered how to extend your life."

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