There is a bill now being written behind closed doors that would give the President the power to exert emergency control of the internet in times of emergency. If you are fortunate enough to be a company that is designated as a critical interest you could be subjected to forced removal from the internet when an emergency strikes. Why is the government trying to get into the business of controlling these companies? Shouldn’t they be cleaning up their own house first? These companies hire entire departments of people who are in charge of protecting their digital assets. It’s their job. Why is the government concerned with the operation of private property? It frankly is none of their business how large companies operate their networks. Who thinks this is a good idea?
Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.
They’re not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.
The new version would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals,” and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.
Here’s the real kicker:
Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to “direct the national response to the cyber threat” if necessary for “the national defense and security.” The White House is supposed to engage in “periodic mapping” of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies “shall share” requested information with the federal government. (“Cyber” is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)
Now we see the true purpose of this bill. The government wants to know what is on our computer networks. Imagine the possibilities for a moment. Let’s say there is another (God forbid) terrorist attack. The government already has the power to ground all air travel. Now they can pull the plug on the internet as well. What better way to suppress dissent could their be? The government already effectively controls the majority of the mass media. Oh wait, this is for our safety. There I go being paranoid again…
Great video from the NC State Office of Information Technology on the need to purchase complete care coverage on your computer equipment. We purchase it on all of our new computers at work!
The NC State Office of Information Technology has produced a video outlining the importance of installing antivirus software on your computer. You may not qualify for their software but you should run something!
This is an amazing shot of a moonbow over the old water tower in Downtown Raleigh.
H/T: Goodnight, Raleigh
Grant Writing Workshop
One of the nice things about my job is that I often get to participate in events that are not always held in our main office. Technology doesn’t always stay bottled up in the Methodist Building. One of these remote events is a Grant Writing Workshop. Dr. Annette Greer is hosting a workshop for people in our local churches who are interested in learning about best practices and methodologies for successful grant writing. This event is being hosted at Westminster UMC in Kinston, NC over three successive Mondays (this being the second day).
We are responsible for providing audio/video/web streaming support for the workshop. Derek Leek (Conference Webmaster), Steve Taylor (Missions Director), Bill Norton (Communications Director), Dennis Peay (clergy volunteer) and I are running all of the different equipment necessary for pulling off an event of this size. We have approximately 20-25 people here on-site and another 10-15 watching remotely via the web stream.
The technology behind this event is fairly straightforward. Steve and Derek are running our two cameras. Bill is running the sound board and video switcher. Dennis is running the Powerpoint laptop and I am watching over the video stream and handling incoming e-mail questions/comments. The video switching equipment can display video from the two cameras, the presenter’s laptop and the Powerpoint laptop. The audio board is handling input from four wireless microphones and a lavalier microphone (worn by the presenter).
640 x 480 Video!
We have also made significant changes to our web video stream. We have been streaming our major events on-line for several years now we have always had to work around a nagging Mac/Linux incompatibility. We were also streaming out a high bandwidth and a low bandwidth stream simultaneously.
Since our dial-up usage has fallen to almost zero, we decided to do away with the low bandwidth stream altogether. We changed our outgoing video stream from 320 x 240 to 640 x 480. We also changed the streaming coded from Windows Media version eight to version nine. Mac/Linux users should be able to use this newer codec without any of the issues that they encountered when we were using the older one. We upgraded the audio output to 192 kbps (cd audio quality). All of these changes were squeezed into an extra 100 kbps or so of upload stream bandwidth. Today is the first day that we have tried streaming live with these changes, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m looking forward to great results!
I received this e-mail today from Shavlik Technologies. This is a very interesting twist on the government automobile stimulus program. It’s a shame we already use this product…
Shavlik Technologies is offering customers 1 million reasons to dump their resource-guzzling patch management, configuration management, and antivirus solutions with a rebate program that provides a cash incentive to customers who trade up to a more efficient way to manage these critical IT tasks.
In a play on the US Federal Government’s Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) program, Shavlik is announcing its own “Cash for Clunkers” promotion.
IT security and operations news outlets are filled with stories of the impact (down time, reduced productivity, sensitive data compromise, breaches) of these rusted out clunkers on your business. Just last week Microsoft released two out-of-band patches. The Microsoft WU/MU team spent the week in a full scramble to correct bad data that left Windows Update and WSUS users thinking they were patched when, in fact, they were not patched and vulnerable to exploit.
Join thousands of your peers who turned to Shavlik because they are:
- Frustrated by unreliable, patch management lemons that leave you stranded beside the Internet freeway unprotected.
- Fed up with the reduced mileage they get from WSUS because it doesn’t address non-Microsoft applications from Adobe (Acrobat, Flash, Shockwave), Apple (iTunes, Quicktime, Safari) or Mozilla (Firefox); combined these products have had 26 security patches released since January 1, 2009. In comparison, Internet Explorer has had 4 security bulletins since January 1, 2009.
- Tired of antivirus bloatware solutions that guzzle system resources but don’t stop today’s malware.
- Weary of writing scripts or battling temperamental Active Directory and Group Policy to locate gaps between the desired configuration policy and the reality of systems on the network.
- Tired of trying to coax overblown systems management “suites” into doing a job they were not designed to do and whose bolt-together mentality means you spend more time tweaking and tinkering than getting work done.
Here’s how it works:
If you own an existing antivirus, patch management, or configuration management product or systems management suite that is forcing you to spend too much time, money, and IT staff on these critical tasks, go to this website and determine your eligibility for Shavlik’s Cash for Clunkers program. If you qualify, Shavlik will forgive up to $4,500 of the purchase price on a Shavlik product to replace your existing solution.
But you must act quickly. Cash for Clunkers is a limited time promotion. When those first $1 million reasons to dump your existing clunker solution are gone, so is the promotion.
Go green with Shavlik. Reduce your spend. Repurpose your staff on initiatives that grow your business. Recycle those resource-hogging, bloated, and buggy AV products for a solution that is fast, light on system resources and stops today’s malware.
To learn more and to sign up, click here to see if you qualify.