March 2014

Tapping into Infosec’s Human Side

by Bill Brenner March 27, 2014 Depression

In my day job, I host the Akamai Security Podcast, an audio program about all things information security. On occasion, the topics of my profession bleed into the focus of this blog. In the following podcast, I chat with colleague Christian Ternus, a member of Akamai Infosec’s Adversarial Resilience Team. He’s been the driving force behind Humanity in Security, an effort to address burnout, depression and stress in the security community. One of his main messages is…  [Read More]

Seven Insights into Dealing with Depression

by Bill Brenner March 26, 2014 Depression

I got this question from a reader over the weekend, after he read my “Suicide in the Blood” post: I was just curious after reading this article: As much as I think about suicide and sometimes homicide, am I capable of carrying this out? I’m bipolar and have very serious depression also. Bipolar personality disorder and ADHD make it very hard to keep my mood swings down and my mind focused. I really need some…  [Read More]

How Barnaby Jack Lived Is More Important Than How He Died

by Bill Brenner March 25, 2014 Uncategorized

Last summer, my industry was wounded by the death of famed hacker Barnaby Jack. In January, we learned that he died of an overdose, including a mix of heroin, cocaine and prescription drugs. People made a lot of stupid comments back then, especially those responding to The Register‘s article. One jackass called him a loser who wouldn’t be missed. Mood music: I didn’t know Barnaby as well as some of my infosec friends did, but I…  [Read More]

RIP, Oderus Urungus

by Bill Brenner March 24, 2014 Music therapy

As a troubled kid, I had a special appreciation for Gwar. For the lost soul in need of metallic rock therapy, these guys delivered. What’s more, they were perfect for when heavy-duty escapism and entertainment was required. I’m sad to hear that Dave Brockie — a.k.a Oderus Urungus — has died at age 50. Mood music: Brockie had a voice and stage presence that was beyond over the top. I’m fairly sure it wasn’t even part of…  [Read More]

32 Years Ago Today…

by Bill Brenner March 19, 2014 Uncategorized

On March 19, 1982, the world lost one of its greatest musicians in a plane crash: Randy Rhoads. Mood music: The songwriting and guitar playing he did on Ozzy Osbourne’s first two solo albums — “Blizzard of Oz” and “Diary of a Madman” — is required listening for anyone who is serious about playing the instrument. He was also something rare in Rock ‘n Roll: a humble man who was ready to give up his success…  [Read More]

So Sorry, I Forgot You Know Everything

by Bill Brenner March 19, 2014 Uncategorized

In the course of writing this blog, I get a lot of flack from some people. That’s fine, because I know I’m not always right. But there’s a certain class of people who get under my skin: those who claim to have all the answers. Mood music: There’s the reader who bristles whenever I write about medication for depression, OCD and other disorders of the brain. She knows the answer to just about any mental…  [Read More]

Happy Birthday to a Joyful Little Soul

by Bill Brenner March 18, 2014 Family

Three years ago today, my nephew Owen was born. We just celebrated his third birthday, but I wanted to say a little something here. Think of it as my personalized birthday card to him. First, a video for Owen’s amusement, which also has some good advice: Let me tell you a few things about Owen: He is one of the most joyful souls I’ve ever met. He’s always laughing, excited by every new wonder. He used…  [Read More]

Basil Fawlty Can Suck It

by Bill Brenner March 17, 2014 OCD

I know many fans of the old BBC show Fawlty Towers. People love to laugh at lead character Basil Fawlty, who’s perpetually unhinged, rude and ridiculous. Viewers can laugh at Basil’s expense and even feel a little grateful for not being that guy. But I have to confess that I despise the show. Mood music: When I watch an episode, I actually get stressed out. My anxiety goes through the roof every time Basil puts…  [Read More]

From the Mouths of Pre-Teens

by Bill Brenner March 13, 2014 Uncategorized

Both kids have reached double digits since I last did a post like this, which means they’ve gone from cute to witty. Like their old man, that wit is delivered with a sharp tongue. Here’s what they’ve been saying and doing in recent weeks. Like a lot of kids their age, Sean and Duncan are very much into Minecraft and Wii LEGO games. They take the activities very seriously and will frequently yell at the…  [Read More]

From Stress and Fear to Passion

by Bill Brenner March 12, 2014 Gratitude

A friend shared one of those inspirational memes with me yesterday, and it got me thinking about my approach to work — and how far I’ve come in general. Mood music: The meme says, simply: Man, is that ever true. I know, because I’ve been on both sides of the equation. Sometimes the job was intolerable. Mostly, my own demons were intolerable. During my days as a newspaper reporter and editor, all I knew was…  [Read More]