July 2014

Leave Abigail Hernandez Alone

by Bill Brenner July 31, 2014 Crime and punishment

Trashing the victim in a crime is nothing new; we’ve been doing it forever. That doesn’t make it right. Mood music: After the Manson murders in 1969, for example, the newspapers were full of speculation about how the victims may have done themselves in by living a lifestyle that attracted dangerous people. Today people are fixated on the case of Abigail Hernandez, a 15-year-old New Hampshire girl who recently returned home after being missing for several…  [Read More]

Revere Tornado: Was Reaction Overblown?

by Bill Brenner July 30, 2014 Dealing with life

Someone on Facebook complained about those who compared the damage done to Broadway in Revere after a tornado tore through on Monday to a war zone. Soldiers who’ve seen battle wouldn’t appreciate the comparison, he said, and the damage was nothing like what people experience regularly in the Midwest, where entire towns are wiped from the map. Mood music: Normally, I’d agree with a statement like that. I spend much of my blogging time pointing out all…  [Read More]

That Restless Feeling When You’re Waiting to Travel

by Bill Brenner July 29, 2014 Infosec

This time next week I’ll be traveling to Las Vegas for three security conferences, and I’m finding myself in a restless state of mind. It’s that point where the planning and logistics have been worked out, and I’m itching to just get on with the mission at hand. It’s a mindset that conflicts with the “one day at a time” system of living I’ve worked hard to adopt in recent years. Mood music: I do…  [Read More]

Happy in My Discomfort

by Bill Brenner July 28, 2014 Fear and anxiety

I’ve written about information security for more than a decade, but I’ve never pulled the levers, so to speak, until this past week. It’s both terrifying and awesome. Mood music: People in my industry assume I know how to conduct a penetration test, process software vulnerabilities and manage compliance operations. Truth is, I know how to write about this stuff, but I’ve never actually done these things. I never claimed that I had, but since…  [Read More]

Black Hat, BSidesLV, DEF CON Anxiety Leads to Stress Dreams

by Bill Brenner July 24, 2014 Infosec

I typically don’t remember my dreams, but Tuesday night I had a doozy of a stress dream. You could say my brain was smacking me for making light of other people’s anxieties in the run up to Black Hat, DEF CON and BSidesLV. Every year at this time I start to hear people worrying aloud about their Vegas schedules, which is understandable. I used to create detailed schedules but threw out the script a few…  [Read More]

When Cops Do Bad Things: The Eric Garner Incident

by Bill Brenner July 23, 2014 Fear and anxiety

This video of a man being choked to death by police is getting a lot of attention lately: Even The New York Times covered the incident. This sort of thing is normally New York Post territory. Of course, the video does come from the Post. You can hear people in the background talking about police bullying an innocent man whose only crime was trying to break up a fight. Police claim he was initially approached…  [Read More]

The Battle of Market Basket

by Bill Brenner July 22, 2014 Food

Several people have asked what I think of the Market Basket drama, including the boycotts and empty shelves as employees fight for the reinstatement of recently canned CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. Here’s my answer. Mood music: Many people worry about what will become of a supermarket chain that, up to this point, has been the cheapest on the block. If this chain goes bye-bye, a lot of people in financial distress worry they’ll have more trouble putting food…  [Read More]

You Call It Selfish, I Call It Survival

by Bill Brenner July 21, 2014 Work-life balance

A friend once lamented that she tries to make everyone around her happy. She’s a self-described people pleaser, and it’s led to a world of hurt. She wanted to know how I got past it and was able to out myself. Here’s my attempt to answer the question. Mood music: I used to be a people pleaser. I probably still am to some extent. But nothing like how I used to be. I wanted desperately to make every boss happy, and I…  [Read More]

Bad Customer Service Is a Mental Health Threat

by Bill Brenner July 17, 2014 Mental health

There’s a reason the recorded call with a belligerent Comcast employee went viral. It wasn’t for sheer entertainment value, though some will undoubtedly find it amusing. It’s because practically every Comcast customer has suffered one of those dreadful service calls. For Erin and me, the last such experience was a couple weeks ago, when we called for repairs to our Internet service. Mood music: In the case making news, a customer service rep gave one…  [Read More]

The Blogger with the Self-Destruct Button

by Bill Brenner July 16, 2014 OCD

I’ve been an obsessively prolific writer over the years, and, frankly, I’ve had to take stock in what I’m doing. Overkill is an art for those of us with OCD, and it’s hard to say no when someone asks me to do something new. I have two new ongoing projects. I’m doing a new podcast in addition to my Akamai Security Podcast. I’ve also started blogging for the Liquidmatrix Security Digest. But I’m still going…  [Read More]