Tagged: interview

Cyber attack, the how and why

Everyday there’s unsolicited email, cookies wanting to be downloaded and new applications to try out.

But is much of this malicious?

Releasing a white paper this week on this subject, Richard Henderson, security strategist for FortiGuard Threat Research & Response Labs, based in Burnaby BC, is collecting some interesting data on the matter.

Making a large blip on Henderson’s radar is advanced targeted attacks, ATAs, also called advanced persistent threats, APTs. They are a big concern for Canada and the world at large.

Here, Henderson describes what they are and how they came about. He talks about financial theft, infiltrating a media outlet and international espionage:

So ATAs come in a variety of forms, and use a variety of means, but ultimately aim to beon your network over a period of time, and they do it quietly.

Quietly, and cleverly.

Off-the-shelf malware: malicious software that is made available for sale. And in a very business-like manner. Henderson explains how in the next clip.

For the most part, larger companies and organisations have the means to protect themselves, but who else do you give your personal information to? Do those smaller companies and organisations have the ways and means to protect your data and ensure that it’s safe?

Here Henderson uses TJ Maxx and there and its strife with online security as a case study:

So as in life, we know to keep our heads up, eyes and ears open and not take everything for granted. And when online, it’s important to be just as diligent. You’d look at a map if you were going somewhere new, and might even ask a police officer for help if you got lost. The same should be done on the Internet.

Before you download that oh-so-appetizing-app, spend a few minutes looking up some reviews, maybe visit the company’s website. And if in doubt, just contact your local Internet security company, Henderson will be glad you got in touch.

 

Wael Elazab

 

For more about APTs, please see waelae.com for further excerpts from this interview.

Ecology is a Science

It could be said that education and conservation ought to be more clearly linked.

Education informs and empowers, so you can act based on the knowledge you gain. That knowledge can lead to a better understanding of how living things interact with each other and their environment. That understanding can then in turn help us change our behavior, or at least make us aware of what we’re doing, with a view to improving things for the world in which we live.

Flying Mammals
Bats are the only flying mammals and fall under the order of Chiroptera

The Stanley Park Ecology Society

The Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES) works independently of the Vancouver Park Board. It is also a non-profit charity that has been around for 25 years.

Its mandate is to, “Promotes awareness of and respect for the natural world and plays a leadership role in the stewardship of Stanley Park through collaborative initiatives in education, research and conservation.”

I recently met with Krystal Pyke, public programs manager at SPES, to find out more about the science of ecology. Pyke has studied ecology and has a BSc in fish and wildlife biology and says that ecology is essentially, “The study of living things as a whole.”

She begins by telling us about ecology and how SPES teaches the fundamentals, “[SPES] focuses on teaching about how things are interrelated … our main goals are to reconnect people with nature through education and conservation initiatives.”

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People Science

People Science

Communicating Science and Technology

I’ll be addressing several questions in this post.

  1. What is the public perception of science? (And is it just done by men?)
  2. Do people think science is important?
  3. How much does the public need to know about science?
  4. Are scientists the best qualified to be communicating their work?
  5. How should science be shared with the public?

Certainly, there is value in education of any sort, but the premise here is that people’s time should also be spent learning about science and the many scientific principles that appear to govern our world.

Being well informed about why things fall down and not up, what a genome is and how your television can be controlled remotely would allow us to make better choices at the ballot box, sustain our planet for future generations and throw a mean(er) curve ball.

I am very familiar with the point at which eyes-glaze-over. My eyes typically do this when I’m presented with abundant information on one or several topics that I can see are important, and feel I should know about, but simply haven’t been schooled in them.

To address all of this I have three people offering their opinions. All work in the areas of medical and health sciences. Two are scientists and one is an editor of scientific publications:

Jay Draper, managing editor of publications at British Columbia Medical Association (BCMA), formerly the BC Medical Journal managing editor.

Fiona Brinkman, (@fionabrinkman) professor at Simon Fraser University (SFU), co-director at SFU-UBC Bioinformatics Graduate Training Program, co-lead at Bioinformatics for Combating Infectious Diseases Project and previously the director of Bioinformatics at Genome Canada/Genome BC Pathogenomics Project.

Raymond See, scientific consultant, formally the program director for the SARS Accelerated Vaccine Initiative and the scientific director of PREPARE (Proteomics for Emerging Pathogen Response).

1. What is the public perception of science? (And is it just conducted by men?)

See states that the perception is a positive one and that they are well informed, and are more interested in what affects them personally, say if a family member or friend contracted a disease. He maintains that a lot of scientific work is covered in the press, because people are interested in what’s being done.

Draper concedes that there is likely, “Mysticism” around science for people not working in the field or without relatives who work with science. He also points out that people are far more concerned about science when it affects their lives from a health and safety perspective, perhaps as a result of movies and television shows.

Brinkman too, also refers to people likely getting frustrated and simply wondering, “Well how does this apply to me?” But her overall impression is that science is viewed positively. Brinkman goes on to talk about the changing attitudes toward women in science and brings up a humorous anecdote about the recent Higgs boson announcement that a national newspaper covered; but all things considered, she believes that up and coming female scientists need to see female role models, just as anyone in any field likes to see role models they can relate to.

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