SANSFire 2008 – Audit 507 – Day 3

Day three – Auditing Networks, done. Today we covered what it takes to audit a network, including those little things called modems. Remember them? You used to used them to do stuff like, send faxes, connect to your local BBS, or get dial-up Internet access! And, if you’re a poor, unfortunate soul who lives in Vermont, odds are pretty good that you still use one of those modems for dialup access. (Not that I would know anything about that.) Continue reading “SANSFire 2008 – Audit 507 – Day 3”

SANS STI Masters Degree in InfoSec

I just found out that the SANS Technology Institute is offering two Masters degree programs in Information Security. A couple of years ago, I had toyed with the idea of pursuing an MBA, but after realizing that I was already a) making more money than the average MBA graduate right out of school and b) owning my own business and fairly happy with life at the time, I asked myself “why would I want to spend the time and money to get an MBA to change what’s not broken?” Needless to say, since I’m not “Peter Nikolaidis, MBA,” I didn’t pursue that course.
But a Master degree in something that I am very interested in, made up of SANS classes (which, if the one I’m taking is any indication, are very interesting and relevant to what I want to be doing), may be exactly what I’m looking for. Watch this space for details!

Christopher Moore's Blood Sucking Fiends

Just before I left for SANSFire 2008, I decided to down one more of Christopher Moore’s hilarious books, Blood Sucking Fiends. This one, written in 1997, takes place in San Francisco, and centers around Tom, a small-town boy who moves to the city to become a writer, and Jody, who becomes a vampire early in the book and has to cope with her new “life” as an undead.
This book made me laugh, a lot. Moore manages to quickly give you enough background information on the characters that you can get to know them, without losing your interest in the main plot, and every chapter is entertaining. I really liked Moore’s take on the master vampire and his sanctum, which was an interesting spin on Dracula’s ghost ship.
Two thumbs up for Blood Sucking Fiends.

SANSFire 2008 – Audit 507 – Day 2

Today we covered what it takes to audit Cisco (and other) routers and firewalls. I learned a couple of new things about Cisco IOS, but in auditing, we are mainly concerned with ensuring that things are doing what they’re supposd to do, not necessarily configuring or doing in-depth troubleshooting.
Again, we covered tips and techniques to help admins appreciate what the role of an auditor is, and to demonstrate that we’re not “the enemy,” but here to help.
We did a few exercises, including analyzing a router config file (in which every single line of the IOS has errors), reviewing a firewall ruleset with similar errors, and conducting a sample audit on a network of virtual machines. I was exposed to a couple of new (to me) tools made specifically for auditing Cisco routers, RAT and Nipper, which analyze configurations for common problems and present them in a (sometimes) easy to understand report.
The exercises are not as tough as some other training I’ve had, by far, but at the end of the day, I’m definitely feeling that I’ve absorbed enough that I need to take a break and unplug for a while, which is a good thing.

SANSFire 2008 – Audit 507, Day 1

My first day of classes here at SANSFire 2008, where I’m taking their Audit 507 course, is going well. Not having any formal audit training, but still knowing something of the basics (so I thought, anyway), I decide to take the 500-level course as opposed to the intro to auditing. So far, I am happy with this choice, as the first day, which is supposed to get everyone from different auditing backgrounds on the same page with terminology and goals, is not strange to me.
The hotel is nice, and the staff are helpful. However, in order to prepare my Medifast meals I need to use a microwave oven down in the food court area, which is somewhat inconvenient – especially since 3 out of 5 meals a day require heat.
My room’s pretty good too, except there is no refrigerator in it! I’m compensating by maintaining a bucket of ice at all times. Also, the safe is in a drawer which didn’t want to fully open until I really worked to pry it, fortunately without breaking anything.
Allegedly tomorrow’s class, focusing on firewalls and Cisco routers, is the most technical day, and the ones that most folks complain about. Sounds like fun! (no, really!)

Medifast – Stumble!

Two days ago I was just a shade over 190#, down 18# from my starting weight of 208#. Yesterday and today, I weighed in at over 193#. I suspect that I know why. Two days in a row, I “winged it” with my lean portion (sliced turkey meat). I suspect I ate too much. Furthermore, two days ago I dug out some of my old favorite hot sauce, Iguana Gold.
To my dismay, I realized that the second ingredient on the list is cane sugar. Sugar is a big no-no on this diet.
So I’m back on track, and using some Tabasco (much less salt, no sugar, etc.) and paying closer attention to my intake again.

Christopher Moore's Coyote Blue

I’ve been dieting for nearly a month now, but I’m not talking about the Medifast diet, rather the media fast as recommended by the The Four Hour Work Week. Given that I’m spending less time reading hundreds of RSS feeds and listening to dozens of podcasts, in the last month, I’ve read two books (Practical Demonkeeping and Coyote Blue) and listed to two books in audio form (The Four Hour Work Week and The Tipping Point). That’s an nearly four more books per month than my average!
Coyote Blue is a good read. Moore again takes established mythology and challenges what we “know” about said myths, this time interweaving Egyptian and Native American gods. The main supernatural focus of the book is the Indian god Coyote, the trickster. Moore sets him up as a guy you love to hate from the get-go. The other main and supporting characters are largely likeable and memorable, despite their character flaws. I particularly liked “M.F.” (guaranteed not to stand for what you think it stands for) and am looking forward to seeing him in Moore’s other books. I also appreciated the subtle references to Practical Demonkeeping, and how he casually reminds the reader of the previous book.
While this book won’t go down as one of my favorites, I definitely recommend it as a great way to get a few hours of solitary entertainment

ECFiber Finds Underwriter

It was announced this evening at the regular ECFiber governing board meeting that the group, representing 23 towns in east central Vermont with an aim to build a municipal fiber-to-the-home network, is in negotiations with Oppenheimer & Company, Inc. to underwrite an $80M investment to create the network. Sovereign Bank has been hired as a financial advisor on the deal, and Greenberg and Traurig, LLP has been chosen as financial counsel to ECFiber and its member towns.