The Perfect Software Security – An Unattainable Holy Grail

Conflict is as much a part of human nature as much as eating and sleeping are. It’s an software security attack defenseinstinct, embedded deep into the primordial, animal side of our brain. And in every conflict there are two sides: the one that is attacking and the one that is reacting to that attack. The side that adapts faster is the one that wins.

Attackers will set an objective for themselves and they will probe and prod at their victim’s defenses until they punch through. In turn, defenders need to anticipate the attacker’s goal and focus their efforts and resources in to preventing the attacker’s success. It a good old fashion arms race and these basic mechanics of combat are the reason why attacking is considered far easier than defending. Continue reading

A Cry for Freeware

Freeware and demos still matterFreeware, trial versions and demo software applications have gotten an incredibly bad reputation over the last decade or so. What once started as a mechanic meant to help, above all others, the user, was twisted and deformed by aggressive marketers in an instrument of propaganda and into an advertising machine. Filled with brand-exposure strategies, like traps and hidden (or at the very least less-than-obvious) components and side features, like browser taskbars, homepage modifications, desktop web-link shortcuts and other forms of invasive and intrusive behavior has made people very suspicious of this software category. Free demonstrations applications have also been used by hackers as a medium to distribute malware and computer viruses, which only contributed to their bad reputation.

Unfortunately, this has made users give free demos a wide berth and steer clear from them.

Today’s mercantile, competitive market has also promoted a very linear train of thought: if it’s cheap, it lacks quality. Filled with cynicism, we’ve also concluded that if something is free, than it’s a trap. I mean, there has to be a hidden catch somewhere, right? Nothing in life is free. Everyone pays the ferryman, one way or another. Continue reading

What Software Is Really Running on Your Office Computers? Video Games

Taking a break and unwinding is not a luxury, but a necessity of the working cycle. We saw that working for 8, or even 9 hours straight is counterproductive.  But how far can one go with entertainment during his lunch break before he goes too far? The limit exists, but the line that should not be crossed is a rather broad one and is anything but straight. Still, going too far is unacceptable, for the possible damages far outweigh the benefits.

The argument that “it’s my break, I’m on my time so I can do anything” is childish and irresponsible.

Just because we are on our break, it does not mean that we’ve been temporarily absolved of our responsibilities towards the company. A little bit of Solitaire or a good run through Minefield might be just what you need to unwind during the break. The games don’t even need to be limited to the Windows classics, but a problem can arise when those games get a little bit too advanced. Even if they are on their break, playing, say Battlefield 3 or Borderlands 2, it can seem unprofessional to your fellow colleagues and even more so to a business client that comes into the office for a meeting. Continue reading

Software managers – the viable solution

We live in an age where the combination of a computer and the Internet is the closest thing to absolute freedom that the human civilization has ever experienced. The freedom and means to access information, the freedom to manipulate, use and redistribute that information is a dream come true for any idealist. It’s an intellectual utopia.

But when this dream is confronted with reality, the truth is that uncollared freedom is chaos; it’s anarchy. And this is true especially for a business, where people have, if not a designated role, than at least a well-defined purpose and responsibility within the company.

As such, driven by self-preservation, the IT world has taken several steps to regulate both the internet and the imagination-machine. At their core, these steps are meant to monitor, index and report activity in such a way that abuse and excess can be avoided.

These steps may seem to be intrusive or shackling, a digital Big Brother hanging over your shoulder when you try to work, but in truth the concept is viable.

A software application that indexes the content of a computer is a solution that can prevent an uncontrolled, unproductive workplace environment.

The reason why this works is because power does not reside in the hands of the observer. This isn’t a dictatorship. Power is shared between the software that monitors all of the company’s workstations and the person that analyzes this information and makes the actual decisions, be it the IT Manager or even the CEO. The software can receive certain rules to automate the process and operate without a need for constant supervision, but in the end, power is still in the hands of the user. Until Skynet awakens.