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Old March 24th, 2009, 12:18 PM   #1
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Default Dumb idea of the day.

TARP.

Dumbest idea from Congress in the last year.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 08:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Something Simpler if TARP gives you a bellyache.

http://billrocks.org/?p=5

Quote:
Building Green Energy Smartly
March 2nd, 2009Author: admin

The Stimulus Plan ambitiously aims to double the installed base of alternative energy in a short three years, so these should be exciting times. However, just throwing money at the problem is a bit like saying “Anyone who wants to invade Iraq will get a 50% tax credit on their expenses.” It wont get the job done, at least not done right.

For example, First Solar just broke the $1/watt barrier. At this manufacturing cost, we could dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil while reducing our greenhouse emissions. However, production at this price depends on cheap availability of a metal called tellurium. First Solar bought about 4% of the world’s supply in 2007, probably enough for a gigawatt or two of new solar panels. To make a huge dent, we want to scale up to a good fraction of a terawatt, and the math doesn’t work out. Also, First Solar has little interest in selling it’s panels for under $2.50/watt, and Obama’s plan gives them reason to believe they can maintain that price. Dell sells dozens of user-customized models of PCs at under 10% margin. Why does First Solar need > 100%? We also have limited production of Indium, a metal used by competitor NanoSolar, who also produce super-cheap solar panels.

Scaling up these technologies rapidly should involve government-scale planning, the way we scaled up military production in WWII. Take the best technologies (meaning cheapest for the most part) in wind, solar cells, solar thermal, nuclear, geothermal, and cookie-cutter replicate them across the land. Instead, we’re just going to give First Solar and others a reason to continue charging too much for their products, while expanding slowly, and at tax-payer expense.
We don't have the two metals in quantity to do it here on Earth. Plus the two metals that we would use are very TOXIC. Bad idea.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 07:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Something comical.

http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7010706498

Paris Hilton is being paid to host a doggy grooming show in the UK.

What?
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Old March 26th, 2009, 08:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

http://www.groovygreen.com/groove/?cat=35

This dumb idea (law) states that you cannot use a capture and collect system to capture, use, and/or sell rainwater that falls on your property.

Yeah.......irrigation thus becomes illegal?
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Old March 26th, 2009, 10:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

http://www.cassyfiano.com/2009/03/du...l-anything-day

Don't Steal Anything Day?
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Old March 26th, 2009, 10:24 PM   #6
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Dumb idea of the day (I just saw this):
1. Riding your bike
2. at night
3 with dark clothing on
4. on the side of a busy freeway
5 against traffic
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Old March 27th, 2009, 08:02 AM   #7
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Today's dumb idea. Renaming Scifi (Skiffy) as Syfy (syphy).

One suggests programming that is peanut butter, while the other suggests the programming is syphilitic.

Real smart there.
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Old March 29th, 2009, 11:37 AM   #8
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Replacing a car battery.

Spoiler
It was raining and I had no choice.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 09:59 AM   #9
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Buying that battery from a very fasmous company.

It died.
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Old March 31st, 2009, 01:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

oh lord!
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Old March 31st, 2009, 08:15 PM   #11
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Better it than me.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 06:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Wireless battery powered keyboards and mice.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 09:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Preparing a sand mold at 9:30 PM. I'll be up all night with it!
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 05:34 PM   #14
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

DMV on Friday.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 01:05 PM   #15
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

DMV on Saturday!
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Old April 4th, 2009, 04:26 PM   #16
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

DMV on any day of the week...you should be able to get your licence renewed and your car registered on the website and not have to drag your butt and stand in line for 3 hours.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 04:45 PM   #17
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

I had that option except that when I tried, the state decided I was DEAD.
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Old April 5th, 2009, 03:04 PM   #18
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Quote:
The Six Dumbest Ideas in Computer Security

There's lots of innovation going on in security - we're inundated with a steady stream of new stuff and it all sounds like it works just great. Every couple of months I'm invited to a new computer security conference, or I'm asked to write a foreword for a new computer security book. And, thanks to the fact that it's a topic of public concern and a "safe issue" for politicians, we can expect a flood of computer security-related legislation from lawmakers. So: computer security is definitely still a "hot topic." But why are we spending all this time and money and still having problems?

Let me introduce you to the six dumbest ideas in computer security. What are they? They're the anti-good ideas. They're the braindamage that makes your $100,000 ASIC-based turbo-stateful packet-mulching firewall transparent to hackers. Where do anti-good ideas come from? They come from misguided attempts to do the impossible - which is another way of saying "trying to ignore reality." Frequently those misguided attempts are sincere efforts by well-meaning people or companies who just don't fully understand the situation, but other times it's just a bunch of savvy entrepreneurs with a well-marketed piece of junk they're selling to make a fast buck. In either case, these dumb ideas are the fundamental reason(s) why all that money you spend on information security is going to be wasted, unless you somehow manage to avoid them.

For your convenience, I've listed the dumb ideas in descending order from the most-frequently-seen. If you can avoid falling into the the trap of the first three, you're among the few true computer security elite.
#1) Default Permit

This dumb idea crops up in a lot of different forms; it's incredibly persistent and difficult to eradicate. Why? Because it's so attractive. Systems based on "Default Permit" are the computer security equivalent of empty calories: tasty, yet fattening.

The most recognizable form in which the "Default Permit" dumb idea manifests itself is in firewall rules. Back in the very early days of computer security, network managers would set up an internet connection and decide to secure it by turning off incoming telnet, incoming rlogin, and incoming FTP. Everything else was allowed through, hence the name "Default Permit." This put the security practitioner in an endless arms-race with the hackers. Suppose a new vulnerability is found in a service that is not blocked - now the administrators need to decide whether to deny it or not, hopefully, before they got hacked. A lot of organizations adopted "Default Permit" in the early 1990's and convinced themselves it was OK because "hackers will never bother to come after us." The 1990's, with the advent of worms, should have killed off "Default Permit" forever but it didn't. In fact, most networks today are still built around the notion of an open core with no segmentation. That's "Default Permit."

Another place where "Default Permit" crops up is in how we typically approach code execution on our systems. The default is to permit anything on your machine to execute if you click on it, unless its execution is denied by something like an antivirus program or a spyware blocker. If you think about that for a few seconds, you'll realize what a dumb idea that is. On my computer here I run about 15 different applications on a regular basis. There are probably another 20 or 30 installed that I use every couple of months or so. I still don't understand why operating systems are so dumb that they let any old virus or piece of spyware execute without even asking me. That's "Default Permit."

A few years ago I worked on analyzing a website's security posture as part of an E-banking security project. The website had a load-balancer in front of it, that was capable of re-vectoring traffic by URL, and my client wanted to use the load-balancer to deflect worms and hackers by re-vectoring attacks to a black hole address. Re-vectoring attacks would have meant adopting a policy of "Default Permit" (i.e.: if it's not a known attack, let it through) but instead I talked them into adopting the opposite approach. The load-balancer was configured to re-vector any traffic not matching a complete list of correctly-structured URLs to a server that serves up image data and 404 pages, which is running a special locked-down configuration. Not surprisingly, that site has withstood the test of time quite well.

One clear symptom that you've got a case of "Default Permit" is when you find yourself in an arms race with the hackers. It means that you've put yourself in a situation where what you don't know can hurt you, and you'll be doomed to playing keep ahead/catch-up.

The opposite of "Default Permit" is "Default Deny" and it is a really good idea. It takes dedication, thought, and understanding to implement a "Default Deny" policy, which is why it is so seldom done. It's not that much harder to do than "Default Permit" but you'll sleep much better at night.

#2) Enumerating Badness

Back in the early days of computer security, there were only a relatively small number of well-known security holes. That had a lot to do with the widespread adoption of "Default Permit" because, when there were only 15 well-known ways to hack into a network, it was possible to individually examine and think about those 15 attack vectors and block them. So security practitioners got into the habit of "Enumerating Badness" - listing all the bad things that we know about. Once you list all the badness, then you can put things in place to detect it, or block it.

Figure 1: The "Badness Gap"

Why is "Enumerating Badness" a dumb idea? It's a dumb idea because sometime around 1992 the amount of Badness in the Internet began to vastly outweigh the amount of Goodness. For every harmless, legitimate, application, there are dozens or hundreds of pieces of malware, worm tests, exploits, or viral code. Examine a typical antivirus package and you'll see it knows about 75,000+ viruses that might infect your machine. Compare that to the legitimate 30 or so apps that I've installed on my machine, and you can see it's rather dumb to try to track 75,000 pieces of Badness when even a simpleton could track 30 pieces of Goodness. In fact, if I were to simply track the 30 pieces of Goodness on my machine, and allow nothing else to run, I would have simultaneously solved the following problems:

* Spyware
* Viruses
* Remote Control Trojans
* Exploits that involve executing pre-installed code that you don't use regularly

Thanks to all the marketing hype around disclosing and announcing vulnerabilities, there are (according to some industry analysts) between 200 and 700 new pieces of Badness hitting the Internet every month. Not only is "Enumerating Badness" a dumb idea, it's gotten dumber during the few minutes of your time you've bequeathed me by reading this article.

Now, your typical IT executive, when I discuss this concept with him or her, will stand up and say something like, "That sounds great, but our enterprise network is really complicated. Knowing about all the different apps that we rely on would be impossible! What you're saying sounds reasonable until you think about it and realize how absurd it is!" To which I respond, "How can you call yourself a 'Chief Technology Officer' if you have no idea what your technology is doing?" A CTO isn't going to know detail about every application on the network, but if you haven't got a vague idea what's going on it's impossible to do capacity planning, disaster planning, security planning, or virtually any of the things in a CTO's charter.

In 1994 I wrote a firewall product that needed some system log analysis routines that would alert the administrator in case some kind of unexpected condition was detected. The first version used "Enumerating Badness" (I've been dumb, too) but the second version used what I termed "Artificial Ignorance" - a process whereby you throw away the log entries you know aren't interesting. If there's anything left after you've thrown away the stuff you know isn't interesting, then the leftovers must be interesting. This approach worked amazingly well, and detected a number of very interesting operational conditions and errors that it simply never would have occurred to me to look for.

"Enumerating Badness" is the idea behind a huge number of security products and systems, from anti-virus to intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, application security, and "deep packet inspection" firewalls. What these programs and devices do is outsource your process of knowing what's good. Instead of you taking the time to list the 30 or so legitimate things you need to do, it's easier to pay $29.95/year to someone else who will try to maintain an exhaustive list of all the evil in the world. Except, unfortunately, your badness expert will get $29.95/year for the antivirus list, another $29.95/year for the spyware list, and you'll buy a $19.95 "personal firewall" that has application control for network applications. By the time you're done paying other people to enumerate all the malware your system could come in contact with, you'll more than double the cost of your "inexpensive" desktop operating system.

One clear symptom that you have a case of "Enumerating Badness" is that you've got a system or software that needs signature updates on a regular basis, or a system that lets past a new worm that it hasn't seen before. The cure for "Enumerating Badness" is, of course, "Enumerating Goodness." Amazingly, there is virtually no support in operating systems for such software-level controls. I've tried using Windows XP Pro's Program Execution Control but it's oriented toward "Enumerating Badness" and is, itself a dumb implementation of a dumb idea.

In a sense, "Enumerating Badness" is a special dumb-case of "Default Permit" - our #1 dumb computer security idea. But it's so prevalent that it's in a class by itself.

#3) Penetrate and Patch

There's an old saying, "You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." It's pretty much true, unless you wind up using so much silk to patch the sow's ear that eventually the sow's ear is completely replaced with silk. Unfortunately, when buggy software is fixed it is almost always fixed through the addition of new code, rather than the removal of old bits of sow's ear.

"Penetrate and Patch" is a dumb idea best expressed in the BASIC programming language:

10 GOSUB LOOK_FOR_HOLES
20 IF HOLE_FOUND = FALSE THEN GOTO 50
30 GOSUB FIX_HOLE
40 GOTO 10
50 GOSUB CONGRATULATE_SELF
60 GOSUB GET_HACKED_EVENTUALLY_ANYWAY
70 GOTO 10

In other words, you attack your firewall/software/website/whatever from the outside, identify a flaw in it, fix the flaw, and then go back to looking. One of my programmer buddies refers to this process as "turd polishing" because, as he says, it doesn't make your code any less smelly in the long run but management might enjoy its improved, shiny, appearance in the short term. In other words, the problem with "Penetrate and Patch" is not that it makes your code/implementation/system better by design, rather it merely makes it toughened by trial and error. Richard Feynman's "Personal Observations on the Reliability of the Space Shuttle" used to be required reading for the software engineers that I hired. It contains some profound thoughts on expectation of reliability and how it is achieved in complex systems. In a nutshell its meaning to programmers is: "Unless your system was supposed to be hackable then it shouldn't be hackable."

"Penetrate and Patch" crops up all over the place, and is the primary dumb idea behind the current fad (which has been going on for about 10 years) of vulnerability disclosure and patch updates. The premise of the "vulnerability researchers" is that they are helping the community by finding holes in software and getting them fixed before the hackers find them and exploit them. The premise of the vendors is that they are doing the right thing by pushing out patches to fix the bugs before the hackers and worm-writers can act upon them. Both parties, in this scenario, are being dumb because if the vendors were writing code that had been designed to be secure and reliable then vulnerability discovery would be a tedious and unrewarding game, indeed!

Let me put it to you in different terms: if "Penetrate and Patch" was effective, we would have run out of security bugs in Internet Explorer by now. What has it been? 2 or 3 a month for 10 years? If you look at major internet applications you'll find that there are a number that consistently have problems with security vulnerabilities. There are also a handful, like PostFix, Qmail, etc, that were engineered to be compartmented against themselves, with modularized permissions and processing, and - not surprisingly - they have histories of amazingly few bugs. The same logic applies to "penetration testing." There are networks that I know of which have been "penetration tested" any number of times and are continually getting hacked to pieces. That's because their design (or their security practices) are so fundamentally flawed that no amount of turd polish is going to keep the hackers out. It just keeps managers and auditors off of the network administrator's backs. I know other networks that it is, literally, pointless to "penetration test" because they were designed from the ground up to be permeable only in certain directions and only to certain traffic destined to carefully configured servers running carefully secured software. Running a "penetration test" for Apache bugs is completely pointless against a server that is running a custom piece of C code that is running in a locked-down portion of an embedded system. So, "Penetrate and Patch" is pointless either because you know you're going to find an endless litany of bugs, or because you know you're not going to find anything comprehensible. Pointless is dumb.

One clear symptom that you've got a case of "Penetrate and Patch " is when you find that your system is always vulnerable to the "bug of the week." It means that you've put yourself in a situation where every time the hackers invent a new weapon, it works against you. Doesn't that sound dumb? Your software and systems should be secure by design and should have been designed with flaw-handling in mind.

#4) Hacking is Cool

One of the best ways to get rid of cockroaches in your kitchen is to scatter bread-crumbs under the stove, right? Wrong! That's a dumb idea. One of the best ways to discourage hacking on the Internet is to give the hackers stock options, buy the books they write about their exploits, take classes on "extreme hacking kung fu" and pay them tens of thousands of dollars to do "penetration tests" against your systems, right? Wrong! "Hacking is Cool" is a really dumb idea.

Around the time I was learning to walk, Donn Parker was researching the behavioral aspects of hacking and computer security. He says it better than I ever could:
"Remote computing freed criminals from the historic requirement of proximity to their crimes. Anonymity and freedom from personal victim confrontation increased the emotional ease of crime, i.e., the victim was only an inanimate computer, not a real person or enterprise. Timid people could become criminals. The proliferation of identical systems and means of use and the automation of business made possible and improved the economics of automating crimes and constructing powerful criminal tools and scripts with great leverage."

Hidden in Parker's observation is the awareness that hacking is a social problem. It's not a technology problem, at all. "Timid people could become criminals." The Internet has given a whole new form of elbow-room to the badly socialized borderline personality. The #4th dumbest thing information security practitioners can do is implicitly encourage hackers by lionizing them. The media plays directly into this, by portraying hackers, variously, as "whiz kids" and "brilliant technologists" - of course if you're a reporter for CNN, anyone who can install Linux probably does qualify as a "brilliant technologist" to you. I find it interesting to compare societal reactions to hackers as "whiz kids" versus spammers as "sleazy con artists." I'm actually heartened to see that the spammers, phishers, and other scammers are adopting the hackers and the techniques of the hackers - this will do more to reverse society's view of hacking than any other thing we could do.

If you're a security practitioner, teaching yourself how to hack is also part of the "Hacking is Cool" dumb idea. Think about it for a couple of minutes: teaching yourself a bunch of exploits and how to use them means you're investing your time in learning a bunch of tools and techniques that are going to go stale as soon as everyone has patched that particular hole. It means you've made part of your professional skill-set dependent on "Penetrate and Patch" and you're going to have to be part of the arms-race if you want that skill-set to remain relevant and up-to-date. Wouldn't it be more sensible to learn how to design security systems that are hack-proof than to learn how to identify security systems that are dumb?

My prediction is that the "Hacking is Cool" dumb idea will be a dead idea in the next 10 years. I'd like to fantasize that it will be replaced with its opposite idea, "Good Engineering is Cool" but so far there is no sign that's likely to happen.

#5) Educating Users

"Penetrate and Patch" can be applied to human beings, as well as software, in the form of user education. On the surface of things, the idea of "Educating Users" seems less than dumb: education is always good. On the other hand, like "Penetrate and Patch" if it was going to work, it would have worked by now. There have been numerous interesting studies that indicate that a significant percentage of users will trade their password for a candy bar, and the Anna Kournikova worm showed us that nearly 1/2 of humanity will click on anything purporting to contain nude pictures of semi-famous females. If "Educating Users" is the strategy you plan to embark upon, you should expect to have to "patch" your users every week. That's dumb.

The real question to ask is not "can we educate our users to be better at security?" it is "why do we need to educate our users at all?" In a sense, this is another special case of "Default Permit" - why are users getting executable attachments at all? Why are users expecting to get E-mails from banks where they don't have accounts? Most of the problems that are addressable through user education are self-correcting over time. As a younger generation of workers moves into the workforce, they will come pre-installed with a healthy skepticism about phishing and social engineering.

Dealing with things like attachments and phishing is another case of "Default Permit" - our favorite dumb idea. After all, if you're letting all of your users get attachments in their E-mail you're "Default Permit"ing anything that gets sent to them. A better idea might be to simply quarantine all attachments as they come into the enterprise, delete all the executables outright, and store the few file types you decide are acceptable on a staging server where users can log in with an SSL-enabled browser (requiring a password will quash a lot of worm propagation mechanisms right away) and pull them down. There are freeware tools like MIMEDefang that can be easily harnessed to strip attachments from incoming E-mails, write them to a per-user directory, and replace the attachment in the E-mail message with a URL to the stripped attachment. Why educate your users how to cope with a problem if you can just drive a stake through the problem's heart?

When I was CEO of a small computer security start-up we didn't have a Windows system administrator. All of the employees who wanted to run Windows had to know how to install it and manage it themselves, or they didn't get hired in the first place. My prediction is that in 10 years users that need education will be out of the high-tech workforce entirely, or will be self-training at home in order to stay competitive in the job market. My guess is that this will extend to knowing not to open weird attachments from strangers.

#6) Action is Better Than Inaction

IT executives seem to break down into two categories: the "early adopters" and the "pause and thinkers." Over the course of my career, I've noticed that dramatically fewer of the "early adopters" build successful, secure, mission-critical systems. This is because they somehow believe that "Action is Better Than Inaction" - i.e.: if there's a new whizzbang, it's better to install it right now than to wait, think about it, watch what happens to the other early adopters, and then deploy the technology once it's fully sorted-out and has had its first generation of experienced users. I know one senior IT executive - one of the "pause and thinkers" whose plan for doing a wireless roll-out for their corporate network was "wait 2 years and hire a guy who did a successful wireless deployment for a company larger than us." Not only will the technology be more sorted-out by then, it'll be much, much cheaper. What an utterly brilliant strategy!

There's an important corollary to the "Action is Better Than Inaction" dumb idea, and it's that:
"It is often easier to not do something dumb than it is to do something smart."
Sun Tzu didn't really write that in "The Art of War" but if you tell IT executives that he did, they'll take you much more seriously when you counsel a judicious, thoughtful approach to fielding some new whizzbang. To many of my clients, I have been counselling, "hold off on outsourcing your security for a year or two and then get recommendations and opinions from the bloody, battered survivors - if there are any."

You can see the "Action is Better Than Inaction" dumb idea all over corporate networks and it tends to correlate with senior IT managers that make their product-purchasing decisions by reading Gartner research reports and product glossies from vendors. If you find yourself in the chain of command of such a manager, I sincerely hope you've enjoyed this article because you're probably far better acquainted with dumbness than I am.

One extremely useful piece of management kung-fu to remember, if you find yourself up against an "early adopter" is to rely on your peers. Several years ago I had a client who was preparing to spend a ton of money on a technology without testing it operationally. I suggested offhandedly to the senior IT manager in charge that he should send one of his team to a relevant conference (in this case, LISA) where it was likely that someone with hands-on experience with the technology would be in attendance. I proposed that the manager have his employee put a message on the "meet and greet" bulletin board that read:
"Do you have hands-on experience with xyz from pdq.com? If so, I'm authorized to take you to dinner at Ruth's Chris if you promise to give me the low-down on the product off the record. Contact, etc..." The IT manager later told me that a $200 dinner expense saved them over $400,000 worth of hellish technological trauma.

It really is easier to not do something dumb than it is to do something smart. The trick is, when you avoid doing something dumb, to make sure your superiors know you navigated around a particularly nasty sand-bar and that you get appropriate credit for being smart. Isn't that the ultimate expression of professional kung-fu? To get credit for not doing anything?!

The Minor Dumbs

These dumb ideas didn't quite merit status as "The Dumbest" ideas in computer security, but they're pretty dumb and deserve mention in passing:

* "We're Not a Target" - yes, you are. Worms aren't smart enough to realize that your web site/home network isn't interesting.
* "Everyone would be secure if they all just ran <security-flavor-of-the-month>" - no, they wouldn't. Operating systems have security problems because they are complex and system administration is not a solved problem in computing. Until someone manages to solve system administration, switching to the flavor-of-the-month is going to be more damaging because you're making it harder for your system administrators to gain a level of expertise that only comes with time.
* "We don't need a firewall, we have good host security" - no, you don't. If your network fabric is untrustworthy every single application that goes across the network is potentially a target. 3 words: Domain Naming System.
* "We don't need host security, we have a good firewall" - no, you don't. If your firewall lets traffic through to hosts behind it, then you need to worry about the host security of those systems.
* "Let's go production with it now and we can secure it later" - no, you won't. A better question to ask yourself is "If we don't have time to do it correctly now, will we have time to do it over once it's broken?" Sometimes, building a system that is in constant need of repair means you will spend years investing in turd polish because you were unwilling to spend days getting the job done right in the first place.
* "We can't stop the occasional problem" - yes, you can. Would you travel on commercial airliners if you thought that the aviation industry took this approach with your life? I didn't think so.

Goodbye and Good Luck

I've tried to keep this light-hearted, but my message is serious. Computer security is a field that has fallen far too deeply in love with the whizzbang-of-the-week and has forsaken common sense. Your job, as a security practitioner, is to question - if not outright challenge - the conventional wisdom and the status quo. After all, if the conventional wisdom was working, the rate of systems being compromised would be going down, wouldn't it?

mjr.
Morrisdale, PA Sept 1, 2005
(A big "thank you" goes to Abe Singer and Tina Bird for contributing a couple dumb ideas, and to Paul Robertson and Fred Avolio for acting as the test choir)
http://www.ranum.com/security/comput...itorials/dumb/
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Old April 6th, 2009, 04:47 PM   #19
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Paying the water bill online.
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Old April 11th, 2009, 07:04 PM   #20
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Moe dumb ideas.........
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Old April 11th, 2009, 07:10 PM   #21
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Wal Mart advertising campaign.

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Old April 11th, 2009, 07:12 PM   #22
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Quote:
2. Northwest Airlines
And don't forget, you only need one kidney...
In July, bankrupt Northwest Airlines begins laying off thousands of ground workers, but not before issuing some of them a handy guide, "101 Ways to Save Money."

The advice includes dumpster diving ("Don't be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash"), making your own baby food, shredding old newspapers for use as cat litter, and taking walks in the woods as a low-cost dating alternative.
There are 99 more at this link:

http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2007/...st_2007/2.html
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Old April 11th, 2009, 07:14 PM   #23
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Quote:
In From the Cold

Musings on Life, Love, Politics, Military Affairs, the Media, the Intelligence Community and Just About Anything Else that Captures Our Interest
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
One of the Dumbest Ideas We've Heard

From Noah Shachtman at the Danger Room:

Army Squeezes Soldier Blogs, Maybe to Death

"The U.S. Army has ordered soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages, without first clearing the content with a superior officer, Wired News has learned. The directive, issued April 19, is the sharpest restriction on troops' online activities since the start of the Iraq war. And it could mean the end of military blogs, observers say."

Under the new policy, commanders would have to approve the content of every new blog entry or personal e-mail before they are posted or sent. Give me a break. At one point in my career, I was a flight commander in an Air Force battle management squadron, with 30 aircrew members under my supervision (this was just before the Internet era). Even at that level of command, the ban would be unenforceable. Flight commanders, platoon leaders, company, battalion and brigade commanders have better things to do than monitor the internet activity of their subordinates. Now, think about trying to regulate the on-line activity of entire Air Force squadron (100 or more personnel); an Army or Marine battalion (400 members), or the USS Carl Vinson (with a crew of more than 5,000).

As a former spook, I can certainly understand the need for OPSEC. But as someone who's also spent some time in the realm of information operations (IO), I also appreciate the importance of the "new media" (including the blogs) in getting our story out, bypassing the traditional bias and filters of the MSM.

The new Army directive is simply a mind-numbingly bad idea, pure and simple. And it's introduction is more than a bit ironic. While the Army is trying to limit the participation of its soldiers in the blogosphere, other elements of the military are actively engaging the same community, including U.S. Central Command (which is participating in the MilBlog Conference this weekend), and more recently, U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), which has launched its own outreach program. The Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) has even published a monograph on the subject, outlining the possible advantages of "blog-based operations" in conjunction with IO campaigns.

Clearly, some segments of the military understand the importance (and advantages) of the blogosphere. It's sad that the Army is lagging far--and miserably--behind.
Found here:

http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2007...eve-heard.html
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Old April 11th, 2009, 07:17 PM   #24
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Investing in Citigroup......

Quote:
The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week
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Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street: Oct. 31

10/31/08 - 12:31 AM EDT
XOM , MS , GS , CS , DB , DDS , NYT , C
Gregg Greenberg
Gregg Greenberg

Remorse for Rubin
Just go to Washington, Bob. It's not like you're doing much good at Citigroup (C Quote).

* Editor's Picks
* Microsoft Investors, You Have Been Warned
* Facebook: The IPO That Wasn't Nor Will Be
* Cramer: Forecasts for GM and H-P in 2009
* Synovus Shows Why Banks Aren't Lending
* JPMorgan Chase Braces for 'Noisy' Quarter

* Market Activity
*
Credit Suisse Group ADS| CS
UP
*
Deutsche Bank AG ordinary shares| DB
UP

Or anything at all for that matter.

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary and current Citigroup board member Robert Rubin is an adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, giving rise to questions about whether he'll return to politics.

Rubin, though, says no. "I'm not going back to Washington," Rubin told CNN's Fareed Zakaria on Sunday. "Senator Obama knows that it is not my view of my own life to go in that direction."

We at the Five Dumbest Lab wish Rubin would reconsider. Not for the good of the country, but for the good of Citi.

The reputation of the former Goldman Sachs(NYT Quote) golden boy has been somewhat tarnished since he left the nation's Capitol. Rubin, the man credited with saving the financial world in the 1998 currency crisis, and who President Clinton once called, "the greatest secretary of the Treasury since Alexander Hamilton," joined Citigroup in October 1999, when the stock was trading at $36 a share. Now it's at $13 and the prognosis does not look positive.

Since Rubin's arrival, Citigroup has suffered through (in no particular order): a research scandal (remember Jack Grubman?), unfavorable ties to Enron, CEO Chuck Prince's subprime lending spree, thousands of employee layoffs and, most recently, billions of dollars in writedowns due to the housing bust.

In reward for overseeing -- or perhaps overlooking -- this high profile string of failures, Rubin has pocketed more than $118 million in salary, bonus and stock-based compensation. Surely he can live off his savings if he takes the pay cut to $191,300 as Obama's Treasury Secretary.

Citi's latest strategic decision may be its biggest blunder. It was revealed this week that Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein called Citi CEO Vikram Pandit in September about a possible merger, but the Citigroup CEO immediately rejected the proposal.

Pandit surely must have informed Citi's senior counselor that Rubin's old firm was interested in getting together. As for us, we don't understand why Blankfein made the call in the first place.
Continue here:

http://www.thestreet.com/story/10445...et-oct-31.html
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Old April 11th, 2009, 07:20 PM   #25
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

Dumb product contest?



How about a bicycle made out of gold?

http://austinontwowheels.org/2009/03...nia-gold-bike/
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Old April 11th, 2009, 07:24 PM   #26
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Default Re: Dumb idea of the day.

How about the "Dumbest Generation"?

Quote:
BOOK REVIEW
'The Dumbest Generation' by Mark Bauerlein
How dumb are we? Thanks to the Internet, dumb and dumber, this author writes.
By Lee Drutman, Special to The Times
July 5, 2008

In the four minutes it probably takes to read this review, you will have logged exactly half the time the average 15- to 24-year-old now spends reading each day. That is, if you even bother to finish. If you are perusing this on the Internet, the big block of text below probably seems daunting, maybe even boring. Who has the time? Besides, one of your Facebook friends might have just posted a status update!

www.RTOsearch.com
Such is the kind of recklessly distracted impatience that makes Mark Bauerlein fear for his country. "As of 2008," the 49-year-old professor of English at Emory University writes in "The Dumbest Generation," "the intellectual future of the United States looks dim."

The way Bauerlein sees it, something new and disastrous has happened to America's youth with the arrival of the instant gratification go-go-go digital age. The result is, essentially, a collective loss of context and history, a neglect of "enduring ideas and conflicts." Survey after painstakingly recounted survey reveals what most of us already suspect: that America's youth know virtually nothing about history and politics. And no wonder. They have developed a "brazen disregard of books and reading."

Things were not supposed to be this way. After all, "never have the opportunities for education, learning, political action, and cultural activity been greater," writes Bauerlein, a former director of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. But somehow, he contends, the much-ballyhooed advances of this brave new world have not only failed to materialize -- they've actually made us dumber.

The problem is that instead of using the Web to learn about the wide world, young people instead mostly use it to gossip about each other and follow pop culture, relentlessly keeping up with the ever-shifting lingua franca of being cool in school. The two most popular websites by far among students are Facebook and MySpace. "Social life is a powerful temptation," Bauerlein explains, "and most teenagers feel the pain of missing out."

This ceaseless pipeline of peer-to-peer activity is worrisome, he argues, not only because it crowds out the more serious stuff but also because it strengthens what he calls the "pull of immaturity." Instead of connecting them with parents, teachers and other adult figures, "[t]he web . . . encourages more horizontal modeling, more raillery and mimicry of people the same age." When Bauerlein tells an audience of college students, "You are six times more likely to know who the latest American Idol is than you are to know who the speaker of the U.S. House is," a voice in the crowd tells him: " 'American Idol' IS more important."

Bauerlein also frets about the nature of the Internet itself, where people "seek out what they already hope to find, and they want it fast and free, with a minimum of effort." In entering a world where nobody ever has to stick with anything that bores or challenges them, "going online habituates them to juvenile mental habits."

And all this feeds on itself. Increasingly disconnected from the "adult" world of tradition, culture, history, context and the ability to sit down for more than five minutes with a book, today's digital generation is becoming insulated in its own stultifying cocoon of bad spelling, civic illiteracy and endless postings that hopelessly confuse triviality with transcendence. Two-thirds of U.S. undergraduates now score above average on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, up 30% since 1982, he reports.

At fault is not just technology but also a newly indulgent attitude among parents, educators and other mentors, who, Bauerlein argues, lack the courage to risk "being labeled a curmudgeon and a reactionary."

But is he? The natural (and anticipated) response would indeed be to dismiss him as your archetypal cranky old professor who just can't understand why "kids these days" don't find Shakespeare as timeless as he always has. Such alarmism ignores the context and history he accuses the youth of lacking -- the fact that mass ignorance and apathy have always been widespread in anti-intellectual America, especially among the youth. Maybe something is different this time. But, of course. Something is different every time.

The book's ultimate doomsday scenario -- of a dull and self-absorbed new generation of citizens falling prey to demagoguery and brazen power grabs -- seems at once overblown (witness, for example, this election season's youth reengagement in politics) and also yesterday's news (haven't we always been perilously close to this, if not already suffering from it?). But amid the sometimes annoyingly frantic warning bells that ding throughout "The Dumbest Generation," there are also some keen insights into how the new digital world really is changing the way young people engage with information and the obstacles they face in integrating any of it meaningfully. These are insights that educators, parents and other adults ignore at their peril.

Lee Drutman is co-author of "The People's Business: Controlling Corporations and Restoring Democracy."

The Dumbest Generation
How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future, or Don't Trust Anyone Under 30 Mark Bauerlein

Tarcher/Penguin: 272 pp., $24.95
http://www.latimes.com/features/book...,3980465.story

Well duh!
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