Friday, April 17, 2009

Data Rustler

The best thing to come out of the Texas Lege since....ever.
A bill passed through the state senate increasing the penalty on hacking at the critical infrastructures we got down here Texas-way. (State jail penalty, no less.)

But I'm not talking about the law, but the language of the lawmaker. From the Austin American Statesman -

"[Sen. Kel S]eliger, R-Amarillo, who on Thursday passed through the Senate a bill that would increase penalties for cattle rustling, laughed at the suggestion that today’s bill was of the same genre.

“Yes, it’s going after data rustlers,” he said."

DATA RUSTLERS! YES! I now abandon "hacker," "cracker," "identity thief," and all other similarly situated nouns in favor of the term coined by the gentleman from Amarillo.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


After a once over, I'm curious as to the value of the Verizon Business "Data Britches Report."

A couple questions/comments I had on the first read:
1. The document really needs a glossary. It's hard to parse the special meaning assigned to certain words and phrases as they recur throughout the document. For example: "data breach" "record" "incident" and "errors and omissions," the last of which didn't mean what I thought it would mean ("negligence and "non-compliance" seem to convey more of what was intended. When I think E&O, I think "malpractice.")
2. Is the skew toward "outsider" threats due to the type of service that VB offers? Actually, is the skew of all the data because of the type and quality of service that VB offers? Hell, VB admits to whacked out skew. So give me some damages! Or, at least give me a standard deviation, if you are going to skew that way.
3. Where are my scatter plots? Some get these guys some visualization skills.
4. Lumping intellectual property breaches with credit card and NPI in cumulative stats seems wrong to me. I reminds me of an article I read about computer crime that included statistics on hacking, toll fraud and the hijacking of trucks that carried computer chips. That was maybe 12 years ago, or more. This sort of loose affiliation of crimes, torts and misbehavior shovelled under a skirt called "cyber" makes less sense everytime I read a "cyber" this or that. How about words like fraud, impersonation, crime, non-compliance?
5. About half way through, I got the feeling that I was reading a DEA document about the War on Crime. A focus on the incident, without a look at what caused the incident. Who got the money? Why are they stealing data? Is this "cyber" or just fraud? Is it a war we can win? Have we just turned the corner?

Gimme something substantive for a conversation, not just re-hashed status reports that may be misleading.

(Just noticed that Brooke at New School wrote similar comments. I am not alone.