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Security on the Wire

Bill Alderson

Bill Alderson is CEO and co-founder of HOPZERO. He has been involved with network security since 1980, where he began analyzing secure networks for Lockheed. Formerly Technology Officer of NetQoS/CA Technologies, he is a deep packet analyst, and was an integral member of the 9/11 Pentagon restoral team. Alderson has trained over 50,000 network forensic professionals through his Certified NetAnalyst program, and has assisted 75 Fortune 100 companies with network security needs. He was deployed six times with US Central Command to Iraq and Afghanistan to provide deep packet analysis for large-scale network Department of Defense biometric network systems.
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Recent Posts

Keeping Data on a Short Leash to Avoid Breaches

/ by Bill Alderson posted in data breach, data limits

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Remembering 9/11: "Being Ready for the Call"

/ by Bill Alderson posted in cyber protection, network security

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As we move closer to another anniversary of 9/11, I'm reminded of the opportunity my team and I had, just days after the attack, to serve my country by assisting with communication recovery for a besieged Pentagon.

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eWeek: "HOPZERO and 'Mission Impossible' - Where Data Self-Destructs"

/ by Bill Alderson posted in network security, hop value, internet security firewall, server security

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It’s not often you find out your company has something in common with the classic show, Mission: Impossible.

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Why Does Your Server Speak Russian? 

/ by Bill Alderson posted in network security, hop value, internet security firewall, firewall security

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We all know how firewalls work; they prevent packets from passing through self-imposed barriers. But they don't limit how far packets go once they pass the threshold. 

The big question many U.S. organization database managers need to ask themselves is: is my server carrying high-value data to unfriendly countries? Firewalls are in place, but data is still leaking.

Is there anything else I can do to stop it?

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"The Curious Case of Don Draper and the Mysterious TCP Reset"

/ by Bill Alderson posted in network security

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It is interesting to think about what Don Draper, the famed creative director on AMC’s Mad Men (played by Jon Hamm), would do in the 21st-century if his advertising firm’s delivery of time-sensitive media were disrupted.

How would he handle cyber-crime and other critical IT failures when the advertising of his Fortune 500 clients was on the line?

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[VIDEO] Everything You Always Wanted to Know About HOP Counts in Networking

/ by Bill Alderson posted in data breach

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Even some experienced security professionals don't always know the ins and outs of hop counts in networking. Because whether you're trying to figure out the traceroute number of hops or simply want a hop count example to give you clarity, it's important, as a network security professional, you see the 10,000-foot, big-picture level, before you dig into the trenches of things like hopcount in rip and network hops command.

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What the Antiquated Bank ATM Can Teach Us About Database Security

/ by Bill Alderson posted in golden goose server, data limits, firewall security, network security

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Though the automated teller machine (ATM) may soon go the way of the eight-track and the VHS player — with automation features such as direct deposit and debit cards now available, few people use ATMs — there was a time when the ATM was the primary way most people checked their account balance and obtained cash. (Not to mention college students looking to fund their next box of macaroni and cheese.)

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Grey's Anatomy Hospital Hack: "It's Getting Hot in Here..."

/ by Bill Alderson posted in healthcare

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In its fall cliffhanger episode, ABC Television’s Grey’s Anatomy touched on a vital new issue in our world: cyber terror.

(Note: The following contains spoiler alerts for the final episode of the season.)

The hospital is panicked as hackers demand millions in ransom to lower the heat. It is sheer pandemonium as a hacked heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system wreaks havoc on patients and staff alike.

The TV drama showcases a comedic series of events as characters deal with the “crisis of the hour." Producers of the show manage to bring the issue to the small screen with a bit of a laugh; staff are able to open the locked door to the blood supply room by shocking the keypad with a defibrillator.

But the reality of this possibly happening in real life is a bit scarier.

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Thoughts on the Hawaii Missile Alert

/ by Bill Alderson

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On an otherwise peaceful morning on January 13th, Hawaiian residents and visitors were horrified to receive a warning on their mobile phones instructing them to “seek immediate shelter” due to an imminent missile attack.

The message ended with the simple, yet gut-wrenching: “This is not a drill.”

Vacationing NPR reporter Tamara Keith was on Oahu when the warning sounded. As she commented on NPR News, the warning was especially frightening, as an attack “is plausible.” With heightened tensions between thed United States and North Korea, in particular, Hawaiian residents—and Americans in general—fear for their security.

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How to Keep Your Server Safe (and Your To-Do List Manageable)

/ by Bill Alderson posted in hop value, data limits, data breach, server security, server security measures

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Takeaways:

  • A “Crown Jewel” server is defined as one storing high-value data.
  • Nearly every large organization has one or more of these servers.
  • The word “catastrophic” is grossly insufficient to describe a possible compromise. 
  • Building the "biggest castle" around your server may not be the answer.

Executives worry about their “Crown Jewel Server,” and for good reason. They are often packed with industry secrets, financial data, private client information, and other highly private information…and usually they are unnecessarily unsecure

And they require a healthy amount of time, energy (and money) to safeguard—depriving you  of the chance to direct your resources elsewhere.

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