Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where is MY money?

I have been catching up on a few news items - and I needed a break from my expense reports.

The news item that just floored me was the one about US Banks not telling where the public bailout funds are going.

Wait a minute - WTF???? I just spent an hour tediously combing through receipts to justify where my money was spent on behalf of my employer and the banking bozos don't need to do that with my money?

Hmmm. For a sector that is so concerned with transparency, auditability, justification, and bean counting - it doesn't mean sh*t. These execs just used my money and they won't tell me what for, nor will the Government that lent it to them and is charged with protecting my interests.

I am thinking that this country is now pedal to the medal on self distruction.

The government takes my money. Then lends it to institutions that claim to not have any, and then expects nothing in return. I don't get it.

Could you imagine if we stopped paying taxes? Put on our W-4 that we have 35 dependents, and refused (or chose not) to justify them? Told the government that I choose not to pay taxes since they cannot tell me where the money is going nor prove that they are acting in my best interests? Hah. Good one.

The US Government just gave Billions of money to their Junkie sibling. Textbook enabling behavior in a breathtaking systemic fashion. And the spin merchants tell us that the world economy will collapse.

No it won't - it will have one hell of a correction, but it won't collapse. People will freak out, get the fear out of their systems and then get back to work building stuff, trading stuff, figuring it all out.

Where is Barney Frank - the chief architect in this fine mess? Nice oversight. Barney Rubble would do a better job. Can we impeach this knucklehead?

It would seem that those of us who are in this segment of IT - Identity/Security/Audit have more work to do. Systemic work. Trust but verify work. The kind of work that we are capable of - providing proof that what the US Government did was idiotic, and what the financial institutions are doing is criminal.

And don't think that some of us can't prove it.

I think there is an unprecedented opportunity out there for the identity theives and hackers, the black hats with an ax to grind - embarassment at unprecedented levels within the global financial instutions and government(s). If money has little value, the currency of information just shot up like a 2 liter of Diet Coke with a fistful of Mentos in it.

Being able to prove what these companies themselves are 'choosing' not to - That they have taken what is ours (money) and they will have to account for it - or it will be done for them by the very people they took it from.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Billion - Defined

This has little if anything to do with identity, however this email really blew my mind and I felt compelled to post it. Enjoy...

How many zeros in a billion? This is too true to be funny.

The next time you hear a politician use the word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective.

A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

C. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

D. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth.

E. A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.

While this thought is still fresh in our brain, let's take a look at New Orleans ...
It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division.

Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D)is asking Congress for
250 BILLION DOLLARS to rebuild New Orleans Interesting number... what does it mean?

Well... if you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans
(every man, woman, and child)
you each get $516,528.

Or... if you have one of the 188,251 homes in
New Orleans, your home gets $1,329,787.

Or... if you are a family of four...
your family gets $2,066,012.

Washington , D. C - HELLO!
Are all your calculators broken??

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges ( tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax< br> Real Estate Tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemploy ment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal
Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax


Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago...
and our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

We had absolutely no national debt....
We had the largest middle class in the world...
and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened?
Can you spell 'politicians!'
And I still have to
press '1'
for English.

What happened?????

Friday, December 05, 2008

Did they find the Holy Grail?

A friend of mine had contacted me a few days ago and given me a heads up on what NetVision was up to. As a follower of the blog, he knew that I had been banging the drum about Audit as a Service, and SaaS-ing the identity space.

What NetVision seems to have done is to automate, using best practices, the cost of an audit and/or auditing at least on the inside of your company your identity based controls. Imagine, a way to have data collected, in a standarized way, without it going through layers of interpretation. Sounds like the dog is back wagging the tail.

Netvision says it's delivered on an appliance. I wonder if a Virtual Appliance is too far behind, as that would give us a very portable, standardized, low maintenance option to further mitigate audit costs, and proactively address significant risks.

If anyone tries it let me know. I will post feedback and change names to protect the innocent.

From Netvision's site:

SIMON is built on a platform that has been refined over the past decade merging proven technology with unparalleled expertise. It combines the ability to filter for relevant results with real-time monitoring, from-the-source data collection, and a powerful reporting engine. SIMON extracts and aggregates information from core network directories and file systems by monitoring user accounts, access rights, administrative changes, and user activity. The result is a flexible, hassle-free platform that delivers the exact answers you want.

"What we've done" explains NetVision CEO, David Rowe, "is remove the obstacles and pre-requisites to establishing an effective best-practice audit." The SIMON service includes all required hardware, software, installation, configuration, and maintenance. In addition, SIMON delivers years of knowledge and best-practices in the form of pre-configured templates, policies, and reports.

With SIMON, NetVision continues to provide value around core network operating system directories and related file systems from Microsoft™ and Novell™. NetVision's Matt Flynn adds "These platforms are the launch pad into the network. They provide initial authentication, file and print services, and are often used to grant access to applications across the network such as web portals, VPNs, and identity & access management systems."

"Our goal", according to Flynn, "was to create a solution that behaves like a member of the team. If some high risk activity takes place, SIMON will be watching and will let you know." SIMON's ability to translate technical jargon into non-technical reporting creates actionable intelligence for personnel across the organization. NetVision customer Steven Piubeni, Assistant VP, Information Systems at United Bank, confirms that at his bank, "NetVision actually eliminated the need to hire another employee."