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Security papers on my site

Jun 24, 20033 mins

* Last in a short series on security resources on author Kabay’s Web site

In the first two of these three columns, I introduced the course and research materials on my Web site, >. In this column, I’d like to show you some of the papers on security and ethics topics there.

Start with the “Ethics” link anywhere you see it. There’s a short paper that many people find helpful on how normal human beings make decisions about ethical problems; contrary to some people’s opinions, there’s more to it than the decision-making process involved in choosing flavors of ice cream.

The harangues in “The Napster Cantata,” “Why Kids Shouldn’t Be Criminal Hackers,” and “Hackers are Enemies” have made me a number of enemies and generated some hate mail over the years, including one massive diatribe by a famous criminal hacker who threatened me with lawsuits, boasted about his lack of concern for normal human empathy, and generally showed signs of serious mental disorders.

“Totem and Taboo” is a much more serious paper looking at the development of a moral code in the use of any developing technology and focusing on information technology in particular.

Finally, the “Anonymity and Pseudonymity” paper eventually became Chapter 53 of the _Computer Security Handbook, 4th Edition_ and includes some practical suggestions which have been completely ignored for several years on how ISPs could help stop spam and anonymous abuse of the Internet. Interestingly, “Vox clamantis in deserto” (a voice crying in the wilderness) is the motto of my doctoral alma mater, Dartmouth College. I seem to be illustrating its meaning. Perhaps some of you readers will be interested in pursuing the ideas I put forth in that paper.

Another section I hope you will find helpful and interesting is “Methods.” The most important file there is “CATA: Computer-Aided Thematic Analysis,” a blindingly simply technique for organizing information that everyone I have taught it to seems to find helpful. You know it’s a good idea when the universal response is, “Hey, neat! Why didn’t I think of that?”

The recent ACM _Ubiquity_ publication “Organizing and Safeguarding Information on Disk” will help the organizationally challenged make sense of their disk files (“Where did I put that darned file? I know it was around here among these 18,000 other files somewhere…”). The two papers on statistics became Chapter 4 of the _Computer Security Handbook_ and provide non-specialists with the proper dose of skepticism about all those security surveys we always hear about every year – the ones with self-selected participants, huge levels of non-response and no validation of results.

So that’s all for now. You can also explore the other sections of the site, including “Security Management” and “Opinion” (as if you don’t get enough of those in this column).

Welcome to my world!