Tag Archives: IT

Humans Need Not Apply

Watched this video this morning and it reminded me of a time when I went to visit a relative in the hospital.  I noticed the hallway had a number of small antennas sticking out of the ceiling every few feet.  I figured “Hey that’s some pretty extreme wi-fi coverage!”  A few minutes later an automated medicine cabinet came rolling down the hallway.  It stopped at every room and dispensed meds to the patients.  If you stood in front of it, it would wait for you to move before continuing.  And this was probably over 5 years ago!  So yes the age of automation is clearly underway.

So this post may not be very security focused, but it will apply to us just as much as it applies to the nurse or pharmacy tech that was replaced by that robot.  As costs go down to utilize automated bots (both software and hardware) so does the need for humans in those positions.  The video covers it well, so take the 15 minutes to watch.  In IT we are seeing this happen on a regular basis, hell some of us probably wrote some nifty scheduled tasks to free us up from doing all those repetitive sys admin jobs.  We may have even written someone out of a job by automating the management of users.  And we certainly should because that frees us up for concentrating on more long term goals, upgrade plans, new hardening techniques… etc.  Heck, back in the day, it would take us weeks to bring a new server online, fully patched, hardened and tested.  Now I can log into AWS or Azure and spin entire remote AD environment up in a couple hours (depending on specs).  That includes a site-to-site VPN with the virtual network I just setup as well.  All that could even be automated as all of it can be done through Powershell.  As for testing the systems, well that is also being automated more and more.  Netflix employs their Chaos Monkey to bring systems down during business hours so that they can make sure their apps continue running if such a thing happens when no one is around to fix.

So the days of clicking “Next.. Next.. Next… Finish” are over.  If you are not picking up a scripting language to help with your job or learning to make LEDs blink on the breadboard, you may become obsolete.  If you have kids, it would be wise to push them towards the math and sciences.  Get them Lego Mindstorm sets!  Show them Codecademy!  Bring them to a maker fair and let them see the cool things done with 3D printers, laser-cutters, and robots!  We once taught a bunch of kids how to pick locks, don’t worry we told their parents that locks don’t work anyway.

So the bots are coming, you could either be the one creating them or the one being replaced by them.  Either way, the years to come will be interesting!

“But I need have local admin to run this!”

March is finally here!  The walls of snow are melting down quickly here in New England.  I can finally see grass!  Well ok… it is more like torn up chunks of sod from completely missing the side walk with the snow blower, but it has remnants of grass.

During my hibernation, I remembered some conversations from the past.  Mainly they had to do with “discussions” with users about their needs on their systems.  They commonly revolved around the requirement of administrative rights on their local workstations.  Which of course lead them to believe their current user account was the one that needed those rights.  Well most of us in security, as well as many others in the Systems Admin side of things, know that this is bad and should never be granted without a really good reason.  But does this mean it isn’t possible to grant these users their wishes? Continue reading

Network Security Protections when not in the office…

So in a previous life, I worked for a large enterprise which had many laptop users and a good size remote workforce. When I first took my laptop home for the night, I realized that for one, I could connect to any wireless network… and two I was no longer behind my web filtering servers. This article reminded me on how often this issue is overlooked: Postal Service Suspends Telecommuting

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