Showing posts from April, 2012

Clowns Base Key Financial Rate on Feelings, Not Data

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I don't think very highly of mathematical valuations of "risk." I think even less highly of the clowns in the financial sector who call security professionals "stupid" because we can't match their "five digit accuracy" for risk valuation. We all know how well those "five digit" models worked out. (And as you see from the last link, I was calling their bluff in 2007 before the markets imploded.) Catching up on last week's Economist this morning I found another example of financial buffoonery that boggles the mind. The article is online: Inter-bank interest rates; Cleaning up LIBOR -- A benchmark which matters to everyone needs fixing : It is among the most important prices in finance. So allegations that LIBOR (the London inter-bank offered rate) has been manipulated are a serious worry. LIBOR is meant to be a measure of banks’ own borrowing costs, and is used as the f

Salvaging Poorly Worded Statistics

Today I joined a panel held at FOSE chaired by Mischel Kwon and featuring Amit Yoran. One of the attendees asked the following: At another session I heard that "80% of all breaches are preventable." What do you think about that? My brief answer explained why that statement isn't very useful. In this post I'll explain why. The first problem is the "80%." 80% of what? What is the sample set? Are the victims in the retail and hospitality sectors or the telecommunications and aerospace industries? Speaking in general terms, different sorts of organizations are at different levels of maturity, capability, and resourcefulness when it comes to digital security. In the spirit of salvaging this poorly worded statistic, let's assume (rightly or wrongly) that the sample set involves the retail and hospitality sectors. The second problem is the term "breach." What is a breach? Is it the compromise of a single computer? (What's compromi