Importance of Multi-Factor authentication

August 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Cyber Security, Musings | Leave a comment
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Yesterday it was announced that the Scottish Parliament was under a cyber-attack similar to the one that targeted Westminster earlier in the year.

The Attackers were trying to gain access to the email systems of MSP’s and Staff members of the parliament for their own gains. This time it looks as if the attack was stopped in its tracks.

I am fortunate enough to have worked with the Scottish Parliament closely in a previous role and I know a bit more about their security infrastructure than most. And, I am assuming that their methods of security have not changed to radically in the last three years.

The Scottish Parliament does use multifactor authentication for the majority of its users.

The importance of multifactor authentication is key to as to why this particular brute force attack was not as successful as previous one that hit Westminster as there was an added layer of security beyond that of username and password.

It still affected the Scottish Parliament but it is better to have some minor disruptions as opposed to having data stolen.

Australia vs New Zealand – Citizenship rights.

August 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Musings | Leave a comment
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It is all kicking off in the Southern Ocean, and it is not being friendly.

Over the last few months there has been a story rumbling of various members of parliament having to resign their seats due to having dual citizenship.

Under Australian Law, it is illegal to stand for Parliament if you “knowingly” hold dual citizenship and across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand automatically grant’s citizenship if one of your parents is a New Zealander. Although you have to apply.

This Scandal has now affected with government with the Deputy Prime Minister being informed that he holds New Zealand citizenship. Something that he claims not to have known.

However, this story has taken a more interesting term as it turns out that the Labor Party in Australia instigated the investigation into his citizenship working closely with the Labor Party in New Zealand.
This story will rumble on.

One thing that is slowly being agreed on though is that the Australian Law needs to be changed as currently almost half of all Australian citizen’s hold dual citizenship of some form or another.

Labour Leadership & Venezuela – “Many people died on both sides of the Battle of Yavin – I condemn both the Death Star and the Rebel X-Wings.”

August 8, 2017 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Musings | Leave a comment
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The pressure that has been mounting on the Leader of the Labour party to condemn the actions taken by the Venezuela government and that I wrote about last week. Now that Jeremy Corbyn has returned from his holiday the statement came.

Moreover, he failed to do so in a spectacular fashion.

Within the statement, he condemned the violence of both sides.

However, there is no equity in the violence here. The United Nations has now spoken out and lays the blame of the issues and unrest of Venezuela at the highest levels of the Venezuelan government and the Venezuelan government is oppressing human rights of its citizens.

You also get within the statement, that the economy was “too dependent on oil” and that there were “effective and serious attempts at reducing poverty.”

This is an effective attempt at reducing Poverty? Where over three in four people now live in poverty and where food now costs three times the minimum wage.
Any progress that has been made to reducing Poverty in Venezuela has now moved it back to levels not seen before the 1950’s.

As for dependency on the Oil, that is true but surely that should have been for the government of Venezuela to deal with they own the oil company. Instead, due to pricing controls manufacturing in the country collapsed by a third.

I condemn the Labour Leadership for their stance on the Venezuela Crisis and commend those in the Labour party that are taking a stand against it as many around the world are.

Jeremy Corbyn once said that by being “neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”

So yes Mr Corbyn, you have chosen the side of the Oppressor.

PS: Credit to Tom Harris, former Labour MP for the Death Star line.

Black Hat vs White Hat

August 7, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Cyber Security, Musings | Leave a comment
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This Blog is entirely my own opinion and is no way tied to my employer. 

Last week, news broke that the cyber security analyst who stopped the Wannacry cyber security incident in May had been arrested in Las Vegas while attending the ethical hacking conference. He was accused and charged with having previously creating a piece of banking malware that gained notoriety around 2014.

Now, in this case as always the presumption is innocent until proven guilty.

However, it does pose significant questions as to those researchers who were previously wearing the “Black hat” and facing off against the security industry and later chose to go legitimate and become “white hats” in security industry.

If there is a sword of Damocles hanging over them about their past then it adds a further question as to if they want to go legitimate.

It all boils down to the principles of Sun Tzu and the Art of War. How far are States willing to overlook past crimes for the greater good.

Sun Tzu says on spies, in chapter 13 of Art of War
“Having CONVERTED SPIES, getting hold of the enemy’s spies and using them for our own purposes.”

Converted Spies are deemed the most useful by Sun Tzu as it enables other spies to be brought in based on the knowledge of the converted spy.

A thousands year old text still has relevance today and in the cyber security industry chapter 13 is especially relevant. As the knowledge that those researchers who were formally on the other side of the battle is extremely valuable.

It is entirely possible that regardless of whether the Wannacry researcher is guilty or not that the actions taken in the US have potentially put off future Black Hats from becoming White Hats and that the knowledge they would have brought is now lost.

Labour Leadership silence – Venezuela a better way of doing things?

August 3, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Musings | Leave a comment
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In the past Week, the failing state of Venezuela finally took the steps to throw off the idea of democracy and finally descended into an Autocracy. With opposition leaders arrested by the secret police and parliament having now been effectively bypassed.

International condemnation has been swift from the US, EU and the UK.
However, the UN has been strangely silent on these matters.

Individual Labour party MP’s including the shadow foreign secretary have joined condemnation from other left wing parties throughout Europe in condemning the leadership of Venezuela. However, there has been largely silence from the Labour Leader’s office.

The Reason, because I fear that this is what the Labour Leader wants society to be like.
Corbyn & his leadership team have been praising Venezuela for the better part of two decades. Corbyn himself is quoted as saying of Venezuela.

“Showed us there is a different and better way of doing things. It’s called Socialism”

Well let us see what socialism has done to Venezuela?

  • 3rd Highest murder rate in the world.
  • Inflation at 2000%, shortages in basic food and medicines.
  • Bribery and corruption rampant.
  • Freedom of the Press destroyed with protests now going on three years.
  • Tampered elections and opposition politicians arrested and banned.
  • Poverty increasing dramatically.

This is a better way of doing things?
No its not, since the fall of the Soviet Union in the 90’s brought about a decrease in absolute poverty by nearly two thirds and Venezuela is now trying to reverse that statistic.

The Labour Leadership who have for nearly the past twenty years praised Venezuela now need to come out and condemn it and stop trying to claim that what Venezuela did was the right thing to do as it has been proven, as has been proven every time before it.

Socialism doesn’t work.

The Current Parliament Length

June 23, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Posted in Musings | Comments Off on The Current Parliament Length
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There is a train of thought that the next general election is only months away due to it being a hung parliament.
However, the parliamentary arithmetic makes this in reality a significantly more stable government than the results following the 2010 General election.

The Conservatives hold 318 Seats combined and given the fact that Sein Fein do not take their seats in addition to the speaker these results in the effective number of MP’s to govern a total majority of the commons being 320, the closeness of this number means it is quite easier to pass measures in the Commons in reality.

There is also the additional factor of the Grand Committees of England and Wales where the Conservative party commands an absolute majority.

There is also the factor of the fixed term parliament Act, which has now set the date of the next election of June 2022. It is my opinion that it is impossible to get through in the current circumstances to call an early election, as the SNP do not want another one as they have numerous MP’s on small majorities now and the same can be said of the Lib Dems and Conservatives.

A no confidence motion is unlikely to pass in the next few months, as it is unlikely to pass again given the arithmetic of the Commons.

My view is that this Parliament will last for the next three to four years with the next election to be held in the next decade.

Spending beyond your Means

June 15, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Posted in Musings | Comments Off on Spending beyond your Means
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Special thanks to my friend Chris Williams for the inspiration to this blog

The UK Govt spending in 2010 was £673 Billion, in 2016; it was £761 Billion an increase of £91 Billion. So to say that the UK Government has been lashing out spending cuts is not true. In terms of Inflation in increase in inflation combined with the increase in spending from central Government over the last the real terms reduction in spending is just £6 Billion.

While I believe, it was right that the UK Govt controlled its spending rather than applying a fully Book Balancing Budget over the last six years as was previously forced on the UK by the IMF in the 1970’s and on Greece more recently.

However, the outrage of more or less axing the entire Education Budget (about £100 Billion) in terms of scale in order to Balance the Books would have been political suicide, but sadly it is something that the IMF and EU demanded of Greece that saw their Govt Spending slashed from €120 Billion to €90 Billion from 2009 to 2014.

Greece is now in Suplus but it came at a cost in terms of economic growth and high unemployment hence why I believe that the UK govt’s approach was the more balanced approach.

The Deficit is still roughly 50% of the Education Budget and that control of spending needs to continue as the UK Govt is still spending beyond its means.

Let us take a very simple example of an individual level.

You discover that each month you are spending £500 more than you earn. Do you:

a. Ignore it and keep spending the same amount, adding a further £500 to your debt each month?
b. Borrow even more, spend even more and rack up even more debt?
c. Reduce your spending, and start paying off the debt?

Election Fall Out – Tim Farron Resignation

June 15, 2017 at 9:00 am | Posted in Musings | Comments Off on Election Fall Out – Tim Farron Resignation
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As covered in an earlier posts regarding the myth of the 48% and the whether Progressive parties are actually regressive in their attitudes to other thoughts and opinions.

The Liberal Democrats did not have a very good election campaign; they gained a net of four seats and lost five they held previously. Together with their share of the vote being squeezed even further.  Now their leader has resigned.

I have very little respect for Liberal Democrats as a party as I have experienced first-hand the nastiness of the party as a collective group. Individually they can be fantastic people but as a collective, they are not.

However, there was one thing that Tim Farron said that did increase my respect for him a Modicum.

“To be a political leader – especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 – and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me.”

That statement is an extraordinary sideswipe at the party that Farron led as it can be read as that having Religious beliefs and being a member of the Liberal Democrats is currently incompatible.

This is something that appears to sadly happening that if you hold religious beliefs that a vocal number of society (especially on social media) you should be vilified and shouted down.
This is completely wrong and needs to be challenged.

The Election Result, Conservatives Largest Party and in Majority (for the areas that count)

June 13, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Posted in Musings | Comments Off on The Election Result, Conservatives Largest Party and in Majority (for the areas that count)
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The Votes have been counted and I must admit I was shocked at the Election results, but then again I really should not have been. As the Conservative Party was going up someone who has never held a real job outside of political campaigning in his life and has spent his life Campaigning.

What did surprise me was the return to two party politics with both Labour and the Conservatives securing around 82% of the vote. It also ensures that the process of leaving the EU will go ahead as both Labour and Conservatives pledged to honour the referendum and leave the single market.

However, one thing needs to be made clear.
The Conservatives still won, they secured the largest amount of Seats and the largest amount of Votes.

The Conservatives will remain the government for several reasons.
The First is the parliamentary arithmetic, as you only need 320 seats to hold a de-facto majority in the House of Commons. The Conservatives hold 318 seats which is just enough once the speaker is taken into account.

The second is that Labour cannot pass any legislation regarding England, Wales and Northern Ireland due to the Grand Legislative Committees.
The Conservative party has a Majority of 60 in England, 36 in England and Wales and 18 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As such, the Labour party cannot pass a single act if it did somehow succeed in becoming the government.

The Conservative party is angry at the result, but as usual that anger will fade and turn into determination and when the next election is fought in about four years’ time the Conservative party will be better prepared.

For now, its time for the Government to get back to work.

Vote for a Leader – Not a Protestor

June 8, 2017 at 5:00 am | Posted in Musings | Comments Off on Vote for a Leader – Not a Protestor
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This Morning is Election Day, and although there is no surprise that, I encourage my readers to Vote Conservative today.

Not only for a Strong government but also to save the Labour Party from itself.
My Grandfather was a proud Labour Party member and led a Council in Scotland for many years and having discussed his politics with family members and his friends they have left me without a doubt that he would be horrified by what has happened to his Party.

My Grandfather was once asked by the late Robin Cook to be his election agent in the 1970’s. My grandfather told him to get lost as he realised that Cook was a communist and did not believe in the true values of the Labour Party and would rather the UK have been ruled from Moscow.

Corbyn is that sort of man, he is a Protester and not a Leader and this election has been the most Presidential since 1983.
His and the Labour parties proposals are not sustainable in the global economy and it will lead to the flight of capital and personal the Labour says will pay their bills (which is what happened in France.)

One thing that I was brought up to believe that at the end of the day the electorate is always right and as someone who has lost an election this is true. Last June the decision was handed to the British electorate to make a decision and they made the decision whether it be viewed as right or wrong.

There is no doubt that it was made Justly.

Socrates describes the four forms of government and we are in the progress of throwing off the Oligarchy and moving towards a true representative Democracy again.

In order for that Democracy to thrive, the Labour party must wake up and realise that times have changed and that the future is the individual, freedom of choice and global.

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