Hey all, it’s been a few weeks since the last Knockoff Report™. Now that the Fall has arrived our schedule is back in swing. So you can expect News and Views back on schedule, as you have for the last ten years. Here goes, baby!
You’ve probably heard of the General Data Protection Regulation (that is, unless you’ve been under a rock the last month). The GDPR is a law governing data privacy in the European Union that will be implemented on May 25th. If you’re online as often as I am, you’ve been bombarded with chatter declaring the end of the world not rivaled since the Y2K scare. Everyone who has something to gain from your fear is trying to capitalize on it. Charlatans, since the beginning of commerce, have been preying on the public’s fear of change. I’m here to tell you that there is nothing to worry about. Continue reading
I saw the classic Hollywood disaster film The Towering Inferno in my twenties, two decades after it was released. I watched it after I read Steve McQueen: Portrait of an American Rebel by author Marshall Terrill. In fact, after reading TerriIl’s book, I watched just about every Steve McQueen film that I had not yet seen. One tidbit from the book that I found interesting was that McQueen and Paul Newman were such fierce competitors that it led to McQueen counting the lines in the script and demanding to one-up his rival in order to flex his new-found star power by having one more line than Newman. Continue reading
Bitcoin – In the last year or so, with the ever-increasing interest in investigating subjects on the Dark Web, our clients have been asking us more and more about bitcoin. Bitcoin (BTC) is an open source digital asset which utilizes a peer-to-peer system with which users can interact directly without an intermediary. BTC is not the first cryptocurrency, but it is the first decentralized digital currency acknowledged by United States Treasury. It is the largest of its kind in terms of total market value. Although your local department store may not yet have adopted bitcoin as payment, major companies such as Dell, Overstock, and Expedia have. Continue reading
It should go without saying that, in every situation where a crime is taking place, it is most desirable to catch the perpetrator. Doing anything else, including merely disrupting their operation, is simply a consolation. With this in mind, I find that best practices are not always laid out properly so that professionals going into this situation know how to meet the desired end. Even though I specialize in online investigations, I come from the old school and believe that those skills are sometimes a lost art in the new world of online investigations. We will always be investigating people, not their tools. If I hear another firm tell me they are “investigating a website” I’ll pull my hair out. Continue reading
Background Checks – Who are the Slytherin anyway? And why is Hogwarts teaching them the ancient and forbidden magic arts? My wife is going through the process of re-watching all of the Harry Potter films. She’s read all of the books ahead of the films, watched the films in the theater and now she has decided to see them all again. Perhaps this is in preparation of the grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter next year at Universal Studios Hollywood. Besides the first one that had Gary Oldman in it, I always encouraged Wifey to take a niece or nephew to see these movies. Mission accomplished. Somehow, though, I have a feeling I’m not going to be able to weasel out of attending the theme park. To quote a great song of the 1970s “The Things We Do for Love”. 10cc had it right. Continue reading
The Haystack Principle of Counterintelligence – Anyone who knows me or follows me online knows that I’m a pretty open person. I share almost everything I’m up to. Anyone I know (or any stranger for that matter) can experience with me my lunch, thoughts on a number of odd topics, and even what I’m doing with my dog, Chauncey. In fact, right now you can click any link on the right of this page and learn a plethora of details about my exploits, both past and present. You may say that this is bad for someone in the investigative profession. You are not alone. Overwhelmingly, security professionals of a certain level preach this concept as gospel. I’m here to tell you that, in the 21st century, “security by obscurity” is the most ludicrous method of keeping secrets. Continue reading