From Malware To Malevolent People

So in virus protection on the computer, there are 2 common ways antivirus software works:


1) Signature Detection – There are known patterns of viruses and the antivirus software looks for a match against one of these. 


2) Behavior Detection – There are known patterns of normal behavior on the computer, and the antivirus software looks for deviations from this. 


Each has certain weaknesses:


– With signature detection, if there is a zero-day exploit (i.e. a virus that is new and therefore which has no known signature) then it will not be caught by a blacklist of known viruses.


– While with behavior detection, some viruses that are designed to look like normal network or application behavior will not be caught by heuristic/algorithm-based detection methods. 


For defense-in-depth then, we can see why employing a combination of both methods would work best to protect from malware. 


It’s interesting that these same techniques for recognizing bad computer actors can be used for identifying bad or dangerous people. 


We can look for known signatures/patterns of evil, abusive, and violent behaviors and identify those people according to their bad actions.


Similarly, we generally know what “normal” looks like (within a range of standard deviations, of course) and people who behave outside those bounds could be considered as potentially dangerous to themselves or others. 


Yes, we can’t jump to conclusions with people — we don’t want to misjudge anyone or be overly harsh with them, but at the same time, we are human beings and we have a survival instinct. 


So whether we’re dealing with malware or malevolent individuals, looking at patterns of bad actors and significant deviations from the normal are helpful in protecting your data and your person. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Advertisements

I Got The Call

ATM.jpeg

I got the call!


But not the one that I always wanted, which is to serve at the very highest echelons of government or/and industry for those values and things which I so hold dear. 


No, instead I got the call that my professor in college warned me about. 


He said:

“You will get a call one day from someone asking for a lot of cash–no questions asked! At that time, you will know who you’re real friends are.”


So I actually got this call (for real) and in the middle of my work day.


This person who contacts me is considered quite affluent and with an extensive network, and I know him/her for only a relatively short time


Person:

“You know you’re like family to me Andy…I need $2,000–in cash–by 7 pm. I’ll pay you back $500 on Friday and the rest by Monday.”


Me (Stunned):

“What–is this a joke or something?”


Person:

{Repeats again the request}


Me:

“OMG. What’s wrong–is everyone okay? Are you in any trouble?”


Person:

Uh, everyone’s fine…don’t ask me any questions–there’s no time for this now.”


Me {Reaching for some humor in this bizarre situation}:

“Oh, only $2,000–I thought maybe you needed $2 million–that’s no problem, of course.”


Person:

“Please don’t make jokes now Andy–this isn’t funny!”


Me {Trying once again to get some more–any–information}:

“Can you just explain to me what’s going on–I really want to understand, so I can help you.”


Person:

“Do you have the cash or not?”


Me: 

“To be frank no. I don’t keep any cash around. {Inquiring to learn more…} Could you take a check or something else?”


Person:

“No. Listen, can you go to the ATM now?”


Me {frustrated by the abruptness, lack of sensical communication, and pushiness, as well as more than a little suspicious at how this is all going down}:

“Well the ATMs have a cash limit. Also, I would really need to check with my {lovely} wife first,”


Person {seeing they weren’t getting what they wanted when they wanted it}:

“Okay, well if you can’t help, I’ll just call someone else–thanks {hanging up on me}!” 


WOW!


Despite having trusted this person and feeling very hurt by all this, I still called the person back later that evening to follow up and because I truly cared, and they were still not any more forthcoming with me, and in fact, were quite attacking that they were sorry to have called me.


But I wasn’t sorry…my college professor was right on, thank G-d–I do know who my friends are!


Whether its a lunch date, LinkedIn/Facebook contact, or social invitation, be discerning about the motives of people–outside of any sane and normal context–that are seeking to “friend” you. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Birds Of A Feather

An open letter to the Board and members of the Riverdale Jewish Center (RJC) and the Bronx District Attorney’s Office:


In my May 30th blog, G-d is Good, (Some) People Not So, I wrote about the accused Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt of the RJC, the now known “Sauna Rabbi,” who the New York Times disclosed about having some unorthodox and usual practices of getting naked with children and young adults. 


Yesterday in the New York Times, I read the follow up to the story that Dr. Donald Liss, the Chairman of the Board, overruled the board who demanded that Rabbi Rosenblatt leave the synagogue, and now many of the board members are resigning over this travesty of justice and members are leaving the synagogue to start break-away prayer services. 


At the end of my last blog on this subject, I wrote: “One last thing I will say, there are others in that community that were involved.”


One of the others involved, guess who?


Yes, the Chairman of the Board who overruled the community and is protecting Rabbi Rosenblatt. 


I grew up in Riverdale from the age of 10 when my family moved from the upper west side of Manhattan. I attended SAR Academy, the local yeshiva.  My family had many lovely friends in this community and we attended the RJC where we were members for over 20 years.


Dr. Donald Liss significantly older than myself and my friends growing up frequently invited us to his house in Riverdale to “learn” Torah and for Shabbat meals, although the learning frequently turned into talk and banter and “wrestling.”  Dr. Liss, as a doctor of rehabilitative and sports medicine, claimed great interest in my physical fitness as a youth and my practice of martial arts. He started to run and workout with me and my best friend and this at times lead to more “wrestling” matches.


Later Dr. Liss provided me a Summer job in his and his brother’s practice at Englewood Hospital. Dr Liss was quite well off and took advantage of me that my family was less so and I needed a job. He provided me the opportunity to work out there in their “gym” during lunch and then when I would change in the locker room, he would invariably show up to talk with me. 


Other times, he invited me to go on vacation with his family to the Poconos to babysit his kids.  I remember one particular time, I went running on the trail there, and he came.  When we got back to the house we were staying in, he dropped all his clothes in the kitchen area in front of me and his wife and totally nude just started talking. 


Other times, when I would work out in my apartment in Riverdale with weights or stretching for karate, even during the day, Dr. Liss would show up. And he would also invite my friend and I to his home to lift weights and more “wrestling”.


As I got older and smarter, I realized Dr. Liss’s behavior was not normal, and his interest in my workout and my Torah learning did not seem innocent any longer. I stopped getting together and taking his phone calls. His calling, hang-ups, and messages increased.


I met Dr. Liss one last time to put an end to his harassment, and I confronted him that I thought despite his being married with kids and his professing of religion that he had abnormal tendencies, and I wanted him to stay away from me.  He pretended to be shocked at my allegations as a Jewish man who sat towards the front of the synagogue and was learned. 


When I moved to DC, the only contact I had from Dr. Liss was when he tried to friend me on Facebook, which I promptly cut him off. 


That Dr. Liss would now protect Rabbi Rosenblatt and overrule the wishes of the Riverdale Jewish Center is a Chillul Hashem and travesty of justice. 


Every word in this blog is true, and I hope it helps the community and the victims to get over this tragedy and desecration of G-d.  The good people who wish to grow up and pray without unwanted advances of some sick individuals hiding behind many veils of religion and family deserve their community back. 

How Many Issues Do You Have?

More Issues Than Vogue
I saw someone with this funny iPhone case in Starbucks.



It says, “More Issues Than Vogue.”



So I was curious how many issues of Vogue have there been…



And I learned that they have published this fashion, beauty, and culture magazine since 1892–more than 120 years!



And in the Vogue archive, they claim to have “more than 400,000 pages in full color.”



I suppose even some of the biggest nuts out there rarely have more “issues” (and pages)…although maybe many would certainly come close. 



But Vogue wins! 😉

People Watching

Mime

Over the holidays, I was fortunate to be able to spend some time in South Florida–one of my favorite East Coast vacation spots.

Between the sunshine, the ocean, the palm trees, and more generally the beautiful flora and fauna–I am one happy camper!

This time, we actually saw a couple of pretty large iguanas just casually walking along the causeway…not something I see everyday in D.C.

When I’m down in Florida–aside from working out and having a good time–one of the fun things for me to do is just to “people watch.”

People come from all over the world–the “Spring Breakers” who party hearty, the South Americans investing in real estate market, the Europeans still enjoying the strong Euro, and of course, many U.S. family “snowbirds” who come for Disney and the other attractions in the warm climate.

In Florida, it is hard not to notice the wide discrepancy between rich and poor–I saw what looked almost exactly like the TV image of an extraordinarily rich man in the open collar and blazer and women in fancy hat and scarf in a Rolls Royce with a little white dog sitting on the lady’s lap–these two were just “perfect” and apparently had the perfect life going on.

At the same time, there are so many unfortunate people walking around in tattered clothes, eating from the garbage, and so on, it is heart-breaking and scary.

When the Occupy movement rails against the 1%–I think this is sort of what they must mean.

Then there are the proverbial weirdos–nothing personal–but these are the folks who are do things either for the attention, a little extra cash, or because they may just be at the other end of the “normal” spectrum (would that be a political correct to say it?).

There is the guy who bikes around town with a live chicken on his handlebars, the mime lady in white (head to toe) who stands like a statue all afternoon and evening for some pocket change, and then this guy pictured on the blog who walks around in a pink bikini and red handbag (yes, quite a fashion statement, indeed!).

I wonder whether back home, there are equally strange and interesting people all around, but I’m just not noticing them the same way, because I’m busy with daily life, in “work mode” and not sitting around on vacation just “taking it all in.”

It’s good to stop a while and “smell the roses” and see the variety of beautiful and interesting things all around us–even if they shouldn’t be wearing that bikini in public!