Why BionicRocky?

So, being a guy with a disability and an engineering focussed mind, I see problems with BIOtechnology everywhere I look. I’ve worked for and with most hospitals in Oregon, and been a customer of said far far too many times. I walk with a cane 30-50% of the time. Canes are stupid. It’s a stick that you use not to fall. Like cavemen did. Wheel chairs, even the most advanced, are heavy, clumsy, demeaning and stupid. My canes are collapsable mostly, and can be deployed from my bag in a swift movement. This usually involves stopping, waiting for it to snap together then walking. It also requires what the BIOnicLadies call a MAN PURSE be with me at all times. My leg just doesn’t cooperate a lot of the time. BIOtech is broken. We can do AMAZING things with these waves Mr. Hertz found for us, but we can start doing it smaller, faster and better. Just look at Dean Kamen’s Luke Arm!!

I use the cane because my lower back is…as Patrick at Ptown scooters would say “a basket case, maybe good for some parts”. My lumbar disks have caved in and broken. The last one down was removed and replaced with titanium. Being the last one, it takes the most pressure. If you imobilize it and you are prone to broken disks….you break disks. That hurts. My back looks something like this, if all of the lumbar disks were broken:

All those upper disks are broken

Sciatica is a refered pain from your back or spinal column that means the Sciatic nerve is pinched or otherwise inpinged. When your disks “bulge” or you get “slipped disk” it means that nerve is compromised. If you haven’t has sciatica, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s a lot like having a wild animal chewing on your leg. All the time. That hurts.

So how do we treat pain in the US? Chemicals. Chemicals are stupid. We have the most complicated machine ever (choose one, don’t look on anyone else’s paper) [created]/[invented]. Why on earth do we want to dump crap into it? Because we can’t figure out the mechanics. Sometimes you need a lube job, sometimes an alignement. What FEW people remember, until someone has a heart attack is that though we are ugly bags of mostly water, we also need electricity. If done wrong, that hurts.

So, we know that pain from the lower extremities traverses the spinal cord using electricity. Why don’t we just send a busy signal by attenuating the signal from pain into say…a pleasant and numb feeling? Well, we do. In fact, that is why I have a BIONIC butt! This technology is NOT stupid. It is not new either. It’s been around 30 years in various forms. I personally went with mine because the company that makes my particular implant had Bionics in the name and they made my grandfather’s cochlear implant. It is also the only fully wireless solution, which is why I really went with it. I charge my implant with a biscuit battery first charged on the wall, then taped to my side. It’s “inductively charged”, like your toothbrush, or a charging mat for your PDA. I change my stimulation level with a remote that looks like a garage door opener. The whole system, including the implanted battery, the leads that are sutured to my spinal column and the remote comprise a technology called NeuroModulation. This particular flavor is called a Spinal Cord Stimulator or SCS.  Here is one of a dozen videos on it, until I make my own:

It’s an amazing tech. Or it was 5 years ago when I got mine… Who is the worst candidate for an RF based pain implant?  A wireless hacker.  Or maybe the best candidate…hmm….

So, without going into much detail, the security is…lacking. It uses a VERY commonly used frequency and has only 1 way authentication.  I have found that with an Arduino kit and 1/2 hour I can take over a stimulator.  I don’t have a live stimulator other than the one that’s in me, but I can show that with it’s remote controller, I can take over someone ELSE’S body.  I don’t hack my own body beyond RFID implants, punching my heavy bag and tattoos, so my POC lacks a live demo other than taking over with an unauthorized remote. Remember, the device doesn’t “see pain” and stop it, it is just on or off at a particular frequency and amplitude.

Neuromodulation is GOOD.  Taking 40% of someone’s chronic pain away without drugs is GOOD. Having it relatively easy to compromise and change someone’s level of pain is BAD.  That tingling sensation can become insanely painful and crippling if over done.  The programming is like the eye doctor, a vetruvian man on screen and a tablet with tingling moving around as a technician says “Number 2 or Number 3” to which setting effectively makes parts of your body tingle.  Being able to move that sensation around without a trained neurologist and technician scares the bujhezus out of me, and I’m fairly technical.  I love the tech, but the security needs a good hard look.

So You Want to be a CISSP

Four years verified security experience. An intimidating test. A waiting period that made me lose more hair. This was my CISSP experience. When I took the CISSP it was bubble sheet/Scan Tron. Eight hours for 500 questions from 10 domains ranging from Physical Security to arcane Data Classification used by the military around the time War Games came out. It is to use an oft used descriptor, a mile wide and an inch deep.

cisspjoke2-300x171

I sat for the test in March of 2006. I self studied. It was, to say the least, intense. Did I make it more intense than I needed to? Probably. I tend to over engineer about anything I can. Usually you can judge your level of study and adequacy of your methods by your test score. Trouble is, you don’t see that in the CISSP.  To the person, everyone I have talked to has the same comment “When I walked out, I had no idea if I had passed or bombed it!” When I took it, I had no computerized option, bubble sheet and #2 pencils only.  It took 3 weeks to find out if I passed the test.  At least that was via email.  Then started the background validation.  That was another 3 weeks.  How did they tell me I passed?  I got an envelope with Ryan D Gregory, CISSP on it.  Saw it for the first time.  This was a cert I had wanted since the day I heard about it.  Something I sacrificed for, prepped for and lost a lot of sleep to.  Needless to say, I wept like I was watching Rudy.

One of the questions I get asked most often is what materials I used to study.  It’s important to stop here and note my study process.  Like everything I do, there is a process.

The Resources:

As a rule, I have 3 forms of all of the study materials on any exam.  I have a primary book.  This is the one I read from, mark up, etc.  I use it for the entire study session.  I have a second source, typically the “next best” version.  I do this as people have different writing styles.  They use different analogies.  They use a different tone and assume different levels of skill and background.  If I am baffled by a concept in book 1, I go to book 2 and read it there.  I also tend to take the chapter and content tests out of the second book, rather than the first.  More on that later.  Third, I have an Exam Cram type book.  One of those skinny, packed with questions, pump and dump type texts.  I certify to build my knowledge, renew my understandings, validate I am still mostly sane, and then the letters after my name.  Considering the price of most exams, and the fact that a lot of employers only pay for your first attempt, the test is ultimately fairly important.  Below are the modern versions of the books I used.  I have suggested them for the last 7 years, as well as my study methods and am proud to say the folks I have coached have passed the first time through!

The Books:

FirTheBiblest and foremost, the Shon Harris All-In-One Guide is a must.  This is the Golden Book.  I have known some folks that have used only this resource and passed.

 

Never Go Wrong with SybexNext is good old Sybex. Sybex have been around a dogs age and I have used them since my NT4 MCSE prep.  They are consistently mediocre, but always a good secondary text.  They employ good writers, have a very clean look and feel, and it’s another “voice” to read the text.

 

Cram It!Finally, a good Exam Cram guide for cramming, after chapter testing, and the bare bones answers.

 

 

The Method:

I’m fortunate enough to be a moderate test taker.  I’m extremely fortunate enough to have had a class on another topic taught by my friend and true instructor, ‘‘KC” Keith Charles.  KC taught me study tips that I use to this day, and share with anyone studying for a cert.  I’ve developed a project style preparation system as well.  I tend to put together a project plan for everything I do.  A friend once joked that I can’t refill my water bottle without a plan, process and system.  So, here it goes:

  • From KC, the power and virtue of NERVOUS NOTES.  The nervous notes concept changed my testing life.  The concept is simple.  You are nervous when you sit for a test.  Doesn’t matter who you are, you’ve got a bit of agita.  These notes affirm what you know, give you crib notes for what you don’t.  You write them over and over until it is muscle memory.  It gives you a second applied sense from which to learn, adds some kinesthesia and drives it home in general.  Details on how I use nervous notes:
  • Have a plan for what you will study each session.  “I will finish this malarky about the Orange Books tonight”.  “I will finally be able to explain Elliptical Curve Cryptography to my dog by the end of this session”.
  • Read the exam objectives.  Highlight the areas that are going to be troublesome.  Print those, have them somewhere you can see while you study.  Review and check off what you are comfortable with.
  • I really like to read a chapter or concept in one book, then test on it from the end of the chapter in another book.  I do this method until I am hitting in the 80% range, recursively study until I hit that number.  I then test in the primary source and the tertiary.  Once it’s solid, it’s solid.  It goes in the memory bank until the final week or two before the test.  Then I do the whole mugilla, chapter by chapter test.  I will sometimes challenge myself to go back x chapters at the end of a session on an entirely different topic.  With such a theoretical test as the CISSP, this can be a great game to play on yourself.
  • Set study times.  You’re busy.  I’m busy.  Congress is busy.  Get over it, set a specific time.  Lock yourself in a room.  If you dig music and can have it without being distracted, rock that.
  • Set a date and work back.  If you are paper and penciling it, this is pretty easy.  If you are computer basing it, set the date and build your study plan backwards from that date.
  1. Take out an 8.5×11 sheet of paper at the beginning of your study session.
  2. Start making tables, charts, squiggles and notes on the stuff that you are having a hard time with.  For me a good example was EAP types for my CWSP.  Nice little table of type, security level, definition, etc.
  3. After your first session, take out the sheet and refine it, copy it by hand.
  4. Wash, rinse repeat.
  5. As test time gets closer, finish up the notes sheet.  Make a gold image.  Copy it before and after each session, at least once, if not a few times.  Get to where you are NOT thinking as you write it out.  You want to affirm what you know, give crib for what you struggle with and give yourself some time to breath before you hit the begin button or rip open the test book.
  6. Get an 8.5×11 sheet of paper at the test center.  VUE will give you one and a pencil if you demand it, and you give them the paper back after.  Write out your nervous notes before you tear open the book or hit the start button.  Should relax you, enforce you know what you know and give you that quick reference.

So, that’s what I did.  Again, this may have been, and in fact probably was overkill preparation.  All I know is that it worked for me and I got those 5 letters I had wanted for so long.

Links that will be useful:

THE site for studying, www.cccure.org. This site has incredible forums, user generated test questions and is the best place for discussing the stuff you are struggling with.  I still troll this site as do many folks that already got the letters.  When I can lend a hand I do.

More links to follow!

 

Short quote in IT Channel article!

I was quoted in the following article:

SearchITChannel.com article quoting me on Biometrics!

The Article Link

 

Biometrics solutions still searching for identity in channel

The potential for biometrics technology as part of identity management solutions in certain niche applications continues to intrigue VARs and systems integrators, especially those involved in the health care industry.

More on biometrics

Biometric security technology: The safest types of biometric devices

Biometric authentication technology curbs microfinance org’s losses

Electronic access control system and biometrics authentication

But actual deployments and service opportunities for IT solution providers have been slower to catch up. The low numbers are in spite of the inclusion of technologies such as fingerprint readers and palm-print scanners in notebook models from manufacturers including Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo.

The slow uptick has a lot to do with cost, but it also highlights concerns about the “false positives” that fingerprint scanners or palm-print readers can sometimes yield, according to security VARs and systems integrators.

“There are a lot of things that can happen if a biometrics method fails,” said Michelle Drolet, CEO of Towerwall Inc., a security solution provider in Framingham, Mass. “If it doesn’t work, you can’t log on. What happens if a false positive occurs when you are on the road? Most people aren’t ready to deal with this.”

Many security solution providers have been watching biometrics technologies for years, as they seek viable methods of identity authentication.

Rocky Gregory, information security solutions engineer for Accuvant Inc., a Denver-based security solution provider, said that the health care sector is clamoring for credible secondary security authentication methods. That’s because solutions that require a health care professional to log on to a computer using a typed password are at odds with the physical requirements of some health care settings.

“We have to get to a secondary authentication system that is easy for the masses that puts us into a more secure environment,” Gregory said.

Types of biometrics validation systems
The most commonly understood and widely used biometrics authentication method is fingerprint scanning, althoughGregory said there remains a “fine line between false positives and negatives.”

Other methods cited by solution providers and integrators evaluating this market are palm readers (think PalmSecure from Fujitsu Frontech North America) and retinal scanners, most often associated with military or government settings. RFID readers, in certain applications, could be considered security devices because they can track movement of, for example, a patient.

forecast by Acuity Market Intelligencestates that commercial solutions that use biometrics could match public sector deployments by 2014. Overall, the market could generate $11 billion in 2017, compared with slightly north of $4 billion this year. That’s one reason some of the highly visible vendors in this segment are fine-tuning their channel partner programs.

Training for resellers
In mid-September, Fujitsu Frontech of Foothill Ranch, Calif., launched a new partner program, called PalmPartner, to train VARs and systems integrators on creating applications that build on the Fujitsu PalmSecure biometric technology. The thrust of the program is to help train VARs for specific, customer-focused applications, notably in health care.

Christer Bergman, vice president of the Fujitsu Frontech biometric solution group, said Fujitsu provides the reader and a simple software development kit that uses PalmSecure as the biometric engine. “We need to provide the technologies and then work closely with partners to get the sales and business developed,” Bergman said.

Today, the biggest installed based for PalmSecure is in health care settings. Recent implementations include a patient registration system for the New York University Langone Medical Center and a patient registration and records management system for the George Washington University Medical Center.

Health care security systems are also the top focus for BIO-key International Inc., a Wall, N.J.-based company that has invested in courting VARs and systems integrators as a sales and solution channel for its technologies.

Scott Mahnken, vice president of marketing for BIO-key, said the company’s technology is integrated with products from many of the top vendors supporting single-sign-on solutions including CA, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. “People have been inconvenienced by passwords,” Mahnken said.“Hospitals, blood banks, they want to do this for compliance reasons, but they also want to do this to help tame administrative costs.”

Jim Russell, vice president of sales for Matrix Systems, a biometrics integrator in Miamisburg, Ohio, said another key selling point for biometrics solutions is convenience.

Doctors in surgery don’t want to have to carry proximity badges to enter certain secure areas, but fingerprints aren’t an option because of surgical gloves, so iris scans could work well, Russell said.