The movie list

This list is for my kids.

 

Let’s face it, I hate most of the stuff you watch – Barbie and the Dreamhouse was the low point. So this is a list of films I want you to watch.

Not in any particular order (although I’ll guide you on the proper order for Star Wars!) – just make sure they’re age appropriate. When you’ve watched them all, then I’ll allow Barbie again !!! (maybe not also !!)

 

  • THX1138
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Rollerball
  • Driver
  • Convoy
  • Time Bandits
  • Escape from New York
  • Mad Max (all of them so we can then debate which was the best)
  • Blade Runner
  • Dark Crystal
  • War Games (I want to watch this again too, book it in!!)
  • Top Gun
  • Labyrinth (ask for my Ludo impression)
  • Flight of the Navigator
  • Short Circuit (don’t watch number 2 – it sucked)
  • Ferris Beuller
  • Lost Boys
  • Dirty Dancing
  • La Bamba
  • BeetleJuice
  • Akira
  • Bill + Ted (all of them in one sitting)
  • Pretty Woman (with your mum)
  • Flatliners (they all die .. get over it)
  • Drop Dead Fred
  • Jurassic Park (Start at 9am and watch them all in one day)
  • Mrs Doubtfire
  • Wayne’s World (Schwing! …. inappropriate but very funny !)
  • Dumb and Dumber
  • Mask
  • Shawshank Redemption
  • Forrest Gump
  • Ace Ventura (One of my hero’s is Ace … you may get my humour … CHICAGO !!)
  • Pulp Fiction (great soundtrack)
  • Leon
  • Judge Dredd (all versions then debate which is the best and why)
  • The Net (I’ll show you all the technical nonsense in it .. Sandra Bullock didn’t invent the internet)
  • Crimson Tide
  • Hackers (all of them – but you need to read a couple of books first)
  • Tank Girl
  • Braveheart
  • Romeo and Juliet (with your mum)
  • Trainspotting (cracking soundtrack)
  • Mission Impossible (wait till you see 3 … you’ll die laughing)
  • The Rock
  • DragonHeart
  • Eraser
  • Swingers
  • Contact
  • Face Off
  • Gattaca
  • Grosse Point Blank
  • Full Monty
  • Titanic
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Austin Powers (and please get dressed up)
  • Men in Black (all of them in one sitting)
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Little Shop of Horrors

 

  • Weird Science
  • CannonBall Run
  • Devils Advocate
  • Fifth Element
  • Godzilla (the older one)
  • Truman Show
  • Enemy of the state
  • Armageddon
  • Lock Stock
  • Snatch
  • Meet Joe Black
  • Shakespeare in Love (watch with your mum!)
  • Avengers
  • Matrix (promise you’ll only watch the first one!)
  • American Pie
  • 6th Sense
  • Notting Hill
  • Office Space
  • Payback
  • Three Kings
  • Emperor’s New Groove
  • Chicken Run
  • Road Trip
  • Gladiator (See MovieMistakes.com first)
  • Gone in 60 Seconds
  • Pich Black
  • O Brother Where Art Thou
  • Boiler Room
  • Hollow Man
  • Perfect Storm
  • Monsters Inc
  • Dune
  • Convoy
  • Smokey and the Bandits
  • Fast and Furious (all of them)
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Oceans 11
  • AI (please read Isaac Asimov I Robot first)
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Swordfish
  • A Knight’s Tale
  • Catch Me If You Can
  • Bourne Identity
  • Men In Black (all of them)
  • Transporter (all of them)
  • Minority Report
  • Austin Powers (all of them)
  • Finding Nemo
  • Italian Job (the original)
  • School of Rock
  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  • Love Actually
  • 50 First Dates
  • Day After Tomorrow
  • National Treasure (after watching – speak to Grandy)
  • Anchorman
  • Van Helsing
  • Yes Man
  • HitchHikers Guide (Orginal, read  the books then watch the latest one)
  • xXx
  • Cars
  • Flushed Away
  • 300
  • V for Vendetta
  • Talladega Nights
  • Ice Age
  • Night at the Museum
  • Employee of the Month
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • I am Legend (and then write the ending properly)
  • Meet the Robinsons
  • Madagascar (all of them)
  • Below

 

That’ll do for now … I’ll add to it as I remember more.

 

If you have any suggestions please recommend them here :

 

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Digital Freedom – the manifesto is launched

Mikko Hypponen and David Hasselhoff have appeared on stage at re:publica 14 and launched the new Digital Freedom manifesto.

The manifesto is based on 4 points :

  1. Freedom from mass surveillance (target / blanket)
  2. Freedom from digital persecution (privacy in the future)
  3. Freedom from digital colonisation
  4. Freedom of digital access, movement and speech

 

I watched the keynote with interest and have the following thoughts :

Freedom from mass surveillance (target / blanket)

I appreciate that there is a time and place for surveillance. CCTV watches our every move and our internet traffic is scanned for key words. To remove this I believe would be a mistake – but instead, they should be more transparent instead. Go ahead, watch me and scan me … but only if you do something useful with this data to keep me safer. Sure I have secrets and sure, I am aware of what I post … but can you imagine a world where facial recognition does not pick up the criminals ? I think that there is a specific use case for mass surveillance, but it is currently not being handled well and certainly not following the same standard of disclosure globally.

Freedom from digital persecution (privacy in the future)

This I understand and totally support. Right now, May 2014, it is OK to have certain views, prejudices etc, but in 2020, will those standards still hold. Will my old opinion still be the same ? I once thought I was going to be an electrical engineer – that didn’t work out, so why should the opinions I have still hold ANY weight in the future ? We need to isolate a case, sure, look back in history to see if it a long-held opinion, but certainly not to use it to persecute in the future.

Freedom from digital colonisation

The lines between technology and our existence are more blurred than ever. With the Internet of Things, mobile tech etc … we see more intrusion of technology into our lives. And it is just that .. an intrusion. We need to learn to adopt the divide between tech and life. Just because technology exists doesn’t mean we have to shoe-horn it into every day lives – especially if it is to the detriment of our privacy. We all need to learn to have down-days. Non-tech days … and if you don’t know the answer to a problem, instead of Googling it … use this method:

  • Brain – think about it, work out the options and the theory.
  • Book – read it in a book, they are more than paperweights !
  • Buddy – ask a friend, a colleague … the meat space !
  • Boss – ask a person in authority, your boss, a department head, a lecturer, they generally got there by knowing something !

Freedom of digital access, movement and speech

Should I be allowed to write what I want ? What about offending someone or prejudice ? Should I be restricted in what I can/can’t say ? I think this comes down to an old skill that we seem to have forgotten with the advent of technology – the art of common sense. So I would like to introduce you to Gran’s law. Think about an elderly relative (a Grand-parent for example). Now go ahead and type your real feelings about something you feel passionate about. If your Gran were to read it, would she be offended, clip you round the ear, would she be horrified about it … if the answer is yes, then it is probably best to keep it off the internet ! Common sense can save you a lot of conversations later. You should not be thinking about your intended audience but that the internet sees all.

 

What are your thoughts ? Have you posted on the Digital Freedom site ?

 

Security Mantras

I have to explain security concepts quite a bit in my job and so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all for some discussion.

 

I’m going to keep it brief and then update this blog with the feedback and comments shortly.

 

Mantra 1

There are two kinds of people – those who have been hacked and those that don’t know it yet.

I’m all for a bit of FUD, Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. It is a good sales technique to be fair – but please, if you are going to use FUD, be accurate. The infosec is getting a bad rap for wild accusations so let’s keep it real. If you feel the need to use a FUD mantra – how about:

Do you want to be one of those companies that you get to read about who didn’t do anything and then got hacked.

 

Mantra 2

Monitor, Manage and Maintain

Bit of a personal favourite of mine – so for transparency reasons … yes, I am biased!

  • Monitor – you have to be looking out to see what is coming your way. Ensure you have adequate monitoring that is telling you of an impending attack. Of course the critical part of all this is to know your base line – what is normal ? Once you know this, then you can work out what could be going wrong.
  • Manage – if you don’t have someone looking after these things, it goes the way of the paperless office … it was a good idea once. There should be a sponsor … a person at the top of the tree who ensures that the top line buys in, then there should be a busy bee worker who is making sure ‘stuff’ happens.
  • Maintain – patch, upgrade – do what you need to to ensure you are always at the edge and not falling in to the hands of criminals who love to capitalise on out of date systems

 

Mantra 3

We have [VENDOR PRODUCT] so we’ll be OK

or

Buy our [VENDOR PRODUCT] and you will be secure

No, no, no, no. No piece of tin will keep you safe. I love this quote which explains this perfectly “It doesn’t matter how thick your suit of armour is, you can still get flu.” With humans, there is always a will and a way !

 

 

So there you go …. my starter for 10 …. what security mantras do you use to protect yourself or what mantras do you train others in ?

 

 

Top Insecurity Tips

This is meant to be humorous blog about internet tips and why some advice is just bad. Just a bit of fun for April’s Fool.

 

1) Go to a public internet access point to surf the internet for a long time. Free wi-fi !

Bad idea – Public internet cafes are common places for various types of theft.

  • Physical theft of devices
  • Spoofing the access point to listen in on your traffic
  • Malicious payloads can be added via sponsored adverts
  • Shoulder surfing risk is greater

2) Do not put a password on your home wi-fi so that your friends can connect to the internet easily

Bad idea – so can your neighbours and malicious people. They can use your access point to surf nefarious websites and hammer it for downloads which all affect your speed and bandwidth limits.

3) One password to remember – use something easy like your name

Bad idea – Too easy to guess. and generally very easy to break as well because all words from the dictionary are already cracked. using the same password everywhere means that should you have a leak of your details, a criminal can gain access to everything you have ever logged in to.

4) Store your passwords in a notebook called passwords so you never forget another login

Bad idea – If someone opens your notebook , they can then log in on your computer with your credentials.

5) Antivirus, anti-malware tools and firewalls all slow down your computer, besides, you’ve never had a problem

Bad idea – all because you think you’ve never had a problem, does not mean that you have never been hit

6) Patching computers and installing updates gets in the way, takes too long and fills up your computer. Your computer works fine without them.

Bad idea – the hackers and malware writers can easily gain access to older versions of home systems, they have specific tools written to exploit these older out of date systems.

7) Leave your home computer on at home connected to the internet, that way you can just turn on the screen and have immediate access to the internet

Bad idea – if you are hacked, you won’t know about it till you get home and by then someone could have taken everything!

8) Downloading illegal content is fine, who cares about little old me !

Bad idea – it’s illegal.

9) Never clear your history – that way you can always find your old websites you have browsed

Bad idea – using tools a criminal can see everything you have done on your computer.

10) Auto-save passwords – that way your computer can auto-log in to all websites. How convenient is that, no more remembering passwords

Bad idea – anyone using your computer will also auto-login to sites with your details also, a criminal who may have been able to obtain remote access to your computer will also have all your passwords.

11) If they want to send you £20million from a relative you didn’t know from a foreign country you’ve never been to, what is £3000 in the grand scheme of things compared!!

Bad Idea – it’s a scam, congratulations, you’ve just lost £3000

Have some fun people and feel free to contact me on Twitter at @SPCoulson to add your own !

It’s time to talk

Talk .. its a simple thing. Sometimes we get criticised for talking too much, sometimes to the wrong person and often for not saying enough.

And yet the phrase is “talk is cheap.” I disagree, talking can be expensive!

Talking is a unique skill, animals can communicate but the breadth of language we have achieved across the earth is staggering; common languages, country specific languages, local languages, dialects, sign languages, the list seems endless.

But all this time there is something unique about talking. Because we use our face, we therefore use expression and so talking is a more genuine method of communication. Is this why it is easier to write an email to let someone know bad news than speak to them face to face?
Today we have a special chance though to talk.

Today, 6th February is #TimetoTalk day.

Time to Talk
#TimeToTalk

I talk to my partner all the time. She hears my woes and successes and I know I am in a special situation in the fact she is a good listener. For that I am eternally grateful.

However, in our communities whether it is information security, web design, marketing or wherever you work, do we talk? I think no. We say a lot without actually talking. Today is a day when we need to focus on talking.

So let me talk, and I want you to listen and think about who you are going to talk to and about what. Some of the issues I talk about below have never been talked about openly for many years.

Yes, mental health is an issue. It creeps in to our lives without actually ever making itself evident. Depression is a classic, tiny things can start it off and it grows over time – over time it becomes like an all-consuming virus until it affects all areas of our lives.

I know I suffer with mental health issues. Yep, more than one. Some of my closest friends probably don’t even know it … but they are there. Today is my Time to Talk and help others take some courage to talk too.

Digiholic.

I am a digiholic. You only have to be around me for a short space of time before you see the manifestation of what this looks like. I am fascinated by technology, I have been since owning a BBC Micro. I played Elite properly by working out the algorithm behind the game and how to rise through the ranks of the game (*Spoiler – it was based on 255). I drew maps of text adventures until I had whole worlds drawn out on music rule wide carriage paper. When I got my first PC, I took it apart. Every jumper off the motherboard, every screw … later in life this actually helped me pass my university course as I fixed PCs in payment for help with coursework.

But then I hit an interesting patch. My early jobs as helpdesk for an EDI Messaging company led me to research the land of e-commerce pre-2000 when to be cool meant putting an ‘e’ at the front rather than an ‘i’ or ‘cyber’. I used to spend over 18 hours a day at the keyboard reading, watching, learning. And there … right there, the obsession was born.

In the information security landscape, we see this described as autistic, ADHD trait, on the spectrum. This compulsion to find stuff out – curiosity on steroids. There in a bedsit I stared at a screen one Sunday morning and realised it had been over 50 hours with no sleep and I was staring at a screen trying to learn everything about e-commerce products and competitors. I locked the computer and walked out of the door. I walked. I walked for about 10 miles, I walked in silence. I ran away if you like until I found myself in a deer park and it was late, really quite late. I hadn’t eaten for 2 days and I was sat on a park bench. I took my time inside my head to have the conversations, to talk, and put in place my personal protection plan. I realised there and then how close I had become to just disappearing into a world that would have been difficult to come out of.

I knew I had to protect myself and my Personal Protection Plan is still in place today. I won’t go more than 24 hours behind a keyboard. I will always break it. I own the computer not the other way round. Recently my family went camping to an area with poor phone signal and for 2 weeks I spent a total of 2 hours on the internet. It was heaven but I also felt that twinge – like an addiction.

We need to un-jack ourselves. Power down. Step away from the keyboard. In the 80s the UK kids TV program had it right…

Why don’t you just switch off your television set and go and do something less boring instead?

I am still obsessed and still have this compulsion, but concentrating it into shorter burst means I am more effective which gives me greater pleasure in being always connected.

Depression.

Or should I more accurately put it – the lack of depression. It is normal to have depression, it is a chemical reaction, but I don’t get the same reaction. I recently was told by a senior member of staff that he had been concerned about me, was I depressed, having a breakdown – I found the comment very amusing as I knew what he was trying to get to, but he also was being quite offensive and unfortunately did not understand what was actually going on. Let me explain.

As a child I was bullied. I was bullied for many reasons, I was short, fat, intelligent, socially awkward and I had an accent which didn’t fit with the school. To protect myself, I lost my accent – try doing that when you are 5 years old! I took control of my emotions – yes, I could be beaten up, kicked to the ground and yet I would not cry, I would not show emotion. I had mastered my emotions. This was so useful as a child in that I could not break in front of my attacker. However, the danger was there was no place I could let it out. And so one day I held my attacker by the throat against my classroom wall holding him about 18 inches off the ground and screamed in his face “Don’t ever touch me again.” I came to my senses very quickly and realised he was struggling and I let him go and walked out the classroom. I hid and cried. I cried for about 10 minutes before sorting myself out. Then when I came back to the classroom, the silence was deafening. My bully eventually became a great friend and he later apologised for the years I had been bullied.

As I have spent now over 30 years with my emotions in control, manipulative and pressure tactics used by managers have rarely worked. This control means that I can put myself into difficult situations and control my emotions enough to control the output. It also means that I have an interesting life – I don’t do stress, I don’t do depression. These negative emotions and habits are just not needed, so I find emotional workarounds. If I am feeling lower, I use music to raise my mood. If make sure that tough deadlines become realistic ones.

But … and this is a big but … I have to find my releases. I have to find a way to allow natural emotions come out. I have many ways to do this – and each of them is done in a controlled manner.

How do you control your emotions ? I have absolutely no idea if I am totally honest.  I wish I could. Part of it is definitely having an understanding about what you want as an outcome to a situation and understanding how you need to behave to get it to happen. But depression is a no-no. It only serves to undermine your view, your psyche, your emotional stable. I therefore don’t let things get me down. No matter how hard things get, I am not at the bottom of the tree. I believe some of this is also my own personal integrity. Knowing myself means that I also know what I am sacrificing if I needed to and what I won’t compromise on.

So there we go, maybe next year I will share some of my other mental health areas. If you want to talk to me about your mental health and how healthy you think you are or not, then please feel free. I will listen.

The world is too small to not get on with each other.

You’re a long time dead, so enjoy the living.

In the infosec world, we have lost too many great people to mental health problems, depression, anxiety, autism, adhd, today is a time to talk.

Many thank to my old friend Mariel for bringing this to my attention.

Stu

Things that each of us should do

This is for all of us … yes … I know you’re a leet hacker ‘n all, but c’mon, we all have to do this stuff.

So let’s start… right now

 

  1. Password re-use. Yep, don’t be that idiot ! Make each password different.
  2. Change your passwords every 90 days. That’s 4 times a year … Oh and while you’re at it … change your Pin numbers too. When did you last change your debit card pin number ?
  3. Someone elses Wi-Fi. If you didn’t set it up then don’t connect. There is nothing so critical in the world that means you have to connect insecurely.
  4. Get a shredder. A good one. Spend your money and get something that you know will keep you safe.
  5. Use the shredder. You bought it so use it ! then spread the paper about. If you have a pet you now have bedding / litter !
  6. Sharing is bad. Don’t share. If they take your USB pen drive away, did they recover anything. Your WiFi is yours .. don’t share.
  7. Challenge if you’re not sure. If your CEO isn’t wearing an iD badge … be nice but challenge people who might be using social engineering techniques.
  8. Windows Key L or Linux variant. Just remember the old days of meatspin. LOCK IT.
  9. Work is work. Don’t mix your work email / social media with your home life. Keep your digital identities separate.
  10. Have iD at all times. Appropriate, current and relevant. Be ready to challenge people who aren’t ready.
  11. Help your friends. They can be just an easy route back to you so help them be secure.
  12. Offer a free training course for colleagues on securing themselves. Start the wheels in motion.
  13. There is never a 13.
  14. Hack yourself. Yes, that’s right. I recommend looking yourself up to see how much data you are leaking. Then pen test yourself. is your home secure ?
  15. Alarm and alert. Not just house alarm, house locks, car alarm, immobiliser, alerts for you online –  use Google alerts for encrypted versions of your passwords, usernames, addresses.
  16. Have a business continuity plan for yourself. What would you do if …. ?

 

Well there you go … let me know in the comments below if you have any others you think should go on the list and we can develop it over time.

 

Keep Safe !

Friends and Happiness

This is one of those blogs I have been looking forward to for quite some time.

What do you consider to be a friend ? What qualities do your closest friends share ?

Although I am quite an outgoing and fun person, and if you don’t know me, just take that as read, to get truly close to me is quite difficult. I like to blame my star sign, but this is a great excuse and yes, I’ll hold by it !

This now leaves me with an interesting problem though, I don’t have many close friends. Ok, I have friends, acquaintances, colleagues, don’t get me wrong … But my closest friends ? I can probably count those on one hand.

Maybe I set the bar high in my mind ? I don’t expect much from my friends either, in fact, if I named my friends on here, most would be shocked they were included, many complaining that I haven’t spoken to them for years !!

But what makes a person your closest friend ? Friends, acquaintances where are those lines drawn ? When does a passing acquaintance become a friend become a close friend ?

For me it’s trust. Do I trust you …. 100% ? If my life or the lives of my closest depended on it, would you drop everything ? Could I trust you to do that ? If I needed you, would you be there ?

That is my line. Cross it and you are in or out. It’s as simple as that.

Maybe this is where I derive my happy outlook. If you can keep life simple, if you know your friends, if you know who you can trust, then you know where you are. Knowing the “now” of life is critical.

My dad once taught me a valuable lesson .. “before you break the rules, know the rules.” And so here I am, a friend base that I know and can trust, I know my moment, I am in control and so I can remain happy. I know the life rules, the ones that help us to survive and I therefore know how to play the game of life .. And Dad, if you’re reading this, I don’t break as many rules any more!

I had a great conversation with a close friend recently and she was quite shocked at some news I gave her about by “now.” I was going through quite an interesting time, things can change rapidly around us but I shrugged and explained that there was a new now and I had moved on. As my boss would say, my resilience gene had been well and truly tested! She is a close friend, she understood where I was and what it meant to me to have such a life change and she wished me well. With her going through something similar recently, I hope she found her “now” also. If you’re reading this … We still need wine !! Tannat-Merlot, Cotes de Gascogne (Alain Brumont) – Exotic black fruit with great tannin structure, delicious with steak.

And then there was my greatest friend of all time. My nan. I wish everyone could have known her. I laugh so much still when I think of her. She’s gone now, no doubt dying with a smile on her face. How about this for a pearl of wisdom … “no point in dieting, it only makes thin corpses!” genius ? Probably !!

So at the end of this blog where I salute my closest friends and I thank you all for being there during my existence thus far, I owe you all such a debt of gratitude. From those that picked me up when I was down and got me into rock music, those who made me laugh at the wrong time, those who have supported me when I didn’t have a clue but didn’t say a thing just helped me through and finally to those who just arrived with a smile and smiled all the way through, the never-ending smile. Thank you.

“You’re a long time dead …. Enjoy the living!”