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Peter J. Denning, Editor in ChiefThe digitally connected world has become a large, swirling sea of information stripped of context. We help our readers make sense of it, find meaning in it, learn what to trust, and speculate on our future.

Peter J. Denning,
Editor-in-Chief

 

LATEST ARTICLES
Commentary

10 rules for an unhackable data vault

May 2017
by James B. Morris

Most recent publicity on cyber security has focused on preventing attacks by external hackers. While many of these attacks began with an insider, there has been much less discussion about preventing malicious insider exploits. Perhaps that is because untrustworthy insiders are hard to find and block before they strike. The Secure Data Vault (SDV) is an approach to protecting the most sensitive data from malware and insider exploits. Formal verification of the microservices that govern access to the vault will close down almost all malware pathways. The old military N-person rule will close down most insider pathways. This rule allows for a trade-off between security and convenience: the higher the number who have to cooperate to access the vault (N), the greater the security and the less the convenience. When based on this plus nine other construction rules, the SDV will protect sensitive data from malware and malicious insiders.

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Interview

Cybersecurity skeptics now embracing formal methods: an interview with Gernot Heiser and Jim Morris

May 2017
Interviewed by Ted G. Lewis

There is new hope for those who despair securing computer systems from external hackers. The recent DARPA HACMS project demonstrated conclusively that "certain pathways for attackers have all been shut down in a way that's mathematically proven to be unhackable for those pathways." Continuing research at DARPA and IARPA will eventually shut down all the pathways, and the external hackers will be out of business permanently.

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Commentary

The glorious promise of the post-truth world

March 2017
by Andrew Odlyzko

"Post-truth"---an adjective designated the 2016 Word of the Year by the Oxford English Dictionaries, and the related term "truthiness," have received much public attention recently, and have inspired heated discussions of "fake news" and "alternative facts."

In this article (spoof/parody/satire/dystopia/…, depending on how you read it), the author argues that the essential role of truthiness in human life is underestimated, and that it "is safer to embrace the inevitable and march into the brave new post-truth world."

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department

The three acid tests of persuasive writing

March 2017
by Philip Yaffe

Each Communication Corner essay is self-contained; however, they build on each other. For best results, if you have not already done so, before reading this essay and doing the exercise, go to the first essay "How an Ugly Duckling Became a Swan," then read each succeeding essay sequentially.

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