Saturday, April 28, 2007

Birding in New York City?

I've followed the "Pale Male and Lola" Web site (about a pair of red-tailed hawks in Central Park) for a long time, so when I read recently that owls had migrated here, I decided to see for myself if it was true that rare birds inhabit Central Park.

Red-Tailed Hawk

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Great Egret

North American Cardinal

Blue Jay


Friday, April 6, 2007

SANS San Diego

Photo Credit: Kathy Northcutt/SANS Institute

It pays to dream and never give up! In April of 2007, I had one of my dreams come true. I had heard about The SANS Institute for several years, and had always wanted to attend one of their Computer Security "Boot Camps." SANS is a traveling university, setting up intense 10-day classroom sessions in a different city each month. They are the best of the best, the Top Gun of computer security, and employ the highest caliber of teachers in the industry. Above is a photo of me from SANS San Diego with my class, several of whom are involved in cybercrime investigative work.

Photo Credit: Kathy Northcutt/SANS Institute

My first SANS “Boot Camp” was in Orlando, Florida (photo of team above), where I was blessed (and I really don’t believe it was by chance), to be assigned to a gentleman whom the industry regards as the brightest person in the intrusion detection sector. He was my introduction to SANS, my first “face with the name,” and it is a privilege and an honor to call him “friend” today. He has a wonderful character, a wicked sense of humor, and is able to relate the material in a way that everyone can learn.

At my second SANS (San Diego), I literally learned computer crime forensic analysis from the instructor of the team who oversaw the hard-drive dissection of the Virginia Tech massacre. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not into blood and gore, but I have always had an intense interest in solving mysteries and following a chain of events to recreate what happened. Combined with an intense curiosity with all things digital, that’s a pretty good fit for computer forensics.

During SANS San Diego, I was in the middle of a job search and was exploring digital forensics possibilities. Although I didn’t end up in that end of things for my career, I may pursue it on a volunteer basis in my local community as our instructor told us there are so many crimes being committed digitally, and the technology is still so new, that law enforcement can always use a hand from those who possess the right skills.