Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Corrupted Science

I recently finished a book by John Grant - Corrupted Science. In it, Grant describes an endless parade of examples where the scientific principles have been violated (sometimes resulting in tragic loss of human life), starting from faking observation data by Ptolemy and Galilei to the illnesses hampering modern science in the US.

I think it should be required reading for aspiring scientists. On the one hand, it demystifies the image of science, which is often seen as something that is absolute, certain (100%) and infallible, while in reality it is often not the case. On the other hand, it urges you to avoid the various pitfalls or mistakes that have happened before, and hopefully make you a better and more moral scientist.

It is especially instructing to see the vast array of examples from recent years. Otherwise, we could just look at the chapter on Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia and dismiss it as "ancient" history. However, it is followed by an account of politically corrupted science from the US during the Bush (II) reign.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Volcano Week

I was supposed to go to a workshop in Hungary this week to discuss where the European cybersecurity research is heading and where it actually should go. It seems that the Norse gods had their own agenda, so the workshop was postponed.

So, for now, I will just point you to the workshop's literature [pdf] page, which includes some interesting references.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Paper on Cyberspace

I presented a paper [link] at the 5th International Conference on Information Warfare and Security (ICIW) last week. This year the event was hosted by the US Air Force Institute of Technology, at the Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio. If you ever get the chance, I recommend to spend a day or two at the Air Force museum in there (yeah, any less will not do).

Our paper (co-authored by Peeter Lorents) presented some of our work on the cyber terminology. Specifically, in the paper we defined cyberspace as "a time-dependent set of interconnected information systems and the human users that interact with these systems".

It was not our intent to come up with a universal definition (which could be useless), but something that provides a background for our future work. So, basically, it is more like a brick destined to become part of a wall, instead of the wall itself.

While we were at it, we came up with a couple of simple implications from our definition, which are explained in more detail in the paper:
  • both offensive and defensive deployments can take place very rapidly in cyberspace
  • it is not feasible to map cyberspace accurately
  • both attackers and defenders must constantly reconnoiter or patrol the potential area of conflict in cyberspace.
The conference itself had some interesting papers from various angles and I look forward to reviewing a few of those here.

P.S. I moved the publications section to a tab at the top. Under that tab is now the full list, with some papers available via Google Docs.