Author Archive: Callam McMillan

The Chinese spy-chip saga: One week on

Last week, the Financial news website Bloomberg released what could potentially be the biggest security related story in years. Evidence that the Chinese government were implanting so called “Spy Chips” on Supermicro motherboards intended for use in top American companies including Amazon, Apple, and the US government itself. In the hours and days following, Supermicro’s share price has fell by 40 percent; while Supermicro, Apple and Amazon have all issued vehement denials as to their alleged discovery of the chips embedded in the motherboards. Both The Register and Ars Technica produced excellent write ups of what was an bombshell revelation….
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Want to work in Infosec? Impress me!

So, you’ve decided that information security (Other titles are available) is the career for you, now you just need a job. Firstly, congratulations! You’ve made an excellent choice. The threat to companies and individuals from cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime is ever growing, creating a pressing demand for skilled individuals to help protect our information, more than ever in the age of GDPR. Before you can get started in security however, you’ll have to come through someone like me – the hiring manager. Whether you’re an IT professional that wants to move into security; it’s your first security job; or you’re…
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I’m back and soon to have a CISSP

“We like to call this voluntary hanging”. Not really what you want to hear the night before you sit down to do a six hour, 250 question exam. That said, it’s probably an accurate description. Yes, the reason I haven’t been around lately is that between working 50-60 hours a week in my day job, I have also been studying for my CISSP. This culminated the other week in a pass, which means that I supposedly know something about information security! For the uninitiated, the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) qualification is considered to be the baseline for a…
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Why everybody should be using HTTPS

Using HTTPS on a website has historically been a pain, and therefore reserved only for e-commerce sites. In order to use HTTPS you would need to first purchase certificates which had a cost associated; then you would need them installing, which your hosting provider would need to support. As a result adoption of HTTPS for ‘regular websites’ was low. Last week, I took the opportunity to secure this website. The best part was doing so cost nothing, and it took just 10 minutes! This led to the conclusion – there’s no excuse not to use HTTPS. What is HTTPS? When using…
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The Cheapest PC: July 2016

To date, the trend has been for the cost of the cheapest PC to fall. However, following the vote to leave the European Union, what has the adjustment in the value of the dollar done to the price of your computer in July? Using scan.co.uk, who are my goto place for computer supplies, I decided to find out.  As we did back in May, we’ll look at what the cheapest PC you can build is, then look at what you can get from eBay on the used market. Case and Power Supply The CiT1021 is no longer on sale, so instead…
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The Cheapest PC: May 2016

In March I wrote about the cheapest PC I could build, it came to just under £195. Now it’s the end of May, another two months have passed, new products come onto the market, and older ones are discontinued and retired. Surely though, not much can have changed since March? Using scan.co.uk, who are my goto place for computer supplies, I decided to find out. Last time I specified two machines – the first being the very cheapest thing you could build, the next being something that you could possibly live with. What we’ll do this time is attempt to duplicate these setups,…
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WordPress Security: Some useful tools

Look to the right of the page and you’ll see the effect various personal issues have had on my free time. Couple that with needing to do a load of work on the house, and my capacity for looking after this website has become near zero. The problem is that administrative overhead didn’t go away – comments still needed to be moderated, and the number of failed login attempts was starting to become a worry. So one lunchtime at work I decided to look at some WordPress security tools. Ultimately I came up with two plugins and a useful website…
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The PC Builder Series

  What is the absolute minimum you can build a new PC for, and should you? This is a regular series that looks at the market for new PC parts. From May 2016, we’ll also look at what’s on the used market for the same price.July 2016May 2016March 2016January 2016 These are a series of one-off articles that look at different things to consider about the PCs and the PC market.Another way to do it: Buying 2nd hand PCs

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The cheapest PC – Another way

In the previous articles on building the cheapest PC, the premise has always been that it’d be nice to have an Intel machine, but they’re too expensive, so lets go for AMD instead. While it’s not a bad argument, the result is always going to be disappointing or underwhelming. Fortunately there is another way, and I actually put my money where my mouth is on this one. That is to buy a used PC from a site like eBay. Here we’ll talk about what to look for, how that fits into the wider scheme of building a new computer, and…
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