Friday, June 14, 2013

Graham Crackers

Be careful out there, and keep your trousers on, chaps. ~  Graham Cluley

I first came across Graham Cluley on the Usenet.

For those of you who haven't been mucking around the Internet for 20 years, Usenet was a huge collection of groups posting articles on everything from Linux to Physics to Cars to ... anything else you can think of.

Well, there was this group called comp.virus, which was moderated by a guy named Nick Fitzgerald (whose day job, evidently, was directing stage plays).  Viruses were still sort of a new thing back then, so a lot of us were wondering how these things worked, how they got onto machines, and how best to combat them.

To give you an idea of how new they were, antivirus companies like Mcafee and Norton used to do monthly or even longer update cycles.  Now they're done hourly.  Sometimes more frequently.

Anyway, one of the expert voices in the group belonged to a guy who worked for an antivirus company called Dr. Solomon, a fellow named Graham Cluley.  Mr. Cluley knew his cheese and didn't suffer fools gladly.  Not that he was nasty; he simply was quite willing to tell the poster that the poster didn't know what he was talking about.

As time went on, Dr. Solomon was bought by McAfee Antivirus.  For one reason or another, Graham and McAfee didn't mesh and he departed.  Viruses still were sort of a side issue, and the responsibilities I had didn't require spending a lot of time on antivirus forums, so I lost track of Graham.

When I took my current job, I got real serious about antivirus stuff because we had a lot of problems.  After a bunch of testing and evaluating, we went with Sophos.  Ordinarily, I don't talk about work-type stuff, but since we actually have our case study on the Sophos web site, this isn't exactly proprietary information.

Well, since we were using their stuff, I figured I'd better start following news from the site.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that none other than the redoubtable Mr. Cluley was now gainfully employed, primarily as a spokesman, by Sophos.  I'm sure the average BBC watcher in the UK has seen ol' Graham offering advice, information, and hints about what to do about malware of all sorts on the news programming there.  He is a well-spoken chap, that Graham.  He has also been an important poster on the Sophos security blog, Naked Security.  You can read his farewell address here.

Fortunately, for those of us who enjoy reading his bon mots (that's French; look it up), Graham will continue posting to his own site, the very modestly named www.grahamcluley.com.  Well, it's a better name than Naked Security.  You cannot believe how much I scared a very mature female employee of the City when I inadvertently sent her a link from the site.  The link itself was informative and useful information.  However, the URL --nakedsecurity.sophos.com-- completely freaked her out.  She was quite sure that the City's IT administrators were sending naughty links to one another.

Thankfully, I was able to set her mind at ease.  See what grief you put me through, Mr. Cluley?

I do, however, look forward to following his postings, so in the words of a current (and much despised in the UK, I'm told) meme:

KEEP CALM
AND
KEEP YOUR TROUSERS ON, OLD CHAP


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