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Security Response

Virus Bulletin 2006 - Opening Day

Created: 11 Oct 2006 07:00:00 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:56:09 GMT
Sarah Gordon's picture
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Monday was a holiday in the United States, but since I’m in Canada I took advantage of that fact in order to not take the day off. My boss should like that. :) Instead, I created some more slides for my upcoming VB presentation;but, I didn’t have a very easy time of it. Some people are naturals atputting together presentations—complete with nice graphics,easy-to-read charts, and a minimum of animation. I’m not one of them.Not only do I fight (and I’m finally winning, I might add) theanimation daemon that seems to want to add flying horses and spinningcircles of yellow and black to each slide, I am dyslexic and I suffer from more than moderate dyscalculia, making charts more than a small challenge.

I think another big part of the “presentation creation” issues Iseem to encounter stem from my tendency to understand (and communicate)ideas in the context of the “big picture.” I find it difficult todeconstruct ideas into a logical and orderly progression. That’ssomewhat ironic because one of the main ideas discussed in mypresentation is the variance in the way people can take in and processinformation. Some people learn by looking at the big picture—only afterthey see it all laid out can they make sense of the pieces. Otherpeople learn best by looking at the details; if presented with thebigger picture (even as a function of context) the material can becomelost, just as if it was never heard or seen at all. Some people learnand retain information best when they take it in by hearing, some byseeing; yet, we tend to present most of our security informationwithout much emphasis on what we can see. Even mental “pictures” areremarkably absent from much of the security education material. Itoccurs to me that this reality puts those of us who best learn andretain information visually (when we can develop mental pictures ofideas) at somewhat of a disadvantage. When people thought computersecurity was just about programming, that didn’t matter much, but nowthat people are beginning to understand computer security is really amulti-disciplinary activity and one that involves people as well ascomputers, it suddenly becomes very important.

I’m working on a computer security course for computer sciencemajors and I’ve incorporated some of the ideas from my paper into thatwork. Two weeks ago, I sat in on a lecture for an Assembly Language classand saw some of the ideas being put into practice there, too. I couldprobably write a book on that as well, so I’ll have to think about it.For now, I just have to find someone to double check my slides. Thatshouldn’t be too difficult considering just how many computer securityexperts will be within arm’s reach this week.