Sunday, April 01, 2012

Passover Re-enactment, Several positions still open!

Ann and I are organizing a special "Passover Experience" next weekend to commemorate our heritage. We are starting a new tradition of an authentic re-enactment of the Passover story. This is the first attempt in the modern era to replicate in true historic fashion what it was like for our people when they left Israel as slaves and entered the desert as a free, wandering people.

Preparations will begin in Israel. We have arranged for a free charter flight from JFK to Tel Aviv, courtesy of Manischewitz, who will also provide in flight catering. We have room for 36 people, and there are still have a few spots left. Please consider joining us, and RSVP immediately if you can make it. Gentiles are welcome as well! If you haven't had horseradish or matzo balls at 38,000 feet, you have no idea what you're missing.

Given the unfortunate political climate in Egypt right now, and the likelihood that names such as Avi Rubin and Haim Jewburger may be greeted with hostility by the Muslim Brotherhood, the first stop will be to an office in Be'er Sheva that will issue us all legitimate looking credentials with Egyptian sounding names. (I have to get used to answering to Mustafa.) The next 3 hours will be spent memorizing our new identities and our cover stories, and we will participate in a two hour crash military boot camp. Those who need it will be given voice coaching to make them sound less Jewish, and we can adjust skin tones with makeup, as needed.

How this trip is different from all other trips? It will become obvious as you view this itinerary:

April 5; DAY 1
Departure:   Non-stop flight JFK -> Tel Aviv

April 6; DAY 2
9:25 a.m. arrive at Ben Gurion Airport*
10:30 a.m. shuttle to Be'er Sheva secret office
Noon  Lunch, followed by fake ID photo session and receive cover stories
3:00 p.m. cover story training and checkpoint survival instruction
8:00 p.m. insertion into Egypt at the site of an ancient pyramid
10:00 p.m. quiet Seder dinner at the foot of the pyramids
Midnight: Transport to Suez, where we will search for the afikoman

* After the long flight and all that matzo, all participants will be offered courtesy enemas upon arrival.

April 7; DAY 3
8:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Slaughter a goat and mark house entrances with the blood
10:30 - noon Release frogs and locust in the streets (we will pack these in Be'er Sheva)
Noon:  Kosher lunch in Cairo
2:00 p.m. Shuttle to the red sea, bring bathing suit just in case
6:13 p.m. Parting of the red sea (haven't figured this one out yet - stay tuned!)
9:00 p.m. Enter Sinai dessert for 40 minute walk representing years in the desert

April 8; DAY 4

Free day on your own in Sinai Desert

April 9; DAY 5
Non-stop flight Tel Aviv -> JFK for whoever makes it back

If this goes well, please stay tuned for other reenactments. I'm thinking of organizing a Purim one in Iran next March, if we can find a good spot for a hanging, and perhaps a Hanukkah one in Greece, where we can seek out descendants of Antiochus to attack. Or, maybe the best one would be an April Fools Day reenactment in Chelm.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Harbor Labs - my new venture

When I returned from Israel, I decided to leave the security consulting company that I founded in 2005. While I enjoyed my time at ISE, and I learned a tremendous amount about business and the security industry, I felt it was time for me to move on. I am focusing a lot more energy now on building up the security group at Johns Hopkins, and I'm very excited about our new executive director who I believe is leading the way to great success. We expect to hire up to two faculty in Security this year, and we are pouring tremendous energy and funding into our information security institute.

Meanwhile, I have founded a new company called Harbor Labs, which is a consulting company focused on the litigation industry. The objective of Harbor Labs is to provide expertise in legal cases, including testimony, reports, source code review and analysis. My goal is to partner with other experts and to put together a technical team that can support either a plaintiff team or a defense team by de-mystifying technical concepts and presenting the facts in a clear and understandable manner.

I have been working as an expert witness in high tech litigation on and off for sixteen years. How do I decide whether or not to take on a case? First, I determine whether or not I or any of my partners or employees have any conflicts of interest with any of the parties. Assuming that we pass the conflict check, I then listen to the lawyer's explanation of the lawsuit to evaluate whether they have a good case and that they are on the right side of the issues, and that I have the proper domain expertise. If I feel that their case cannot be supported by the facts, that the lawyers misunderstand the technical issues involved, or that the subject matter is outside of my area, then I politely decline.

At this point, it might seem that no case can ever clear these hurdles. But, many of them do. The next step in my decision is to utilize whatever information the lawyers share with me to assess if I am speaking with the party that ought to prevail in the case. If that is so, I contemplate whether or not the case is interesting, if I like the attorneys involved, and whether it is worth putting time and energy into the project. Finally, I decide if I have the time and resources available for the job, or if someone on my staff is available to do the work. If all of these criteria are met, then we sign the engagement agreement, and move forward.

It is an involved process, but I firmly believe it is important to vet the projects up front to the extent possible. I also make sure that the lawyers understand that I will only tell the truth, whether it helps or hurts their case. If they don't want to hear what I really think, or if they are afraid that I might say something that puts their case in jeopardy, then they need to find a different expert. Gauging the attorneys' reaction to this statement is one of the best ways that I have found to decide if this is a team I want to join.

My model at Harbor Labs is to utilize my technical staff for all of the aspects of the project that they can handle, and to only get involved myself when I am needed. Thus, I am able to work on projects that are much larger than I would be able to handle on my own, given my commitments at the university and at home.

I am happy to accept resumes from anyone interested in joining the technical team at Harbor Labs, or to discuss partnerships with other experts who testify in high tech litigation. Contact me at