Friday 8 June 2007

Need to finish this Masters course

The course itself

Having completed the core part of my academic studies for a Master of Science in Information Technology, I have found that I have somewhat ground to a halt in terms of commencing and completing my thesis.

So far, the coursework covered Computer Structures, Project Management for IT, E-Commerce, Security Engineering, Computer Communications, Advanced Topics in IT (Human Interfaces, Distance Learning, Agents & Wireless Computing), Computer Forensics and Object Oriented Java Programming.

Privacy, Security and Trust

Throughout the course, I have been quite sensitive to the issues of security and privacy, one area I felt I could work in was an aspect of developing algorithms for creating and determining levels of trust beyond just challenge/response authentication.

For instance, we know the standard answers to questions like address, date of birth or mother's maiden name. All this kind of information can easily be taken from your rubbish bins especially if you do not shred all traceable material that you throw away.

Shred it all

I always shred every addressed paper before recycling, windowed envelopes in the Netherlands have postcode franking pertaining to a particular address, our entrance bells would usually have our names then link that to the fact that it is business envelope a particular company.

You can begin to build a profile, or at least, you have given the miscreant a head start of sorts.

However, if the questions change to knowledge-based information like what buses go past your house? If you have lived somewhere for 5 years, you can hardly be oblivious of that. Probably, your age you next 2 birthdays or colour of your front door - use the responses, response times and correctness to establish a threshold of acceptable trustworthiness proving you are communicating with the said person.

What to do?

All sorts of ideas running around in my head but I have hit the proverbial writer's block, I do not think I would be able to develop enough material in this area for an M.Sc., it appears the ideas and material are more suited for an M.A. or M.Phil - this because I need to develop test scenarios for the theories I propound.

Being a freelance consultant, it I difficult to latch onto some project where I work and adapt it for the purposes of a Masters programme, in fact, since there is no sponsorship the free agency can have you a bit listless.

I suppose another concern is simply that my coursework puts me in line for a distinction; I must get an A in the thesis to confirm that - the times that drive us at time can be so silly.

Like some friends would say, get on with it, I suppose it is now time to finish this thing and move on to the next project.

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