CSEP590 Done!

by Jack Richins

Whew! Finally done with my term project – that was a lot of work.

We wrote a policy brief on CyberSecurity – specifically what kinds of attacks to expect over the next 10 years, the state of software security research, and some investigation into liability, licensing of engineers, and security test lab. It was actually kind of depressing – I’m and engineer and I’d like to believe there is a solution for everything. But from what we covered, it seemed pretty clear to me we can not solely rely on technology to fix this problem. Kind of like vaults – there’s no such thing as an unbreakable vault. But banks still spend a lot of money protecting money and are mostly successful. It just needs to be good enough and the risk of getting caught high enough to discourage most bank robbers.

So I do think things will get better – it just won’t be because of some amazing break through in software engineering that results in security defect free software.

There were 5 of us on our team. We collaborated on a Wiki at http://cubist.cs.washington.edu/CSEP590TU-wiki/index.php/Student_Projects:CyberSecurity. You can see all our early work there.

We used the wiki kind of like a bulletin board/email list. We’d throw ideas up there, read others, respond, etc. For this aspect a real bulletin board/email list would have been better.

Then we began writing rough drafts. We did very little editing of each others words directly. Mostly we had discussions related to the sections on the discussion pages. Worked okay. What would have been ideal is if we could have posted the word documents we were using and just discussed them. Or sent them around for review in email using word review feature.

With more practice I’m sure we could have used the Wiki to greater advantage, but it’s not something that just comes naturally. It was just way to free form for my tastes. I think some guidelines/suggestions on how to use it would have helped.

In the end we sent around the final document as an attachment and copy and pasted from our Word drafts into the final document. Worked very well – a few styles defined and it looked very uniform. Kudo’s to word – our team was all impressed with the end notes feature (though it would have been nice to be able to copy and past the end notes as well into our Wiki pages) and how well copy and paste worked between the different documents when we merged. Well done.