Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Competitor Intelligence Counter Threat

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
Hiring hackers to take out a threat from other hackers is nothing new, but what is new is the motivation of the particular hackers in question. From a recent investigation we understand that there are a new breed of computer scientist on the block who deplore the acts of the many criminals, conmen and voyeurs that characterise themselves as international computer hackers. In fact, they despise them so much that they are actively forming companies to defend global corporations from attacks against their infrastructure and their brand.

We recall one particular story where a global consumer brand suffered a multiple attack by hackers hell bent on disrupting the launch of a new pharmaceutical product, on behalf of a foreign competitor (who shall remain nameless).Using a highly targeted series of sophisticated attacks, hackers seized harddisks, laptop computers and encoded transmissions.

Ordinarily, those who have ownership of the systems containing the data are usually the ones empowered by that information.

Thankfully, none of the forementioned was of any use to the competitor company, given the devices had been designed by white hats to be completely useless in the hands of anyone but their true owners. Worse still for the foreign competitor was that they were left with the realisation that the target could defend itself, even when certain confidential assets fell into the hands of others.

This for them, was a new and unwelcome phenomenon and one that they would have to contend with in the future.

Needless to say, it saved the pharmaceutical company from losing many millions of dollars and their R&D data being traded on the black market.

The Competitor Intelligence Counter Threat

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Whatif Brainstorming Brand Vulnerability?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
A recent meeting of brand protection experts has caused much controversy amongst those so called security gurus who think that they have everything wrapped up. Apparently the brain storming session, the topic of which was to remain secret to the attendees right up to entering the door, involved using creative visualisation techniques to broaden the debate surrounding the field of brand protection in corporate America. Attendees were encouraged to dig into the experiences of the past, in order to locate potential threat patterns and experiences of interest to all present and to visualise applying known attack patterns developed in one part of their careers, against completely different areas of their organisation. Someone used their experience as a network security penetration tester to conduct an audit on the risk management procedures of an organisation, in order to dig up serious gaps in the implementation of manufacturing policy, for a tea company based in Holland.

Some of the issues of brand vulnerability that were exposed during this rather lengthy brainstroming session included:

1. What if our brand becomes confused with another brand?
2. What if our competition went to war using various pricing strategies?
3. Who would have an active interest in our brands demise? How could they attack us?
4. What information don't we want our staff to disclose?
5. Do our products or services have racial or religious connotations?
6. Could we be attacked as an animal rights abuser?
7. Are we involved with any partnerships where our reputation could be at risk?
8. Are we involved with any markets in regions where economic viability might take a downturn?
9. Are we especially vulnerable to disruptive innovators?
10. Are we exposed to risk through poor transmission errors?
11. Are we exposed by non-compliance to legislation, such as health & safety issues?
12. Where are we especially vulnerable to hackers?

In fact the list ran to over 5000 different issues of potential brand vulnerability, in 30 distinct categories and will be published in due course.

Entitled "Whatif Brainstorming Brand Vulnerability".

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Discard the flimsy images of the late 20th century & build a sustainable brand.

Brand Security Expert reveals::
Tolstoy once said....

"What is art, if you discard the all too confusing concept of beauty?".

Had he been alive today he would have most certainly asked this same question again.

For imagery is truly an illusory device.

Without good intention, beauty carries limited weight.

To Fix Firmly and Securely in your market...

You need to appeal to the truth.

You need to tell the truth about your company, your products and your people.

You need to engender trust and be consistent in everything you say and do.

You need to communicate these truths in wholly open and honest ways.

You need to keep your promises. Your brand should reflect this resolve.

Discard the flimsy images of the late 20th century & build a sustainable brand.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Why have Ethical Hacker Training companies got it so wrong?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
We ask, just who are the people that you are sending on Ethical hacker training courses and why are you sending them?

Firstly, lets look at what Ethical hacking is all about.

First and foremost Ethical Hacking is about the good guys outsmarting the bad guys, in order to protect your company's computing assets from taking a hit. In other words, the white hats, outhinking the black hats, in order to forsee and/or repel against attacks by criminals.

So lets first look at the white hats.
Profile: Computer Science graduate working in corporate IT for about 5 years say, or network engineer or manager who has been treading the boards for about 10 years.

Ok, now lets look at the black hats.
Profile: Yuan Lopez, 33 from Paraiba, Brazil. (convicted 3 times for purgery, forgery and counterfeiting). Ex bank worker and trader. 2 ex wives, 10 kids and likes a little bit of the white snorty, snorty stuff every now and again.

Ok now, lets look at the Ethical Hacker trainer.
Profile: Ex Network Guru, Programmer, with an arm load of IT security certificates, from here to Amsterdam. Tony also worked for the BBC where he is used to working in high security IT environments (lol). His forte is social engineering, where he tells loads of cool stories about intrusion and deception attacks (as presumeably made up by Kevin Mitnick) and how they are common place and how through analogy you will learn many of the most frequent attack patterns. Of course this analogy is based on limited content, so not particularly creative.

Ok, get the setting?
What we have here are a bunch of IT guys, who are going to protect your company from a corporate desparado, who would just as soon shoot his mother in the head, than go back to prison. This guy has no concept of IT departments, CISSP certificates or brightly coloured ethical hacking training manuals. Once he has a motive and a target, there is absolutely no stopping him and he has a spectrum of villanous alternatives to choose from in order to carry out his attack.

Do you really think that Tony the IT engineer has a cat in hells chance of repelling an attack from a sophisticated, finance-savvy bandit like Mr Juan Lopez. Just how many angles are there to an attack vector anyway? Can you really cover them all?

As we have said in the past, the only reason why your company has never sustained a really serious attack is because you have never really become a targeted.

Until business leaders realise that security is a brand-level, multi-disciplinary, multi-faceted, multi-functional issue of intelligence that needs to be integrated effectively, ethical hacking (as it is called), will remain in the Dark Ages?

What is required are executive-level 'ethical hackers' who have IT, business and real-life experience and who can properly watch the backs of the CEO and the company of the day.

We ask - Why have Ethical Hacker Training companies got it so wrong?

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Really get to know the target company before determining the most effective Merger & Acquisition team.

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
Did you ever find yourself in one of those meetings where the top man announces that he has seen fit to move the business in a different direction and that there would be all change at the top? Were you there when he mentioned that the new owners would be parachuting a team of due-dilgence experts into the business, to conduct health checks, prior to any agreement being made? Were you there when the questions were served to the senior management team? How about after the auditors left the room and the managers fell about laughing at how lame the questions had been.

Crikey, thank F*** they didn't ask us about X, one manager exclaimed. Another falling about, said - if they only knew!

It is obvious that not every dimension of the business can be evaluated, but so too is it clear that due-diligence teams should be more than a bunch of world-roaming accountants and the odd lawyer or two.

Unless due care and attention is taken over selection of the DD team - Mergers & Acquisition Specialists will be not be in a position to advise clients appropriately.

Our advice to M&A specialists is... really get to know the target company before determining the most appropriate M&A team. Don't just fly in Whizz kids who don't understand the territory.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

In the Case of a Paradigm-Shift – Management Re-education comes before Product Investment Case!

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
In the high technology world, the term "paradigm" is used to describe the set of experiences, beliefs and values that affect the way an individual perceives reality and responds to that perception.
The term "paradigm-shift" infers that one can manage to shift their (experiences, beliefs and values) from where they have been in the past to where they are most viable today.
This enables them to better prepare for new challenges in the future.

If managers are used to thinking in highly specialised ways and in some company's "intensely so", how is it possible for them to interpret a paradigm-shift and in so doing, ask the right questions and set direction in respect of new investments? Many large companies's invest in a paradigm-shift, but rarely do so for any other reason than some short-term incidental gain, potentially stumbling on more return somewhere further down the road.

Unless you are able to alter the behavior of your management team, how will they truly be able to engage with the opportunities afforded by a paradigm-shift? How will they even know that what is in front of them is a significant opportunity?

Organizational behavioural analysis suggests that many companies are positioned for the past, not for the future. It suggests that their expectations for the future are being tested by behaviors that they have employed in the past.

It suggests that if they want to understand the potential of a paradigm shift, that they must first alter their ability for perceiving it.

It suggests that there should first be a case for investing in altering managements behaviour before expecting them to support a case for investment.

Businesses that are best able to address a paradigm-shift are those who effectively position for the paradigm-shift prior to developing the case for investment. They understand that in order to frame the opportunity effectively, that they must first engender commitment to the paradigm-shift.

It is possible to build rules and methods for the management of internal projects and processes, which support the investment in existing platforms. But if you are truly going to be able to grasp the opportunities before you in the paradigm-shift, you must be prepared to identify and adopt completely new ways of looking at investments and approaches to product development, both inside and outside the organization.

Instigating business reengineering, innovative design and cultural problem-solving/decision-making/educational communications development programmes will be helpful in moving the organization forward, towards this new paradigm.

If your business cannot bridge the education/decision-making/problem solving gap; how can it be asked to communicate and contribute effectively to engaging with this new paradigm? How can managers be expected to contribute effectively to investment planning if they have no real experience of contributing to the development of these new forms of paradigm?

It is important that you understand the market, but in the context of a new paradigm, firstly to ensure that your organizational belief system is capable of engaging, interpreting and aligning with this new paradigm.

Organizations that are flexible enough to handle paradigm-shifts, are best placed to develop innovative products that meet and exceed the expectations of the marketplace….

…by posturing for new opportunities and directing investment to where it gives the greatest return!

In the Case of a Paradigm-Shift – Management Re-education comes before Product Investment Case!

Monday, 21 January 2008

In the Case of a Paradigm-Shift – Effective Positioning comes before Product Investment Case!

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
If you don’t know who you are, how can you ever be sure how the market will react to you?
To begin to develop a case for investment, you first need to establish an acceptable position, that you are happy to identity with.

Without sufficient confidence to commit to organizational change, the perceptions that develop the case for investment in the new paradigm, will supply a compromised view.

Clearly, for any such investment planning process to work, it must be part of an overall integrated programme of business transformation, not a process that stands effectively on its own.

Positioning in terms:-

Who you are? - Reputable BRAND
What you do? - Innovative PRODUCT
Who you serve? - Prime CUSTOMERS
How you do it? - First Class SERVICE
Where you do it? - The MARKET
How you compete? - Rapid INNOVATION
How you adapt? - Effective Business POSITIONING

Clearly, positioning of the business must precede the case for investment for any particular market opportunity. This provides the all essential identity, against which the market and market opportunities can be effectively perceived and ultimately serviced.

Where organisations expect to diversify, a programme of education follows clear direction of positioning. These educational programmes are even more necessary in the case of a paradigm shift. Management must be prepared to learn more if they are going to be able to bridge the education/problem-solving and decision-making gaps. They must be prepared to learn even more, if they are going to able to fully engage with the new paradigm-shift.

Effective Positioning comes before Product Investment Case!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Add Invisible Killer Robots to your Human CI capability!

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
How many Competitive Intelligence Analysts operate in the dark? How many of them really know what is going on? How many can make moves that truly make a difference? How many have access to rich sources they can trust? How many truly have what it takes to rapidly target and acquire intelligence that will truly make a difference to your organisation? When they acquire it - how good are they at assimilating it - and just as importantly communicating it to decision makers.

Ask yourself this. If CI was not part of my business - would it truly make a difference? If you only had the support of the management team of the day and no Competitive Intelligence unit - how much difference would it really make?

Also ask yourself this. If i had the best Competitive Intelligence capability in the world - how might it look? How might it operate? How might if make a difference to my organisation?

We offer the vision of the Invisible intelligence analyst. Of the "fly on the wall" CI analyst. The "Xray vision" analyst. Of an analyst that knows the positioning of your business relative to that of your competition - and understands your objectives. That knows how to infiltrate the corporate memory of your organisation to seek deeper reflection and who can gain access to the darkest, most lucrative corners of your competitors confidences.

A capability that is invisible, then visible. Invisible, then visible. Ethical and Ethical.

Truth is, the most valuable CI is not the one that offers (office-bound) formal confidences to the internal management teams of the day. The most valuable CI is a mobile, invisible capability that you can unleash in your market and that will tirelessly utilise shape-shifting tactics to acquire and develop intelligence assets - the output of which can be presented to executives - such that they can make immediate and effective decisions against plan.

Add Invisible Killer Robots to your Human CI capability!

Friday, 18 January 2008

A Poem about the soul of a Master Hacker

Brand Killer Robots reveal::

A Seer of forms
Forms that others cannot see
A Seer through forms
Forms that others cannot see through

A Conjurer of forms
Forms that others cannot make manifest
A Philisophy of forms
Forms that carry deep meaning

A Mindset of forms
Minds that have no intellectual boundaries
A Being at one with forms
Oneness that others cannot feel

A Sensing of the coming of new form
Sensations of what has yet to come
A Vocabulary of forms
Language that only love can decipher

A Religion of forms
Forms that can unite mankind

The Master Hacker
{Embracing the form to cause perfect harmony}

Thursday, 17 January 2008

IT Industry call for HM-Gov action on e-crime --- but do IT Chiefs still have credibility?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
Apparently, IT industry chiefs have accused UK government of failing to take e-crime seriously. They say that the abolition of the National High Tech Crime Unit in 2006 left a serious vacuum in the investigation of e-crime, with responsibility now split between agencies. Further pressure is being applied to Government to set-up a central e-crime unit, in light of revelations relating to the loss of the child benefit records of 25m people by HM Revenue and Customs.

It seems that the Government is again on the backfoot.

However, one must first consider the true nature of this enquiry and resulting questions.

1. Why for instance are IT security chiefs calling for change? Why not the Institute of Directors or the Financial Services Authority? Why IT chiefs in particular?
2. Who has what to gain from beating up the Government to fork out more money on e-crime?
3. What has a breach in adminsitrative practice at HMRC got to do with e-crime?
4. Why are IT chiefs building systems that can be so easily compromised. Where does their own responsibility lie?
5. Give IT chiefs a ga-zillion and they still won't stop e-crime. Government already know that.
6. Is one e-crime unit, going to do any better, than several?
7. Are we more exposed by centralising e-crime intelligence, than splitting it?
8. Are we over-reacting to media hype and commercial self-interest?
9. Should we be considering investing in an advanced e-crime research unit which feeds multiple intelligence agencies, rather than centralising e-crime per se?

We say, IT chiefs should shut-up and start cleaning up their own act before they ever think of rocking any confidence the people have in its government.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

New Breed Hackers: Launch counter attacks on the Social Engineers!

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
Much of our work is conducted at the command line. Much of our time is spent in the ZONE, watching, waiting and carrying out exploits on those who threaten the good people of cyberspace.
There are times though when we need to operate outside the ZONE. When intelligence can only be acquired from those on the outside, or when we need to concentrate on tackling a physical target, rather than an online target.

Many predators spend almost all of their time attacking citizens outside of the ZONE, trying to gain influence over them so they can target them better when they’re inside the ZONE. These predators give themselves titles like “Social Engineer”, when in fact all they are - are modern-day con-men, tricksters and cheats.

More often than not we need to employ the same underhand strategies as they do. More often than not we need to do this to acquire information that is critical to our mission. More often than not we must play the same games as the very people who are set up in business to cause disorder - the so called “social engineers” themselves.

It’s all too easy for them to play out their agenda and there are literally thousands of different ways to exploit anyone from employees to charity workers to politicians. All you need is to think like a crook and you can achieve almost anything.

I know what I know
I know what I don’t know
But I don’t know what I don’t know
{Present tense}

These so called social engineers are able to hypnotise you into believing that they are trustworthy people. That they are great and likeable people to deal with. That they are in control and that you can be sure that everything is going to work out just fine when they are around. They can help you to become anything that you want to be. That your worth is because of them and when they are around they make you feel just fine about yourself. That in times of crisis they will always be there (even though when you look on the surface they are the ones who caused the trouble). They play on your desire to help others by always requesting you to give up new and important information. Under the guise that it is for some ethical purpose. Sometimes you get a little suspicious and for a time begin to lose faith, only for them to surprise you and then everything is fine. Everything they do and say seems perfect and everyday you like them more and more. Even though you’ve only known them five minutes. They seem to be able to read you. To understand your needs profoundly. As if they have always known you. Almost as if they knew you more than yourself. You have similar beliefs, they seem to know the same people as you and they always seem to be able to charm you, especially so in the bad times.
Sometimes they bring bad news which makes you angry, but they always seem to be able to get you out of a hole. Sometimes hope and opportunity seems scarce, but they always seem to be able to raise your spirits, as long as you do this or that for them. They say they prefer you when you’re acting naturally and taking things a step at a time.
At times you’ve felt like your losing your mind.
Things you should have known, but didn’t. Even things that you did know that you couldn’t remember.

Strange….strange…..strange.

Don’t trust a stranger. Listen to your heart.
Listen only to those who you know in your heart to be true.
Those who have stood the test of time and remained true.

From the 2007 book --- The Matrix Hackers

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

New Breed Hackers:: Why walk through the battlefield, when you have the means to fly?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
Sun Tzu said, “it is one thing to be defeated, but another thing to have been surprised”. It is also said that you should never enter battle unless you are pretty certain you will win.
What these sayings mean is that you always need to be prepared for battle. To understand your enemy, the terrain and the causes for which they fight. To understand the troops and resources they have at their disposal and the reputation of their greatest warriors. You need to understand all these things and to assess your own strengths, weaknesses and strategies against those of your opponent, before you even think about doing battle with them.
Once you understand these things you should then be in a position to draw up a battle plan – OR NOT.

There is no disgrace in not engaging with the enemy until such time that you are sure you will win.

As a student you must learn the architecture of the battlefield and the strategies that will send you victorious. You must learn how to identify and to weigh the powers the enemy has at its disposal. To calculate the terrain and the order and structure of attack. To understand the motivation and level of resolve of the enemy troops and to work out where they might have weak points you can exploit. To determine your own weak points and to ensure a satisfactory defence and contingency plan.

In order to destroy the power of the beast you must seek to strike at its head, for this will disrupt its central nervous system, sending the rest of its body into a downward spiral.

Why walk through the battlefield, when you have the means to fly?

THINK SMART, FIGHT SMART!

From the 2007 book ---
The Matrix Hackers

Monday, 14 January 2008

Great Hackers are made - not born. They follow the Way of the Tree!!!

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
Great Hackers are made - not born, for we all have it in us to achieve greatness in this respect. As the tree cannot blossom without roots, trunk, branches and leaves, so too cannot the expertise of a hacker without the right foundations in place.

Without roots, trunk, branches and leaves, how can it be possible to enlarge the tree? Our masters have taught us that we should not learn one single thing, unless we are sure why we are learning it and for what purpose it serves. There can be no benefit to knowledge unless it is going to be useful. Unless there is a purpose to knowledge, what use is it? Unless it can save lives or feed the world’s children, remove threats or increase opportunity – what use is it? Save fuelling someone’s ego from time to time or plotting to use this knowledge in some evil way.

As the students mind and body is trained it has to take up the study of structured learning. This learning is how you develop the MIND of a hacker. What behaviour, what knowledge, what methods, what tools, what causes - what threats.

This foundation of learning is called:

‘The WAY OF THE TREE’

First you establish the roots of your knowledge, then the trunk of will, then the branches and leaves of experience. This learning method will equip you with all you need to go out into the world and increase your hacker know-how, so that you can add more branches and leaves in the future.
The teachings of the Way of the TREE are an exercise in developing your mental and physical tools to such a level that at the end of the exercise you will be able to operate effectively enough to join a hacker cell and to put your knowledge to good use. If you decide not to take on the challenge of becoming a hacker then Way of the TREE can be used to teach any other subject you care to follow.

Great Hackers are made - not born!! They follow the way of the Tree!!!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Hacker Cells and Creative Visualisation

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
When we enter the ZONE, we see everything in Cyberspace.
We visualise the unfolding battle from inside the ZONE.
Inside the ZONE we run simulations of battles yet to come in our minds and play them out to determine the likely outcome. Outside the ZONE we use a battle simulator program to enter the details of our opponents, the terrain, potential battle strategies and then we run our program to create a report on the likely outcome of each type of battle scenario. We use the results to help us draw up our attack and defence plans. After the battle we compare what actually happened with what the program told us might happen and then we update the program to make it calculate more accurately next time around.
We never rely on the program entirely; we just use it to lend extra weight to our plans. Our battle simulator program is simply a computer database which stores millions of records of intelligence patterns representing different forms of hacker behaviour that we have come across in battle in the past. We are always adding new patterns, as we come across or visualise new ones.

In addition to battle and attack strategies, we have developed a program for simulating the mind of a black hat. We use this when we ask the question “what would this black hat do in this type of situation?”. This program enables us to see right inside the predators head and to know the potential moves they could make. Again when we know the outcome of its behaviour in a given situation we update our program in order to make the predator profile data more accurate. In the same way as we use our minds to visualise new battle scenes, so to do we use our minds to think they a predator. We ask ourselves. Given we know about this predator, its history and its behaviour – how would it perform when in this situation or that?

This creative visualisation process of thinking like a predator and the behaviour patterns that result from it are used to update our Predator Profiling Database. In addition to simulating the strategies and tactics of our opponents on the Internet, we visualise our own actions. As a unit we are bonded by many years of working together for the same cause. We believe in each other because we have each seen what each is willing to give up for the cause. But we are all mindful that any one of us could someday become compromised by the black hats and be forced to cross over to the other side. We have sought to reduce the impact of this happening by never revealing our true identities to each other.

Such is the importance of keeping the team together that we have developed a program that contains profiles or each member of the group, along with records of the types of behaviour exhibited in any given situation. We use this program to match the behaviour of our team members with the historical record in cases where one of us is behaving out of character. This gives us the warning signs to take action when we need to. I’m glad to say that we have never needed to use this system.

Creative Visualisation has been an extremely valuable technique for us in all sorts of ways. From visualising battles in the future to understanding the mindset of the black hats to even assessing risks within our own team.

But we have used it in many other areas, from visualising the kinds of tools we could build to working out how best to share our knowledge with others. Even to entertaining the group from time to time and as a way of motivating everyone to keep on with the fight, by using symbols and metaphors to encourage everyone into action.

From the 2007 book --- The Matrix Hackers

Friday, 11 January 2008

Sophisticated worm code that couldn't be decrypted

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
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If you can decrypt the full message you definately are a crypto genius and we bow to you — Sir or Lady? If we don't hear from you, we will give you the answer next week. Good luck...

Now crack that.

IT Strategy:: How much of your investment in IT makes you money and how much saves it?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
It is true that the Killer Robots began life building medical robots in the prototype lab before moving into a career in IT. It is also true that one of the finest IT Management books ever downloaded was a book written by Henry Firdman, entitled, Strategic Information Systems, published by McGraw Hill. In it, Mr Firdman produces a formula for planning, design and implementation for what he calls "strategic information systems". In other words IT components that are delivered into your business enterprise, that are a direct result of "strategic decisions", formulated by the executive team and through a top-down process actually results in seeding action programs at a grass routes level.

Why you say "that's how its done anyway - isn't it?". Sure, but what Henry Firdman argued was that there should be greater formalisation of the corporate strategic planning process and transparency in planning and implementation, so that all parties can see both the macro and micro mechanics of any particular project. Firdman also considered the impact of IT, in terms of whether IT projects fell into three distinct impact categories

1. Cost elimination benefits
2. Operational benefits
3. Strategic benefits

At the time of publishing in 1991, Firdman calculated about 35% of all projects falling into the cost elimination benefit category, 45% in the operational benefit category and 20% in the strategic benefit category. Firdman argued that the lack of effective, consistent top-down formal IT planning, along with intrinsic problem solving, educational and decision-making gaps were the primary causes of why the focus had been in those areas where quantification of benefits were easier to work out. Strategic benefits had taken a back seat because executives and managers found it harder to perceive the benefits in strategic terms, than they did operational and cost elimination terms.

Whilst High-impact benefits are harder to quantify and even harder to qualify - the rewards can be far greater. Just ask Bill Gates and Steve Jobs about strategic impact.

Its all about wiring the right kind of "Competitive Innovation" into your business.

How much of your investment in IT MAKES YOU MONEY and how much only saves it?

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Competitive Intelligence Analysts:: Are you an Administrator or Innovator?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
What drives the seeming relentless desire for innovation? Is it the desire for wealth, the desire for acknowlegment, the desire for power?

We have published articles stating that most companies have little or no desire to innovate, seeking rather to concentrate resources on yesterdays feature set and yesterdays business practices.

Competitive intelligence to them is more about utilising knowledge sourced from the past or in the here and now to try to predict future moves. To achieve this the analyst must develop a clear perspective on the identity of the company-self and a clear identity of the competition and customer relationships, in order to arrive at intelligence resources that support justified decision making in the here and now - for the future.

This approach is entirely opposite to that of competitive innovators, in that the innovator may develop an appreciation of the fixed reference perspective of the CI analyst, but in practice does not seek to skew analysis first toward justification, rather the innovator asks, without any restraint - "what would empower my company and what would blow my competitors out of the water?". Once the innovator arrives at the "what", they then seek to justify the "what". As opposed to the competitive intelligence analyst, who base futures on known, justifiable, quantifiable, qualitative assessment evidence, based on historical data and data in the here and now.

In essence, the "Competitive Intelligence Analyst" is driven by their desire to understand todays and yesterdays identity in order to visualise the future identity of the marketplace and dynamics. The "Competitive Innovation Analyst" is driven by their desire to invalidate the identity of competitors and to reshape the identity of the company they serve into the dominant player in the marketplace. In order to begin to achieve this the innovator much project a vision of how the scene should look to achieve an impact and then retrofit, credible, justifiable strategies to achieve this vision.

So the CI analyst projects futures on the basis of "known identities" (which he justifies against evidential data) and the innovator projects futures on the basis of "unknown identities" (which it can justify by offering influential strategies to turn "unknown identities" into very desirable "known identities" in the future). What drives innovation is the refusal to accept the world as it is - rather preferring to draw the world as it should be. It is this desire that is at the heart of the innovator.

Whilst different things drive them - both have a part to play in any serious competitive intelligence focused environment.

At BKR we believe that 'competitive innovation' is a much more motivating and lucrative device for business, likening 'competitive intelligence' to an essential 'administrative function', but one that rarely results in setting the markets alight.

So we say to students:: choose your CI path carefully. Are you an administrator or innovator?

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

BKR launches - Competitive Intelligence Innovation Agency!

Brand Killer Robots Reveal::
99.9% of businesses and 99.9% of the security industry is concentrated on just 0.1% of the total risks to those businesses - 99.9% of the time.
99.9% of businesses are concentrated on just 0.1% of the total opportunities available to those businesses - 99.9% of the time.
99.9% of organisations don't employ an innovation specialist. The 0.1% that do employ innovators, invest 0.1% in innovation - leaving 99.9% of the workforce to tasks that are not innovative.
99.9% of investment goes to 0.1% innovative products and the rest to non-innovative products. 99.9% of the worlds wealth is controlled or owned by 0.1% of the worlds population.

At BKR we concentrate 99.9% of our time on innovation and 0.1% of our time preparing to innovate.

Contact BKR and find out :
1. How innovation modeling can be used to improve your own brand value
2. How innovation modeling can be used to reduce your competitors brand value

Competitive Intelligence Agency designing strategic modeling systems for visualising innovation blindspots in organisational thinking

For more details e-mail Stephen at sryan@intrench.com

Monday, 7 January 2008

Competitive Intelligence Students:: Add Innovation to your Karate?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
Here are just ten of the essential ingredients that you need to begin learning if you want to be an effective competitive intelligence analyst.

1. The language of competitive intelligence, ethics & SCIP
2. Formal Corporate Strategic Process and Enterprise Models
3. Marketing dynamics
4. Relationship management
5. Knowledge engineering
6. Intelligence Acquisition Tradecraft
7. Business Intelligence Data Modeling
8. Tools & Perspective template design
9. Time Management/ Budgetary control / CI KPI measurement etc
10. CI Reporting and Visual presentation

Perhaps just as importantly, albeit not a currently perceived as so is the requirement to be a skilled innovator. It is just not exceptable for CI analysts to contribute the most effective intelligence input to the decision-making process, only to fall short by being unable to process this intelligence and offer credible ways and methods of solving problems through innovative thinking.

It is akin to a CIA officer developing a credible knowledge base about a target, but who when reporting fails to offer any more advice than the intelligence he has provided.
An example of this would be where an analyst has spent many years in intelligence in a specific area, where they have been involved in viewing a number of different of outcomes and decisions. Under such circumstances you would expect the analyst to both contribute intelligence and comment on the likely design of the counter-strategies and the decision-making process.

We're not saying that the CI analyst should replace the CEO or Marketing Executive in terms of making the final decisions on the back of intelligence. What we are saying is that the CI analyst should at least be capable of formulating decisions on the back of intelligence and more importantly be able to innovate around this intelligence - in order to better support the decision making process.

We think it could be time for the Competitive Intelligence & Innovation Analyst.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Container full of rats:: or friendships built to last - Which would you prefer - and can you hack it?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
One thing they don't teach you at school is who best to bank your money with. They don't teach you who to trust and they don't teach you how best to develop trust. Questions like "where best to spend my time and money" are extremely difficult questions to answer and you certainly won't find the answers in any text book. Do they for example teach you that certain people relate very differently under different circumstances? That in the good times they can relate to you in one way and in the bad times they can relate entirely differently? Do they teach you which types of personality types are prone to volatile behaviour in changing circumstances and which personality types are likely to relate relatively consistently, whether in good times or bad.

If for example one member of your group does relatively poorly over time, will they be vilified by the other members who have done well. Or will they come back for you and help you to come up to pace.

On top of this, Schools don't teach you which environments are likely to be motivated toward short-term gains and which environments are motivated toward long term relationships. In other words which environments are "containers full of rats" and which are "organisations built on lasting relationships". To make things even more complicated there are actually organisations out there that are essentially "containers full of rats", wrapped in an organisation built to last and "organisations built to last", owned and lead by a "container full of rats".

The point in all of this is that there is a great deal of value in understanding the language of trust within a business context - but absolutely nobody bothers to teach it.

Many an entrepreneur, analyst, inventor, artist or business sponsor has fallen foul to the "honeytrap of false identity". Of false hope, false reason and false celebrity.

Before you do anything more in your business life, consider whether you have done your homework on the people and circumstances around you, just in case you end up wasting even greater time, money and confidence - which can result in eventually bringing you to your knees.

We ask "Container full of rats:: or friendships built to last?". Which do you prefer - and can you hack it?

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Reduce Noise Pollution:: Kill the me, me and me factor?

Brand Killer Robots reveals::
This woman comes around my house sometimes and whilst i'm tending to this blog, i listen to her talking to my wife in the kitchen. Actually i don't hear her so much, as listen to her constantly drone on about me, me and me.

My husband this, my husband that, we're going to do this, we're going to do that. Did you hear about so and so who just broke up with so and so? Guess what i heard the other day????

As my wife carefully tries to interject to recover some semblance of balanced conversation, her words are finished off for her and the woman steers the conversation back to me, me and me again!

By the time she is finished i'm absolutely warn out and frustrated by the fact i haven't been able to concentrate on what i want to do i.e "Think about me, my readers and my blog". God knows how my wife must feel - although i do know she always breathes a sigh of relief when the woman eventually decides she has had enough of telling my wife about herself, presumeably ambling off in search of a new equally accomodating victim.

My point here is that i liken this experience to many of the numerous encounters in business. Take for example the submission of business plans for seeking investment process, or the recruitment agency process, or the patent application process, book publishing or the selling your house process. All these processes tend to get drowned in the noise of me, me and me. So many self-interested parties talking (or not talking) different languages, adds to the noise of me, me and me.

In this arena, only the most agressive or luckiest wins - but this is not necessarily for the best.

The result, the right people don't always get to the right people.

We at BKR call for a language that reduces the me, me and me noise factor - in order to get to a commercial world where there is a more balanced conversation.

In order for this to be effective though, institutions must actively support an agenda to establish a new (non-me,me and me) protocol.

Those who dare.... wins!!!

Friday, 4 January 2008

Malware Scanners - Good for about 10% of Threats?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
What would happen if there was no such thing as anti-virus software? What would happen is that the manufacturer who sold you the software that runs the pc’s would have to clean up their act because if they didn’t, we’d all stop buying PC’s and use something else instead.

Brand Killer Robots have conducted an extentive study over many years that reveals that current PC virus and malware scanners guard against only 10% of the potential vulnerabilities on current PC technology. Any team of innovators producing a map of the malware threat architecture and brainstorming around it, would be able to see that the currently mapped malware architecture covers only about 10% of the potential malware threats.

So what consumers think of as an effective deterrent is in fact hardly no deterrent at all.

In reality the main things that stop users from sustaining serious attacks is that they have either never become a target.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Anything can kill you:: Anything can be your killer: Anything?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
Some years ago when my son was tiny, we got in to conversation and i ended up concluding that "anything can kill you". It is a problem that he has been trying to solve for the past 6 years, but alas to no avail.

If you think about it, anything can kill you.

He said air can't kill you? I said... it can if you don't have enough of it!
He said water can't kill you? I said... you can drown in it!
He said beetles can't kill you? I said....they can if you swallow one and you choke on it!

So...i'm not quite sure what this revelation adds up to - but i'm pretty sure that one day i will find out.

Some time later i wrote a story about a Killer Peanut.... Let me know if you want to have a read.
sryan@intrench.com

How to fix a broken ultrapreneur:: Unconditional Love?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
It is not easy to walk away from something you love. Especially as that something you love is always there to remind you that you walked away from it.

It is like abandoning a child.

If the child does much better without you - you feel bad. If the child does much worse without you - you feel that it is your fault.

It is like a never ending nightmare - that never seems to go away - and you can't do anything about it.

This is the personality type of the highest-potential entrepreneur (the artiste) - but it is also the personality type of the most vulnerable.

Surrounding these people with unconditional love is the only way to get them to fly again.

Recovering from Brand loss:: Entrepreneurs who don't want to play anymore?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
As a child, they took my toys away from me - and it hurt - it really, really hurt!

So when i was old enough i decided to create the greatest toys in the world.
Then they took my toys away from me - again and again, until i didn't want any toys. I didn't want to play anymore.

But other people still wanted me to play. But ask as they might - i didn't want to play anymore.

I didn't want any more toys.
Any more loss.

But in my heart - i still wanted to play - but something was holding me back.
That something was "fear of loss".

The big question here is - "how do brand-loving-entrepreneurs recover?".
"How do entrepreneurs regain their spirit of play?"
Part of the answer is finding someone to talk to who has recovered from just this kind of loss.

Calling all - 40 something ex-ultrapreneur males out there........
no didn't think so...... You're on your own Mr Robot.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

How to differentiate between "two-a-penny" entrepreneurs and "ultrapreneurs"?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
Think about designing a new company, a new product a new brand. This brand is innovative, entertaining and dynamic. This brand generates significant interest and notiriety around world. Think about how much effort, how much genius it must take to design a "MySpace" vs. take over someone elses business or act as consultant. Then think about how you might feel if it was all suddenly taken away from you - without regard to your real investment.

If you are a flash harry entrepreneur then you might be back in the market the very next day. But authentic brand owners can take many years to recover - and many of them never do.

This is because they take absolute responsibility for what they do and feel ownership more painfully than if you were sawing off their legs. When you take their brand away - you take their legs away - and with it goes their will and ability to walk.

In the hard faced world of the "non-smart", "non-sensitive", ugly ferrocious monster beast without an imaginative brain cell in their head entrepreneuer - playing dumb old money-grabbing hard ball is the order of the day. But in the realm of the ultra-entrepeneur, there are very few troglodytes and many more artists, performers, architects and life loving philosophers.

So the next time you evaluate entrepreneurs for investment, first consider whether you want to build an innovative brand with obvious global appeal or sell a bunch of boring, but lower risk widgets at Wall Mart.

If all you want to do is make a few bucks - why not put your money in the bank? If you want to be part of an Ebay, Google, Microsoft, MySpace, YouTube or Harry Potter - you need to learn how to differentiate between "two-a-penny" entrepreneurs and "ultrapreneurs".

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

99.9% of businesses use 0.1% of their innovative potential 99.9% of the time?

Brand Killer Robots reveal::
99.9% of businesses and 99.9% of the security industry is concentrated on just 0.1% of the total risks to those businesses - 99.9% of the time.

99.9% of businesses is concentrated on just 0.1% of the total opportunities available to those businesses - 99.9% of the time.

Ok, don't believe it - then ask yourself "how do i not believe it"?
What calculation am i making that results in me knowing that the above statements are not true? After all, have you ever taken time out to invest in hiring innovation specialists who ruthlessly hunt out innovative strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and who have absolutely no axe to grind?

99.9% of organisations don't employ an innovation specialist. The 0.1% that do employ innovators, invest 0.1% in innovation - leaving 99.9% of the workforce to tasks that are not innovative.

Here is another one. 99.9% of investment goes to 0.1% innovative products and the rest to non-innovative products. 99.9% of the worlds wealth, is controlled or owned by 0.1% of the worlds population.

Whether you like it or not - innovation is a much downplayed facet in business and those who can perceive the future terrain, (in terms of risks and opportunities) - are not necessarily going to be joining the most wealthy 0.1% any time soon. The 0.1% most wealthy, seemingly prefer to invest less in innovation - whether this be in R&D or business intelligence.

The most wealthy 0.1% prefer to invest in non-innovation 99.9% of the time?

So we ask - Is there really any place for innovation in this world?

The answer seems to be - "hardly no room at the INNovation"