Martin’s log | SASIG
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A selection of topical stories and captivating miscellany


The marketing team said they wanted me to blog, so I’ll blog. I’m surprised I’ve not done this before, those who know me will also know that I never shut up with my views on the cybersecurity world’s crazier goings-on, with stories from my past about people I’ve met and things I’ve done, and my general observations on life. But what do others’ blogs look like? What do they talk about and what tone do they use? Why do they do it and how? There are no answers to these questions that matter a jot, blogs are all so different and done for so many different reasons. How about I do it just ‘cos I want to and I’ll write as I speak? I’ll do it till I get bored or you do.


Recent Posts:

#30 - March 2022 "The Landing Craft Tank (LCT)"

The Landing Craft Tank (LCT) was an amphibious assault craft designed solely to land tanks on beaches. At the insistence of the Prime Minister Winston Churchill it was developed in mid-1940 by the Royal Navy. The first LCT Mark 1 was launched in November 1940.

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#29 - May 2022 "A Pilgrimage"

I’ve described before how my mother and father met in the summer of 1944 at a dance in a small village hall in North Yorkshire. It was an original love-at-first-sight thing. He was an officer in the Royal Navy, sent with his crew to Teeside on a 2-week secondment to pick up and sea-trial his brand-new landing craft…

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#28 - April 2022 "Travelling, never arriving"

I found this handwritten speech in my archives the other day. (Actually, “archives” is a rather grand description of a long-forgotten box in the garage.) I can’t recall to whom in 1993 I imparted this trite little piece or why, but it provides an uncomfortable time-warp snapshot into a much younger and hugely naïve me…

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#27 - March 2022 "Two years on from lockdown and we're still standing"

On 23 March 2020 we all went into the first hard lockdown, and SASIG held our first daily webinar “Keep calm and carry on with SASIG”. I remember telling the team my intention for us to run daily webinars (“What, every day?”) on the grounds that “…this will all be over by Easter”…

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#26 - February 2022 "On romance fraud"

Last night I watched the new Netflix documentary “The Tinder Swindler” with a mixture of fascination and horror. Fascination because it’s a first-class production about romance fraud at it’s very worst and most scary, and a sobering lesson to us all – you MUST see it. Horror, because it brought back dark memories of my own encounter 25 years ago…

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#25 - November 2021 "The day I met 'The Most Interesting Man In The World'"

I remember clearly the exact moment I met the most interesting man in the world. It was 1994 and I was working for Kroll Associates in their glamorous Savile Row offices in London.

Kroll was founded in New York in 1972 by the legendary Jules Kroll, a former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney…

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#24 - August 2021 "Twenty summers"

I’m very nearly seventy years of age. I intend to live a healthy and fully active life until I’m at least ninety and review the situation then. That means I have twenty good summers left. Now please bear with me, dear reader, for this is not a morbid concept but quite the opposite. It’s a joyous, liberating, invigorating notion. Let me explain.

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#23 - April 2021 "A year into lockdown, and the SASIG Skills Festival"

Last March when we all first went into lockdown, I committed SASIG to daily online webinars – “Don’t worry, this’ll all be over in a couple of months!”, I said to my aghast team. Well, the rest as they say is history! We’ve now had 17,500 visits by 3,700 professionals to the 280 lockdown webinars – and still counting.

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#22 - February 2021 "The orderly elderly"

Yesterday, whilst out walking, Doris my dog and I passed the Whitby Covid-19 vaccination centre, based in the old Pavilion on the cliffside. One of thousands of such sites across the land.

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#21 - January 2021 "Not all doom and gloom"

It’s so easy to moan. But as the UK vaccination programme gains momentum, let’s take a moment to celebrate this story of success and real hope. Already, many of our most vulnerable have had or will soon receive their life-saving jabs alongside our doctors, nurses, carers, paramedics and other critical key workers.

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#20 - December 2020 "A candle for Christmas"

Exactly 50 years ago, as a geeky teenager I bought my mum a candle for Christmas. It was quite ugly but for some reason she particularly treasured it. She never lit it, and it always had pride of place on her mantlepiece until she died in 2015.

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#19 - December 2020 "Celebrating SASIG's 200th lockdown webinar, and our plans for 2021"

This is just a short end-of-term note to all our membership to thank everyone for your amazing support to SASIG during what has been a very difficult year for us all. Last Friday’s Christmas Natter was our 200th online event since lockdown, where more than £6,500 was raised for NSPCC’s Childline – a most generous effort by all those who attended.

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#18 - December 2020 "CISOs: What makes us buy (and what turns us off)?"

It’s been a rotten year for everyone. CISOs and their staff have never been busier, whilst service and product suppliers have seen their traditional sales channels closed down or highly restricted in lockdown. “Relationship capital” is rapidly being exhausted, and new associations have become difficult to establish leading to ever more desperate attempts by sales teams to reach out.

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#17 - November 2020 "On courtesy"

These are difficult times for us all. The global pandemic has already killed far too many, physically harmed countless more, upended our lives, restricted our freedoms, changed our everyday behaviours, and introduced real and major uncertainties about all our futures. Now, with the new lockdown, we’re back to the where we started and many of us are wondering if it will ever end.

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#16 - September 2020 "A huge thank you to the SASIG community at six months into lockdown"

Yesterday, exactly six months to the day that the country went into lockdown, SASIG passed the massive milestone of the 10,000th delegate to join us on our programme of daily webinars. I thank everyone involved – our speakers, our Supporters, our members and my long-suffering team – whose combined efforts and commitment have made this remarkable achievement possible.

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#15 - September 2020 "On human error…"

I was prompted to reflect on human error following a post by John Scott, Head of Security Education at Bank of England. He quoted Professor James Reason from his seminal book “Human Error” published in 1990.

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#14 - August 2020 "Things my Daddy told me"

It has been a real joy to write these various blogs over the past couple of years, and strangely comforting for me to re-read them from time to time. They record only some of the big stories of my life, there are many more to put down on paper and I will.

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#13 - May 2020 "Planes, Trains & Automobiles"

Recent times have been extraordinary. The global pandemic has turned all our worlds upside down. The Government’s initial and urgent actions to lock the country down were necessary, and the response of the public has been nothing short of glorious. The virus has been contained, lives have been saved, and the immediate danger has been assuaged.

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#12 - March 2020 "A child is born"

It is with huge pride that I announce the arrival on Wednesday 3 March 2020 of my fifth grandchild, a son Lonan to my eldest son Peter and his wonderful wife Katie. My wife Jo and I visited the new family on Friday, the little fellow was less than 48 hours old. I was overwhelmed by the strength of my emotions as I held Lonan in my arms and looked down at this brand-new, tiny bundle of love and hope, the first-born son of my first-born son…

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#11 - March 2020 "The day I nearly started World War Three"

It’s difficult for those who didn’t live through it to explain the tensions and fears of the Cold War. I joined the RAF in the early 1970s, at its height. I didn’t sign up through some sense of patriotism or to save the world. I certainly wasn’t (still ain’t) brave. I just wanted to fly jets, but when that didn’t happen (I wasn’t good enough, I was a danger to all those around me, see previous blogs!) I transferred to the Provost Branch instead. Little thought went into this decision; I wanted to stay in the RAF as it was a good life for a young officer, the beer was cheap, we’d get a married quarter, we’d see the world, and the social life was a joy. I was a deep thinker even in those days…!

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#10 - February 2020 "The day I met the Queen"

It’s 30 years ago now that I was awarded membership of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE). I’ve never been quite certain why I got it but it was and remains a huge honour. I still remember the wave of good wishes I received from the whole range of people who touched my life and many others whom I didn’t even know…

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#9 - January 2020 "The con that nearly did for me"

They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I’ve never signed up to this sentiment – I believe what doesn’t kill inevitably injures and scars you and takes a long time to recover from. Hopefully you’ll survive and continue to grow, but a bad frost never made a plant grow better…

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#8 - January 2020 "Happy New Year to you and your families"

Jo and I send our very best wishes to all our many friends in SASIG, the cybersecurity world and beyond and their families for the New Year and indeed the new decade. The signs at this end are for a great 12 months to come for us personally and for SASIG; we both hope with all our hearts that the world is kind to you all in 2020…

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#7 - June 2019 "Sub-Lieutenant Henry Smith RN"

Today is the 75th Anniversary of Operation Neptune, or D-Day as it is more commonly known. It was a crucial part of Operation Overlord, the Battle of Normandy. Neptune was the largest seaborne invasion in history. Altogether some 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June 1944. One of them was my father, Sub Lieutenant Henry Smith RN, aged 19 years. He was second-in-command of a Landing Craft transporting Canadian troops…

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