Joseph Andrew Stack Did Software Work For Hughes Aircraft, Warner Bros Studios Stores, More
Gillian Reagan | Feb. 18, 2010, 2:37 PM
Software engineer Joseph Andrew Stack, the pilot who intentionally crashed a plane in Texas this morning, did contract work for several companies including Hughes Aircraft, Equinox Industries/Warner Brothers Studio Stores, Sorrento Electronics, according to his business website.
He ran a firmware/software development service company called Embedded Art. Here's a description of his business, from his homepage:
Embedded Art is a small independent software house, specializing in process control and automation. In its current form it represents the culmination of 20 years of experience in the software development consulting business. Founded by Joe Stack in 1983 (under the name of Prowess Engineering) in Southern California, the company thrived for 15 years until shifting focus to the Sacramento area to take advantage of growth in the Silicon Valley.
Now, 5 years later, the expertise of Embedded Art has landed in the Austin Area expecting to lend a hand to the growing high technology industry in South-Central Texas.
The concept behind the success of Embedded Art is that we provide the experience and muscle for addressing complex software engineering development tasks. Much of today's programming is a step-wise refinement of previous development projects. With 20 years of experience, we provide the expertise that can effectively navigate around many of the pitfalls that snare the unseasoned engineer (indeed, we've seen many of the same mistakes made again and again by the inexperienced).
Here's his list of clients and the description of his projects, according to the site:Cylink Corporation
Project: The Cylink CY8300 IPSec high-performance security processor
DMC Stratex Networks
Project: The Spectrum and Altium product lines, high-capacity wireless communication platforms (i.e., microwave radios)
Western Digital Corporation
Project: A high-performance multi-function ESDI/SCSI/Floppy controller for the Apollo networked workstations and high-end PCs.
Equinox Industries/Warner Brothers Studio Stores
Project: Distribution Center Processing Automation
Interstate Electronics Corporation
Project: IEC 9002 GPS-based Flight Management System
Project: The IEC 9002 Navigation Database Update Processor, a Windows-based, off-line data reduction tool
Project: IEC 9002 MCDU, an ARINC-739 compatible Multi-purpose Control and Display Unit
Project: GPS Satellite Simulator (Military & Commercial unit)
Project: IEC Military Plasma Display, an 80186/82720-based "intelligent" terminal boasting multi-mode text graphics display, ANSI Standard compatibility, multiple virtual screens, and downloadable display generation capabilityEverett Charles Technologies
Project: ECT 9090(tm) Bare Board Tester
Project: 2.6GB SCSI II read/write CD-ROM (Magneto/Optical) drive
Project: SCSI/ATA(IDE) chipset firmware base (early C++)
Design and implement hardware interface library components
Cable & Computer Technology, Inc.
Project: An AMD-2900 based bit-slice magnetic tape controller
Taradactyl Technovation, Inc.
Project: The Mileage Elephant (vehicle usage tracker)
Teledyne Systems Corporation
Project: An AMD-2900 based bit-slice emulation/simulation of IBM's 32-bit AP101-F floating-point processor
Hughes Aircraft, Fullerton
Project: A multi-processor control system composed of six 68000 processors, twenty-two 8085
Sorrento Electronics, Inc.
Project: Process Control System
Here's the screenshot of his client page:
Why is Cylink highlighted in red? Perhaps I have found a possible motive. Perhaps Joe Stack wasn't going to play ball with Jay Rockefeller/Snowe/CSIS/NCOIC/Cyber Tyranny mandates over all software coding. Sounds to me like he had non-backdoored, proprietary, real security technologies that his company developed. And therefore, he had to be killed. Fake suicide note, replete with remote control commandeering of his plane, flown into the building, and concocting a completely fake story as to why it happened.http://news.zdnet.co.uk/itmanagement/0,1000000308,2096149,00.htmLimiting encryption may open doors to criminals
* Tags: * Cyberterrorism, * Security, * World Trade Center, * FBI
Stefanie Olsen and Robert Lemos, ZDNet News ZDNet US
Published: 27 Sep 2001
10:26 BSTA new call for limits on encryption technology is finding weak political support in the United States, despite a looming clandestine war against terrorism that is likely to hinge on the effectiveness of police and military intelligence.In response to attacks this month on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican, said he favoured establishing mandatory backdoors in the software used to scramble digital messages and to ensure that only the intended recipient can read the contents.
The spectre of unbreakable encryption falling into the hands of criminals, terrorists and hostile governments has long been used to promote policies limiting commercial data-scrambling products. Such arguments are out of date, however, according to many experts. Critics include not only civil libertarians and a self-interested software industry, but those concerned with preventing terrorism as well.
Two factors have decisively changed the playing field: So-called strong encryption technology is already widely available and can't realistically be recalled. In addition, fear of cyberattacks hitting strategic targets such as electrical grids and nuclear power plants has raised the stakes for domestic security.
"The danger in weakening encryption is that our infrastructure would become even less secure," said Bill Crowell, a former deputy director of the National Security Agency, the organisation charged with gathering electronic intelligence for the military and protecting the United States' own communications networks. "There is no indication that the administration is serious about these proposals."
Already, some members of Congress are readying opposition to Gregg's proposal.
Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican and longtime critic of anti-encryption measures, said he is working to build Senate opposition for such a bill that equals momentum in the House. Goodlatte belongs to a camp of lawmakers that believes such legislation would be a threat to national security.
"It's not a matter of privacy vs security, but security vs security," Goodlatte said in an interview.
"Encryption protects our national security," he said. "It protects the controls of everything from nuclear power plants to the New York Stock Exchange, government communications, credit cards and the electric power grid. Encryption plays a critical role in our entire communication system, and to require that a backdoor be built into that system is just an incredibly dangerous thing to do."Former NSA Deputy Director Crowell, now president and chief executive of security software maker Cylink
, said intelligence and law enforcement agencies will have to find other ways to gather information than plucking it from the ether.
"Yes, it's hard," he said. "But that is the world that we live in today. I think the alternative of having banks, companies and the government use weak encryption is not a good one."
Gregg stated that he would present legislation to create a "quasi-judicial entity," appointed by the Supreme Court, that would act as an independent third party giving authority to the lawmakers with proper warrants to crack encrypted documents.
"This judicial element would have the ability, with absolute search-and-seizure rights protected, to get access to security keys with cooperation from the industry," said Brian Hart, press secretary for the senator.
Gregg is discussing the proposal with other senators and is waiting to see Attorney General John Ashcroft's full anti-terrorism recommendation, expected to be released next week, Hart said.
"We want to defer to the president and the Bush administration to combat terrorism," he said.
For law enforcement and officials of the newly formed Office of Homeland Security, encryption holds both a promise and a threat.
Today's encryption technology allows anyone with a PC to scramble their email and files so that even the most powerful computers in the world would take centuries, if not longer, to crack the code. Only the correct key can decipher the original message.
On one hand, encryption has made the Internet more secure. In the past, most information on the Internet was sent in plain text with no encryption protecting it. Anyone listening on the line could capture passwords, financial transactions or personal emails. Today, the ability to encrypt the content of messages has heightened the security of the Internet.
However, that same ability to scramble messages has left lawful authorities bereft of any ability to eavesdrop on suspected terrorists when encryption is being used. Although there is no evidence yet that encryption was used by the terrorists that attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, many consider it likely.
The dangers of giving criminals the ability to hold absolutely private communications has been debated often in the past decade.
In the late '90s, a group of federal regulators including former FBI Director Louis Freeh and former Attorney General Janet Reno championed legislation that required encryption software to include government safeguards and that restricted US exports.
The Clinton administration introduced a proposal for technology known as the "Clipper Chip," or an extra key held by the government, which could with a warrant unlock encrypted electronic messages for criminal investigations. The proposal met with opposition from the American public, businesses and foreign governments, and eventually failed. Critics said foreign consumers or businesses would not buy US encryption software accessible by the US government."Everyone gets really nervous when you start talking about backdoors because you have to trust the other fellow a lot," said James Lewis, director for the technology and public policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, based in Washington D.C.
"If you put domestic restrictions on US encryption use, it doesn't do any good, because first, there are real costs to the economy -- the Internet is weakened -- and second, without the cooperation of every other crypto supplier in the world, it doesn't prevent terrorists from getting their crypto from somewhere else," Lewis said. "None of these issues have changed."
For now, Gregg seems unlikely to gain many adherents.
Scott Schnell, senior vice president of corporate development for encryption technology seller RSA Data Security, argued that a backdoor could make the Internet far more vulnerable to attack.
"The fatal flaw is that if the terrorist ends up with a key [to a backdoor], it could be disastrous," he said. "A single key could compromise a whole company or a large segment of the population."
Rather than preventing terrorism, argued Schnell, Gregg's proposal would empower terrorists by allowing them to focus their attack on a single weakness.
"The proposal not only wouldn't work, but it would force the country to pay a huge penalty to get access to a small body of potential evidence," he said.
Privacy advocates weighed in against the proposal as well. Richard Smith, chief technology officer for the Denver-based Privacy Foundation, characterised any potential encryption laws as a "total waste of time.""It will take years to get updated forms of the software, assuming that people will even upgrade voluntarily," Smith said. Worse, such legislation would have little effect on terrorists who could just use the software publicly available now. "The bad guys will keep using the old products without the backdoors."[INSERT: This was (and is) the perfect excuse they are already beginning to use to internationalize all software globally.]
Steve Bellovin, a security researcher with ATT Labs, said any impression the United States has of pre-eminence in the encryption field is wrongheaded. The encryption algorithm to be used by the US government in the future, known as the Advanced Encryption Standard, was originally developed by two Belgian scientists.
Terrorists outside the United States will have access to such expertise, he said. "These people are not stupid," he said. "They will write their own code. I know high-school students who could take the AES specification and write a program."Gregg hopes to head that off by enlisting other nations' help. One key to legislation would be the cooperation of governments around the world, which Gregg has urged in congressional hearings. Global enforcement is essential to ensuring that terrorists and hackers are unable to obtain encryption software without backdoors.But opponents to encryption laws believe such cooperation to be impossible.
"Because you can download software on the Internet, people outside the country could sell encryption without a backdoor," said the Privacy Foundation's Smith. "To have practical value, it would have to have worldwide enforcement, and plenty of countries wouldn't want to do this."
Throughout our twenty-year history we have grown as the software industry as it has grown. Twenty years ago the industry largely regarded the development of end-user software to be an entirely different pursuit than that of an embedded controller application. The main reason being because the operating environments were vastly different. Firmware generally was associated with tight processing constraints in minimally capable hardware environments (and, of course, was burned into ROM).
In recent years, however because of the proliferation of low cost, abundantly capable microprocessors and support hardware, the difference between the embedded firmware operating environment and that of the typical end user application has become almost insignificant.
It is not at all unusual to find embedded systems with a multitasking operating system, a full network protocol stack, a relational SQL database server, a multi-user graphical user interface server and more.
Visit our list of Environment Element Components page to see a catalog of some of the many processors, protocols, languages, libraries, and facilities we have worked with over the years.
Embedded Systems Development
In this age, almost every device we encounter that is electrical has some kind of electronic automation. Microprocessor controllers play a part in everything from devices as simple as home appliances to complex computer peripherals. Over the years, we've produced firmware for a wide spectrum of these fascinating devices.
Embedded System Development Areas of Specialization
In every firmware development process there are frequently trouble spots which engineers encounter. Our experience in these areas allows us to help insure a development effort will remains on schedule, and within budget. Some specific areas include:
* Environment Development
* Microprocessor Start-up Code
* Operating System Integration
* Device Driver Implementation
* Algorithm and Process Refinement
* Firmware Product Maintainability
End-User Application Development
Our end-user application development experience started with an interactive text editor built for a port of Unix back in the early 1980's. Since then, we've garnered praise from numerous customers (Western Digital, Sorrento Electronics, Warner Bros. Studio Stores, and many more) for the demonstration of our ability to define application user interfaces that present information in a clear, concise, and efficient format which is intuitive and productive for the user.
Software Quality Assurance
In software engineering circles, it's an odd fact of lift that many of the most talented developers have an aversion to both the Software Quality Assurance (SQA) and the documentation processes. It has been our experience that one of the most expensive mistakes a company can make is to short-change the SQA process.
No amount of effort will turn up all possible software problems (indeed, any given module only functions within its specification in a tightly controlled context). However, the key to achieving stellar results from SQA efforts lies in understanding how a given software environment works and what must be done to methodically examine each possible failure point.
Writing high quality, comprehensive documentation (whether it's a requirement specification or an end-user document) and designing an efficient software algorithm are very similar exercises. In both cases it takes skill and dexterity at defining a problem to be solved, organizing just the right pieces of information into the optimal order so that everything is presented as it is needed, and carefully presenting all that is necessary and nothing more.
Designing a good documentation set can be almost as complicated as a good systems design (and every bit as important). However, many of the technical writer staff (while highly qualified authors) have a poor grasp of the documentation tools and the ramifications of how to design a system that can live and breath in an engineering department over the years without quickly becoming unmanageable and obsolete. We've solved this problem, and have the know-how to do it again with the next generation of tools.