I'm not sure how I came across Security Daily, but I liked it right away. It aggregated information I spend hours scouring the Internet for. Probably why I didn't give much thought to how it actually worked.
After a while suspicion kicked in. How could someone gather up all this information, write a clip about each nugget, arrange it on a website, and announce the arrival of new material via an email newsletter and tweet-twice a day.
I've been reading this thing for three months. Finally, I saw this:
What does Paper.li have to do with Security Daily?
Paper.li is a brainchild of SmallRivers, a startup located at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology EPFL campus. Paper.li is a web-based and automated process that converts selected Twitter streams into a format modeled after newspapers:
"Twitter is currently a simple and fast way to point others to content of interest on the web. Twitter users do so millions of times a day, effectively giving their followers a glimpse of what they think others should see or read."
The developers of Paper.li decided to take the Twitter phenomena one step further:
"Any Twitter user is thus a kind of editor in chief, with the people they follow being trusted journalists. The sum of what is shared by them is thus a unique perspective of what is deemed of interest on the web on any given day. A bit like a newspaper."
Types of papers
After some more digging, I found that Paper.li members create papers using one of the following templates:
- Account-Based Paper: Based on your Twitter account. Content is that tweeted by the member and people the member is following.
- Hashtag-based Paper: Composed of material associated with hashtags chosen by the paper's owner.
- User-List Paper: Created from a twitter user lists. This paper is often used to create papers for a specific audience or focus.
- Custom Newspaper: Uses all of the above options to create customized Twitter newspapers.
- Facebook-based papers: Allows members to create a paper based on simple Facebook search terms of public posts.
As I mentioned, I really did not have a clue as to what's behind Security Daily.
That slip on my part was soon fixed. I contacted Mourad Ben Lakhoua, the person behind the digital paper and got the scoop on what he wants to accomplish with Security Daily.Kassner: When did you start Security Daily? What was your original vision for Security Daily? Ben Lakhoua: I started Security Daily March of 2011, with the aim of gathering news and articles posted by Information Security (InfoSec) professionals, particularly those I follow on Twitter. I feel Security Daily is unique, because it includes security news from many different international sources. Kassner: What would you want people visiting Security Daily for the first time to take away from their visit? Ben Lakhoua: That my website is a new way of communicating with people interested in information security. I particularly try to shed light on new threats in cyber space.
There are a lot of InfoSec resources, but most are not tailored for the average person. My goal is to make Security Daily diverse enough so it appeals to readers from all backgrounds, technical or not.Kassner: What makes Security Daily unique when compared to other InfoSec-news aggregators? Ben Lakhoua: I believe my understanding of several languages—English, French, Russian, and Arabic—is a distinct advantage. It allows me to know when misleading interpretations or cultural differences are affecting the content. Kassner: With that answer in mind, how do you select Twitter feeds? Ben Lakhoua: I try to aggregate InfoSec news from every part of the world. And, I try very hard to provide material that will interest my readers.
For example, there is significant interest in TDSS and Zeus, two rapidly-spreading malware applications. So I include any breaking information about either threat.Kassner: Does living in Tunisia provide a different perspective on IT Security? Ben Lakhoua: The InfoSec field in Tunisia came into its own about 14 years ago. I feel Tunisia is a good example of how a developing country should secure its cyber borders. Something we consider unique to Tunisia is the "human firewall", our emphasizing user awareness and education. Kassner: I would be remiss if I did not ask about Paper.li and the selection process. The blog post Paper.li: Clever Curation or Spammy Automation paints a rather negative picture about Paper.li. What are your thoughts about this? Ben Lakhoua: Paper.li is dependent on my Twitter account and if people consider something to be spam, it's because the account is twitting on a wrong topic or using an incorrect hashtag. If there are any concerns, I address them as soon as possible. Kassner: On your blog site SecTechno.com, you consider yourself an Information Security practitioner. Why is that? Ben Lakhoua: Since I work in the InfoSec field, I try to use what I learn from Security Daily. To do that properly, I test, understand, and practice. After which, I can assist others who are looking to secure their infrastructure. That's why I consider myself an Information Security practitioner. Kassner: Mourad, you put together Security Daily, blog about IT security on SecTechno.com. What else are you involved in? Ben Lakhoua: I am working on several projects right now. I am editing a book about cloud security with Kai Roer. It should be published this coming October. I recently completed an article about Nessus that will be published in PenTest Magazine. And I contribute to InfoSec Island.
So, how about it, TR people? Help me out.Update: I forgot to mention something I find odd. There can be more than one paper with the same name. I stopped counting after finding four separate versions of Security Daily.
Information is my field...Writing is my passion...Coupling the two is my mission.