BEES and BEARS

Time for another connected story about cybersecurity. This is one I learn every day from nature. We are beekeepers in upstate NY and try to do our part in pollination and keeping the species alive, in a VERY small way.


Hang with me….. I will eventually get to the point!


The honey bee contributes to a third of the country's food supply but the population is declining. Last year eight percent of the bees disappeared according to the American Beekeepers Federation. The situation was more severe between 2015 and 2016 when there was a 44 percent decrease in colonies."


Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the President of the Bee Informed Partnership, says "if this trend continues it could limit the food American's eat. "If we didn't have honey bees, we certainly would lose a lot of our diet," vanEngelsdorp said. He told Fox that would include blueberries, strawberries and vegetables."


"The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by humans. The species can pollinate over 75 percent of flowering plants and crops, making it one of the top pollinators in the U.S. That means the bee can travel up to 6 miles a day and pollinate between 50 to 100 flowers per trip. The pollination process occurs when the pollen sac from one flower sticks to a honey bee's legs and is transferred to another plant. The pollen within the sac spills out when the bee lands on the plant, causing it to be fertilized"


Honey bees are globally important !


That gives you an idea of a in the life of a bee…. More on this in another article.

Alright, that was the bees… now the bear.

I live on the edge of the woods where it is a straight shot up to Canada. We are on the migratory path of geese and other animals looking for undisturbed territory.

Also…. A good place for bears!


When bears wake up from hibernation, they are HUNGRY… Imagine, sleeping for a few months and then waking up to the first signs of spring…

OK…. what’s for breakfast? Traveling around my area… bird feeders are a good first choice.. easy to get to and those long poles are easy to bend… I saw a few like this during the spring.


But…


Bird food is just the appetizer… time to look for some real food.

Hmmm ...let’s look around the neighborhood.

Well… I think I just found some bee hives in Rick’s yard…

After a few attempts at taking down the hives… I had to resort to serious measures.

Time for the perimeter electric fence with 5,000 volts for bears… This will be connected this week in a few days…


Now for the connection!


Putting up a perimeter barrier is a good idea for protecting intruders from breaching your network but is only a first step in a comprehensive security program….



Honey bees have developed the most sophisticated language for communicating danger in the insect kingdom – allowing them to deliver a warning by buzzing and head butting their companions at the same time, according to new research.

Bees use a sliding scale of “vibration pulses” to warn colleagues that danger lies ahead – and the higher the pitch, the greater the threat.

James Nieh, an associate professor of biology at UCSD conducted experiments in this area.

"This signal is directed at bees who are recruiting for the dangerous food location and decreases their recruitment,” explained Nieh. “Thus, fewer nest mates go to the dangerous food site. This is important because an individual experiences danger and stops recruiting, but the stop signal enables her to ‘warn’ nest mates who have not yet experienced danger and are still recruiting. The end result is that the colony will reduce or cease recruitment to the dangerous food patch in proportion to the danger experienced.”

Nieh said that cooperation within and between cells in an organism relies upon positive and negative feedback. “Superorganisms,” such as honey bees, are like a multi-cellular organism because each individual bee, just like a body cell, acts for the good of the whole, the colony. Superorganisms use many types of positive feedback signals, but there are few known examples of negative feedback signals."

This “stop signal” is typically used as a warning that danger lies around the corner like someone is attacking the hive. If the bear breaches the perimeter, the bees will sense and danger if the bear attempts to sniff around the hive… the only way the bees have a chance is to act as one organism. The signal goes out at about 400 vibrations/sec to warn the rest of the hive to attack.. Bears will usually put their nose near the entrance… If they do that, there is a good likelihood that all the stings on the nose will drive the bear away, but no guarantees in nature!


A bear will win, if he wants to win!


How does this relate to what we need today in protecting our information assets?


We need strong perimeters, but that is not enough…


Just like the bees signaling for danger, enterprise networks need continuous monitoring and notification to signal danger and pass this on to the other elements in the infrastructure. I believe we are still in the infancy for “continuous notification” (my term) for protection of networks. Until we have the mechanisms to provide continuous monitoring and notification for hardware and software…

We may get taken down by a bear.

Let’s learn from the bees!

Your thoughts and comments are welcome as we work together to protect corporate and government information.


...more on the bees in another article.

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