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Botnets Riding Rails to your Data Center

May 29, 2013 at 10:57 am PST

Cisco Security Intelligence Operations is tracking reports of ongoing exploitation of a vulnerability in the popular web application framework Ruby on Rails that creates a Linux-based botnet. The vulnerability dates back to January 2013 and affects Ruby on Rails versions prior to 3.2.11, 3.1.10, 3.0.19, and 2.3.15.  Cisco Security Intelligence Operations’ has previously published an analysis of CVE-2013-0156. Cisco is receiving reports of attempted infection from Cisco IPS customers participating in Global Correlation.

Botnet C2 Code Read More »

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Connected Millennials Entering the Workforce

Earlier this year, CNN reported that the U.S. jobless rate fell to its lowest level since 2008. Positive job growth—and having the talent to fulfill these job openings—is great news for employers, jobseekers, and the economy as a whole.

As the academic year comes to an end, college graduates around the world are getting ready to join that talent pool. This new generation of workers comes from an environment and lifestyle unlike that of their seniors, and they bring assets that are unfamiliar to more seasoned employees.

Let me elaborate for those of us born before 1980. When I joined the workforce some decades ago, faxing, mailing, and wired phones were everyday business staples. Today, each of us has at least one mobile device on hand. (I have three: my cell phone, iPad, and laptop.) And with those devices comes a shift in the ways we connect and communicate, at work and elsewhere. But many of us remember the time when we worked without these devices.

Millennials don’t have that memory. Coming of age in a mobile world makes their views fresh and their needs unique. Every time we bring a new, next-generation hire on board, I wonder, “What can they teach me?” This is the generation that will inherit the economy when we retire. By cross-mentoring each other, we all can do a better job of preparing for that future.

At Cisco, we are starting to see more and more of our customers adapting to accommodate the needs of their connected employees, both young and experienced. We’re seeing them laying the groundwork to encourage increased mobility in the workforce, with collaboration technologies and programs like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) at the office. With BYOD and mobile technology becoming increasingly pervasive in the workplace, collaboration becomes more accessible, and productivity and efficiency improve. And as employees start enjoying the flexibility of working from anywhere, morale reaches a new high.

Connecting your workforce—whether it is multigenerational, multinational, or multilingual—and enabling the Internet of Everything, allows employers to bring together people, processes, data, and things. While first-time workers may lack the experience of their more seasoned coworkers, they’ll flourish more quickly if their need to be connected is fulfilled. As the pace of business continues to increase, it is imperative for executives to act now to make sure that collaboration technology is readily available, to attract Millennials and to engage employees of all generations.

My two biggest pieces of advice for companies looking to hire from this next generation are these:  First, leverage their always-connected lifestyle as an advantage to your business objectives—not as a setback. The way they play is also the way they work. Because of technology advancements, it is now completely viable for us to deliver the infrastructure for this lifestyle in the workplace. Second, encourage your entire workforce to participate in a knowledge exchange, wherein Millennials share tech know-how and senior workers share business acumen.

There is an amazing synergy going on that results from the new generation’s approach to work, the seasoned experience of older workers, and today’s mobile, collaborative technologies and architectures—and this synergy amounts to a big win for everyone.

 

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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series, Cloud and Law Enforcement (Part One): U.K.’s Facewatch Service Benefits Police, Businesses, and Citizens

This is the first in a two-part blog series that examines the opportunities that cloud-based services offer to law enforcement agencies—along with the challenges of this fundamental shift in the way information resources are managed.

Police forces have a well-established culture of owning and managing systems directly founded on concerns about security and control of access to information. Three trends, however, make this position unsustainable:

  • Traditional models for acquiring and running systems, which slow the pace of innovation
  • Pressure to reduce costs
  • Increasing need to form partnerships with other police agencies, public-sector bodies, and the private sector. Partnership depends on information sharing and open approaches to developing systems.

One of the most radical—and successful—cloud-based public-safety and security services is Facewatch. Using a network-based model, Facewatch provides an online reporting tool that allows U.K. businesses and citizens to report crimes and attach video evidence. The service enables crime victims to cancel credit cards instantly through Facewatch’s partners; allows users to share images of wanted people; and provides a channel for feedback from the police on the outcomes of cases.

Facewatch offers immediate benefits to the public, businesses, and law enforcement:

  • Citizens: ease of reporting and rapid management of associated processes
  • Businesses: less time required to deal with incidents
  • Law enforcement: reduces or eliminates the need to interact directly with premises to recover video footage

For all users, there is greater transparency about processes and reporting on outcomes, as well as the ability for communities to share information about wanted persons and crime trends.

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The We’re Listening Blog Series: Making Licensing Easier through Automation and Increased Visibility

In our September We’re Listening blog, Brian Jeffries, vice president of operations, talked with you about steps taken to ease your challenges with Cisco software licensing. I asked Brian to update you about our progress around licensing and software management. Brian leads a Cisco-wide initiative focused on simplifying our customers’ software licensing experience.

Brian Jeffries, VP, Operations by Guest Contributor Brian Jeffries

We continue to actively listen to you–our customers and partners–and we are still hearing that you want a better Cisco software experience. The good news is, we have made some major progress with our software initiative that we launched a year ago. In addition to launching new software licensing products, we have made many improvements to how you manage software today. Read More »

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Big Returns on Big Data through Operational Intelligence

May 29, 2013 at 8:00 am PST

Guest Blog by Jack Norris

Jack is responsible for worldwide marketing for MapR Technologies, the leading provider of a enterprise grade Hadoop platform. He has over 20 years of enterprise software marketing experience and has demonstrated success from defining new markets for small companies to increasing sales of new products for large public companies. Jack’s broad experience includes launching and establishing analytic, virtualization, and storage companies and leading marketing and business development for an early-stage cloud storage software provider.

Big Data use cases are changing the competitive dynamics for organizations with a range of operational use cases. Operational intelligence refers to applications that combine real-time, dynamic, analytics that deliver insights to business operations. Operational intelligence requires high performance. “Performance” is a word that is used quite liberally and means different things to different people. Everyone wants something faster. When was the last time you said, “No, give me the slow one”?

When it comes to operations, performance is about the ability to take advantage of market opportunities as they arise. To do this requires the ability to quickly monitor what is happening. It requires both real-time data feeds and the ability to quickly react. The beauty of Apache Hadoop, and specifically MapR’s platform, is that data can be ingested as a real-time stream; analysis can be performed directly on the data, and automated responses can be executed. This is true for a range of applications across organizations, from advertising platforms, to on-line retail recommendation engines, to fraud and security detection.

When looking at harnessing Big Data, organizations need to realize that multiple applications will need to be supported. Regardless of which application you introduce first, more will quickly follow. Not all Hadoop distributions are created equal. Or more precisely, most Hadoop distributions are very similar with only minor value-added services separating them. The exception is MapR. With the best of the Hadoop community updates coupled with MapR’s innovations, the broadest set of applications can be supported including mission-critical applications that require a depth and breadth of enterprise-grade Hadoop features.

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