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Features, Bugs, and Backdoors: The Differences, How Language Can Be (Mis)Used, And A Word Of Caution

Language is a powerful tool.

With acronyms like ACL, IPS/IDS, and APT*, the security world has created its own language, acronyms, and catchphrases. In our industry, sometimes the meaning of more commonly used words can cause misunderstandings. For example, is a hacker a bad actor or a well-intentioned individual? Are all software bugs also security vulnerabilities? Can the terms feature, bug, and backdoor be used interchangeably?

A feature, a bug, or a backdoor might look like the same thing to some, but they are not. Imprecision in this area can breed misunderstandings. I believe that there are two key differences between a feature, a bug, and a backdoor: intent and transparency. Read More »

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Santa’s Special Connections

Since they graced the covers of The Saturday Evening Post, the illustrations of Norman Rockwell and J.C. Leyendecker have created many of the Christmas holiday season’s de facto images. For many families, the reality of their Christmas celebration doesn’t match the picture-perfect, however. That’s especially true when the family member with the strongest belief in Santa has pressing questions like “how will Santa find me if the hospital has no chimney?”

The good news is that as he readies for Christmas, Santa is taking extra time to visit with children who are hospitalized this season. Instead of just making a quick stop on his whirlwind worldwide delivery route, he’s checking in with some of these very special children from his communications headquarters at the North Pole. Not content to have one of his shopping mall stand-ins do the work, he has personal face-to-face videoconferences with kids who can’t leave the hospital. Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, posted a great video of Santa’s visit from earlier this week.

Connected Santa is a collaboration in which volunteer elves visit hospitals to help make the connection between children and Santa. Using Cisco TelePresence and Jabber technology, the elves conference a child with Santa so they can have the ever-important conversation about good, bad, and wish lists.

Just the other day I Read More »

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Transforming Child Safety through Mobility

How fascinating is it that in today’s world, a parent can connect to an office network and still remain linked to a child via mobile device?

I recently came across a New York Times article that discussed how mobility is transforming our daily lives and the safety of ourChild Safety blog image loved ones. According to the article, new innovations such as Filip Technologies’ watch and Trax, can help monitor the whereabouts of young children and pets.

As the growth of mobility enables more wearable devices and applications that include GPS and Wi-Fi features, it is becoming increasingly easier for us to remotely monitor our children’s safety while managing daily tasks. Any parent would consider this a win-win.

In light of the capabilities of this type of technology, Gartner predicts that wearable electronics will be a $10 billion dollar industry. There is significant value at stake for organizations that can successfully respond to our rapidly changing mobile landscape by bridging enterprise and service provider networks through an architectural approach to mobility.

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Tis the Season to be… Shopping. Especially in Latin America

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

If analysts are right, the world of e-commerce is going to get a big Christmas gift this year: a massive surge in online shopping by consumers throughout Latin America.

According to the Latin America B2C E-Commerce Report 2013 by research firm yStats.com, total business-to-consumer e-commerce sales in Latin America reached $30 billion Euro in 2012 (more than US$41 billion), with double-digit growth expected this year and over the next several years. Another study conducted by VISA with América Economía forecasts that e-commerce sales in Latin America will surpass US$69 billion this year and reach US$100 billion by 2014.

The driver for this amazing growth: an emerging middle class and booming Internet usage. As I discussed in my previous blog, Latin America now leads all regions worldwide in Internet usage growth. The European Travel Commission reports that Latin America’s online population grew by 12 percent, reaching 147 million unique visitors in March 2013. Read More »

Beware: Insider Threats Getting Worse

December 18, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

Most recently ESG/Vormetric came out with a threat report that highlighted the increase in insider threats & the significance to augment perimeter and host-based security. The rationale behind the increase was that more people are accessing the network, increase cloud and network traffic are making it difficult to isolate the problem.

Almost 50% of the organizations believe they are vulnerable to insider attacks and have or plan to invest dollars.

This is alarming!

The top methods noted for these insider threat vulnerabilities were abuse of access by privileged users, contractors, and other employees. Security professionals are finding it quite difficult to monitor the users, traffic, ports, etc to identify and mitigate insider threats. They must glean this information from multiple sources and many times need to translate the data. For example, “whose IP address is this and why is Mary from finance, who is supposed to be on vacation, downloading data from the payroll server?” This process slows the resolution time. The criticality of this type of contextual information is enormous to remediate quickly.

Security needs to be pervasive and consistent to manage these inside threats—so how does one do this? Integrate security into your infrastructure (wireless, wired, VPN)! Once security is woven into your infrastructure it provides the visibility and clarity to respond in a timely manner with a high degree of efficacy and is not dependent on distinct and isolated ingress points.

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