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Attack Analysis with a Fast Graph

TRAC-tank-vertical_logo-300x243This post is co-authored by Martin Lee, Armin Pelkmann, and Preetham Raghunanda.

Cyber security analysts tend to redundantly perform the same attack queries with different input data. Unfortunately, the search for useful meta-data correlation across proprietary and open source data sets may be laborious and time consuming with relational databases as multiple tables are joined, queried, and the results inevitably take too long to return. Enter the graph database, a fundamentally improved database technology for specific threat analysis functions. Representing information as a graph allows the discovery of associations and connection that are otherwise not immediately apparent.

Within basic security analysis, we represent domains, IP addresses, and DNS information as nodes, and represent the relationships between them as edges connecting the nodes. In the following example, domains A and B are connected through a shared name server and MX record despite being hosted on different servers. Domain C is linked to domain B through a shared host, but has no direct association with domain A.

graph_image_1 This ability to quickly identify domain-host associations brings attention to further network assets that may have been compromised, or assets that will be used in future attacks.

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An Incredible Week: Cisco Empowered Women’s Network at Cisco Live!

June 1, 2014 at 11:24 am PST

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This blog post was written by Priscila David in collaboration with Emily GriffinAnuja Singh and Rima Alameddine

Today. Tomorrow. Transformed. This was the theme of the second annual Cisco Empowered Women’s Network (CiscoEWN) forum at Cisco Live. And what a great week of transformation it was, and a great way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Cisco Live! Sorry for the long blog post, but it was an exciting week for us!

CiscoEWN is a global community of highly motivated, professional women, as well as a forum for Cisco customers, partners and employees to network and motivate one another at Cisco Live and in virtual and live events throughout the year. Our founders and Executive Sponsors highlight our goals for CiscoEWN at Cisco Live US in San Francisco this year:

CiscoEWN sponsored several activities during the week each of which gave the opportunity for women in technology and our male allies to gather together and network, learn from and empower each other.

We kicked off the week with the CiscoEWN Forum on Sunday, a four-hour event with a packed agenda of mentoring sessions, panels, and keynotes. Here’s a recap of the afternoon:

  • Over 450 men and women, including Cisco employees, customers and partners, attended (up from 250 attendees last year!).
  • 50 executive mentors shared life experiences and offered advice in an icebreaker mentoring session with attendees.

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  • Cisco President and COO Gary Moore shared his thoughts on why diversity and inclusion is important for business. 
  • Padmasree Warrior, Cisco CTSO, shared insights about her personal transformational journey. She asked the audience to reflect, Read More »

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The 2014 Automation Conference – IoE and Beer

The 2014 Automation Conference (TAC) was held March 20-21, 2014 in sunny Chicago (Yes, sunny Chicago!! I made sure to pack some California sunshine for the Windy City) attracted a diverse group of automation and manufacturing thought leaders and subject matter experts from leading machine builders, system integrators, manufacturing end users, standards bodies and educational institutions. The focus and objective of the conference was to have peer to peer discussions and dialogue around the technologies and next generation automation strategies that are enabling and driving the Internet of Everything (IoE).

“This conference is designed not only to make you think about the application of automation, but also to help you take action” -- David Greenfield, Automation World, editor in chief and TAC event director

The conference achieved this goal and more.  The framework of the sessions encouraged audience collaboration and dialogue around the challenges and practical steps and strategies being designed and deployed to achieve an integrated and scalable IoE architecture that drives value across the entire manufacturing value chain, as depicted in the video below:

I can “wax poetic” around all the great individual sessions held at the conference around Big Data, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), mobility, virtualization, cloud computing, cyber-physical security, network switching, CPwE (Converged Plantwide Ethernet), safety systems, workforce retention and optimization, but I think its more fun and interesting to summarize the highlights of the conference through the  context of a use case that was shared at the conference.

What better way to meet that objective than to leverage a manufacturing use case around beer!!!!

Automating Brewing Operations from Two Different Perspectives

I attended this session where Highland Brewing, Sierra Nevada and Vicinity Manufacturing gave an interesting perspective around the challenges and strategies in deploying their next generation manufacturing operation.

Highland Brewing is a regional brewer of craft beers based in the Southeast and Sierra Nevada is a larger brewer with more of national brand.  The interesting contrast between the two is that Highland Brewing is designing more automation into their operational facility and Sierra Nevada is scaling their automation and IoE strategies across all their facilities.   Both perspectives and approaches have the same objective.  How do I effectively integrate all the various technologies into an intelligent, flexible and scalable system/architecture to meet the following business outcomes:

  1. Increase Customer Loyalty
  2. Supply Chain Optimization
  3. Operational Excellence
  4. Energy Sustainability
  5. Disruptive Innovation

To paraphase Kevin Wheeler, Director of Operations, Highland Brewing Co,“Our core competency is crafting great beer. We have an opportunity to drive efficiency into our operation by an integrating IoT/IoE platform … the challenge is figuring out the best approach.”

Like Highland Brewing, manufacturers must begin to transform existing business processes and fundamentally rethink how they create, operate, and service smart, connected products in the IoE. For those that get it right, the future represents a huge opportunity to create product and service advantages.

Are you having challenges putting together the “IoE technology puzzle?”  Is security the main barrier to IoE adoption?

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Getting Started with Cisco CMX 7.6 Analytics

First we rolled out the MSE tech blog series to give our customers an in depth look at the various features of the location-based technology behind Cisco’s Mobility Services Engine (MSE) and Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution. Now, we’re kicking off a CMX Techtorial video series to provide a visual and helpful walkthrough of how to maneuver and get started with CMX and location-based services.

First up, we have the charismatic Darryl Sladden, Technical Marketing Manager for CMX, taking us through CMX 7.6 Analytics. In this quick video, Darryl will cover:

  • What is CMX 7.6 Analytics?
  • What is the analytics dashboard?
  • How do I visualize dwell time, heat maps, device density?
  • What kinds of reports can you get with CMX 7.6 Analytics?

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#CiscoPublicSafety Series: Less Issues with Traffic, More Safety

Located in the heart of the oil and gas-rich Permian Basin, Midland, Texas started to go through an exponential growth phase in 2005 due to the increasing demand for energy. The city was feeling the impact of that growth, and in 2007,  its major arterial year-over-year traffic volume increased by 17 percent causing traffic management to become a critical imperative. Finding a solution to this traffic congestion was important not only in terms of efficiency of transportation, but also in terms of public safety.

In response to this, the head of the Midland Transportation Department, Gary Saunders, recommended the IP wireless Advanced Transportation Management System (ATMS). The solution runs on a Cisco wireless network with more than 1,500 wireless access points and monitors traffic and provides notification to various departments about the status of 70 pedestrian crosswalk flashers and 119 networked traffic signals. This instantaneous data collection and reporting mechanism has allowed officials to respond with intelligence and swiftness.

The cost savings and benefits are paying off too. The following are some of the key results: 27 percent reduction in total delays per vehicle, 18 percent reduction in total stops per vehicle, and 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption. On four major arterials alone with average vehicular volume, this equates to $1.2 million in annual savings. Additionally, by implementing vehicle detection cameras, replacing wires embedded within the road’s surface and installing cameras, Midland seeks to further enhance its traffic management system. The Traffic Management Center receives real-time video from the cameras enabling the ability to assess or monitor current traffic conditions.

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