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#EngineersUnplugged S7|Ep2: FlexPod 101

December 17, 2014 at 11:24 am PST

In this episode, Emad Younis (@Emad_Younis) and Melissa Palmer (@vmiss33) give us the highlights of the FlexPod solution, from the parts to the implementation, with plenty of real world examples.

This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Join the behind the scenes by liking Engineers Unplugged on Facebook.

Quick programming note: This is the last episode I’ll be blogging about, but never fear! There are many great episodes to come, brought to you by my friend, co-host, and colleague Lauren Friedman (@Lauren). Be sure to enjoy a marathon of episodes over the holiday break, and prepare your unicorns!

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#CiscoChampion Radio S1|Ep 45. Project Squared

December 17, 2014 at 10:59 am PST

CiscoChampion2015200PX#CiscoChampion Radio is a podcast series by Cisco Champions as technologists. Today we’re talking with Cisco VP and CTO of Collaboration,  Jonathan Rosenberg, about Project Squared. Kim Austin (@ciscokima) moderates and John Welsh, Joshua Warcop and Rick Vanover are this week’s Cisco Champion guest hosts.

Listen to the Podcast.

Learn about the Cisco Champions Program HERE.
See a list of all #CiscoChampion Radio podcasts HERE.

Cisco SME
Jonathan Rosenberg, Cisco VP and CTO, Collaboration (@jdrosen2)

Cisco Champions
John Welsh, (@samplefive), Unified Communications Engineer
Joshua Warcop, (@Warcop), Senior Consultant
Rick Vanover, (@RickVanover), Product Strategy Specialist and Community Manager Read More »

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Wiper Malware – A Detection Deep Dive

This post was authored by Christopher Marczewski with contributions from Craig WIlliams

*This blog post has been updated to include Command and Control IP addresses used by the malware.

A new piece of wiper malware has received quite a bit of media attention. Despite all the recent press, Cisco’s Talos team has historic examples of this type of malware going back to the 1990s. Data is the new target, this should not surprise anyone. Recent examples of malware effectively “destroying” data -- putting it out of victims’ reach – also include Cryptowall, and Cryptolocker, common ransomware variants delivered by exploit kits and other means.

Wiping systems is also an effective way to cover up malicious activity and make incident response more difficult, such as in the case of the DarkSeoul malware in 2013.

Any company that introduced proper back-up plans in response to recent ransomware like Cryptolocker or Cryptowall should already be protected to a degree against these threats. Mitigation strategies like defense in depth will also help minimize the chance of this malware reaching end systems.

The Deep Dive

Initially we started investigating a sample reported to be associated with the incident to improve detection efficacy. Based off our analysis of e2ecec43da974db02f624ecadc94baf1d21fd1a5c4990c15863bb9929f781a0a we were able to link 0753f8a7ae38fdb830484d0d737f975884499b9335e70b7d22b7d4ab149c01b5 as a nearly identical sample. By the time we reached the network-related functions during our analysis, the relevant IP addresses belonging to the C2 servers were no longer responding back as expected. In order to capture the necessary traffic we had to modify both of the aforementioned disk wiper components. One modification replaced one of the hard-coded C2 server IP addresses with a local address belonging to a decoy VM while changing references to the other hard-coded addresses to point to this local address instead. The other modification simply changed the parameter being passed to an instance of the Sleep() function so debugging efforts wouldn’t be put on hold for 45 minutes (the original sample used a 10 minutes sleep).

When we initially examined a rule that was being distributed in the public we were looking for areas where we could improve coverage to better protect our customers. The new Wiper variant is poorly written code and luckily includes very little obfuscation.The author(s) made the mistake of allocating a buffer for the send() function that surpasses the data they wished to include in the payload: a null-terminated opening parentheses byte, the infected host’s local IP address, and the first 15 bytes of the host name. This incorrect buffer allocation results in the desired data, in addition to some miscellaneous data already present on the stack (including the 0xFFFFFFFF bytes we alerted on in the first revision of our rule).

Simply running the disk wiper component on different versions of Windows proves the miscellaneous data from the stack that we onced alerted on only applies to beacons being sent from Win XP hosts:

Read More »

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Big Data Analytics Remains a Big Opportunity for Wealth Managers – Part I

Wealth Management firms are spending billions on IT to differentiate in the market place. Yet the question remains, can “Big Data” have a material impact on the business? Can it deliver business outcomes by reducing risk, increasing assets under management, driving profitability, client satisfaction, products per client, client and financial advisor retention, all while improving the cost/income ratio and return on equity?

These are questions that are being discussed in board rooms across the financial industry and topics that I will cover in this blog series.

In order to answer these questions we need to put the wealth client at the center and understand changing client needs and expectations around how the client wants to be served by the firm. We need to examine external factors such as the impact of game changing consumer technology and unprecedented client access to information, as well as understand how new market entrants are challenging the traditional financial advisor value proposition and business model as a new round of Robo-Advisors hit the market.

Up until recent years, banks enjoyed an account centric transactional business model. What is changing is the onset of unstructured social interaction data as smart mobile devices and mobile broadband Internet usage reach high penetration levels. Device proliferation is leading to the availability of “data exhaust” from mobile phones, tablets, automobiles, video cameras, and from sensors in buildings, streets, consumer wearables and footfall traffic counters. Correlation of such data to better attract, retain, and serve clients can create market advantage.J pagano Wealth Mgt Blog part 1

The “Big” in Big Data comes from the fact that worldwide data volume is doubling every two years with unprecedented volume, variety, and velocity. Ninety percent of the all data in the history of the world was created in the last two years (SINTEF)! The concept of Big Data is about the correlation and analysis of transaction data, social interaction data, and machine/sensor data in a way that can turn data into knowledge, knowledge into insights, and insights into actions in real-time.

So what does this all mean for wealth managers?

As a wealth manager, what impact would it have on your business if you were able to increase the understanding of your client exponentially? Actions derived from data are informed by highly personalized needs predictions that can arm wealth managers with deep insights about their clients, increase their relevance in every interaction, and directly contribute to business outcomes. Big Data can help wealth managers transform the client value proposition and re-imagine the client experience.

The new vision for financial services is that a firm must be present in the financial lives of its clients, any time, any place, on any device, and across any channel.

The firm can no longer wait for the client to come to it. It must be proactive in delivering highly relevant value-added services in real-time and anticipate client needs. The firm needs to aspire to creating a “market of one” experience for each wealth client, understand the needs of and the hierarchy within the household, and move to a client centric versus account centric go-to-market approach.

When it comes to Big Data in Wealth Management start with the foundation, put the client at the center, and define business outcomes. Focus on building capabilities around what is possible while re-imagining the client experience.

Wealth management firms can take concrete steps in the form of measurable business outcome based projects to significantly enhance the client experience. These include:

  1. Define a roadmap for wealth client data analytics maturity. This will identify gaps that can be addressed resulting in more relevant advisor-client interactions.
  2. Establish a wealth client listening system across all channels. Early detection of client behaviors can lead to the identification of issues and sales opportunities.
  3. Create a real-time single view of wealth client data with data virtualization. Substantial savings can be had by leaving disparate data in place while providing managers with a single view.
  4. Establish an analytics driven financial advisor collaboration platform. This helps create market differentiation by maximizing advisor productivity, sharing best practices daily.
  5. Deploy mobile virtual advisor video capability and establish branch analytics. This improves client experience and gives advisors more minutes per day with clients increasing cross-selling opportunities.
  6. Empower advisors with real-time client insights to drive business outcomes. This helps the advisor manage to client life events with much greater granularity and speed.

The choices that wealth management firms make around data analytics in the next two years will determine their position in the marketplace. Can Big Data help wealth managers? With a client centric and business outcomes solutions approach, the answer is an astounding YES!

I will discuss each of the above steps in more detail in my next blog. As always I welcome your suggestions, stories, and feedback!

 

 

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Cisco Partner Plus and the Cisco Power Ecosystem

December 17, 2014 at 7:30 am PST

As I mentioned in my last blog on The Cisco Partner Ecosystem in the midmarket, I wanted to take just a bit of your time in December to give you a little expanded information on the Cisco Partner Plus Program. As we near the holidays and we will all be taking some much needed time to relax with friends and family, know that you are a vital part of The Cisco Partner Ecosystem and this is another way that Cisco can really help you win in the midmarket space.

Just like I said last month, I cannot stress enough that it’s not just “big business” that powers the economic engine globally. The midmarket space has increasing IT demands and even more limited resources than their enterprise siblings. We offer a great deal of help to Cisco partners in the midmarket space, but the Partner Plus Program helps you:

  • Prepare, build and expand
  • Generate demand and increase sales
  • Enjoy your success through rewards and incentives

We want you to be a successful part of The Cisco Partner Ecosystem and the Cisco Partner Plus Program helps ensure you get the support you need from us in order to succeed. Partner Plus offers increasing levels of benefits as you move from Partner Plus Aspire to Partner Plus Prestige and all the way up to Partner Plus Elite. Read More »

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