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All Applications and No Performance makes Work a Dull Boy

At your last visit to the endodontist for that rootcanal (ouch!), you were pleasantly surprised that she had all your case history in her office—on a sleek tablet, no less. While you recovered from the procedure, did you notice how the front desk sent your prescription off to the nearest drug-store, filed your insurance claim, and also updated your family dentist with your procedure outcome? All digitally. Impressive, eh? And this was in the hills of Santa Cruz, where your son had trouble accessing his apps on the mobile phone.

You noticed the endodontist throw the tablet on the seat next to hers, when she drove off after your appointment. Nice.

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SEO Poisoning: When Safe Searches Turn Nasty

Recently Tim Wilson wrote in Dark Reading that news has become more dangerous to search for than porn (22.4% of top search results are infected/compromised vs. 21.8% for porn), illustrating that the bad guys never rest and threats that have been around for a while continue to evolve. When the bad guys corrupt or poison search engines such that legitimate searches send the user to bad places, often with the intent of infecting or compromising the users system or exposing the user to objectionable content, we call this SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Poisoning.

People have been manipulating search engines for personal advantage for about as long as there have been search engines. Early efforts were fairly transparent, with examples such as misleading meta tags and hidden background colored text. Search engines were able to engineer around many of these early efforts and advances like using inbound link information in addition to the content of the page (Page Rank) helped keep things (somewhat more) honest.

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Cyber Security for the Holiday Season and Beyond

November 10, 2010 at 10:38 am PST

Yesterday I was going through my mail at home, and a nicely decorated print ad caught my eye with a title “Cyber Monday Event.” Wow, it’s only early November, but retailers are already racing to jumpstart the holiday shopping season, including online shopping promotions. Are you ready to dive in?

In my previous blogpost, I shared information about National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October and how Cisco supported this great event. I attended the October 6 “A Unified Message for Cybersecurity” forum at Intel and other related activities. With the “Stop. Think. Connect.” message in place, the support of excellent public and private partnerships, and participation from numerous organizations and individuals, I feel that the cybersecurity awareness campaign has reached critical mass this year. In the meantime, the need for cyber security is further evidenced by a number of events, such as Firesheep and new online banking security flaws disclosed within the past 30 days.

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Don’t be a Victim – Part 2

Yesterday I talked about the vital importance of passwords in the quest to avoid victimization, but today I will take a look at how some recent changes and advances in technology can have an impact as well.

Some of the fundamental tenants of Borderless Networks include the fact that the network is evolving. No longer the classical, hard crunchy shell with the soft chewy middle, the network has become more open, more amorphous and more mobile. Because of these factors, the network is far more available and useful to users wherever they are, at home, on the road or even chilling at *bucks. Indeed, to illustrate the ubiquity of Borderless Networks, I even saw a woman emailing on a smartphone in the middle of a Zumba class (comic aside, my participation in Zumba is a lot like an inebriated bear doing ballet, but that is a different story). The network is no longer confined to the safe castle-keep of the Enterprise, but instead now follows us wherever we go. This creates opportunities, such as receiving email from the boss while you sip a latte at a coffee shop, but it also creates vulnerabilities as well, which we will come back to.

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Don’t be a Victim – Part 1

One of the phrases sometimes heard in certain circles I have traveled in was “Don’t be a victim,” or its near cousin “Don’t allow yourself to be victimized.” While these words of wisdom were passed around in some of the rough, hard biker hangouts up in the Santa Cruz mountains, they are relevant to the world of Borderless Networks as well.

In terms of mitigating risk, one of the very best things you can do is actually one of the simplest. When it comes to passwords, pick a good one and use it. Mix in numbers, special characters, uppercase and lowercase and avoid names and dictionary words and you are going to be in a far better place. Oh, and as 4chan illustrated when they hacked a Christian dating site, never assume that your password will not be stolen – you may want to use different passwords. For mobile devices, which are prone to being left in various places, it is critical to have a password protected locking home screen.

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