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Security Concerns in Vehicle Networks Mirror Those in Computer Networks

Traffic fatalities in the United States were 143 per one million people in 2006, compared to 93 per million in Europe. While fatalities have since fallen in both the United States and Europe, government and private industry continue to look into ways to improve traffic safety. An emerging standard, IEEE 802.11p, is one communication method to be used in networks between mobile vehicles, including aircraft and automobiles. Vehicle networks, often referred to as an intelligent transportation system (ITS), promise to improve vehicle safety as well as lower costs in terms of reduced travel time and fuel consumption by allowing vehicles and their operators to exchange traffic, speed, and weather information to allow better awareness and assist operators in decision making.

Some security researchers presenting at Black Hat DC 2011 have leveled concerns against the implementation of ITS as a potential attack vector against physical systems. Insecure deployment of an ITS could allow attackers to gain access to information within the system or deliberately sabotage system functionality. However, because there are no real-world deployments, the threat remains potential rather than real.

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Seamless Access To Information

I recently saw an executive carrying five mobile devices. There was an iPhone in one pocket, a BlackBerry in another, an Andriod in his jacket, a Droid Pro stuffed somewhere else, and an iPad in the back of his pants. It made me wonder when we’ll gain the ability to have one device (of our choice) that can do it all rather than be forced to roll like the human equivalent of a clown car.

A wave of consumer devices has flooded the enterprise and caused some tsunami-type problems for IT and for employees. Companies need to secure this constant parade of devices, and employees want unencumbered access to business information, anytime, all the time, from any device they want.

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Scammers Go Mobile. Read All About It.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the New York Post headline.

We’re at a very exciting time in our industry. There is a shift underway to mobile devices and cloud computing, both of which have exciting ramifications for unleashing a new wave of productivity in the enterprise. But don’t think that scammers aren’t benefiting off this wave as well. They are also enjoying an increase in productivity.

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Women and Technology Empower Each Other

It is no secret that technology allows us to be more productive.  Living here in California, I can conduct a meeting with colleagues in India or Egypt while sitting in my living room.   I can answer email while sitting in the car waiting for my son’s soccer practice to finish.  I can leave work early to go grocery shopping, knowing that I can make up for it at home in the evening.

Juggling work and family may not be quite as convenient for many working women in Africa, Southeast Asia, or Latin America, where reliable power supply, affordable bandwidth, and cultural barriers may complicate their efforts.  Still, a growing body of evidence points to a symbiotic relationship between communications technology and the empowerment of women in emerging markets.  What’s more, it makes business sense to tap into and facilitate this virtuous relationship.  It’s a classic win-win situation, if it is done right.

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PCI DSS: Survey Results Reveal More Focus on Complying than Complaining

Recently, our country was up in arms over the new airport security requirements imposed by the Transportation and Security Agency. Travelers complained that new full-body scanners and pat-downs at airport security checkpoints were inconvenient and invasive, and major concern ensued that objectors to the new regulations would cause significant delays over the Thanksgiving holiday — the busiest travel time of the year. Grassroots groups were encouraging travelers to either refrain from flying or opt out of full-body scans and choose the more time-consuming pat-downs as a protest. Despite all the hoopla, the Thanksgiving travel rush was not impacted by the new laws. In fact, a recent CBS poll revealed that 4 out of 5 people support the new security measures.

We as individuals like to whine about laws and regulations that keep us safe, and the same can be said for organizations. As Cisco security team members, we have heard our share of customers grumble about regulatory compliance requirements such as HIPAA, SOX, and most recently the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS). These regulations can be, at times, cumbersome to deal with. Yet, when asked in a recent Cisco-commissioned survey about their sentiments on PCI compliance, organizations were largely positive and on board with PCI.

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