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Big Data in Security – Part I: TRAC Tools

TRACRecently I had an opportunity to sit down with the talented data scientists from Cisco’s Threat Research, Analysis, and Communications (TRAC) team to discuss Big Data security challenges, tools and methodologies. The following is part one of five in this series where Jisheng Wang, John Conley, and Preetham Raghunanda share how TRAC is tackling Big Data.

Given the hype surrounding “Big Data,” what does that term actually mean?

John:  First of all, because of overuse, the “Big Data” term has become almost meaningless. For us and for SIO (Security Intelligence and Operations) it means a combination of infrastructure, tools, and data sources all coming together to make it possible to have unified repositories of data that can address problems that we never thought we could solve before. It really means taking advantage of new technologies, tools, and new ways of thinking about problems.

Big Data

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Deep-Dive Techwise Technical Workshop: Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences

Next Thursday you don’t want to miss a live technical webcast with Q&A on the hot topic of Wi-Fi location-based services. Join Techwise tech legend Jimmy Ray Purser and technical marketing engineer lead Darryl Sladden for a deep technical discussion covering the ins and outs of Cisco’s Mobility Services Engine – the intelligence engine in the Cisco Wi-Fi network that enables Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences functionality.

You’ll get a full, hands-on view of four pieces of the solution and see how it all ties into your Wi-Fi network:

  • Location detection – how Cisco’s Wi-Fi infrastructure detects mobile devices and calculates their location
  • Analytics – how the MSE aggregates and reports Wi-Fi location data and trends to administrators and operations leads so that they can better understand guest behavior
  • APIs – how Cisco’s Mobility Services APIs provide application developers rich, contextual information they can use to create a variety of internally and externally-facing apps
  • Maps – a use case of how Cisco uses it’s own Wi-Fi location-based services inside the organization to increase efficiency and employees get to where they need to go

This is an in-depth session you won’t want to miss. Register now and mark your calendars for December 12!

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A Software Aware Society Driven by Sensors, Analytics and APIs

1“Software is Eating the World” is a quote attributed to Marc Andreessen and somewhat further explored by his business partner Ben Horowitz.  Mark Andreessen gives compelling reasons to validate this quote.  To some extend I have to agree with some of his reasons (but I am also a little bit biased as a software engineer). On the other hand, when I read this (and this is partly based on working in different domains on software), I wonder if software is that disruptive? If you look “under the hood” of software applications, you find that a lot of software is based on fundamental software principles that are already 20-30 years old, yet Read More »

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A Software Aware Society Driven by Sensors, Analytics and APIs

“Software is Eating the World” is a quote attributed to Marc Andreessen and somewhat further explored by his business partner Ben Horowitz.  Mark Andreessen gives compelling reasons to validate this quote.  To some extend I have to agree with some of his reasons (but I am also a little bit biased as a software engineer). On the other hand, when I read this (and this is partly based on working in different domains on software), I wonder if software is that disruptive. If you look “under the hood” of software applications, you find that a lot of software is based on fundamental software principles that are already 20-30 years old, yet they are still frequently used (and for good reasons).  That does not mean there are no new advances in software, however old and proven technologies still play an important role (like we say in mathematics, it does not become old, it becomes classic).

1So maybe the reason that “Software is Eating the World” is due to the advances in hardware? Would you run modern enterprise applications in the Cloud 20 years ago? One of the challenges could certainly be the bandwidth. Was the IPhone a victory for software or hardware? A lot of the IPhone GUI was not that revolutionary IMO but the combination of hardware and software made for a potent technology disruption.

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Deep Dive: Mobility Services APIs (with Sample Code!)

Last week, my colleague Rajiv walked you through an overview of how our Mobility Services API now supports REST based APIs. As a developer for the Mobility Services Engine (MSE) team, I am very excited about this update because it means that it will be easier for developers to create apps using the MS-API, which hopefully means that more and more organizations will be able to take advantage of the location-based services and functionalities of the MSE. I’m going use this blog to walk you through some of the more technical aspects of the change.

The Basics

The REST API is now widely used in the field of API based web applications. The REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer. It is an architecture that is based on set of six rules, and APIs that support REST follow all those rules, making them RESTful.

Compared to SOAP, REST has better performance, scalability, simplicity, modifiability, visibility, portability, and reliability. For secured REST API transactions, HTTPS is recommended.

RESTful Mobility Services API

7.5 applications, including features from the Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution such as Browser Engage and CMX Analytics, are now supporting REST APIs in addition to the existing SOAP APIs previous releases (backward compatibility).

CMX utilizes the basic authentication scheme to authenticate each REST API request. It utilizes the Authorization header in the HTTP packet. The Authorization header is composed as follows:

- Username and password are combined into a string “username:password”.
- The resulting string literal is then encoded using Base64.
- The authorization method, a space and the string “Basic” is then put before the encoded string.

The API credentials can be accessed from Prime Infrastructure (PI), which manages CMX (page is located under Mobility Services > Specific MSE > System > Users).

As Rajiv mentioned last week, the Mobility Services REST APIs can be grouped in the following way:

-          MAP APIs

-          Real time location APIs

-          Location history APIs

-          Notification APIs

Let’s break them down with use cases to get a better picture of when you’d use which. Read More »

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