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Sniffing Out Social Media Disinformation

The raw, edgy nature of social media is part of its charm, and its value. As Cisco’s global threat analyst, I often look at my Twitter feed in the morning before I check mainstream media sites because it provides quick, frequently expert, irreverent analysis on breaking news. In fact, my own concerns about press freedom and objectivity stemming from concentration of mass media ownership arguably strengthens the case for a lively, unregulated social media space. It can serve as a fact checker and whistle blower on traditional news sources. In societies where news outlets may be closely monitored or controlled by the state, social media may provide the only online outlet for uncensored public opinion.

Unfortunately, social media is frequently inaccurate or misleading, with the potential for real-world damage. It isn’t hard to imagine a scenario in which a terrorist coordinates on-the-ground attacks with misleading tweets with the intent to clog roads or phone lines, or send people into the path of danger. Several recent incidents underscore the ease with which social media rumors can compound the impact of real events.

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Surfing the Net: Staying Secure, Safe, and Smart

Earlier this year at a release party of Talking Back to Facebook, Chelsea Clinton asked the audience an important question facing the parents of today’s tech-savvy kids: “How do we help cultivate curiosity about content … while also protecting kids so that every kid gets to be a kid …?”

Scams have become a lot more complicated than the old standard: “I’m a Prince from [_____], please wire me 2 million dollars!”, and viral methods of stealing identities and money are more sophisticated than ever. Adults have good reason to be concerned about how publicly available their personal information is over the net. Companies like SafeShepherd are committed to helping their clients remove their personal information from publicly accessible databases. Other resources, like A Platform for Good, have been created to help teach parents, teachers, and kids about efficient online safety practices. The objective here is to teach our children smart and safe web practices.

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Virtuata and vCider: Next Steps to Building a World of Many Clouds

October 12, 2012 at 11:53 am PST

One of the things that has always been clear to us is that a pragmatic cloud and virtualization solution is going to need to embrace diversity.  There were going to be many paths to cloud and customers would want the freedom to choose to host workloads on physical infrastructure, any of the hypervisors available or one of the emerging number of cloud options.  This realization has been one of the factors that has shaped our strategy for delivering practical solutions for virtualization and cloud to the market.

Cloud Networking: Multi-Hypervior and Multi-Service

Initially, we focused on physical/virtual consistency and separation of duties.  We kicked this effort off with the Nexus 1000V, which was a fully functioning NX-OS switch rendered fully in software.  With L2 handled, we moved on to deploy virtual services consistent with this physical counterparts like the ASA 1000V, the Virtual Security Gateway (VSG) and vWAAS. Finally, we fleshed out the networking stack with the Cloud Services Router (CRS 1000V).

The network has always been a platform for enabling heterogeneous OS and heterogeneous applications to connect. Naturally, the next step was to take the capabilities we had built and extend them across multiple hypervisors so we could now deliver a consistent experience for customers with heterogeneous hypervisor environments.  We built on our success with over 6,000 enterprise and service provider VMware vSphere customers and are now extending those came capabilities to Microsoft Hyper-V environments as well for Xen and KVM open source hypervisors. With the recently announced shift to a “freemium” pricing model, with the Nexus 1000V-Essential Edition, customers are gaining these benefits with minimal cost and risk.

vCider and Virtuata: Opportunity for Secure Multi-cloud Networking

However, some of the most interesting progress has come from our two of our more recent acquisitions that have been centered on the concept of providing better operations and management of multi-cloud environments.  As customers more broadly adopt cloud and virtualization, security and isolation at the VM level become of paramount importance. To address this need we acquired Virtuata this summer. The Virtuata technology will give us (okay, you) the ability to have sophisticated and consistent security for VMs across multi-hypervisor and multi-cloud environments.

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Healthcare for all?

October 11, 2012 at 8:39 am PST

As we all just witnessed the presidential debates last Wednesday, the hot topic was Obamacare.  I knew this act was aimed at decreasing the number of uninsured Americans and reducing the overall costs of healthcare.  These high level goals sounded great until I bumped into an article this week that some popular casual dining establishments will no longer offer full time work schedules to employees starting in 2014 aimed to help address the cost implications health care reform will have on their business.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called Obamacare was signed into law back in March 2010 with multiple provisions to be enacted over a 10 year period. A provision starting January 2014 states that companies with over 50 employees will be required to provide health insurance to employees working over 30 hours a week.  There is a punishment of $3,000 per each uncovered employee for companies who do not follow the law. Read More »

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Securing BGP sounds great but is there a tradeoff in terms of router performance?

October 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm PST

A primary concern of any network administrator when configuring new IOS features is the potential impact the enabling of new features will have on router performance including CPU utilization and memory usage.

It is fully expected that the layering of additional features, in this case BGP security features, will undoubtedly have an adverse impact on the available memory of an IOS router. But, based on our testing, the results were not quite what we expected… Read More »

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