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Featured Posts (54)

  • Originally posted on DataScienceCentral.

    AWS - Amazon Web Services - allows you to deploy your analytic app or API on the cloud, and make it public.

    However, if you are co-located on a shared server and your "neighbors" are criminals engaging in click fraud or email spamming, your IP address will be blocked by most IP blacklist vendors such as Spamhaus. This is nothing new, but what is new here is the very high proportion of bad neighbors found on AWS, and Amazon does not have the technology to detect them.

    A classified study by Vincent Granville shows that 20% of click fraud on large ad networks, comes from hundreds of AWS IP addresses - the largest single source of fraud, bigger than any single traditional Botnet. Spamhaus catches about 15% of the bad IP addresses in question. The remaining IP addresses can easily be detected using IP address clustering techniques or large scale (distributed) nslookups. In some security circles, people have suggested to block all Internet traffic from Ashburn, Virginia, as this is where a large AWS server farm (infested by criminals) is located, with new IP addresses popping up every day.

    If you share your IP address with one of these criminals (even though you are a good guy), your clients might just not be able to access your services, as your AWS public website/folders will be blocked by most browsers.

    So what are the solutions - safer cloud - to host your analytic app if you don't have a budget for a dedicated IP address? Even a dedicated IP address is not great if it's located in an IP address block filled with blacklisted IP addresses.

    There are plenty of articles about this issue, click here to find many of them.

    Here are two comments posted by members:

    • It is based on analyzing web traffic from a large ad network, and finding that a significant proportion of the click fraud is from AWS IP addresses blacklisted by Spamhaus and several other similar providers (Adometry, etc.) and using our own rules. Bad IP address results in email blacklisting and other issues, for AWS users on the wrong address, just like it happens for any shared IP address that get blacklisted because of a single (very nasty) black sheep. I can't share the document, I signed a NDA with the client.
    • This is a sidebar..It's worse than that. Amazon is prob trying to mitigate malevolent users internally, however there is a nasty expolitation in VM's that are popular with Amazon users. Xen and Vmware according to this report from sec researchers, can be cross hacked from a malevolent VM. The paper is straightforward and I post it here for your delectation http://eprint.iacr.org/2014/248.pdf. The paper in general says that if you are collocated on the same metal malevolent clients can grab all your AES crypto key info from your vm app and penetrate your other infrastructure via the Bernstein correlation methods . There are ways to prevent it but like everything else it is costly ( not every chip set has AES-IN enabled) or counter to the purpose of the public clouds ( no colloc ) Security is hard to do on the cloud infrastructure. It's the reason why I was told to stop working with "sensitive" "big" data on the cloud for now.

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  • Join us for our latest Messaging News / DSC Webinar on July 17th, 2014

    Voltage

    Space is limited.

    Reserve your Webinar seat now
     
    Join us July 17th at 9am PDT for our latest Messaging News Webinar Series: Rethinking Email Security: Best Practices to Protect and Maintain Private Communications, Sponsored by Voltage Security.

    2014 has been called “The Year of Encryption”. The recent data breaches, personal identity theft cases, and email snooping concerns have put a spotlight on the importance of protecting sensitive data, both inside and outside the enterprise. Email is invaluable to enterprises. It’s the easiest mode of communication which also makes it an easy target for data theft.

    In this webinar we will explore the key concepts and best practices to protect and maintain private email communications and why you need to rethink your email security. You will learn:
    • Best practices for securing sensitive email communications.
    • When is the right time to replace your legacy email security.
    • How to protect sensitive email information as it flows to and from the enterprise.
    • Latest insights on Identity-Based Encryption and Stateless Key Management.
    • How other enterprises deploy the world’s most popular email security solution.
    Panelists:
    Michael Osterman of Osterman Research
    Mark Schweighardt of Voltage Security

    Hosted by: Tim Matteson, Cofounder, Messaging News
     
    Title:  Rethinking Email Security: Best Practices to Protect and Maintain Private Communications
    Date:  Thursday, July 17th, 2014
    Time:  9:00 AM - 10:00 AM PDT
     
    Again, Space is limited so please register early:
    Reserve your Webinar seat now
     
    After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
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  • SMS Texts Abandoned For Instant Messaging

    For the first time ever the number of text messages sent has fallen, with instant messaging apparently taking over as the way we communicate with our family and friends. Deloitte's latest technology predictions report shows an estimated 145 billion SMS messages were sent in 2013 in the UK, seven billion less than in 2012. In the same period 160 billion instant messages were sent, a huge jump from 57 billion in 2012. In 2014 they predict the number of traditional texts will continue to fall, but a staggering 300 billion instant messages will be sent.
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  • BlackBerry said on Sunday it plans to release security updates for messaging software for Android and iOS devices by Friday, to address vulnerabilities in programs related to the "Heartbleed" security threat.
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  • The FT is reporting that Facebook is looking at e-money services — including the ability for people to make peer-to-peer money transfers using money that is stored on Facebook itself — and has applied for an e-money license in Ireland as part of that. Facebook has declined to comment on the report, but we have confirmed with sources some of the details of what is going on.
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  • Twitter’s Vine has introduced a feature that allows you to message other users directly via video. This adds both a direct messaging channel and video clips to its messages, a big addition to Twitter’s video app.
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  • As more people choose to send messages through free apps instead of paying to use their smartphones’ standard texting services, valuations of companies that make the apps are soaring.
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  • Data Science for business hacking

    You can call it business or data hacking, but the idea is to use analytic intelligence to reverse-engineer algorithms, transform, manipulate and modify data in external databases, without even accessing the databases in questions, for your business advantage.
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  • Here I focus on LinkedIn and how they can monetize their groups via charging a fee for email blasts, but the same applies to Google+, Twitter, Facebook etc. In short, LinkedIn alone could generate an extra $50 million per year, thought the best implementation would probably involve LinkedIn outsourcing email blasts to a vendor such as MailChimp or VerticalResponse: it would probably mean that LinkedIn would earn only $25 million a year, the vendor would earn $25 million a year, but for LinkedIn, it would mean no more spam issues (and no more technical support, complaints), and email blasts totally outsourced and automated.
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  • 3 Tools for Enforcing Password Policies

    User passwords are often a weak link in the corporate security chain. How can security pros make users adhere to strong password policies? Recent corporate security breaches have taught us something important: The average computer user is spectacularly bad at choosing good passwords. The most popular passwords turn out to be simple, easy-to-remember ones, like "password," "123456," "monkey" and "iloveyou," all of which provide little security. If you can remember your password, then it is probably not secure.
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  • Yahoo Issues Security Sitrep

    Yahoo's new CISO Alex Stamos is wasting no time shoring up the company's weak security. His first moves have been encryption-focused, but that's just for starters. Hiring Stamos "was a great move," said SilverSky CTO Andrew Jaquith. "He's got serious street cred ... . Assuming he gets the funding and authority he needs, Yahoo should be able to make some serious strides." Yahoo has announced a new effort to upgrade its security, in the wake of a torrent of breaches and hacker attacks over recent months. Yahoo's plans include encryption of data in motion, enabling HTTPS encryption, and implementing the latest in security best practices, said Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos, who took over the job in March.
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  • As businesses look to adopt more “litigation friendly” email practices, many are turning their attention from email archiving to disaster recovery. Email archiving has been known to make the thorniest email discovery problems go away. In many organizations, however, there is a gap between email archiving and disaster recovery that can make eDiscovery costly and time consuming. It is not uncommon to find email messages stored across five to 10 different systems, including the primary server, a backup server, tape backup, the email archive, a dedicated archive backup, local archive files on user machines, and server backups of these local archive files. With so many copies of each message, it is very difficult to ensure that centralized retention policies are followed.
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  • Input from over 100 businesses, governmental agencies and thought leaders who have been working to help detect, prevent, remediate and recover from the threats of botnets and cybercrime has resulted in a comprehensive white paper outlining best practices for end-user botnet notification. Published this month by the Online Trust Alliance (OTA), a member-based non-profit representing businesses and organizations from across the global Internet ecosystem, the paper can be downloaded from https://otalliance.org/botnets.html
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  • There is a real risk for marketers to “lose” customers in our current age of the always-connected customer. This seems at first counter to the thought that more online time would mean more opportunities to engage the customer. It is true that more devices and more channels mean audiences are available in more places, at more times, however, it also means audiences’ scattered attention has made previously reliable customers increasingly elusive. “New analytics solutions, multi-channel metrics, and better collaboration tools will be crucial in 2013,” says Aphrodite Brinsmead, senior analyst at Ovum. The Ovum analyst says organizations will feel the pressure to understand and pre-empt the needs from the always-connected customer. “Vendors will need to step up and add these capabilities fast, or else risk losing business,” believes Brinsmead.
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  • Plugging In to Continuous Availability

    Understanding the importance of data protection of messaging systems and its continuous availability is critical. Messaging today has become much more than just another application. “Most businesses are just beginning to realize that messaging has evolved from an application to a corporate communication platform,” believes Manish Kalia, founder and vice president of marketing for Teneros, Inc.“Email, BlackBerry/iPhone, voicemail (unified messaging), fax, archiving and compliance, document management and CRM are just a few of the IT systems that are dependent on messaging. As a result, messaging has emerged as the number one application that needs to be protected for disaster recovery and high availability.”
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  • By nature SMBs need the flexibility and productivity that personal devices now offer. But is the company at risk with the fast adoption of “consumer” BYOD practices? There was a time when cool gadgets and slick computers were only found in business environments and the selection was the domain of IT. But today, as smartphones get smarter and smarter and connectivity is available anywhere, more devices are coming into the workplace not from IT, but from users directly. For small- and medium-sized companies, this is especially true. Gartner is predicting that end-users will be responsible for 50 percent of business IT procurement decisions. From what I hear, it seems like the percentage will likely be higher. BYOD (bring your own device) is now common in all sizes of organizations. Should specific policies be in place to address this ongoing practice?
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  • Business Continuity and the Cloud

    Implementing sound business continuity practices within the workplace allows organizations to avoid disruptive events and continue operation without stoppage. Today, email is a mission critical application that must be accessible with minimal outage since even momentary downtime can have serious consequences for an organization’s bottom line. It’s for this reason that businesses of all sizes should have a plan to maintain the continuity of email during planned and unplanned downtimes.
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  • Using the Intelligence Locked away in Email

    For most organizations, the largest single source of information about what’s going on in their business is the collection of user mailboxes and email archives distributed across the company. These data stores contain information about who communicates with whom, what employees say, the files they’re sending, how they spend their time, etc. This rich source of content can provide valuable business intelligence to decision makers, but few extract even a fraction of the valuable content contained therein.
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  • Don't Ask Too Much; Don't Post Too Much

    There are numerous stories in the press about companies who demand to see the Facebook profiles of job applicants or current employees. In some cases, employees have been denied employment, suspended or fired for refusing to provide this access. The argument offered by employers for demanding this access is that it provides them with more information about prospective or current employees, much like a credit check or background check would provide. And, from a purely factual standpoint, employers who hold to this position are right: examining a Facebook profile will provide more information about someone than not examining that profile. But are employers wise to demand access to your Facebook profile? In my opinion, absolutely not.
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  • Up to 92 Percent of Security Breaches Preventable

    According to data compiled by a cloud security team from Druva, an enterprise endpoint backup provider, 92 percent of security breaches are actually avoidable.
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