Daily Tech Digest - May 31, 2017

Cisco and IBM announce historic cybersecurity partnership

While the relationship brings technology collaboration and integration to Cisco and IBM customers, it also brings two armies of cyber experts. The tech giants are two of the top 10 cybersecurity startup acquirers. With 40 security acquisitions under their collective belts, Cisco and IBM have snapped up some of the top information security talent along the way. IBM Security alone employs more than 8,000 people globally. One of the core issues impacting security teams is the proliferation of security tools that do not communicate or integrate, according to the press release that announced the new partnership. A recent Cisco survey of 3,000 chief security officers found that 65 percent of their organizations use between six and 50 different security products. Managing such complexity challenges over-stretched security teams and can lead to potential gaps in security.


Florida is Now Courting Hyperscale Data Centers

Data centers developed in rural areas burdened with agricultural tax exemptions can help grow a commercial real estate tax base to boost local budgets. These data centers do not require significant investments in local schools, roads, and parks in return for the entitlement to develop. They also have state-of-the-art security and fire suppression systems which help limit the impact on fire and police resources. The Florida legislature and governor have now taken a crucial step to make the Sunshine State more competitive. However, it isn’t a silver bullet. Notably, the Florida legislature removed economic incentives from Enterprise Florida, which only received $16 million in funding in this latest budget. Florida still has challenges to overcome in attracting massive data centers that could benefit from the new legislation, including: frequent lightning storms, hurricanes, and a harsh climate which requires robust HVAC systems to deal with sensible (heat) and latent (humidity) loads.


Hackers upgrading malware to 64-bit code to evade detection

“The high prevalence of these worms in the threat landscape is unsurprising, as all of them infect files which in turn infect more files, and cause this type of malware to spread quickly and widely,” said the report. “To combat this threat, cyber-security teams must gain a deep understanding of 64-bit systems, and the different mechanisms attackers can leverage to attack them,” said Propper. Bogdan Botezatu, senior e-threat analyst at Bitdefender, told SC Media UK that for specific attacks, 64-bit malware is required to be compatible with the operating system version targeted. These extremely niched families of malware include rootkit drivers (which must be compiled specifically for the target platform), process injectors (including some banker Trojans) and some file infectors (viruses) even if viruses are close to going extinct these days.


OS Instrumentation Framework: osquery

osquery exposes an operating system as a high-performance relational database. This allows you to write SQL-based queries to explore operating system data. With osquery, SQL tables represent abstract concepts such as running processes, loaded kernel modules, open network connections, browser plugins, hardware events or file hashes. SQL tables are implemented via a simple plugin and extensions API.. ... Management can be simple and flexible. The osquery daemon uses a configuration input plugin and logging output plugin. By default both use a filesystem path. Read using osqueryd for an overview of configuration. osquery can be controllable in real time through community-supported management services. These complimentary services and open source projects are documented in our configuration guide. And writing your own configuration input and results output is supported and encouraged.


eBook: Enterprise Architecture in Practice

The author gives a good account of enterprise architecture in practice but makes some other points and raises some fundamental issues related to the practice of enterprise architecture as it exists today:
Enterprise Architecture is a strategic skill that transcends companies, and industries i.e. the fundamental principles apply across the board; and Enterprise Architecture is much more than a tool for "business IT alignment" or being only about IT - it concerns the entire enterprise and its restriction to IT has limited its value.  Toward that end, the ebook discusses: How to setup the enterprise architecture practice or capability in the enterprise; What "work" or "activity" does an enterprise architecture practice/department do and what business benefit does that produce?


Why mobile apps management trumps a traditional BYOD strategy

"We've started to see civil cases take shape," Silva said. "New York State is an example that comes to mind. Someone was a contractor; they signed away their rights on the dotted line. They ended their contract and left. The device got wiped and the last photos of a dead relative were destroyed. It found its way into a court room. That's had a chilling effect on this." In addition, in countries such as France and Germany, there are greater protections for an employee's personal electronic devices that make it even harder to implement tough BYOD policies, Silva added. "We've gotten a lot of questions from enterprises about how can they can manage this without locking down the whole device," Silva said. The majority of smartphones used in the workplace now are personally owned devices.


Why Microsoft's ARM-based Windows 10 laptops still have a lot to prove

The new machines will compete alongside Intel-based models in a sector Microsoft calls "always connected" PCs. These are Windows 10 machines intended to bring some of the best features of smartphones to laptops: an all-day battery life and fast, constant LTE cellular connection. "It's all around this idea that a PC should be connected, just like a smartphone," said McGuire. On current Windows 10 PCs, standby mode means the machine is shutdown but Qualcomm promises greater things from standby on the new computers. "With these systems, you're truly connected and you will be syncing data, Cortana will be available and it give you truly instant on," he said. During a demonstration at Computex in Taipei on Wednesday, Qualcomm showed off a Windows 10 ARM development system running on the Snapdragon 835.


Four Vectors Changing The Security Software Landscape: Gartner

The security software market is currently experiencing rapid transformation mainly because of four key developments, according to Gartner. The use of advanced analytics, expanded ecosystems, adoption of software as a service (SaaS) and managed services, and the prospect of punitive regulations are causing enterprises to rethink their security and risk management software requirements and investments. "The overall security market is undergoing a period of disruption due to the rapid transition to cloud-based digital business and technology models that are changing how risk and security functions deliver value in an organization," said Deborah Kish, principal research analyst at Gartner. "At the same time, the threat landscape and rise in the number of high-impact security incidents are also creating demand for security technologies and innovations that deliver greater effectiveness."


Why employees hate virtual collaboration and what to do about it

Despite the constant influx of new tools, most workplace communication still occurs through face-to-face conversations, phone calls, and email. Admittedly, some newer options have gained traction. For example, 61% of survey respondents reported using work instant messaging daily, and 53% said they participate in virtual meetings more than once a week. However, these media simply replicate the private, one-on-one and small-group conversations enabled by previous technologies while doing little to bring new voices into mix, increase traceability, and facilitate knowledge reuse. To improve the efficiency and quality of workplace collaboration, employees need to transition at least some of the interactions taking place privately in meetings, phone calls, and email to open forums such as communities of practice, enterprise social networks, and collaboration spaces.


Hackers Hide Cyberattacks in Social Media Posts

“Most people don’t think twice when they are posting on social media. They don’t think about people using the information against them maliciously,” Mr. Kaplan said. “They also don’t assume people on their network might be attackers.” According to a 2016 report by Verizon, roughly 30 percent of spear phishing emails are opened by their targets. But research published by the cybersecurity firm ZeroFOX showed that 66 percent of spear phishing messages sent through social media sites were opened by their intended victims. In the Defense Department attack, for example, 7,000 employees took the first step toward being compromised by clicking on a link, said Evan Blair, a co-founder of ZeroFOX. “The attacks are so much more successful because they use your personal timeline and the content you engaged with to target the message to you,” Mr. Blair said.



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"You will face your greatest opposition when you are closest to your biggest miracle." -- Shannon L. Alder