July 03, 2015

Ireland gears up for cyber war – new strategy to protect critical infrastructure
The Irish Government has established a National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC) within the Department of Communications that will be tasked with securing government networks and critical national infrastructure. As well as being accredited to the CSIRT-IE, the NCSC will develop capabilities to respond swiftly when attacks occur and develop capabilities in the area of industrial control and SCADA systems, which are used to run electricity and water networks. The threat to such networks became clear when the Stuxnet worm, malware designed by Israel and the CIA to compromise Iranian nuclear facilities, began to roam wild and threaten utilities infrastructure worldwide.

Facebook wins first round in European privacy battle
The court said it lacked jurisdiction to hear the case seeking €500 compensation for each claimant, totalling €12.5m. "This litigation was unnecessary and we’re pleased that the court has roundly rejected these claims,” Facebook said in a statement. Commentators said the court’s ruling is a victory for Facebook, which argued the case was not legitimate, but Schrems has vowed to take the case to a higher regional court and appeal to the Austrian Supreme Court if necessary. The group led by Schrems is suing the social networking firm for several privacy violations, including tracking their data and Facebook’s alleged involvement in the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) Prism surveillance programme.

M-Disc optical media reviewed: Your data, good for a thousand years
As to that thousand-year claim, the U.S. Navy will back that up. It tested M-Disc DVD+Rs along with archival quality DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW, subjecting them three times to a 185-degree, 85-percent humidity, full-spectrum light environment for 26.25 hours. Every DVD failed—except the M-Discs, which suffered no noticeable degradation. The Department of Defense hasn’t tested the new M-Disc BD-R, but as the technology is largely the same, the results should be as well. The only failure point for the material used in the M-Disc data layer is oxidation, which, according to Millenniata materials scientists, shouldn’t be an issue for about ten millennia. Yikes. The comparative delicacy of the polycarbonate outer layer of the disc is why the media lasts “only” a thousand years.

Security threats, hackers and shadow IT still plague health IT
"You don't know what you don't know, so the first thing CIOs can do to help their employees adopt the cloud safely is to discover all the services in use across the organization," Rick Hopfer, CIO at Molina Healthcare, writes in an email. "Employees rarely have the information to determine whether a particular cloud application complies with organization's security and compliance policies." The average healthcare employee uses 26 different cloud services, Skyhigh found. And those applications often have very different levels of security protections, highlighting the importance of the IT department working with the business units to ensure that cloud services are deployed safely and managed by the CIO's team.

How Big Data Is Changing Recruitment Forever
It’s hard to say if this is true or not, but many people in positions with responsibility for hiring would probably admit that they had made appointments based on a “gut feeling” – simply whether or not they felt the person was the right fit for the vacancy. Well, all that is changing. Taking on a new employee represents a huge investment for most companies, particularly in a managerial or professional role. A large proportion (40% to 60% by most estimates) of a company’s revenue goes on staff salaries. So in an age where everything can be measured, quantified and analyzed, it makes sense to put a bit more planning and strategic thought into the recruitment process.

How to survive in the ‘Digital Amnesia’ world
It’s simply impossible to remember everything. To look into this, Kaspersky Lab has initiated research to analyse how digital devices and the Internet affect the way people recall and use information today – and what, if anything, they are doing to protect it. ... So, smartphones are the ubiquitous companions for many of us. They have become an extension of the human brain and just as the skull protects the brains, mobile phones need protection as well. The majority of motorcyclists put on helmets, but only a few of those surveyed managed to adequately protect their phones with IT security. One of the previous Kaspersky Lab studies also shows that women often secure everything less than men.

Cyber-Espionage Nightmare
The failure of the companies’ supposed security technologies was stupefying. Lance Wyatt, the IT director for the steelworkers’ union, thought he ran a tight ship. An IT audit in 2010 had found no major deficiencies. His e-mail server screened all incoming messages for attachments that contained executable code. He had the latest antivirus software. His network checked IP addresses to avoid sites that contained malware. Yet Wyatt and the FBI eventually found infected computers, one of them used by the union’s travel manager. “None of those machines were on our radar as being infected or suspect,” he says.

Microservices, the Reality of Conway's Law, and Evolutionary Architecture
There are lots of monoliths that are very highly coupled, in fact most of them, and so it is not a trivial exercise to break them up. So, as a practical matter, here is what I recommend to people and people that I consult with now – first, we think it is a good idea to move to the new model and so first, we have to agree to that. Step zero is to take a real customer problem, something with real customer benefit, maybe a reimplementation of something you have or ideally some new piece of functionality that was hard to do in the monolith. Do that in the new way, first, and what you are trying to do there is to learn from mistakes you inevitably will make going through that first transition, right? You do it in a relatively safe way, but at the same time you do with real benefit at the end.

India innovates on the Internet of Things
While India may not have that many successful products in the software space, it is making IoT devices that are comparable to any in the world. Its large talent pool of mobile app developers is helping create interfaces between products and users. It helps that companies such as Intel, Cisco, Broadcom and MediaTek are making open-source hardware that companies can use to launch IoT prototypes. Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are also useful for start-ups. We looked at a number of IoT products being made in India and picked some of the best.

Software Still Playing Catch-Up to Flash Memory Advancements
At the data-tier level, we see some consistency as well. All major vendors integrate flash drives/modules as an option and have native interfaces to flash devices. Another strategy is using high-bandwidth flash as a cache on the server node, while retaining disk storage in its traditional role. All these strategies give users access to flash technology using standard SQL methods. Unfortunately, at the middle/processing tier, platform support for flash is inconsistent. The limited number of middle-tier caches that exist and can persist to disk can easily transition to flash. However, if you are not seeking a middle-tier cache but a data grid, only a few data grid vendors have programmable flash integrations.

Quote for the day:

"Problems are only opportunities in work clothes." -- Henri Kaiser

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