July 23, 2016

Training, Awareness Keys to Battling Social Engineering

Social engineering is especially dangerous for employees who may have special access to valuable assets that other employees may not, such as the ability to wire funds. A good example of this occurred last year when Ubiquiti Networks Inc., a US-based manufacturer of high-performance networking technology for service providers and enterprises, was taken for US $39 million. An employee of a Ubiquiti subsidiary was the victim of a CEO scam, which hijacks or impersonates the email of a senior executive within an organization. In this case the victim, who had authority to initiate wire transfers, transferred large amounts of money from company accounts to the criminal’s accounts. Adversaries are cognizant of the basic human tendency to trust people on face value, and accordingly, they abuse that trust to perform social engineering attacks. 

User experience and the IoT: tech should be all about humans

Historically, IoT solutions have not considered human beings in their equations and strategy roll out; which has proven to be a challenge, mainly because their solutions never came into contact with people, except through data dashboard and notification systems. Today, however, we are seeing products in the hands of people that are IoT dependent, but the consumer does not even understand the IoT is being used. In most cases, the consumer has no idea who or what IoT is. A great example is that people see Uber as a mobile app that calls a taxi — they are not running around talking about a great IoT app that they just downloaded. What Uber correctly achieved was to design a service that uses IoT concepts to provide a valuable service to people. Today, those people know Uber, not IoT. Without IoT though, Uber would not be possible.

Digital disruptor: now keywords in enterprise architects' job descriptions

A digital enterprise is one that takes advantage of a constellation of technology platforms and strategies -- including cloud, mobile, social, data analytics and Internet of Things. ...  the famous startups that are creating so much pain within established markets -- you know, the Ubers and Airbnbs -- do one thing really well. More established enterprises are capable of doing multiple things well. The key is doing all those things well, in an integrated fashion -- something only established companies are in a position to do. "Competitive advantage will come from taking capabilities that others may or may not have and integrating them in ways that make something extraordinarily powerful," Ross is quoted as saying. "Integrating business capabilities provides a whole value proposition that is hard for others to copy."

How to Improve Machine Learning: Tricks and Tips for Feature Engineering

Predictive modeling is a formula that transforms a list of input fields or variables into some output of interest. Feature engineering is simply a thoughtful creation of new input fields from existing input fields, either in an automated fashion or manually, with valuable inputs from domain expertise, logical reasoning, or intuition. The new input fields could result in better inferences and insights from data and exponentially increase the performance of predictive models. Feature engineering is one of the most important parts of the data preparation process, where deriving new and meaningful variables takes place. Feature engineering enhances and enriches the ingredients needed for creating a robust model. Many times, it is the key differentiator between an average and a good model.

Snowden Designs a Device to Warn if Your iPhone’s Radios Are Snitching

Huang’s and Snowden’s solution to that radio-snitching problem is to build a modification for the iPhone 6 that they describe as an “introspection engine.” Their add-on would appear to be little more than an external battery case with a small mono-color screen. But it would function as a kind of miniature, form-fitting oscilloscope: Tiny probe wires from that external device would snake into the iPhone’s innards through its SIM-card slot to attach to test points on the phone’s circuit board. (The SIM card itself would be moved to the case to offer that entry point.) Those wires would read the electrical signals to the two antennas in the phone that are used by its radios, including GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular modem.

IBM Announces Blockchain Cloud Services on LinuxOne Server

A new cloud environment for business-to-business networks announced by IBM last week will allow companies to test performance, privacy, and interoperability of their blockchain ecosystems within a secure environment, the company said. Based on IBM’s LinuxONE, a Linux-only server designed for high-security projects, the new cloud environment will let enterprises test and run blockchain projects that handle private data for their customers. The service is still in limited beta, so IBM clients will not be able to get their hands on it just yet. Once it launches, however, the company said clients will be able to run blockchain in production environments that let them quickly and easily access secure, partitioned blockchain networks.

Bad UX kills

Great experiences don’t have to be complex: One of the greatest innovations in transit user experience in the past 50 years is not the autonomous car or the hyperloop, but rather a sign on a train that says “Quiet Car.” This simple piece of vinyl has an immense ROI, having made a positive impact on hundreds of thousands of commuters, allowing them to catch up on precious sleep or focus intently, fundamentally altering commutes from lost time into productive hours. The Pentagram-designed “LOOK!” warnings painted on the street at crossings is another lightweight, ingenious improvement. Its eyes prompt you to look the way they are pointing, and have likely saved countless cell phone zombies and tourists from getting run over by a taxi or bus, not to mention clearing the way for city emergency response resources.

Intro to knysa: Async-Await Style PhantomJS Scripting

PhantomJS is a modern headless (no GUI) browser scriptable with a JavaScript API. It’s perfect for page automation and testing. The JavaScript API is brilliant, offering many advantages but it also suffers from the same “callback hell” problem with JavaScript, i.e. deep nested callbacks.  There are many libraries and frameworks to help deal with this problem. For PhantomJS, CasperJS is one such solution that is very popular, but it only mitigates the problem and does not solve it. knysa, on the other hand, solves the problem elegantly. Like CasperJS, it allows you to put steps in sequence. Unlike CasperJS, it does not add a lot of boilerplate code (e.g. casper.then(), etc.).

Optimizing Dashboard Design to Drive Action

When a dashboard is working well, it focuses each recipient on how they can specifically impact organizational core metrics, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as retention, conversion and lifetime value. Before you build your first chart, understand the context in which your initiative operates. What are the core metrics your company cares about? What are the existing dashboards your executives look at every day? Make sure your data includes a semi-live feed of these core metrics so you can display them in your dashboard. This information is vital to an effective dashboard. Analyze your data to identify the correlations that will answer the “why” for action. Include customer sentiment data so you can identify the path from your organization’s activities, through customer sentiment and behavior, to resulting KPIs.

Facebook's giant solar-powered drone takes flight to deliver internet to remote areas

According to a blog post by Jay Parikh, global head of engineering and infrastructure at Facebook, this was the first time the team had been able to fly the full-sized aircraft. The low-altitude flight lasted longer than 90 minutes, which was three times longer than had originally been planned for. The flight took place in Yuma, AZ. "When complete, Aquila will be able to circle a region up to 60 miles in diameter, beaming connectivity down from an altitude of more than 60,000 feet using laser communications and millimeter wave systems. Aquila is designed to be hyper efficient, so it can fly for up to three months at a time," Parikh wrote. While some refer to Aquila as a drone, being that it is unmanned, Facebook refers to it as "a high-altitude, long-endurance, unmanned solar-powered airplane."

Quote for the day:

“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” -- Lemony Snicket

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