Category Archives: Technology News
As we’ve seen in recent years, natural disasters can lead to long-term downtime for organizations. Because earthquakes, hurricanes, snow storms, or other events can put data centers and other corporate facilities out of commission for a while, it’s vital that companies have in place a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.
Disaster recovery (DR) is a subset of business continuity (BC), and like BC, it’s being influenced by some of the key trends in the IT industry, foremost among them:
- Cloud services
- Server and desktop virtualization
- The proliferation of mobile devices in the workforce
- The growing popularity of social networking as a business tool
These trends are forcing many organizations to rethink how they plan, test, and execute their DR strategies. CSO previously looked at how these trends are specifically affecting IT business continuity; as with BC, much of the impact they are having on DR is for the better. Still, IT and security executives need to consider how these developments can best be leveraged so that they improve, rather than complicate, DR efforts.
Head over to the source and see how IT disaster recovery is being impacted by each of the four.
- 33 Cloud Service Providers Join Zerto Cloud Disaster Recovery Ecosystem (sys-con.com)
- Symantec and Microsoft team for disaster-recovery service (techworld.com.au)
- Colocation’s role in Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity (cashzilla.wordpress.com)
An interesting and fun way to teach ethical hacking.
Control-Alt-Hack is based on Steve Jackson Games’ Ninja Burger, but from the characters to the mission cards to the entropy cards, the demystification of white hat computer security is the name of this game. Game co-designer, security researcher, and University of Washington Computer Security and Privacy Research Lab honorary member Adam Shostack said at the Black Hat 2012 confab here that when it comes to teaching ethical hacking, also known as white hat hacking, not enough educators “use carrots, not sticks.”
“Humor creates an open atmosphere,” that helps break down the shyness of learning, he said during the conference session about the game. He explained that people are more likely to ask questions about things that they think they should’ve already learned if it’s part of a game.
Games, he noted, have a spectrum from being as easy to learn as Go or dice games, all the way through Dungeons and Dragons or Settlers of Catan. Choosing a game to base Control-Alt-Hack on that involved humor and a bit of complexity would help keep the subject matter interesting for the target audience of teens and young adults.
In Control-Alt-Hack, you work as a researcher for a computer security company that gets hired to stress-test other companies. The deck of 156 cards includes 16 “person” cards to give you an identity during the game. The characters were given realistic traits, so there are no stereotypes of the obese, unkempt researcher covered in potato chip debris and pizza grease. Instead, you can play as one of eight men or eight women who have interests as varied as martial arts or rock climbing, and all are snazzily dressed in their artwork.
Look for it on store shelves later this year.
- Control-Alt-Hack: Can You Teach Hacking with a Card Game? (tomshardware.com)
- Card Game Turns You Into a White Hat Hacker (pcworld.com)
- Old-school card game delves into the dark world of computer security breaches (geekwire.com)
Do you backup your data on a regular basis?
A new survey from a leading online backup provider found that PC and Mac users are backing up sensitive files and documents more regularly than they have in the past. Approximately 10 percent of computer users now back up their systems daily, compared to only 6 percent in 2011.
“These are the best results we’ve seen since we started tracking data backup five years ago,” online backup expert Gleb Budman said.
While not everyone backs up his or her computer on a daily basis, many people are doing so more frequently than in the past. The study noted that approximately 20 percent of computer users back up sensitive documents and applications roughly once a week, compared to only 14 percent in 2011 and 2 percent in 2008. Another 36 percent of survey respondents said they duplicate sensitive files roughly once a month, compared to only 26 percent who did so in 2008.
“It’s great to see that the desire to protect photos, videos, music and other data is becoming an everyday part of using a computer,” Budman said.
The survey also revealed, however, that roughly 29 percent of U.S. computer users have never used online backup tools to bolster data protection and minimize the chances of unnecessary data loss. The study noted that this trend varies between age groups, as roughly 35 percent of individuals older than 55 never use remote backup, while only 24 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds neglect to duplicate sensitive documents.
If you are backing up your data, what tool(s) do you use?
- 5 Little-Known Factors To Consider When Choosing An Online Backup Service (techattitude.com)
- How I Became a Believer in Online Backups (lockergnome.com)
- 10% of computer users only backup their data regularly putting 90% of all computer users’ still risk data loss. (stellarphoenixs.wordpress.com)
Numerous flaws were addressed via patches Tuesday by Microsoft.
The company also addressed at least 15 other flaws in its software, and urged customers to quit using the desktop Sidebar and Gadget capabilities offered in Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
By far the most urgent of the updates is MS12-043, which fixes a critical vulnerability in Microsoft XML Core Services that miscreants and malware alike have been using to break into vulnerable systems. Microsoft had already warned about limited, targeted attacks using this flaw, but late last month an exploit built to attack the XML bug was added to the BlackHole Exploit Kit, an automated browser exploit tool that is very popular in the criminal underground right now.
Other critical patch bundles include a fix for a dangerous flaw in the Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) of Windows, and an update to address a pair of vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer.
Microsoft also released a FixIt tool to help network administrators block the use of Gadgets and the Sidebar on Windows 7 and Windows Vista systems. “We’ve discovered that some Vista and Win7 gadgets don’t adhere to secure coding practices and should be regarded as causing risk to the systems on which they’re run,” Microsoft said in a blog posting, without offering much more detail about any specific findings.
- Bad week for Microsoft as security fails and cyber threats increase (seshippingnews.typepad.com)
- Security flaws signal early death of Windows Gadgets (zdnet.com)
- Microsoft patches critical drive-by IE9 bug, Windows zero-day (techworld.com.au)
In the world of search engine optimization …
Well, that “level playing ground” is here with the April 24th release of the Penguin algorithm update, which has affected an estimated 3% of all search queries. If you saw your blog traffic dip unexpectedly on this date, it’s possible you’ve been “pecked” by the Google Penguin—an indication that your blog is considered to be over-optimized in the eyes of the search giant.
Of course, knowing that you’ve been affected and taking remedial actions to recover from a Penguin penalty are two different things. Because of Google’s natural reticence when it comes to revealing the exact parameters that cause a site to be flagged for over-optimization, it’s impossible to know exactly which factors led to your site’s penalty.
The key to determining how to move forward following a Penguin attack lies in identifying potential over-optimization flags that can be quantified and measured by the search engines. Remember, the Googlebot can’t manually assess the quality of every website online. Instead, it must rely on measurable signals that can be used to infer objective value.
- How the Winners Do Mobile SEO [Guest Post] (distilled.net)
- Present on Some Common Search Engine Optimization Myths……… (kellymcloughlin.com)
- Important On-Page SEO Factors For Better Search Ranking (ppc.org)
- Recovering from Google Penguin (lettersfromdan.com)
The third largest e-commerce company in North America is moving much of its operations to the cloud.
Live Nation Entertainment, which operates online ticket sales site Ticketmaster and three other entertainment-related businesses, is clouding up its Ticketmaster and Live Nation Concert and Network operations to achieve the efficiencies of virtualization and speed time-to-market with new offerings. The company is in the very early stages of its private cloud implementation, however, so efficiencies are currently difficult to quantify.
But it’s a sizable undertaking. Live Nation has 7,000 employees in 153 offices spread across 18 countries. Its revenue in 2011 was $5.4 billion, of which Ticketmaster accounted for $1.56 billion and other Live Nation operations $3.8 billion.
It will be interesting to see the efficiencies once the implementation has been completed.
- Ticketmaster books a private cloud with Cisco (pcadvisor.co.uk)
- Cloud Service Usage Now Mainstream in UK and Ireland: Report (cloudcomputing.sys-con.com)
Interesting, but not surprising.
The demand for tablet computers such as the iPad is growing so quickly that shipments of them are projected to surpass notebook shipments by 2016.According to market research firm NPD DisplaySearch, the mobile PC category is poised to soar from 347 million units in 2012 to more than 809 million by 2017. Tablets will be leading the way for that massive growth in the next few years.Tablet shipments are expected to grow from 121 million units to 416 million units by 2017, compared to 208 million shipments in 2012 to 393 million shipments in five years. Tablets will likely surpass notebook shipments in 2016.
- iPad Sales To Pass Notebook Sales Within Four Years (webpronews.com)
- Media Tablet Shipments to Surpass Notebook PCs by 2016 (geobrava.wordpress.com)