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Emerging Technology May Have Application for Security

June 6, 2016

New technologies for use in security are increasingly receiving attention. An article, Lip-reading technology ‘could capture what people on CCTV say’ claim researchers from Mirror discusses one example. The University of East Anglia in Norwich developed what is called a visual speech recognition technology. The purpose is to identify what people are saying in situations where audio is not good enough to hear. One application mentioned is for videos recorded from security cameras. The post describes more,

“Helen Bear, from the university’s school of computing science, said the technology could be applied to a wide range of situations from criminal investigations to entertainment. She added: “Lip-reading has been used to pinpoint words footballers have shouted in heated moments on the pitch, but is likely to be of most practical use in situations where there are high levels of noise, such as in cars or aircraft cockpits. “Crucially, whilst there are still improvements to be made, such a system could be adapted for use for a range of purposes – for example, for people with hearing or speech impairments.” Some sounds like “P” and “B” look similar on the lips and have traditionally been hard to decipher, the researchers said.”

Whether in real life or online, security and cybersecurity efforts and technologies are making headlines, keeping pace with security threats and breaches. It is interesting that applications for emerging technologies like this have such a range, but this particular technology seems to be rooted in brick-and-mortar security. We think there is a need for more focus on security as it relates to the Dark Web.


Megan Feil, June 6, 2016

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


The Most Dangerous Writing App Will Delete Your Work If You Stop Typing, for Free

May 2, 2016

The article on The Verge titled The Most Dangerous Writing App Lets You Delete All of Your Work For Free speculates on the difficulties and hubris of charging money for technology that someone can clone and offer for free. Manuel Ebert’s The Most Dangerous Writing App offers a self-detonating notebook that you trigger if you stop typing. The article explains,

“Ebert’s service appears to be a repackaging of Flowstate, a $15 Mac app released back in January that functions in a nearly identical way. He even calls it The Most Dangerous Writing App, which is a direct reference to the words displayed on Flowstate creator Overman’s website. The difference: Ebert’s app is free, which could help it take off among the admittedly niche community of writers looking for self-deleting online notebooks.”

One such community that comes to mind is that of the creative writers. Many writers, and poets in particular, rely on exercises akin to the philosophy of The Most Dangerous Writing App: don’t let your pen leave the page, even if you are just writing nonsense. Adding higher stakes to the process might be an interesting twist, especially for those writers who believe that just as the nonsense begins, truth and significance are unlocked.


Chelsea Kerwin, May 2, 2016

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Play Search the Game

March 25, 2016

Within the past few years, gamers have had the privilege to easily play brand new games as well as the old classics.  Nearly all of the games ever programmed are available through various channels from Steam, simulator, to system emulator.  While it is easy to locate a game if you know the name, main character, or even the gaming system, but with the thousands of games available maybe you want to save time and not have use a search engine.  Good news, everyone!

Sofotex, a free software download Web site, has a unique piece of freeware that you will probably want to download if you are a gamer. Igrulka is a search engine app programmed to search only games.  Here is the official description:

Igrulka is a unique software that helps you to search, find and play millions of games in the network.

“Once you download the installer, all you have to do is go to the download location on your computer and install the app.

Igrulka allows you to search for the games that you love either according to the categories they are in or by name. For example, you get games in the shooter, arcade, action, puzzle or racing games categories among many others.

If you would like to see more details about the available games, their names as well as their descriptions, all you have to do is hover over them using your mouse as shown below. Choose the game you want to play and click on it.”

According to the description, it looks like Igrulka searches through free games and perhaps the classics from systems.  In order to find out what Irgulka can do, download and play search results roulette.


Whitney Grace, March 25, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


IBM and Apple Wake Up an App

March 8, 2016

Are we approaching peak app? Not likely if one works at Apple and IBM. I read “SleepHealth Debuts as First ResearchKit App & Study to Support IBM Watson Health Cloud.”

According to the write up, Apple and IBM along with Johnson & Johnson (a fine outfit) and Medtronic (sounds very technical, doesn’t it?) are now on Watson’s band wagon.

The write up states:

Official titled the SleepHealth Mobile Study, IBM’s latest initiative seeks to leverage the advanced sensor suite provided by Apple’s iPhone and Apple Watch, in conjunction with the open source ResearchKit framework, to determine how sleep quality impacts daytime activities, alertness, productivity, general health and medical conditions. The study is being rolled out in partnership with the American Sleep Apnea Association.

It is working. I got tired reading about Watson and the connection between slep and health. Heck, who needs an app. El Chapo wants to be extradited to the US because Mexican jailers won’t let him sleep. No Watson needed if El Chapo is representative of a tired person and clear thinking.

Time for a nap. When I wake up, will Watson have revenues? Will IBM complete its downsizing?

Stephen E Arnold, March 8, 2016

IBM Watson, Google DeepMind Is Slicing into Health Care

March 3, 2016

Gentle reader, you may have seen out write ups about IBM Watson and its work to cure cancer and develop innovative recipes for barbeque sauce with tamarind.

I read “Smart Care: How Google DeeepMind Is Working with NHS Hospitals.” The write up points out:

A smartphone app piloted by the NHS could improve communication between hospital staff and help patients get vital care faster.

Yikes, Watson, a phone. Come here I need you will echo in the corridors of these paragons of efficiency throughout Britain.

I learned:

Their research, published in the journal Surgery, showed that half of hospital patients do not get the care they need fast enough, usually because of poor communication, particularly when one team of doctors or nurses hands over to another. In early pilots at St Mary’s Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, where Darzi [former health minister in the Blair government and director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London]  is a consultant surgeon, they found medical staff responded 37% faster when alerted by the Hark app than when they used pagers.

Will an app work cooperatively with IBM Watson? Will DeepMind, the app, keep IBM Watson in the lounge area?

Painful questions for an app to answer or notify in this case of technological innovation.

Stephen E Arnold, March 3, 2016

The Encrypted Enterprise Search

February 3, 2016

Another enterprise software distributor has taken the leap into a proprietary encrypted search engine.  Computer Technology Review informs us that “VirtualWorks Releases Its Encrypted Enterprise Search Platform ViaWorks Built On Hitachi Technology.”  VirtualWorks’s enterprise search platform is called ViaWorks and the company’s decision to release an encrypted search engine comes after there has been a rise in data security breaches as well as concern about how to prevent such attacks.  We will not even mention how organizations want to move to the cloud, but are fearful of hacking.  More organizations from shopping in person on the Internet, banking, healthcare, government, and even visiting a library use self-service portals that rely on personal information to complete tasks.  All of these portals can be hacked, so trade organizations and the government are instituting new security measures.

Everyone knows, however, that basic rules and a firewall are not enough to protect sensitive information.  That is why companies like VirtualWorks stay one step ahead of the game with a product like ViaWork built on Hitachi’s Searchable Encryption technology.  ViaWorks is a highly encrypted platform that does not sacrifice speed and accuracy for security

“ViaWorks encrypted enterprise search features are based on AES, a worldwide encryption standard established by NIST; special randomization process, making the encrypted data resistant to advanced statistical attacks; with key management and encryption APIs that store encryption keys securely and encrypt the original data.  ViaWorks provides key management and encryption APIs that store encryption keys securely and encrypt the original data, respectively. Users determine which field is encrypted, such as index files, search keyword or transaction logs.”

VirtualWorks already deployed ViaWorks in beta tests within healthcare, government, insurance, and finance.  Moving information to the cloud saves money, but it presents a security risk and slow search.  A commercial encrypted search engine paired with cloud computing limits the cyber risk.


Whitney Grace, February 3, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Customize Your News with Semantic Search

January 28, 2016

There are many apps available that can aggregate news stories that cater to your interests: Feedly, Google News, Pulp, and other RSS feeders.  While these apps have their strengths and weaknesses, one question you need to ask is: do they use semantic search?  If you want a news app designed specifically to bring you news stories using semantic search there is “Algo: Semantic Search Engine For Customizable News” and it can be purchased on iTunes.

SkyGrid developed Algo and Apple named it a “Best News App”.  It has earned a 4.5 star rating.  Algo was designed to keep users up-to-date on news, follow topics of interest, and your favorite publications to create your own personalized newspaper.

Algo is described as:

“The only true real-time news aggregator. Simple, fast, and reliable, Algo is the only place to follow all of your favorite topics and interests. Search for anything you want! From people to TV shows to companies to finance, follow your interests on Algo. Set notifications for each topic and be notified as information updates in real-time.”

Other Algo features are ability to share articles on any service, save favorite articles, notification settings, and up-to-date news in real time.  Algo’s reliance on semantic search is one of the reasons why it has gained such favor with Apple and iTunes users.


Whitney Grace, January 28, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Advances to Google Search for Mobile

December 7, 2015

Google Search plans a couple of changes to the way it works on our mobile devices. TechCrunch tells us, “Google Search Now Surfaces App-Only Content, Streams Apps from the Cloud When Not Installed on Your Phone.” We are reminded that Google has been indexing apps for a couple of years now, as a hedge against losing ground as computing shifts away from the desktop. Now, apps that do not mirror their content on the web can be indexed. Writer Sarah Perez explains:

“To make this possible, developers only have to implement Google’s app indexing API, as before, which helps Google to understand what a page is about and how often it’s used. It has also scaled its ranking algorithm to incorporate app content. (Google had actually been ranking in-app content prior to this, but now it no longer requires apps to have related websites.)”

Also, mobile users will reportedly be able to stream apps from the cloud if they do not have them installed. Though convenient for the rest of us, this advance could pose a problem for app developers; Perez observes:

“After all, if their app’s most valuable information is just a Google search away, what motive would a user have to actually install their app on their phone? Users would have to decide if they plan on using the app frequently enough that having the native counterpart would be an advantage. Or the app would have to offer something Google couldn’t provide, like offline access to content perhaps.“

It will be interesting to see what gimmicks developers come up with to keep the downloads going. The tech behind this service came from startup Agawi, which Google acquired in 2014. The streaming option is not expected to be released far and wide right away, however; apparently Google views it as an “experiment,” and wants to see how it is received before offering it worldwide. They couldn’t be concerned about developer backlash, could they?

Cynthia Murrell, December 7, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


ACA Application Process Still Vulnerable to Fraudulent Documents

November 20, 2015

The post on Slashdot titled Affordable Care Act Exchanges Fail to Detect Counterfeit Documentation relates the ongoing issue of document verification within the Affordable Care Act (ACA) process. The Government Accountability Office) GAO submitted fake applications to test the controls at the state and federal level for application and enrollment in the ACA. The article states,

“Ten fictitious applicants were created to test whether verification steps including validating an applicant’s Social Security number, verifying citizenship, and verifying household income were completed properly. In order to test these controls, GAO’s test applications provided fraudulent documentation: “For each of the 10 undercover applications where we obtained qualified health-plan coverage, the respective marketplace directed that our applicants submit supplementary documentation we provided counterfeit follow-up documentation, such as fictitious Social Security cards with impossible Social Security numbers, for all 10…”

The GAO report itself mentions that eight of the ten fakes were failed at first, but later accepted. It shows that among the various ways that the fake applications were fraudulent included not only “impossible” Social Security Numbers, but also duplicate enrollments, and lack of employer-sponsored coverage. Ultimately, the report concludes that the ACA is still “vulnerable.” Granted, this is why the GOA conducted the audit of the system, to catch issues. The article provides no details on what new controls and fixes are being implemented.
Chelsea Kerwin, November 20, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

It Is Not a Bird in the Law Firm

November 3, 2015

In science-fiction, artificial intelligence is mostly toyed around with in robots and androids.  Machines that bear artificial intelligence either try to destroy humanity for their imperfection or coexist with humanity in a manner that results in comedic situations.  In reality, artificial intelligence exists in most everyday objects from a mobile phone to a children’s toy.  Artificial intelligence is a much more common occurrence than we give our scientists credit for and it has more practical applications than we could imagine.  According to PR Newswire one of the top artificial intelligence developers has made a new deal for their popular product, “RAVN Systems’ Artificial Intelligence Platform Is Deployed At Berwin Leighton Paisner.”

RAVN Systems is known for their top of line software in enterprise search, unstructured big data analytics, knowledge management, and, of course, artificial intelligence. The international law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner recently deployed RAVN Systems’s  RAVN Applied Cognitive Engine (RAVN ACE).  RAVN ACE will work in the law firm’s real estate practice, not as a realtor, but as the UK’s first contract robot.  It will use cutting-edge AI to read and interpret information from documents, converting unstructured data into structured output.  RAVN ACE will free up attorneys to complete more complex, less menial tasks.

“Matthew Whalley, Head of Legal Risk Consultancy at BLP commented, ‘The robot has fast become a key member of the team. It delivers perfect results every time we use it. Team morale and productivity has benefited hugely, and I expect us to create a cadre of contract robots throughout the firm. If the reaction to our first application is any indication, we will be leading the implementation of AI in the Law for some time to come.’ ”

RAVN ACE has more applications than writing real estate contracts.  It can be deployed for financial services, media, telecommunications, and more.  Taking over the menial tasks will save on time , allowing organizations to reinvest time into other projects.

Whitney Grace, November 3, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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