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The Business World Is Not Prepared for a Cyber Attack

January 12, 2016

Cyber threats have been a concerning topics since computers became functional and daily tools for people.  The idea of a hacker brings up images of IT geeks sitting in a dark basement with their laptops and cracking top secret codes in a matter of keystrokes.  Hacking has turned from a limited crime to a huge international problem comparable to the mafia.  While hackers are interested in targeting individuals, the bolder thieves target big businesses.  News of Bahrain shares that “Biz Not Prepared For Cyber Threat,” translated from headline speech that means the business world would not withstand a cyber attack.

KPMG International released the 2015 KPMG CEO Outlook Study that found businesses are aware of risks associated with cyber attacks, but only forty-nine percent have prepared for one.  The study surveyed 1,200 CEOs and one out of five are concerned about cyber risks.  The concern has led many CEOs to take action with security measures and safety plans.

“ ‘The most innovative companies have recognized that cyber security is a customer experience, not just a risk that needs to be managed or a line item in the budget. In Bahrain, some firms are finding ways to turn cyber preparedness into a competitive advantage with customers, and they are using this as a differentiator.’ ”

Many companies that are attacked thought they were prepared for any threats, but they underestimated hackers’ intelligence, sophistication, and persistence.

Some of the companies with good cyber security are advertising their technical achievements to prevent attacks.  It is a desirable feature, especially as more information is housed on cloud storage and businesses need to be aware of potential threats.

Whitney Grace, January 12, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

New Credit Card Feature Prevents Fraud

December 28, 2015

December is lauded as the most wonderful time due to that warm, fuzzy feeling and also because retail chains across the world will be operating in the black at the end of the year.  Online shopping has shown record sales this year, especially since shoppers do not want to deal with crowds and limited stock.  Shopping online allows them to shop from the convenience of their homes, have items delivered to their front door, and find great deals.  Retail chains are not the only ones who love the holidays.  Cyber criminals also enjoy this season, because people are less concerned with their persona information.  Credit card and bank account numbers are tossed around without regard, creating ample game for identity theft.

While credit card companies have created more ways to protect consumers, such as the new microchip in cards, third party security companies have also created ways to protect consumers.  Tender Armor is a security company with a simple and brilliant fraud prevention solution.

On the back of every credit card is a security code that is meant to protect the consumer, but it has its drawbacks.  Tender Armor created a CVVPlus service that operates on the same principle as the security code, except of having the same code, it rotates on daily basis.  Without the daily code, the credit card is useless.  If a thief gets a hold of your personal information, Tender Armor’s CVVPlus immediately notifies you to take action.   It is ingenious in its simplicity.

Tender Armor made this informative animated to explain how CVVPlus works: Tender Armor: CVVPlus.

In order to use Tender Armor, you must pay for an additional service on your credit card.  With the increased risk in identity theft, it is worth the extra few bucks.

 

Whitney Grace, December 28, 2015
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Kmart Australia Faces Security Breach

November 30, 2015

Oracle’s Endeca and IBM’s Coremetrics were both caught up in a customer-data hack at Kmart Australia, we learn from “Customer Data Stolen in Kmart Australia Hack” at iTnews. Fortunately, it appears credit card numbers and other payment information were not compromised; just names, contact information, and purchase histories were snagged. It seems Kmart Australia’s choice to use a third party to process payments was a wise decision. The article states:

“The retailer uses ANZ Bank’s CyberSource payments gateway for credit card processing, and does not store the details internally. iTnews understands Kmart’s online ecommerce platform is built on IBM’s WebSphere Commerce software. The ecommerce solution also includes the Oracle Endeca enterprise data discovery platform and Coremetrics (also owned by IBM) digital marketing platform, iTnews understands.

The article goes on to report that Kmart Australia has created a new executive position, “head of online trading and customer experience.” Perhaps that choice will help the company avoid such problems in the future. It also notes that the retailer reported the breach voluntarily. Though such reporting is not yet mandatory in Australia, legislation to make it so is expected to be introduced before the end of the year.

Cynthia Murrell, November 30, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

CEM Platform Clarabridge 7 Supports Silo Elimination

November 10, 2015

The move to eliminate data silos in the corporation has gained another friend, we learn in Direct Marketing News’ piece, “Clarabridge Joins the Burn-Down-the-Silos Movement.” With their latest product release, the customer experience management firm hopes to speed their clients’ incorporation of business intelligence and feedback. The write-up announces:

“Clarabridge today released Clarabridge 7, joining the latest movement among marketing tech companies to speed actionability of data intelligence by burning down the corporate silos. The new release’s CX Studio promises to provide users a route to exploring the full customer journey in an intuitive manner. A new dashboard and authoring capability allows for “massive rollout,” in Clarabridge’s terms, across an entire enterprise.

“Also new are role-based dashboards that translate data in a manner relevant to specific roles, departments, and levels in an organization. The company claims that such personalization lets users take intelligence and feedback and put it immediately into action. CX Engagor expedites that by connecting business units directly with consumers in real time.”

We have to wonder whether this rush to “burn the silos” will mean that classified information will get out; details germane to a legal matter, for example, or health information or financial data. How can security be applied to an open sea of data?

Clarabridge has spent years developing its sentiment and text analytics technology, and asserts it is uniquely positioned to support enterprise-scale customer feedback initiatives. The company maintains offices in Barcelona, London, San Francisco, Singapore, and Washington, DC. They also happen to be hiring as of this writing.

Cynthia Murrell, November 10, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

AT&T and Its View of Customer Service

November 2, 2015

I read “AT&T Lawyers Want You To Know That AT&T’s CEO Will Never Listen To Customer Suggestions.” According to the write up:

Effectively, AT&T’s saying it will field no consumer recommendations. What, exactly, is the temperature in that icy, inhuman bunker, fellas? AT&T proceeds to inform the Times that the reason it treats all of its customers like potential enemies…

With many enterprise search vendors offering their systems as a solution to customer service challenges, I wonder what “customer service” means. For AT&T, the notion of customer service triggers thoughts of legal hassles. For search vendors, customer service may be a precursor to much-needed revenue.

But for customers, the idea of customer service is a chimera.

Stephen E Arnold, November 2, 2015

The Sad eCommerce Search Realities

September 9, 2015

We love it when articles make pop cultures references as a way to get their point across.  Over at Easy Ask, an articled entitled “ ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ – The Realities of eCommerce Search” references the Keith Richards and Mick Jagger song explaining how a Web site loses a customer.  The potential customer searches for an product, fails to find using the search feature, so the person moves onto a new destination.

What happens is that a Web site search function might not understand all the query terms or it might return results that fail to meet the shopper’s need.  The worst option any eCommerce shop could show a shopper is a “no results found” page.  It might be a seem like simple feature to overcome, but search algorithms need to be fine tuned like any other coding.   The good news that decent eCommerce searches have already been designed.

“How can you avoid these misunderstandings? One approach is to employ search software that understands the words in the search and how they relate to each other and the site’s catalog. These search engines are called ‘Contextual Search’ and employ ‘Natural Language Processing’ software. Remember diagramming sentences in elementary school and identifying the nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. Knowing the role of a word in a website search helps find the right products.”

Contextual search that uses natural language processing treats queries based on a user’s true intentions, rather than giving each term the same weight.  Contextual search is more intuitive and yields more accurate results.  The article finishes by saying the customers “get what they need.” Ah, what a wise use of The Rolling Stones.

Whitney Grace, September 9, 2015
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Bing Snapshots for In-App Searches

September 9, 2015

Developers have a new tool for incorporating search data directly into apps, we learn in “Bing Snapshots First to Bring Advanced In-App Search to Users” at Search Engine Watch. Apparently Google announced a similar feature, Google Now on Tap, earlier this year, but Microsoft’s Bing has beaten them to the consumer market. Of course, part of Snapshot’s goal is to keep users from wandering out of “Microsoft territory,” but many users are sure to appreciate the convenience nevertheless. Reporter Mike O’Brien writes:

“With Bing Snapshots, developers will be able to incorporate all of the search engine’s information into their apps, allowing users to perform searches in context without navigating outside. For example, a friend could mention a restaurant on Facebook Messenger. When you long-press the Home button, Bing will analyze the contents of the screen and bring up a snapshot of a restaurant, with actionable information, such as the restaurant’s official website and Yelp reviews, as well Uber.”

Bing officials are excited about the development (and, perhaps, scoring a perceived win over Google), declaring this the start of a promising relationship with developers. The article continues:

“Beyond making sure Snapshots got a headstart over Google Now on Tap, Bing is also able to stand out by becoming the first search engine to make its knowledge graph available to developers. That will happen this fall, though some APIs are already available on the company’s online developer center. Bing is currently giving potential users sneak peeks on its Android app.”

Hmm, that’s a tad ironic. I look forward to seeing how Google positions the launch of Google Now on Tap when the time comes.

Cynthia Murrell, September 9, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Thunderstone Rumbles About Webinator

August 6, 2015

There is nothing more frustrating than being unable to locate a specific piece of information on a Web site when you use its search function.  Search is supposed to be quick, accurate, and efficient.  Even if Google search is employed as a Web site’s search feature, it does not always yield the best results.  Thunderstone is a company that specializes in proprietary software application developed specifically for information management, search, retrieval, and filtering.

Thunderstone has a client list that includes, but not limited to, government agencies, Internet developer, corporations, and online service providers.  The company’s goal is to deliver “product-oriented R&D within the area of advanced information management and retrieval,” which translates to them wanting to help their clients found information very, very fast and as accurately as possible.  It is the premise of most information management companies.  On the company blog it was announced that, “Thunderstone Releases Webinator Web Index And Retrieval System Version 13.”  Webinator makes it easier to integrate high quality search into a Web site and it has several new appealing features:

  • “Query Autocomplete, guides your users to the search they want
  • HTML Highlighting, lets users see the results in the original HTML for better contextual information
  • Expanded XML/SOAP API allows integration of administrative interface”

We like the HTML highlighting that offers users the ability to backtrack and see a page’s original information source. It is very similar to old-fashioned research: go back to the original source to check a fact’s veracity.

Whitney Grace, August 6, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Whither Unix Data

July 30, 2015

For anyone using open-source Unix to work with data, IT World has a few tips for you in “The Best Tools and Techniques for Finding Data on Unix Systems.” In her regular column, “Unix as a Second Language,” writer Sandra Henry-Stocker explains:

“Sometimes looking for information on a Unix system is like looking for needles in haystacks. Even important messages can be difficult to notice when they’re buried in huge piles of text. And so many of us are dealing with ‘big data’ these days — log files that are multiple gigabytes in size and huge record collections in any form that might be mined for business intelligence. Fortunately, there are only two times when you need to dig through piles of data to get your job done — when you know what you’re looking for and when you don’t. 😉 The best tools and techniques will depend on which of these two situations you’re facing.”

When you know just what to search for, Henry-Stocker suggests the “grep” command. She supplies a few variations, complete with a poetic example. Sometimes, like when tracking errors, you’re not sure what you will find but do know where to look. In those cases, she suggests using the “sed” command. For both approaches, Henry-Stocker supplies example code and troubleshooting tips. See the article for the juicy details.

Cynthia Murrell, July 30, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

What We Know About SharePoint 2016

July 23, 2015

Everyone is vying for a first look at the upcoming SharePoint 2016 release. In reality those details are just now starting to roll in, so little has been known until recently. The first true reveal came from Bill Baer at this spring’s Microsoft Ignite event. CIO distills Baer’s findings down into their article, “SharePoint 2016: What Do We Know?

The article says:

“The session on SharePoint 2016 was presented by Bill Baer, the head of SharePoint at Microsoft. This was the public’s first opportunity to learn what exactly would be in this version of the product, what sorts of changes and improvements have been made, and other things to expect as we look toward the product’s release and general availability in the first quarter of next year. Here’s what we know after streaming Baer’s full presentation.”

The article goes on to discuss cloud integration, migration, upgrades, and what all of this may point to for the future of SharePoint. In order to stay up to date on the latest news, stay tuned to ArnoldIT.com, in particular the dedicated SharePoint feed. Stephen E. Arnold has made a career out of all things search, and his work on SharePoint gives interested parties a lot of information at a glance.

Emily Rae Aldridge, July 23, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

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