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Can Analytics Be Cloud Friendly?

August 24, 2016

One of the problems with storing data in the cloud is that it is difficult to run analytics.  Sure, you can run tests to determine the usage of the cloud, but analyzing the data stored in the cloud is another story.  Program developers have been trying to find a solution to this problem and the open source community has developed some software that might be the ticket.  Ideata wrote about the newest Apache software in “Apache Spark-Comparing RDD, Dataframe, and Dataset.”

Ideata is a data software company and they built many of the headlining products on the open source software Apache Spark.  They have been using Apache Spark since 2013 and enjoy using it because it offers a rich abstraction, allows the developer to build complex workflows, and perform easy data analysis.

Apache Spark works like this:

Spark revolves around the concept of a resilient distributed dataset (RDD), which is a fault-tolerant collection of elements that can be operated on in parallel. An RDD is Spark’s representation of a set of data, spread across multiple machines in the cluster, with API to let you act on it. An RDD could come from any datasource, e.g. text files, a database via JDBC, etc. and can easily handle data with no predefined structure.

It can be used as the basis fort a user-friendly cloud analytics platform, especially if you are familiar with what can go wrong with a dataset.

Whitney Grace, August 24, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

No More Data Mining for Intelligence

August 23, 2016

The U.S. intelligence community will no longer receive information from Dataminr, which serves as a Twitter “fire hose” (Twitter owns five percent of Dataminr). An article, Twitter Turns Off Fire Hose For Intelligence Community from ThreatPost offers the story. A Twitter spokesperson stated they have had a longstanding policy against selling data for surveillance. However, the Journal reported their arrangement was terminated after a CIA test program concluded. The article continues,

Dataminr is the only company allowed to sell data culled from the Twitter fire hose. It mines Tweets and correlates that data with location data and other sources, and fires off alerts to subscribers of breaking news. Reportedly, Dataminr subscribers knew about the recent terror attacks in Brussels and Paris before mainstream media had reported the news. The Journal said its inside the intelligence community said the government isn’t pleased with the decision and hopes to convince Twitter to reconsider.

User data shared on social media has such a myriad of potential applications for business, law enforcement, education, journalism and countless other sectors. This story highlights how applications for journalism may be better received than applications for government intelligence. This is something worth noticing.

Megan Feil, August 23, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph
There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden /Dark Web meet up on August 23, 2016.
Information is at this link: https://www.meetup.com/Louisville-Hidden-Dark-Web-Meetup/events/233019199/

Read the Latest Release from…Virgil

August 18, 2016

The Vatican Library is one of the world’s greatest treasures, because it archives much of western culture’s history.  It probably is on par with the legendary Library of Alexandria, beloved by Cleopatra and burned to the ground.  How many people would love the opportunity to delve into the Vatican Library for a private tour?  Thankfully the Vatican Library shares its treasures with the world via the Internet and now, according to Archaeology News Network, the “Vatican Library Digitises 1600 Year-Old Manuscript Containing Works Of Virgil.”

The digital version of Virgil’s work is not the only item the library plans to scan online, but it does promise donors who pledge 500 euros or more they will receive a faithful reproduction of a 1600 manuscript by the famous author.  NTT DATA is working with the Vatican Library on Digita Vaticana, the digitization project.  NTT DATA has worked with the library since April 2014 and plans to create digital copies of over 3,000 manuscripts to be made available to the general public.

“ ‘Our library is an important storehouse of the global culture of humankind,’ said Monsignor Cesare Pasini, Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library. ‘We are delighted the process of digital archiving will make these wonderful ancient manuscripts more widely available to the world and thereby strengthen the deep spirit of humankind’s shared universal heritage.’”

Projects like these point to the value of preserving the original work as well as making it available for research to people who might otherwise make it to the Vatican.  The Vatican also limits the amount of people who can access the documents.

Whitney Grace, August 18, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden /Dark Web meet up on August 23, 2016.
Information is at this link: https://www.meetup.com/Louisville-Hidden-Dark-Web-Meetup/events/233019199/

 

SEO Is a Dirty Web Trick

August 17, 2016

Search engine optimization is the bane of Web experts.  Why?  If you know how to use it you can increase your rankings in search engines and drive more traffic to your pages, but if you are a novice at SEO you are screwed.  Search Engine Land shares some bad SEO stories in “SEO Is As Dirty As Ever.”

SEO has a bad reputation in many people’s eyes, because it is viewed as a surreptitious way to increase traffic.  However, if used correctly SEO is not only a nifty trick, but is a good tool.  As with anything, however, it can go wrong.  One bad SEO practice is using outdated techniques like keyword stuffing, copying and pasting text, and hidden text.  Another common mistake is not having a noindex tag, blocking robots, JavaScript frameworks not being indexed.

Do not forget other shady techniques like the always famous shady sales, removing links, paid links, spam, link networks, removing links, building another Web site on a different domain, abusing review sites, and reusing content.  One thing to remember is that:

“It’s not just local or niche companies that are doing bad things; in fact, enterprise and large websites can get away with murder compared to smaller sites. This encourages some of the worst practices I’ve ever seen, and some of these companies do practically everything search engines tell them not to do.”

Ugh! The pot is identifying another pot and complaining about its color and cleanliness.

 

Whitney Grace, August 17, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden /Dark Web meet up on August 23, 2016.
Information is at this link: https://www.meetup.com/Louisville-Hidden-Dark-Web-Meetup/events/233019199/

 

The Reach of Cyber Threat Intelligence Companies

August 10, 2016

The social media monitoring complex appears to be gaining a follower. LittleSis News shared an article highlighting their investigative findings, You are being followed: The business of social media surveillance. This post not only reveals the technology companies engaged in surveillance and developing tools for surveillance, those at LittleSis News also filed freedom of information requests to twenty police departments about their social media monitoring. The article concludes with,

“Because social media incites within us a compulsion to share our thoughts, even potentially illegal ones, law enforcement sees it as a tool to preempt behavior that appears threatening to the status quo. We caught a glimpse of where this road could take us in Michigan, where the local news recently reported that a man calling for civil unrest on Facebook because of the Flint water crisis was nearly the target of a criminal investigation. At its worst, social media monitoring could create classes of “pre-criminals” apprehended before they commit crimes if police and prosecutors are able to argue that social media postings forecast intent. This is the predictive business model to which Geofeedia CEO Phil Harris aspires.”

In addition to Geofeedia, the other cyber threat intelligence companies listed are: BrightPlanet, ZeroFOX, Intrado, LifeRaft, Magnet Forensics, Media Sonar Technologies, Signal Corporation Limited. These companies specialize in everything from analyzing deep web content to digital forensics software. Ultimately data is their specialty, not people. These technologies and their applications will undoubtedly stir up questions about the relationship between people, the data they produce on social media, and state actors.

 

Megan Feil, August 10, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden/Dark Web meet up on August 23, 2016.
Information is at this link: https://www.meetup.com/Louisville-Hidden-Dark-Web-Meetup/events/233019199/

 

IBM Cognitive Storage Creates a Hierarchy of Data Value

August 5, 2016

The article titled IBM Introduces Cognitive Storage on EWeek reveals the advances in storage technology. It may sound less sexy than big data, but it is an integral part of our ability to sort and retrieve data based on the metric of data value. For a computer to determine a hierarchy of data value would also enable it to locate and archive unimportant data, freeing up space for data of more relevance. The article explains,

“In essence, the concept helps computers to learn what to remember and what to forget, IBM said… “With rising costs in energy and the explosion in big data, particularly from the Internet of Things, this is a critical challenge as it could lead to huge savings in storage capacity, which means less media costs and less energy consumption… if 1,000 employees are accessing the same files every day, the value of that data set should be very high.”

Frequency of use is a major factor in determining data value, so IBM created trackers to monitor this sort of metadata. Interestingly, the article states that IBM’s cognitive computing was inspired by astronomy. An astronomer would tag incoming data sets from another galaxy as “highly important” or less so. So what happens to the less important data? It isn’t destroyed, but rather relegated to what Charles King of Pund-IT calls a “deep freeze.”

 

Chelsea Kerwin, August 5, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Is Google a New Science Fiction Sub-Genre?

August 5, 2016

Science fiction is a genre that inspires people to seek the impossible and make it a reality.  Many modern inventors, scientists, computer programmers, and even artists contribute their success and careers from inspiration they garnered from the genre.  Even search engine Google pulled inspiration from science fiction, but one must speculate how much of Google’s ventures are real or mere fiction?  Vanity Fair questions whether or not “Is Google’s BioTech Division The Next Theranos?”

Verily Life Sciences is GoogleX’s biotech division and the company has yet to produce any biotechnology that has revolutionized the medical field.  They bragged about a contact lens that would measure blood glucose levels and a wristband that could detect cancer.  Verily employees have shared their views about Verily’s projects, alluding that they are more in line to fanning the Google fanfare than producing real products.  Other experts are saying that Google is displaying a “Silicon Valley arrogance” along the lines of Theranos.

Theranos misled investors about its “state of the art” technology and is now under criminal investigation.   Verily is supposedly different than Theranos:

“Verily, however, is not positioning itself as a company with a salable product like Theranos. Verily ‘is not a products company,’ chief medical officer Jessica Mega argued Monday on Bloomberg TV. ‘But it’s a company really focused on trying to shift the needle when it comes to health and disease.’ That’s a distinction, luckily for Google, that could make all the difference.”

There is also a distinction between fantasy and a reality and counting your chickens before they hatch.  Google should be investing in experimentation medical technology that could improve treatment and save lives, but they should not promise anything until they have significant research and even a prototype as proof.  Google should discuss their ventures, but not brag about them as if they were a sure thing.

 

Whitney Grace, August 5, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Semantify Secures Second Funding Round

August 4, 2016

Data-management firm Semantify has secured more funding, we learn from “KGC Capital Invests in Semantify, Leaders in Cognitive Discovery and Analytics” at Benzinga. The write-up tells us primary investor KGC Capital was joined by KDWC Venture Fund and Bridge Investments in making the investment, as well as by existing investors (including its founder, Vishy Dasari.) The funds from this Series A funding round will be used to address increased delivery, distribution, and packaging needs.

The press release describes Semantify’s platform:

“Semantify automates connecting information in real time from multiple silos, and empowers non-technical users to independently gain relevant, contextual, and actionable insights using a free form and friction-free query interface, across both structured and unstructured content. With Semantify, there would be no need to depend on data experts to code queries and blend, curate, index and prepare data or to replicate data in a new database. A new generation self-service enterprise Ad-hoc discovery and analytics platform, it combines natural language processing (NLP), machine learning and advanced semantic modeling capabilities, in a single seamless proprietary platform. This makes it a pioneer in democratization of independent, on demand information access to potentially hundreds of millions of users in the enterprise and e-commerce world.”

Semantify cites their “fundamentally unique” approach to developing data-management technology as the force behind their rapid deployment cycles, low maintenance needs, and lowered costs. Formerly based in Delaware, the company is moving their headquarters to Chicago (where their investors are based). Semantify was founded in 2008. The company is also hiring; their About page declares, toward the bottom: “Growing fast. We need people;” as of this writing, they are seeking database/ BI experts, QA specialists, data scientists & knowledge modelers, business analysts, program & project managers, and team leads.

 

 

Cynthia Murrell, August 4, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

 

Summize, an App with the Technology to Make Our Children Learn. But Is They?

August 2, 2016

The article on TheNextWeb titled Teenagers Have Built a Summary App that Could Help Students Ace Exams might be difficult to read over the sound of a million teachers weeping into their syllabi. It’s no shock that students hate to read, and there is even some cause for alarm over the sheer amount of reading that some graduate students are expected to complete. But for middle schoolers, high schoolers, and even undergrads in college, there is a growing concern about the average reading comprehension level. This new app can only make matters worse by removing a student’s incentive to absorb the material and decide for themselves what is important. The article describes the app,

“Available for iOSSummize is an intelligent summary generator that will automatically recap the contents of any textbook page (or news article) you take a photo of with your smartphone. The app also supports concept, keyword and bias analysis, which breaks down the summaries to make them more accessible. With this feature, users can easily isolate concepts and keywords from the rest of the text to focus precisely on the material that matters the most to them.”

There is nothing wrong with any of this if it is really about time management instead of supporting illiteracy and lazy study habits. This app is the result of the efforts of an 18-year-old Rami Ghanem using optical character recognition software. A product of the era of No Child Left Behind, not coincidentally, exposed to years of teaching to the test and forgetting the lesson, of rote memorization in favor of analysis and understanding. Yes, with Summize, little Jimmy might ace the test. But shouldn’t an education be more than talking point mcnuggets?

 

 

Chelsea Kerwin, August 2, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Is Resting Data Safe Data?

August 2, 2016

Have you ever wondered if the data resting on your hard drive is safe while you are away from your computer?  Have you ever worried that a hacker could sneak into your system and steal everything even when the data is resting (not actively being used)?  It is a worry that most computer users experience as the traverse the Internet and possibly leaving themselves exposed.  Network World describes how a potential upgrade could protect data in databases, “ A New Update To The NoSQL Database Adds Cryptsoft Technology.”

MarkLogic’s NoSQL database version nine will be released later in 2016 with an added security update that includes Cryptsoft’s KMIP (Key Management Interoperability Protocol). MarkLogic’s upgrade will use the flexibility, scalability, and agility of NoSQL with enterprise features, government-grade security, and high availability.  Along with the basic upgrades, there will also be stronger augmentations to security, manageability, and data integration. MarkLogic is betting that companies will be integrating more data into their systems from dispersed silos.  Data integration has its own series of security problems, but there are more solutions to protect data in transition than at rest, which is where the Cryptsoft KMIP enters:

“Data is frequently protected while in transit between consumers and businesses, MarkLogic notes, but the same isn’t always true when data is at rest within the business because of a variety of challenges associated with that task. That’s where Cryptsoft’s technology could make a difference.  Rather than grappling with multiple key management tools, MarkLogic 9 users will be able to tap Cryptsoft’s embedded Key Management SDKs to manage data security from across the enterprise using a comprehensive, standards-compliant KMIP toolkit.”

Protecting data at rest is just as important as securing transitioning data.  This reminds me of Oracle’s secure enterprise search angle that came out a few years ago.  Is it a coincidence?

 

Whitney Grace, August 2, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

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