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Google Faces Sanctions over Refusal to Embrace Right to Be Forgotten Ruling

October 2, 2015

The article on Reuters titled France Rejects Google Appeal on Cleaning Up Search Results Globally explores the ramifications of Europe’s recently passed Right to be Forgotten law. The law stipulates that search engines be compelled by requests to remove information. Google has made some attempts to yield to the law, granting 40% of the 320,000 requests to remove incorrect, irrelevant, or controversial information, but only on the European version of its sites. The article delves into the current state of affairs,

“The French authority, the CNIL, in June ordered Google to de-list on request search results appearing under a person’s name from all its websites, including The company refused in July and requested that the CNIL abandon its efforts, which the regulator officially refused to do on Monday…France is the first European country to open a legal process to punish Google for not applying the right to be forgotten globally.”

Google countered that while the company was happy to meet the French and European standards in Europe, they did not see how the European law could be globally enforced. This refusal will almost certainly be met with fines and sanctions, but that may be the least of Alphabet Google’s troubles considering its ongoing disapproval by Europe.
Chelsea Kerwin, October 02, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Legacy Servers: Upgrade Excitement

October 2, 2015

Enterprise management systems (ECM) were supposed to provide an end all solution for storing and organizing digital data.  Data needs to be stored for several purposes: taxes, historical record, research, and audits.  Government agencies deployed ECM solutions to manage their huge data loads, but the old information silos are not performing up to modern standards.  GCN discusses government agencies face upgrading their systems in “Migrating Your Legacy ECM Solution.”

When ECMs first came online, information was stored in silos programmed to support even older legacy solutions with niche applications.  The repositories are so convoluted that users cannot find any information and do not even mention upgrading the beasts:

“Aging ECM systems are incapable of fitting into the new world of consumer-friendly software that both employees and citizens expect.  Yet, modernizing legacy systems raises issues of security, cost, governance and complexity of business rules  — all obstacles to a smooth transition.  Further, legacy systems simply cannot keep up with the demands of today’s dynamic workforce.”

Two solutions present themselves: data can be moved from an old legacy system to a new one or simply moving the content from the silo.  The barriers are cost and time, but the users will reap the benefits of upgrades, especially connectivity, cloud, mobile, and social features.  There is the possibility of leaving the content in place using interoperability standards or cloud-based management to make the data searchable and accessible.

The biggest problem is actually convincing people to upgrade.  Why fix what is not broken?  Then there is the justification of using taxpayers’ money for the upgrade when the money can be used elsewhere.  Round and round the argument goes.

Whitney Grace, October 2, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Not Hacking, but Trickery, Lost Bitpay Almost $2 Million

September 30, 2015

The article titled How a Clever Hacker Tricked a Major Bitcoin Company Out of $1.8 Million on Motherboard shines a light on the manipulation of BitPay,a Bitcoin payment service, by a clever hacker. Apparently the attacker sent an email from BTC Media CEO David Bailey’s computer to a BitPay CFO requesting his corporate email information, which he readily supplied because the two companies were already in talks about a potential partnership. The article clarifies,

“The insurance claim on the lost funds was denied because BitPay’s computers were never hacked—instead, they just gave away their email passwords in what appears to be a classic phishing scam. Phishing is when an attacker send a scammy email in the hopes that the victim is not savvy enough to trash it immediately. …Several months after the hack, BitPay was reportedly processing more than $1 million in payments every day.”

The hacker continued using Bitpay’s executive accounts to request funds, all of which were apparently granted until an employee of the transaction software company, SecondMarket, was notified. The article and court case emphasize that this was not a hacking scenario, just a $1.8 Million phishing scam that people using Craigslist for job searches avoid every day.
Chelsea Kerwin, September 30, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


National Geographic Sells Out 

September 30, 2015

The National Geographic Society is one of the most respected institutes in regards to science and journalism related to nature.  For 127 years, National Geographic managed itself as a non-profit organization.  Buzzfeed reports that 21st Century Fox purchased National Geographic in the article, “Rupert Murdoch Is Buying National Geographic.”  Before you start getting upset that National Geographic has “sold out” in the same manner that Sesame Street has a new partnership with HBO, be aware that 21st Century Fox already owned and operated a joint-venture partnership with the company.

The bulk of National Geographic’s properties are being turned over to 21st Century Fox, who will manage them and allow the National Geographic Society to focus on:

“The National Geographic Society said the deal will let the foundation invest more money in sponsoring explorers and scientists. ‘The value generated by this transaction, including the consistent and attractive revenue stream that National Geographic Partners will deliver, ensures that we will have greater resources for this work, which includes our grant making programs,’ said CEO Gary Knell, in a statement.”

While National Geographic is still popular, it faces stiff competition from other news outlets that generate similar if not more content.  National Geographic wants to have better, modern storytelling “so that we may all know more of the world upon which we live.”

Hopefully this will free up more monies for scientific research, endeavors to protect endangered species, educational programs, and better ways to educate people on the natural world.


Whitney Grace, September 30, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Accidental and On-Purpose Insider Threats in Federal Agencies Still Raging

September 28, 2015

The article on Eweek titled Insider Threats a Major Security Issue for Federal Agencies looks at the recent results of a MeriTalk survey investigating federal response to insider threats through interviewing federal IT managers. The results are shocking, with almost 30% of agencies acknowledging data lost to an insider threat in the last year and half of respondents claiming that unauthorized personnel commonly fail to observe protocols. Even worse, most agencies have no tracking in place to recognize what a staffer may have seen or shared, making them virtually incapable of following up on risky behavior in their employees. The article says,

“The most startling finding from the survey is the fact that 45 percent of agencies say they’ve been a target of an attack – malicious or unintentional – yet 50 percent still say employees do not follow all the protocols in place,” Steve O’Keeffe, founder of MeriTalk…”There is also a lack of agreement on the best solution.  Frequent, hands-on employee training is the key to preventing these incidents, as well as accountability. However, we are all human and people make mistakes.”

O’Keefe recommends the immediate and comprehensive adoption of better encryption and two-factor authentication to address the issue. But perhaps equally important is continuously updated training, and ongoing training, to avoid the common accidental insider threats.
Chelsea Kerwin, September 28, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Watch Anti-Money Laundering Compliances Sink

September 25, 2015

With a title like “AML-A Challenge Of Titanic Proportions” posted on Attivio metaphoric comparisons between the “ship of dreams” and icebergs is inevitable.  Anti-money laundering compliances have seen an unprecedented growth between 2011-2014 of 53%, says KPMG’s Global Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Survey.  The costs are predicted to increase by more than 25% in the next three years.  The biggest areas that are requiring more money, include transaction monitoring systems, Know Your Customer systems, and recruitment/retention systems for AML staff.

The Titanic metaphor plays in as the White Star Line director Bruce Ismay, builder Thomas Andrew, and nearly all of the 3327 passengers believed the ship was unsinkable and the pinnacle of modern technology.  The belief that humanity’s efforts would conquer Mother Nature was its downfall.  The White Star Line did not prepare the Titanic for disaster, but AML companies are trying to prevent their ships are sinking.  Except they cannot account for all the ways thieves can work around their system, just as the Titanic could not avoid the iceberg.

“Systems need to be smarter – even capable of learning patterns of transaction and ownership.  Staff needs more productive ways of investigating and positively concluding their caseload.  Alerting methods need to generate fewer ‘false positives’ – reducing the need for costly human investigation. New sources of information that can provide evidence need to come online faster and quickly correlate with existing data sources.”

The Titanic crew accidentally left the binoculars for the crow’s nest in England, which did not help the lookouts.  The current AML solutions are like the forgotten binoculars and pervasive action needs to be taken to avoid the AML iceberg.

Whitney Grace, September 25, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Wall Street Sees Challengers to the Bloomberg Terminal

September 25, 2015

Few industries rely on timely data quite like Wall Street, and the trading platform that has long been the industry favorite has been enjoying that revenue stream for almost 30 years. However, the New York Times now reports that “The Bloomberg Terminal, a Wall Street Fixture, Faces Upstarts.” Writer Nathaniel Popper notes that funds from the popular terminal enable the company’s news endeavors: BusinessWeek and the Bloomberg Business website, it seems, “cost more than they earn.” Will all that fall away if the Bloomberg terminal loses ground to the competition?

The article relates:

“Bloomberg has sustained several challenges to its dominant market position, fending off smaller competitors hoping to bite off a corner of its business. And it has the cash reservoirs to wage a vigorous defense this time around. But Bloomberg’s own history shows that it is not easy to maintain a profitable market position like the one it has held for more than two decades. Bloomberg rose to prominence in the 1990s by nimbly replacing earlier Wall Street data companies — like Quotron and Telerate — that failed to change quickly enough to protect their longtime market dominance. Morgan Downey, the former Bloomberg executive who is building Money.Net, said he decided to leave Bloomberg in late 2013 and create a low-cost challenger after seeing how slowly Bloomberg was changing and how many of the company’s clients wanted a cheaper alternative.”

Cheaper, it seems, is the key word here. Firms are under pressure to cut costs amid new regulations and shifting markets; they are now eyeing lower-cost alternatives to the Bloomberg terminals, which run about $25,000 per year each. See the article for more on the competition, like Money.Net and chat provider Symphony.

What of Thomson Reuters? According to the article, that company’s terminal sales in the U.S. continue to disappoint, though they have done well in certain niche markets. Their terminals, we’re told, are “not notably cheaper than Bloomberg’s.” Will the upstarts topple both venerable firms?

Popper reports stockbrokers have been complaining about Bloomberg’s terminal pricing and lack of innovative product design. Then again, retired New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is said to be taking a more active role in the company. Perhaps with his efforts, it will manage to fend off the challengers. For now.

Cynthia Murrell, September 25, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Exalead Gets a New Application

September 22, 2015

Exalead is Dassault Systems’s big data software targeted specifically at businesses.  Exalead offers innovative data discovery and analytics solutions to manage information in real time across various servers and generate insightful reports to make better, faster decisions.  It is the big data solution of choice for many businesses across various industries.  The Exalead blog shares that “PricewaterhouseCoopers Is Launching Its Information Management Application, Based on Exalead CloudView.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) analyzed the amount of time users spent trying to locate, organize, and disseminated information.  When users spend the time on information management, they lose two valuable resources: time and money.  PwC designed Pulse, a search and information tool as a solution to the problem.

“The EXALEAD CloudView software solution from Dassault Systèmes facilitates the rapid search and use of sources of structured and unstructured information. In existence since 2007, this enterprise information management concept was integrated initially in other software applications. Since it was reworked as EXALEAD CloudView, the configuration of the queries has become easier and they are processed much faster. Furthermore, the results of the searches are more precise, significantly reducing the number of duplicates and the time wasted managing them. PwC has deliberately decided to roll out Pulse on an international scale gradually, in order to generate plenty of enthusiasm amongst users. A business case is prepared for each country on the basis of its needs, the benefits and the potential savings. PwC also intends to make the content in Pulse accessible by other internal systems (e.g., the project workspaces), to integrate the sources, and to make the search function even smarter.”

Pulse is supposed to cut costs and reinvest the resources into more fruitful venues.  One interesting aspect to note is that PwC did not build the Pulse upgrade, Exalead provided the plumbing.

Whitney Grace, September 22, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


New Search System for Comparing Companies

September 22, 2015

There is a new tool out to help companies compile information on their competitors: RivalSeek. This brainchild of entrepreneur Richard Brevig seeks to combat an issue he encountered when he turned to Google while researching the market for a different project: Google’s “personalized search” filters

keep users from viewing the whole landscape of any particular field. Frustration led Brevig to develop some tools of his own, which he realized might appeal to others. The site’s homepage explains simply:

“Find your competitors that Google can’t. RivalSeek’s competitor search engine looks past filter bubbles, finding competitors you’ve never heard of.”

More information can be found in Brevig’s brief introductory video on YouTube. There’s also this “quick demo,” which can be found on YouTube or playing quietly on RivalSeek’s home page. While the tool is still in Beta, Brevig is confident enough in its usefulness to charge $29 a month for access. You can find an example success story, for the Dollar Shave Club, at the company’s blog.

This is a great idea. While Google’s filter bubbles can be convenient, it is clear that confirmation bias is not their only hazard. Perhaps Brevig would be interested in expanding this tool into other areas, like science, literature, or sociology. Just a suggestion.

Cynthia Murrell, September 22, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Free InetSoft Data Tools for AWS Users

September 14, 2015

Users of AWS now have access to dashboard and analytics tools from data intelligence firm InetSoft, we learn from “InetSoft’s Style Scope Agile Edition Launched on Amazon Web Services for No Extra Cost Cloud-based Dashboards and Analytics” at PRWeb. The press release announces:

“Installable directly from the marketplace into an organization’s Amazon environment, the application can connect to Amazon RDS, Redshift, MySQL, and other data sources. Its primary limitation is a limit of two simultaneous users. In terms of functionality, the enterprise administration layer with granular security controls is omitted. The application gives fast access to powerful KPI reporting and multi-dimensional analysis, enabling the private sharing of dashboards and visualizations ideally suited for individual analysts, data scientists, and small teams in any departmental function. It also provides a self-service way of evaluating much of the same technology available in InetSoft’s commercial offerings, applications suitable for enterprise-wide deployment or embedding into other cloud-based solutions.”

So now AWS users can pick up free tools with this Style Scope Agile Edition, and InetSoft may pick up a customers for its commercial version of Style Scope. The company emphasizes that their product does not require users to re-architect data warehouses, and their data access layer, based on MapReduce principles, boosts performance. Founded in 1996, InetSoft is based in New Jersey.

Cynthia Murrell, September 14, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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