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Attensity’s Semantic Annotation Tool “Understands” Emoticons

April 27, 2015

 

The article on PCWorld titled For Attensity’s BI Parsing Tool, Emoticons Are No Problem explains the recent attempts at fine-tuning the monitoring and relaying the conversations about a particular organization or enterprise. The amount of data that must be waded through is massive, and littered with non-traditional grammar, language and symbols. Luminoso is one company interested in aiding companies with their Compass tool, in addition to Attensity. The article says,

“Attensity’s Semantic Annotation natural-language processing tool… Rather than relying on traditional keyword-based approaches to assessing sentiment and deriving meaning… takes a more flexible natural-language approach. By combining and analyzing the linguistic structure of words and the relationship between a sentence’s subject, action and object, it’s designed to decipher and surface the sentiment and themes underlying many kinds of common language—even when there are variations in grammatical or linguistic expression, emoticons, synonyms and polysemies.”

The article does not explain how exactly Attensity’s product works, only that it can somehow “understand” emoticons. This seems like an odd term though, and most likely actually refers to a process of looking it up from a list rather than actually being able to “read” it. At any rate, Attensity promises that their tool will save in hundreds of human work hours.

Chelsea Kerwin, April 27, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Informed Millennials

April 15, 2015

With the fall of traditional newspapers and aging TV News audiences, just where are today’s 20- and young 30- somethings turning for news coverage?  Science 2.0  tells us “How Millennials Get News,” reporting on a recent survey from the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The joint effort comes from a collaboration arrangement the organizations call the Media Insight Project. Conducted at the beginning of 2015, the survey asked Millennials about their news-consumption habits. The article tells us:

“People ages 18-34 consume news and information in strikingly different ways than did previous generations, they keep up with ‘traditional’ news as well as stories that connect them to hobbies, culture, jobs, and entertainment, they just do it in ways that corporations can’t figure out how to monetize well….

“‘For many Millennials, news is part of their social flow, with most seeing it as an enjoyable or entertaining experience,’ said Trevor Tompson, director of the AP-NORC Center. ‘It is possible that consuming news at specific times of the day for defined periods will soon be a thing of the past given that news is now woven into many Millennials’ connected lives.’”

Soon? Even many of us Gen Xers and (a few intrepid Baby Boomers) now take our news in small doses at varying hours. The survey also found that most respondents look at the news at least once a day, and many several times per day. Also, contrary to warnings from worrywarts (yes, including me), personalized news feeds may not be creating a confirmation-bias crisis, after all. Most of these Millennials insist their social-media feeds are well balanced; the write-up explains:

“70 percent of Millennials say that their social media feeds are comprised of a diverse mix of viewpoints evenly mixed between those similar to and different from their own. An additional 16 percent say their feeds contain mostly viewpoints different from their own. And nearly three-quarters of those exposed to different views (73 percent) report they investigate others’ opinions at least some of the time–with a quarter saying they do it always or often.”

Well, that’s encouraging. Another finding might surprise some of us: Though a vast 90 percent of Millennials have smart phones, only half report being online most of all of the day. See the article for more, or navigate to the report itself; the study’s methodology is detailed at the end of the report.

Cynthia Murrell, April 15, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

The Ins and Outs of the Black Market Economy

March 24, 2015

The article titled The Cybercrime Economy: Welcome To The Black Market of The Internet on ZeroFox discusses the current state of the black market and the consequences of its success. The author delves into the economy of the black market, suggesting that it, too, is at the mercy of supply and demand. Some of the players in the structure of the black market include malware brokers, botnet “herders,” and monetization specialists. The article says,

“So what’s the big deal — how does this underground economy influence the economy we see day to day? The financial markets themselves are highly sensitive to the impact of cyber crime… Additionally, fluctuating bitcoin markets (which affects forex trades) and verticals that can be affected through social engineering (the Fin4 example) are both targets for exploitation on a mass scale….There is a good reason cyber security spending surpassed 70 billion in 2014: breaches are costly. Very costly.”

As for how to upset the economy of the black market, the article posits that “cutting off the head” will not work. Supply and demand keep the black market running, not some figurehead. Instead, the article suggests that the real blame lies on the monopolies that drive up prices and force consumers to look for illegal options.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 24, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

The Future of Google Is Google Plus Floundering

March 2, 2015

I read “Bradley Horowitz Is Now Running Google+.” (How easy is it to search for characters like “+”?) I recall that The Seattle Times issued “3 Years In, Future of Google+ Still Unclear.” Didn’t the “founder” of Vic Gundotra seek his future elsewhere in the spring of 2014? (What happened to that Orkut social service?)

Now there’s a new Googler in charge of the “+” service, Bradley Horowitz, replacing a Googler named David Besbris. Now I am not sure who is in charge of what, but it seems that more change is afoot. The write up uses the phrase “dismantled.”

No problem. I have been told that I am a member of Google Plus. I think it is part of a automatic sign up. That’s okay with me if Google Plus was a minus like me.

Several thoughts:

  1. Google has a long history of social aspirations. None of the Google services has matched Facebook’s traction. Facebook employs some Xooglers, however. So maybe it is a management issue?
  2. Google Plus does not look so much like the future of Google as one more illustration of Google’s management expertise.
  3. Google has been in business for 15 years and the Googley thing depends almost exclusively on selling ads. Other great ideas do not match selling ads for revenue impact. Is it time to ask the question, “Can Google find another revenue success?”

In short, the next Google seems to look a great deal like the current Google: Ads and semi successful ancillary services.

Stephen E Arnold, March 2, 2015

Peripatetic Big Data: Hit the Road, Jack

February 16, 2015

I read “Patterns in Large Data Show How Information Travels.” Yep, it seems obvious that info moves around. Communication involves passing information from A to B. Isn’t that “moving around”? How naive.

The write up explains:

The results show that people care about local and regional information related to sports, media, celebrities or local places. Moreover, people from countries with similar language or historic backgrounds care about similar information.

Be still my heart. A quick flip through CyberOSINT makes clear that examining information in graph form has been around at least 15 years in the form of commercial software that performs these analyses. Yes, it is a good idea to be able to know when a person of interest communicates, what, to whom, when, and where. Ah, PhDs. Love ‘em.

Stephen E Arnold, February 16, 2015

Behind Search Improvements at Pinterest

February 13, 2015

As a Pinterest user myself, I know how important the site’s search function is. Now, as Gigaom informs us, “Pinterest Explains How It’s Making Its Search Work Better.” It sounds like an approach to semantic machine learning inspired by the crowdsourcing phenomenon. Writer Jonathan Vanian tells us:

“Dong Wang, the Pinterest software engineer who wrote the post, explained that even though a user may search for the word ‘turkey,’ it’s unclear what exactly that person may be looking for. Does he want to find turkey recipes, is he planning a trip to Turkey or is he just interested in poultry — it’s hard to say without some context.

“If that person decides to search for ‘turkey recipes’ as part of his next query, Pinterest takes that into account and can assume that the next person who may be searching for ‘turkey’ might also be craving some turkey recipes as well; maybe it’s holiday season and everyone’s hungry. Pinterest learned that ‘the information extracted from previous query log has shown to be effective in understanding the user’s search intent’ and this can be applied to other Pinterest users as well.”

Pinterest’s data-collection workflow is called QueryJoin, and engineers use it to draw conclusions like the one about turkey recipes, above. Factors analyzed also include data like pins’ image signatures and “engagement stats” like the number of clicks and re-pins it has received. For more information, see Dong Wang’s original post.

Cynthia Murrell, February 13, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Facebook Gains Natural Language Capacity with Via AI Acquisition

February 11, 2015

Facebook is making inroads into the natural language space, we learn from “Facebook Buys Wit.ai, Adds Natural Language Knowhow” at ZDNet. Reporter Larry Dignan tells us the social-media giant gained more than 6,000 developers in the deal with the startup, who has created an open-source natural language platform with an eye to the “Internet of Things.” He writes:

“Wit.ai is an early stage startup that in October raised $3 million in seed financing with Andreessen Horowitz as the lead investor. Wit.ai aims to create a natural language platform that’s open sourced and distributed. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but indicates what Facebook is thinking. As the social network is increasingly mobile, it will need natural language algorithms and knowhow to add key features. Rival Google has built in a bevy of natural language tools into Android and Apple has its Siri personal assistant.”

Though the Wit.ai platform is free for open data projects, it earns its keep through commercial instances and queries-per-day charges. Wit.ai launched in October 2013, and is headquartered in Palo Alto, California.

Cynthia Murrell, February 11, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

German Spies Eye Metadata

January 13, 2015

Germany’s foreign intelligence arm (BND) refuses to be outdone by our NSA. The World Socialist Web Site reports, “German Foreign Intelligence Service Plans Real-Time Surveillance of Social Networks.” The agency plans to invest €300 million by 2020 to catch up to the (Snowden-revealed) capabilities of U.S. and U.K. agencies. The stated goal is to thwart terrorism, of course, but reporter Sven Heymann is certain the initiative has more to do with tracking political dissidents who oppose the austerity policies of recent years.

Whatever the motivation, the BND has turned its attention to the wealth of information to be found in metadata. Smart spies. Heymann writes:

“While previously, there was mass surveillance of emails, telephone calls and faxes, now the intelligence agency intends to focus on the analysis of so-called metadata. This means the recording of details on the sender, receiver, subject line, and date and time of millions of messages, without reading their content.

“As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported, BND representatives are apparently cynically attempting to present this to parliamentary deputies as the strengthening of citizens’ rights and freedoms in order to sell the proposal to the public.”

“In fact, the analysis of metadata makes it possible to identify details about a target person’s contacts. The BND is to be put in a position to know who is communicating with whom, when, and by what means. As is already known, the US sometimes conducts its lethal and illegal drone attacks purely on the basis of metadata.”

The article tells us the BND is also looking into the exploitation of newly revealed security weaknesses in common software, as well as tools to falsify biometric-security images (like fingerprints or iris scans). Though Germany’s intelligence agents are prohibited by law from spying on their own people, Heymann has little confidence that rule will be upheld. After all, so is the NSA.

Cynthia Murrell, January 13, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Delve, Social, and Other SharePoint Highlights of 2014

December 16, 2014

It is that time of year again – time for year-in-review articles regarding the tech that we know and love. And so it is for SharePoint. Lots of changes have been made and there are plenty of assumptions about the future. So CMS Wire tackles the overview in their article, “The SharePoint Landscape from 30,000 Feet.”

The author begins:

“With the end of the year around the corner, it’s a good time to take a 30,000-foot view of the lay of the SharePoint land and see what’s in store for 2015. While SharePoint may not be perfect, the technology is something many enterprises count on. We’ve seen great growth and energy in SharePoint over the past year and there are some events and developments that will be driving the technology next year.”

The author then goes on to discuss Delve and social projects, including apps. But experts caution that privacy will experience a resurgence in coming months, and the pendulum will swing back the other way, with enterprises concerned about keeping a tight reign on information. To stay on top of all of the latest developments in the new year, stay tuned in to Stephen E. Arnold at ArnoldIT.com. He has made a career out of parsing all things search, and his SharePoint feed is extremely helpful for all levels of users.

Emily Rae Aldridge, December 16, 2014

Xoogler Provides Google Plus Analysis

December 1, 2014

I don’t use Google Plus. I think an account was created when we set up Google Mail, but I am not sure. Furthermore, I am not sufficiently motivated to find out more.

But someone cares a lot about Google Plus. You can get a fairly interesting look at some of Google Plus’s “issues” by reading “Thoughts on Google+”: I F**ked Up. So Has Google.”

Google’s efforts, meanwhile, seem disjointed and confused, despite significant improvements to their settings and security features. If Google+ was intended to serve as Google’s “social backbone”, it should be the locus of control and access over the kind of information I’ve described above. And yet… it’s not. Far from it, in fact.

One of the factoids in the write up was that 3,000 people work on Google Plus. How many work on the Google Search Appliance? Two, six, seven?

Keep in mind the author of the analysis likes Google’s Loon balloons.

Stephen E Arnold, December 1, 2014

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