CyberOSINT banner

Expect Disruption from Future Technology

November 13, 2015

A dystopian future where technology has made humanity obsolete is a theme older than the Industrial Revolution.  History has proven that while some jobs are phased out thanks to technology more jobs are created by it, after all someone needs to monitor and make the machines.  As technology grows and makes computing systems capable of reason, startups are making temporary gigs permanent jobs, and 3D printing makes it possible to make any object, the obsolete humanity idea does not seem so far-fetched.  Kurzweilai shares a possible future with “The SAP Future Series: Digital Technology’s Exponential Growth Curve Foretells Avalanche Of Business Disruption.”

While technology has improved lives of countless people, it is disrupting industries.  These facts prove to be insightful into how disruptive:

  • In 2015 Airbnb will become the largest hotel chain in the world, launched in 2008, with more than 850,000 rooms, and without owning any hotels.
  • From 2012 to 2014, Uber consumed 65% of San Francisco’s taxi business.
  • Advances in artificial intelligence and robotics put 47% of US employment — over 60 million jobs — at high risk of being replaced in the next decade.
  • 10 million new autonomous vehicles per year may be entering US highways by 2030.
  • Today’s sensors are 1 billion times better — 1000x lighter, 1000x cheaper, 1000x the resolution — than only 40 years ago. By 2030, 100 trillion sensors could be operational worldwide.
  • DNA sequencing cost dropped precipitously — from $1 billion to $5,000 —  in 15 years. By 2020 could be $0.01.
  • In 2000 it took $5,000,000 to launch an internet start-up. Today the cost is less than $5,000.

Using a series of videos, SAP explains how disruption will change the job market, project management, learning, and even predicting future growth.  Rather than continuing the dystopia future projections, SAP positions itself to offer hope and ways to adapt for your success.  Humanity will be facing huge changes because of technology in the near future, but our successful ability to adapt always helps us evolve.

3DWhitney Grace, November 13, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph



Drone and Balloon WiFi Coming to the Sky near You

November 10, 2015

Google and Facebook have put their differences aside to expand Internet access to four billion people.  Technology Review explains in “Facebook;s Internet Drone Team Is Collaborating With Google’s Stratospheric Balloons Project” how both companies have filed documented with the US Federal Communications Commission to push international law to make it easier to have aircraft fly 12.5 miles or 20 kilometers above the Earth, placing it in the stratosphere.

Google has been working on balloons that float in the stratosphere that function as aerial cell towers and Facebook is designing drones the size of aircraft that are tethered to the ground that serve the same purpose.  While the companies are working together, they will not state how.  Both Google and Facebook are working on similar projects, but the aerial cell towers marks a joint effort where they putting aside their difference (for the most part) to improve information access.

“However, even if Google and Facebook work together, corporations alone cannot truly spread Internet access as widely as is needed to promote equitable access to education and other necessities, says Nicholas Negroponte, a professor at MIT’s Media Lab and founder of the One Laptop Per Child Project.  ‘I think that connectivity will become a human right,’ said Negroponte, opening the session at which Facebook and Google’s Maguire and DeVaul spoke. Ensuring that everyone gets that right requires the Internet to be operated similar to public roads, and provided by governments, he said.”

Quality Internet access not only could curb poor education, but it could also improve daily living.  People in developing countries would be able to browse information to remedy solutions and even combat traditional practices that do more harm than good.

Some of the biggest obstacles will be who will maintain the aerial cell towers and also if they will pose any sort of environmental danger.

Whitney Grace, November 10, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Journalists Use Dark Web Technology to Protect Source Privacy

November 4, 2015

Canada’s paper the Globe and Mail suggests those with sensitive information to reveal some Dark Web tech: “SecureDrop at the Globe and Mail.” As governments get less squeamish about punishing whistleblowers, those with news the public deserves to know must  be increasingly careful how they share their knowledge. The website begins by informing potential SecureDrop users how to securely connect through the Tor network. The visitor is informed:

“The Globe and Mail does not log any of your interactions with the SecureDrop system, including your visit to this page. It installs no tracking cookies or tracking software of any kind on your computer as part of the process. Your identity is not exposed to us during the upload process, and we do not know your unique code phrase. This means that even if a code phrase is compromised, we cannot comply with demands to provide documents that were uploaded by a source with that code phrase. SecureDrop itself is an open-source project that is subject to regular security audits, reducing the risk of bugs that could compromise your information. Information provided through SecureDrop is handled appropriately by our journalists. Journalists working with uploaded files are required to use only computers with encrypted hard drives and follow security best practices. Anonymous sources are a critical element of journalism, and The Globe and Mail has always protected its sources to the best of its abilities.

The page closes with a warning that no communication can be perfectly secure, but that this system is closer than most. Will more papers take measures to ensure folks can speak up without being tracked down?

Cynthia Murrell, November 4, 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

Latest Global Internet Report Available

October 30, 2015

The Internet Society has made available its “Global Internet Report 2015,” just the second in its series. World-wide champions of a free and open Internet, the society examines mobile Internet usage patterns around the globe. The report’s Introduction explains:

“We focus this year’s report on the mobile Internet for two reasons. First, as with mobile telephony, the mobile Internet does not just liberate us from the constraints of a wired connection, but it offers hundreds of millions around the world their only, or primary, means of accessing the Internet. Second, the mobile Internet does not just extend the reach of the Internet as used on fixed connections, but it offers new functionality in combination with new portable access devices.”

It continues with this important warning:

“The nature of the Internet should remain collaborative and inclusive, regardless of changing means of access. In particular, the mobile Internet should remain open, to enable the permission-less innovation that has driven the continuous growth and evolution of the Internet to date, including the emergence of the mobile Internet itself.”

Through the report’s landing page, above, you can navigate to the above-cited Introduction, the report’s Executive Summary, and Section 2: Trends and Growth. There is even an interactive mobile Internet timeline. Scroll to the bottom to download the full report, in PDF, Kindle, or ePub formats. The download is free, but those interested can donate to the organization here.

Cynthia Murrell, October 30, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Neglect Exposes Private Medical Files

October 28, 2015

Data such as financial information and medical files are supposed to be protected behind secure firewalls and barriers that ensure people’s information does not fall into the wrong hands.  While digital security is at the best it has ever been, sometimes a hacker does not to rely on his/her skills to get sensitive information.  Sometimes all they need to do is wait for an idiotic mistake, such as what happened on Amazon Web Services wrote Gizmodo in “Error Exposes 1.5 Million People’s Private Records On Amazon Web Services.”

Tech junkie Chris Vickery heard a rumor that “strange data dumps” could appear on Amazon Web Services, so he decided to go looking for some.  He hunted through AWS, found one such dump, and it was a huge haul or it would have been if Vickery was a hacker.  Vickery discovered it was medical information belonging to 1.5 million people and from these organizations: Kansas’ State Self Insurance Fund, CSAC Excess Insurance Authority, and the Salt Lake County Database.

“The data came from Systema Software, a small company that manages insurance claims. It still isn’t clear how the data ended up on the site, but the company did confirm to Vickery that it happened.  Shortly after Vickery made contact with the affected organizations, the database disappeared from the Amazon subdomain.”

The 1.5 million people should be thanking Vickery, because he alerted these organizations and the data was immediately removed from the Amazon cloud.  It turns out that Vickery was the only one to access the data, but it begs the question what would happen if a malicious hacker had gotten hold of the data?  You can count on that the medical information would have been sold to the highest bidder.

Vickery’s discovery is not isolated.  Other organizations are bound to be negligent in data and your personal information could be posted in an unsecure area.  How can you get organizations to better protect your information?  Good question.

Whitney Grace, October 28, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


September 29, 2015

NTENT is a leading natural language processing and semantic search company, that owns the Convera technology, and according to Business Wire Dan Stickel was hired as the new CEO, says “NTENT Appoints Dan Stickel As New CEO.”  NTENT is focused on expanding the company with AltaVista and Google.  Using Stickel’s experience, NTENT has big plans and is sure that Stickel will lead the company to success.

“CEO, Stickel’s first objective will be to prioritize NTENT’s planned expansion along geographic, market and technology dimensions. ‘After spending significant time with NTENT’s Board, management team and front-line employees, I’m excited by the company’s opportunities and by the foundation that’s already been laid in both traditional web and newer mobile capabilities. NTENT has clearly built some world-class technology, and is now scaling that out with customers and partners.’”

In his past positions as CEO at Metaforic and Webtrends s well as head of the enterprise business at AltaVista and software business at Macrovision, Stickel has transitioned companies to become the leaders in their respective industries.

The demand for natural language processing software and incorporating it into semantic search is one of the biggest IT trends at the moment.  The field is demanding innovation and NTENT believes Stickel will guide them.

Whitney Grace, September 29, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Help Wanted: Chief Marketing Technology Officer

September 28, 2015

A new, indispensable position for companies is the chief technology officer or the chief information officer. Their primary responsibilities are to manage the IT department, implement new ways to manage information, and/or develop software as needed. There is a new position that companies will be creating in the future and the title is chief marketing technology officer, says Live Mint in “Make Way CIOS, CMOS: Here Comes The CMTO.”

Formerly the marketing and IT departments never mixed, except for the occasional social media collaboration. Marketers are increasing their reliance on technology to understand their customers and it goes far beyond social media. Marketers need to be aware of the growing trends in mobile shopping and search, digital analytics, gamification, online communities, and the power of user-generated content.

“The CMO’s role will graduate to CMTO, a marketer with considerable knowledge of technology. The CMTO, according to Nasscom, will not only conceptualize but also build solutions and lay down the technical and commercial specifications while working alongside the IT team on vendor selection.”

It is not enough to know how to market a product or promote an organization. Marketers need to be able to engage with technology and understand how to implement to attract modern customers and increase sales. In other words, evolving the current marketing position with a new buzzword.

Whitney Grace, September 28, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Funding Granted for American Archive Search Project

September 23, 2015

Here’s an interesting project: we received an announcement about funding for Pop Up Archive: Search Your Sound. A joint effort of the WGBH Educational Foundation and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, the venture’s goal is nothing less than to make almost 40,000 hours of Public Broadcasting media content easily accessible. The American Archive, now under the care of WGBH and the Library of Congress, has digitized that wealth of sound and video. Now, the details are in the metadata. The announcement reveals:

As we’ve written before, metadata creation for media at scale benefits from both machine analysis and human correction. Pop Up Archive and WGBH are combining forces to do just that. Innovative features of the project include:

*Speech-to-text and audio analysis tools to transcribe and analyze almost 40,000 hours of digital audio from the American Archive of Public Broadcasting

*Open source web-based tools to improve transcripts and descriptive data by engaging the public in a crowdsourced, participatory cataloging project

*Creating and distributing data sets to provide a public database of audiovisual metadata for use by other projects.

“In addition to Pop Up Archive’s machine transcripts and automatic entity extraction (tagging), we’ll be conducting research in partnership with the HiPSTAS center at University of Texas at Austin to identify characteristics in audio beyond the words themselves. That could include emotional reactions like laughter and crying, speaker identities, and transitions between moods or segments.”

The project just received almost $900,000 in funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This loot is on top of the grant received in 2013, from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, that got the project started. But will it be enough money to develop a system that delivers on-point results? If not, we may be stuck with something clunky, something that resembles the old Autonomy Virage, Blinkxx, Exalead video search, or Google YouTube search. Let us hope this worthy endeavor continues to attract funding so that, someday, anyone can reliably (and intuitively) find valuable Public Broadcasting content.

Cynthia Murrell, September 23, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Redundant Dark Data

September 21, 2015

Have you heard the one about how dark data hides within an organization’s servers and holds potential business insights? Wait, you did not?  Then where have you been for the past three years?  Datameer posted an SEO heavy post on its blog called, “Shine Light On Dark Data.”  The post features the same redundant song and dance about how dark data retained on server has valuable customer trend and business patterns that can put them bring them out ahead of the competition.

One new fact is presented: IDC reports that 90% of digital data is dark.  That is a very interesting fact and spurs information specialists to action to get a big data plan in place, but then we are fed this tired explanation:

“This dark data may come in the form of machine or sensor logs that when analyzed help predict vacated real estate or customer time zones that may help businesses pinpoint when customers in a specific region prefer to engage with brands. While the value of these insights are very significant, setting foot into the world of dark data that is unstructured, untagged and untapped is daunting for both IT and business users.”

The post ends on some less than thorough advice to create an implementation plan.  There are other guides on the Internet that better prepare a person to create a big data action guide.  The post’s only purpose is to serve as a search engine bumper for Datameer.  While Datameer is one of the leading big data software providers, one would think they wouldn’t post a “dark data definition” post this late in the game.

Whitney Grace, September 21, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Next Page »