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DtSearch in the Cloud

January 18, 2016

Enterprise- and developer-search firm dtSearch now offers a platform for the cloud. informs us, “New .NET Solution Uses dtSearch with Microsoft Azure Files and RemoteApp.”  The solution allows users to run the dtSearch engine entirely online with Microsoft Azure, ensuring their security with Microsoft’s RemoteApp. The press release elaborates:

“The solution enables cloud operation of all dtSearch components, leveraging Microsoft’s new Azure Files feature for dtSearch index storage. Searching (including all 25+ dtSearch search options) runs via Microsoft’s RemoteApp. Using RemoteApp gives the search component the ‘look and feel’ of a native application running under Windows, Android, iOS or OS/X. Developers using dtSearch’s core developer product, the dtSearch Engine, can find the solution on CodeProject, including complete Visual Studio 2015 .NET sample code.”

See the thorough write-up for many details about the product, including supported formats, search and classification options, and their terabyte indexer. We note, for example, the capacities for concurrent, multithreaded search and for federated searches with their dtSearch Spider.

Founded in 1991, dtSearch supplies search software to firms in several fields and to numerous government agencies around the world. The company also makes its products available for incorporation into other commercial applications. dtSearch has distributors worldwide, and is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland.


Cynthia Murrell, January 18, 2016

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Score One for Yandex

December 21, 2015

Russian search powerhouse Yandex has successfully sued Google, we learn from re/code’s article, “Meet the Russian Company that Got Its Antitrust Watchdog to Bite Google.” Reporter Mark Bergen interviewed Yandex’s Roman Krupenin, who has led this legal campaign. In his intro, Bergen relates:

“In October, Russia’s antitrust authority ruled that Google’s practice of bundling its services on Android handsets violated national law. The case’s lead complainant was Yandex, an 18-year old Web search and advertising company. It’s not a global name, but is big in Russia. Last quarter, Yandex raked in $233.1 million in revenue. (For context, Google averaged about $179 million in sales a day over the same period.) Most Russians use Yandex for Internet searches — an estimated 57 percent in the last quarter, though that share has slipped in recent years. The culprit? According to Yandex, it’s the favored position of Google’s apps, including its search one and its browser, on Android smartphones, which outnumber iPhones in Russia considerably. To fight it off, Yandex has pushed to cut handset agreements of its own: It finalized one with Lenovo last year, and paired with Microsoft last month to make Yandex’s homepage and search results the Russian default for Windows 10.”

Furthermore, we’re reminded, Yandex is also taking part in the EU’s latest antitrust investigation. Naturally, Google is appealing the decision. See the article for text of the interview, where Krupenin discusses the focus on Android over Search, the unique factors that made for victory over the notoriously slippery company, and the call for an end to Google’s service-bundling practices.


Cynthia Murrell, December 21, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


New Patent for a Google PageRank Methodology

December 18, 2015

Google recently acquired a patent for a different approach to page ranking, we learn from “Recalculating PageRank” at SEO by the Sea. Though the patent was just granted, the application was submitted back in 2006. Writer Bill Slawski informs us:

“Under this new patent, Google adds a diversified set of trusted pages to act as seed sites. When calculating rankings for pages. Google would calculate a distance from the seed pages to the pages being ranked. A use of a trusted set of seed sites may sound a little like the TrustRank approach developed by Stanford and Yahoo a few years ago as described in Combating Web Spam with TrustRank (pdf). I don’t know what role, if any, the Yahoo paper had on the development of the approach in this patent application, but there seems to be some similarities. The new patent is: Producing a ranking for pages using distances in a Web-link graph.”

The theory behind trusted pages is that “good pages seldom point to bad ones.” The patent’s inventor, Nissan Hajaj, has been a Google senior engineer since 2004. See the write-up for the text of the patent, or navigate straight to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s entry on the subject.


Cynthia Murrell, December 18, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Hack a Scholarly Journal

December 7, 2015

Scholarly journals and other academic research are usually locked down under a copyright firewall that requires an expensive subscription to access.  Most of the people who want this content are researchers, writers, scientists, students, and other academics.  Most people who steal content usually steal movies, software, books, and material related to pop culture or expensive to buy elsewhere.   Scholarly journals fall into the latter category, but Science Mag shares a new trend for hackers, “Feature: How To Hijack A Journal.”

Journal hacking is not new, but it gaining traction due to the multimillion-dollar academic publishing industry.  Many academic writers pay to publish their papers in a journal and  the fees range in hundreds of dollars.  What happens is something called Web site spoofing, where hackers buy a closely related domain or even hack the actual journal’s domain a create a convincing Web site.  The article describes several examples where well-known journals were hijacked, including one he did himself.

How can you check to see if an online journal is the real deal?

“First, check the domain registration data online by performing a WHOIS query. (It’s not an acronym, but rather a computer protocol to look up “who is” behind a particular domain.) If the registration date is recent but the journal has been around for years, that’s the first clue. Also suspicious is if the domain’s country of registration is different from the journal’s publisher, or if the publisher’s name and contact information are kept anonymous by private domain registrars.”

Sadly, academic journals will be at risk for some time, because many of the publishers never adapted to online publishing, sometimes someone forgets to pay a domain name bill, and they rely on digital object identifiers to map Web addresses to papers.

Scholarly journals are important for academic research, but their publishing models are outdated anyway.  Maybe if they were able to keep up the hacking would not happen as often.

Whitney Grace, December 7, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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

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