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, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Baidu Hopes Transparency Cleans up Results

July 28, 2016

One of the worries about using commercial search engines is that search results are polluted with paid links. In the United States, paid results are differentiated from organic results with a little banner or font change.  It is not so within China and Seeking Alpha shares an interesting story about a Chinese search engine, “Baidu Cleans Up Search Site, Eyes Value.”  Baidu recently did a major overhaul of its search engine, which was due a long, long time ago. Baidu was more interested in generating profits than providing its users a decent service.   Baidu neglected to inform its users that paid links appeared alongside organic results, but now they have been separated out like paid links in the US.

Results are cleaner, but it did not come in time to help one user:

“For anyone who has missed this headline-grabbing story, the crisis erupted after 21-year-old cancer patient Wei Zexi used Baidu to find a hospital to treat his disease. He trusted the hospital he chose partly because it appeared high in Baidu’s results. But he was unaware the hospital got that ranking because it paid the most in an online auctioning system that has helped to make Baidu hugely profitable. Wei later died after receiving an ineffective experimental treatment, though not before complaining loudly about how he was misled.”

The resulting PR nightmare forced Baidu to clean up its digital act.  This example outlines one of the many differences between US and Chinese business ethics.  On average the US probably has more educated consumers than China, who will call out companies when they notice ethical violations.  While it is true US companies are willing to compromise ethics for a buck, at least once they are caught they cannot avoid the windfall.  China on the other hand, does what it wants when it wants.


Whitney Grace, July 28, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Hewlett Packard Makes Haven Commercially Available

July 19, 2016

The article InformationWeek titled HPE’s Machine Learning APIs, MIT’s Sports Analytics Trends: Big Data Roundup analyzes Haven OnDemand, a large part of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s big data strategy. For a look at the smart software coming out of HP Enterprise, check out this video. The article states,

“HPE’s announcement this week brings HPE Haven OnDemand as a service on the Microsoft Azure platform and provides more than 60 APIs and services that deliver deep learning analytics on a wide range of data, including text, audio, image, social, Web, and video. Customers can start with a freemium service that enables development and testing for free, and grow into a usage and SLA-based commercial model for enterprises.”

You may notice from the video that the visualizations look a great deal like Autonomy IDOL’s visualizations from the early 2000s. That is, dated, especially when compared to visualizations from other firms. But Idol may have a new name: Haven. According to the article, that name is actually a relaxed acronym for Hadoop, Autonomy IDOL, HP Vertica, Enterprise Security Products, and “n” or infinite applications. HPE promises that this cloud platform with machine learning APIs will assist companies in growing mobile and enterprise applications. The question is, “Can 1990s technology provide what 2016 managers expects?”


Chelsea Kerwin, July 19, 2016

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark
Web meet up on July 26, 2016.
Information is at this link:

Turn to Unsplash for Uncommon Free Photos

June 7, 2016

Stock photos can be so, well, stock. However, Killer Startups points to a solution in, “Today’s Killer Startup: Unsplash.” Reviewer Emma McGowan already enjoyed the site for its beautiful free photos, with new ones posted every day. She especially loves that their pictures do not resemble your typical stock photos. The site’s latest updates make it even more useful. She writes:

“The new version has expanded to include lovely, searchable collections. The themes range from conceptual (‘Pure Color’) to very specific (‘Coffee Shops’). All of the photos are free to use on whatever project you want. I can personally guarantee that all of your work will look so much better than if you went with the usual crappy free options.

“Now if you want to scroll through beautiful images a la old-school Unsplash, you can totally still do that too. The main page is still populated with a seemingly never ending roll of photos, and there’s also a ‘new’ tab where you can check out the latest and greatest additions to the collection. However, I really can’t get enough of the Collections, both as a way to browse beautiful artwork and to more easily locate images for blog posts.”

So, if you have a need for free images, avoid the problems found in your average stock photography, which can range from simple insipidness to reinforcing stereotypes and misconceptions. Go for something different at Unsplash. Based in Montreal, the site launched in 2013. As of this writing, they happen to be hiring (and will consider remote workers).


Cynthia Murrell, June 7, 2016

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Travel to South Africa Virtually with Googles Mzansi Experience

May 18, 2016

The article on Elle titled Google SA Launches the Mzansi Experience On Maps illustrates the new Google Street View collection for South Africa. For people without the ability to travel, or scared of malaria or Oscar Pistorius, this collection offers an in-depth platform to view some of South Africa’s natural wonders and parks. The article explains,

“Using images collected by the Street View Tripod and Trekker, Google has created 360-degree imagery of some of South Africa’s most beautiful locations, and created virtual tours that enable visitors to see the sights for themselves on their phones, tablets or computers. Visitors will be able to, for the first time, visit a family of elephants in the Kruger National Park, take a virtual walk on Table Mountain, admire Cape Point, or take a walk along Durban’s Golden Mile.”

For South Africa, this initiative might spark increased tourism once people realize just how much the country has to offer. So many of the images of Africa that we are exposed to in the US are reductive and patronizing, like those ceaseless commercials depicting all of Africa as a small, poverty-stricken village. Google’s new collection helps to promote a more diverse and appealing look at one African country: South Africa. Whether you want to go in person or virtually, this is worth checking out!

Chelsea Kerwin, May 18, 2016

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Fun with Google Search Delivers Fun for Google

February 24, 2016

The article on Value Walk titled Top 10 Ways to Have Fun With Google Search invites readers to enjoy a few of the “Easter Eggs” that those nutball programmers over at Google have planted in the search engine. Some are handy, like the spinning coin that gives you a heads or tail result when you type “flip a coin” into Google. Others are just funny, like the way the page tilts if you enter the word “askew.” Others are pure in their nerd factor, as the article explains,

“When you type “Zerg rush” into the search box and hit enter you get a wave of little Google “o”s swarming across and eating the text on your page. Of note, Zerg rush was a tactic used by Zerg players in the late 90s video game StarCraft, which meant the sending many waves of inexpensive units to overwhelm an opponent. Typing “Atari Breakout”…leads to a nostalgic flashback for most people older than 45…”

Speaking of nostalgia, if you type in “Google in 1998” the page reverts to the old layout of the search engine’s early days. In general, the “Easter Eggs” are kind of like watching your uncle’s magic tricks. You aren’t really all that impressed, but every now and then a little surprise makes you smile. And you are definitely going to make him do them again in front of your parents later.


Chelsea Kerwin, February 24, 2016

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


A Guide to Google-Ize Your Business

February 16, 2016

To Google is a verb, meaning to search specifically for information on the Google search engine.  If a user is unable to find information on Google, they either change their key words or look for a different option.  In other words, if you are not pulling up on Google than you might as well not exist.  Perhaps it is a little drastic to make the claim, but without a Web presence users, who double as consumers, are less likely to visit your business.  Consumers take an active approach to shopping these days by doing research before they visit or purchase any goods or services.  A good Web presence alerts them to a company’s capabilities and how it can meet the consumers’ needs.

If you are unsure of how to establish a Web presence, much less a Google Web presence then there is a free eBook to help you get started.  The Reach Local blog posted information about “Master Google My Business With Our New Ebook.” Google My Business is a free tool from Google about how to publish your business information in Google+, Google Maps, and local search results.

“Without accurate and up to date information on Google, you could be missing out on leads and potential customers either by having the wrong phone number and address listed or by not appearing at all in local search results for products and services relevant to your business.  We want to help you take control of your information on the web, so we put together a helpful eBook that explains what Google My Business is, how to set up and verify your business, and tips for managing your information and tracking your progress.”

The free eBook “Your Guide To Google My Business” written by the Reach Local folks is an instruction manual on how to take advantage of the Google tool without going through the headache of trying to understand how it works.  Now if only Windows 10 would follow a similar business pattern to help users understand how it works.



Whitney Grace, February 16, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


The Duck Quacks 12 Million Queries

January 14, 2016

DuckDuckGo keeps waddling through its search queries and quacking that it will not track its users information.  DuckDuckGo has remained a small search engine, but its privacy services are chipping away at Google and search engines’ user base.  TechViral shares that “DuckDuckGo The Anti-Google Search Engine Just Reached A New Milestone” and it is reaching twelve million search queries in one day!

In 2015, DuckDuckGo received 3.25 billion search queries, showing a 74 percent increase compared to the 2014 data.  While DuckDuckGo is a private oasis in a sea of tracking cookies, it still uses targeted ads.  However, unlike Google DuckDuckGo only uses ads based on the immediate keywords used in a search query and doesn’t store user information.  It wipes the search engine clean with each use.

DuckDuckGo’s increase of visitors has attracted partnerships with Mozilla and Apple.  The private search engine is a for profit business, but it does have different goals than Google.

“Otherwise, it should be noted that although he refuses to have the same practices as Google, DuckDuckGo already making profits, yes that’s true. And the company’s CEO, Gabriel Weinberg, stop to think it is necessary to collect information about users to monetize a search engine: ‘You type car and you see an advertisement for a car, Google follows you on all these sites because it operates huge advertising networks and other properties. So they need these data for search engines to follow you.’ ”

DuckDuckGo offers a great service for privacy, while it is gaining more users it doesn’t offer the plethora of services Google does.  DuckDuckGo, why not try private email, free office programs, and online data storage?  Would you still be the same if you offered these services?

Whitney Grace, January 14, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Desktop Web Searches Began Permanent Decline in 2013

December 28, 2015

The article on Quartz titled The Product that Made Google Has Peaked for Good presents the startling information that desktop web search is expected to remain in permanent decline. The main reason for Google’s prestige and growth peaked in 2013, the article suggests, and then declined for 20 out of the last 21 months. The article reports,

“Google doesn’t regularly disclose the number of search queries that its users conduct. (It has been “more than 100 billion” per month for a while.)… And while a nice chunk of Google’s revenue growth is coming from YouTube, its overall “Google Websites” business—mostly search ads, but also YouTube, Google Maps, etc.—grew sales 14%, 13%, and 16% year-over-year during the first three quarters of 2015. The mobile era hasn’t resulted in any sort of collapse of Google’s ad business.”

The article also conveys that mobile searches accounted for over half of all global search queries. Yes, overall Google is still a healthy company, but this decline in desktop searches will still certainly force some fancy dancing from Alphabet Google. The article does not provide any possible reasons for the decline. The foundations of the company might seem a little less stable between this decline and the restless future of Internet ads.

Chelsea Kerwin, December 28, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Machine Learning Used to Decipher Lute Tablature

December 23, 2015

The Oxford Journal’s Early Music publication reveals a very specialized use of machine learning in, “Bring ‘Musicque into the Tableture’: Machine-Learning Models for Polyphonic Transcription of 16th-Century Lute Tablature” by musical researchers Reinier de Valk and Tillman Weyde. Note that this link will take you to the article’s abstract; to see the full piece, you’ll have to subscribe to the site. The abstract summarizes:

“A large corpus of music written in lute tablature, spanning some three-and-a-half centuries, has survived. This music has so far escaped systematic musicological research because of its notational format. Being a practical instruction for the player, tablature reveals very little of the polyphonic structure of the music it encodes—and is therefore relatively inaccessible to non-specialists. Automatic polyphonic transcription into modern music notation can help unlock the corpus to a larger audience and thus facilitate musicological research.

“In this study we present four variants of a machine-learning model for voice separation and duration reconstruction in 16th-century lute tablature. These models are intended to form the heart of an interactive system for automatic polyphonic transcription that can assist users in making editions tailored to their own preferences. Additionally, such models can provide new methods for analysing different aspects of polyphonic structure.”

The full article lays out the researchers’ modelling approaches and the advantages of each. They report their best model returns accuracy rates of 80 to 90 percent, so for modelers, it might be worth the $39 to check out the full article. We just think it’s nice to see machine learning used for such a unique and culturally valuable project.


Cynthia Murrell, December 23, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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