Technology News

Remote network management via Facebook and Twitter?? ….. wow!

Enterasys Networks is offering a new technology that enables remote network management via consumer and enterprise social media services, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and's Chatter. Surprised smile

Administrators can not only receive tweets and messages about port usage and oversubscription from devices on their network, they can tweet commands back to the devices in natural human language rather than via command line interface (CLI).

Enterasys' project "isaac" is software that integrates with the company's Network Management System (NMS) and allows network managers to create profiles on consumer and enterprise social media services for their Enterasys network switches, routers and wireless infrastructure. The devices can then send messages through those services to a whitelist of network administrators about any number of preprogrammed events, such as port usage changes, access point oversubscription and device failures. Network managers can also program isaac to relay commands from those admins back to the devices via the same consumer and enterprise social media.

"We allow the end user in natural human language to create the commands and map those commands to existing SNMP and Syslogging," said Vala Afshar, chief customer officer for Enterasys. "So we can have a command [via Twitter] that says to find top talkers for a switch: five top talkers, switch second floor, port 5. You get a list of IP addresses connected to that port along with which ones are the top talkers." High five

Faster, easier remote network management

Today network administrators are always on call and often carry several devices with them just so they can respond to network problems quickly. Being able to monitor and manage the network via consumer or enterprise social media right on a smartphone could streamline the whole process, according to Chance Irvine, director of IT operations and infrastructure at Proxibid, an online marketplace for auctioneers.

"Today our admins carry smartphones, laptops and iPads. They have to be able to VPN into the system, bring up the client and deal with [remote network management] that way. Most of them are carrying a full laptop with a data card," Irvine said. "I imagine at times a person who is on call may be able to simply use this on their smartphone and not have to carry a laptop or even an iPad. They'll be able to do most management just on the phone, or just use a home PC [without using a VPN].

Can remote network management via social media be secure?

The notion of putting switches and routers on Facebook or Twitter will make many network managers nervous because of security concerns. But Enterasys says it has devoted lots of research to securing the platform.

As part of Enterasys' security strategy, consumers and enterprise social media services will not have direct access to network devices. Instead, isaac, in cooperation with Enterasys' NMS, will serve as a broker between the devices and Facebook, Twitter et al. Also, customers can set up whitelists of administrators to be the only people who can actually receive alerts and send commands through isaac. What's more, Enterasys offers a second layer of authentication above the whitelist with single-use pins that can be sent via SMS or email whenever an administrator wants to issue a command that an enterprise deems highly sensitive.

"By adding that external security layer and having that sitting on our NMS, you would have to penetrate several layers to reach a piece of hardware," said Ram Appalaraju, Enterasys' vice president of marketing.

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Microsoft loses Word patent battle

Software giant Microsoft finally lost its battle over Word patent with Toronto's i4i Inc. <strong>Location: </strong> Redmond, Wash.<br /><strong>Industry: </strong>Computer Hardware and Software<br /><strong>2007 Sales: </strong> $51 billion<br /><br />Despite years of antitrust battles, the Redmond (Wash.) giant still accounts for almost 9 out of every 10 computer operating systems. Yet analysts took note when Windows&#8217; market share dipped below 90% in December. The Mac OS has been making slow but steady gains, partly due to the unpopularity of Microsoft&#8217;s latest operating system, Vista. Internet Explorer, another blockbuster Microsoft product, commands 70% of the Web browser market, down from 95% in early 2003. Yet industry analysts don&#8217;t think Microsoft (MSFT) has reason to panic, especially with Windows 7 and a new version of IE on the horizon.<br />

Rejecting Microsoft's appeal, the US supreme court upheld the 2009 lower court order against Microsoft to pay $290 million in damages to the Toronto firm for infringing its patent.
The Canadian company had taken the software giant to court in the US in 2007 over violations of its patent in Word applications and won the case and got $290 million in damages in December 2009.
In its lawsuit, i4i had claimed that the world's biggest software company infringed on a patent granted to it in 1998.
The patent pertained to i4i's technology that can open documents using the XML computer programming language and manipulate complex data in electronic documents. The technology allows users to sort out and manage tons of information by turning complex documents into more accessible databases.


Low-cost laptops set to roll out after 6 years

Six years after it was conceived, the first lot of 10,000 laptops – the HRD ministryphoto calls it low-cost access-cum-computing device — would be delivered to IIT-Rajasthan in late June, and over the next four months 90,000 more would be made available at Rs 2,200 apiece.

The announcement was made on Wednesday at the state education ministers' conference. Ministry officials said once the supply of one lakh devices is made, each state would be given 3,000 pieces. The Centre would subsidize 50% of the cost. Effectively, a student would have to pay Rs 1,100 for the gadget. Officials said manufacturing of one lakh laptops has been done in India.

As for the cost escalation from the earlier promised price of Rs 1,500, officials said it is due to increase in input cost. "But once more orders are placed, the price would be renegotiated and brought down to Rs 1, 500," an official said. IIT-Rajasthan is the nodal institute for conceiving and monitoring the progress of manufacturing of these gadgets.

The delay in rolling out the laptops, officials explained, took place as the first company, which was given the contract to manufacture one lakh pieces, was bought over. "Now, we've built enough safeguards in the contract with new manufacturer," the official said.

The low-cost device has a seven-inch touch screen, two USB ports, battery that runs for three hours, external hard drive or solid state memory support up to 32 GB


Facebook extends facial recognition tech

Facebook has rolled out facial recognition technology which moniFFtors people's photos in the UK, in a move which has made a security expert question the privacy implications of the service.
The social networking site is now searching its servers for photos that look like UK Facebook users, and asking friends of those users to tag the photos, according to Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley.
"Facebook not only gathers information about what you do, but also what you look like," Cluley told ZDNet UK on Tuesday.
Users have found that Facebook had enabled photo recognition outside of the US in the last few days, said Cluley, who criticized the company for enabling photo recognition by default.
"Unfortunately, once again, Facebook has added a new feature to share additional information about its users, and turned it on by default," said Cluley. "Most Facebook users still don't know how to set their privacy options safely, finding the whole system confusing. It's even harder though to keep control when Facebook changes the settings without your knowledge."
Facebook uses an algorithm to compare new photos with people in old photos, and suggest tags.

A Facebook spokeswoman told ZDNet UK on Tuesday that automatic tagging was "just making the whole process easier".
"Only your friends can tag you in photos so nothing has changed to the way photo tagging works," said the spokeswoman. "Previously, you had to tag each photo individually which could be very time-consuming."
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged in May that users were worried about Facebook privacy when new services were rolled out, but said that people get used to the services.


Cyber Crime–Are you safe?

matrixPictures, PowerPoint slides, PDFs, even innocuous ads on legitimate sites can carry malware that will install itself on your PC by exploiting flaws in the browser you use. Undetected by anti-virus software, robot software can piggy-back on bank transactions, avoid anti-fraud detections systems, and send money to "mule" accounts operated by criminals in Eastern Europe. That's exactly what happened to 3,000 bank customers when online thieves stole $1 million dollars before they were caught last July by M86, a networking security firm.
Unsuspecting customers visited legitimate-looking websites to download, say, a screen saver. Others received an email with pictures of cute animals or a PowerPoint presentation with a patriotic theme and, responding to heartfelt exhortations to forward it or risk a lifetime of bad luck, they obediently sent it to friends.

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How To Protect Your Company's Passwords

It’s almost impossible to understate the importance of having and using strong, secure online passwords. As important as it is for consumers to heed this advice, it can be even more important for businesses to use and secure the passwords of their various accounts. As tools like Firesheep have shown, gaining access to an e-mail or Facebook account can be alarmingly simple.

Fortunately, there are tools and precautions companies can take that will help simplify the process of keeping passwords safe and protected.

Use unique passwords for different accounts

No matter how often we’ve been warned, the reality is that most of us use the same password or group of passwords for all of our major accounts. At first, this doesn’t seem too bad—especially if that password is a unique and long mix of numbers, letters and cases. The problem with using the same password or group of passwords, however, is that if one account is compromised, other accounts can follow.

This is especially true for users that associate an e-mail address with an account. When Gawker Media’s Web servers were breached last year, thousands of commenters had their usernames, passwords and e-mail addresses exposed. As a result, some of these users had their e-mail, Facebook and Twitter accounts compromised as well.

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Hackers attack another Sony network, post data

BOSTON/NEW YORK: Hackers broke into Sony Corp's computer networks and accessed the information of more than 1 million customers to show the vulnerability of the electronic giant's systems, the latest of several security breaches undermining confidence in the company.
LulzSec, a group that claims attacks on US PBS television and, said it broke into servers that run Sony Pictures Entertainment websites. It published the names, birth dates, addresses, emails, phone numbers and passwords of thousands of people who had entered contests promoted by Sony.
"From a single injection, we accessed EVERYTHING," the hacking group said in a statement. "Why do you put such faith in a company that allows itself to become open to these simple attacks?"
The security breach is the latest cyber attack against high-profile firms, including defense contractor Lockheed Martin and Google Inc. LulzSec's claims came as Sony executives were trying to reassure US lawmakers at a hearing on data security in Washington about their efforts to safeguard the company's computer networks, which suffered the biggest security breach in history in April.

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Windows 8 – Seems another experiment!

Microsoft has earlier previewed Windows 8 build 7867, today at the Computex 2011, build 7985 was demoed.

Windows 8—a name that may not last until the anticipated 2012 launch—made its public debut this week and stunned many pundits who've grown accustomed to Microsoft showing the engine before the interface and not the other way around. My first experience with Internet Explorer 9, for example, was at a developers preview where the company showed only the engine and an interface that lacked virtually all interface accoutrements.

Windows 8, by contrast, looked surprisingly polished for a pre-developer's build. As most people know by now, it looks remarkably like Windows Phone 7, complete with tiles, a gesture-driven interface and few boundaries. This is almost exactly what I asked Microsoft to do last year, but they did me one better. Windows 8 is not a blown-up version of the Windows Phone 7 mobile OS. It is Windows proper with a completely new, Windows-phone-influenced interface. Not a shell or layer, mind you, but a new interface that takes the best of the touch, and gesture-based ideas from Microsoft's relatively young mobile interface.

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Android Users Now the Biggest Data Hogs

The Nielsen Company has released the details from its latest mobile survey, which reveals that Android not only leads in U.S. marketshare, it also dominates when it comes to data usage.

The survey, which was carried out in April 2011, indicates that Android now makes up 36% of the smartphone market. That’s a whopping 10% lead over Apple and a 13% lead over RIM. Android has been leading the U.S. mobile marketshare for several months now, its lead widening since Nielsen first reported Android’s dominance in March 2011.

It’s notable that Android has not only sustained, but increased its lead in the smartphone market. However, the more interesting part of Nielsen’s report concerns how users are actually using their smartphones.

Nielsen broke down data usage into various categories, including app downloads, video/mobile TV, streaming music/radio, full track music downloads and online games.


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