Monday, July 30, 2012

Security Conference in Honolulu, July 26,2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort &  Spa                                                                                                                       
2552 Kalakaua Avenue, Oahu                                                                                                                      
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815 USA

Security of every kind of device from hand-held to Cloud was discussed at this one day conference in Honolulu hosted by Data Connectors. There were 8, approximately one-hour sessions from 8:15 to 16:15.
Here is a A-Z list of companies that participated and or talked about their products:
• ANUE Systems
• Aruba
• Beyond Security
• Bit 9
• Core Security- Thinking ahead
• Cyber-Ark -Security that empowers people
• Damballa –
• Fortinet
• Hawaiian Telecom
• Infoblox
• ISD Security
• LanDesk
• Paloalto Networks-The network security company
• Radware
• Refrentia
• Sophos- Simply Secure
• Secure Technology Hawaii
• Trend Micro
• Varonis-All about the Data
• WatchGuard
I managed to speak to couple of the vendors to get into the mood of security and it was interesting.
The talks were interesting too.  As always some were good and some were mediocre.
WatchGuard presented ' Virtualization -Securing the Future ', the ins and outs of virtualization and how to secure virtualized environments. Virtualization is very attractive but presents its own set of challenges when it comes to security. Their XTM cornerstone, the Application Proxy probes the packet and checks the IP Header and the Protocol (TCP/UDP) and on finding a match digs in deeper the contents and works at the Application Layer. They claim that this is the key that other technologies miss. They seem to have Systems Manager Interface; a web interface and of course a command line interface to administer their product.
Aruba Networks presented ' Enabling secure BYOD over any network '. You heard it right, it was not BYOB! This was about onboarding and management of users of mobile devices in the context of an enterprise. This makes it possible to tell your employee, 'Bring your own device', we are not scared. Their product is better than existing products that target a single device. Their slogan is any device, any network, and any endpoint using their Aruba ClearPass.
Paloalto made presentation ' Breaking the Lifecycle of the Modern Threat ' on the threat landscape- what to expect and how to get yourself protected.

Bit9 (2002 company) spoke on ' Protection against Spear Phishing and the Modern Threats '. They listed out all the notable 2011 security breaches from Honda to ADP which included a bunch of high profile organizations like NASDAQ, Sony, Google, Citigroup etc. Threat comes in many shapes and forms. Hidden executables; Vulnerabilities; and portable storage devices. The human elements creating threats vary from mere criminal enterprises to Nation-states. Just imagine the kind of resources they can muster! I saw this graph in the presentation which was interesting- the peak in advanced threat appears to occur from about lunch time to evening six in Beijing!  Social engineering has brought in anti-social (anti-internet!) elements and social networking is another vector in this criminal operations. Solution is to use trusted software, detect the threat with real time sensor and stop the threat by controlling the application, follow it up measuring and monitoring risk and compliance with deep analytics.  Bit9 Global software Registry provides security to all the different items: Domain controllers, web Servers, Application Servers, Virtual Servers and a whole lot of others.

Fortinet and Hawaii Telecom made a joint presentation ' Delivering World-class UTM Solutions across Hawaiian Telecom '. Keep it simple was one of the items discussed. Increasing complexity of security solutions was 40% of the top challenges faced by the respondents who dealt with security. Fortinet seems to be in a good position with 18% of Market share in 2011 Q3. They are at the top-right of the Gartner's magic quadrant for Unified Threat Management.  Their slide on how their solution compares with traditional solutions which are cumbersome and costly was interesting. The core of it is the FortiOS, a security hardened OS that powers all FortiGate multi-threat security systems. The companies and organizations taking up Fortinet filled up the whole page of a slide. I especially liked the presentation by their Hawaiian presenter. It was a neat presentation.

ISD Security/SOPHOS: ‘ The security threat landscape, What's at risk and how to get the best protection ' was presented by Sophos evangelist, Arnie Almeida. It was interesting to hear that Social engineering, is a primary method of attack. I quote, ' Cyber criminals know what motivates people  (money, sex, gossip, etc.) and exploit these themes to infect computers and steal information '. I wonder why Arnie left out vanity and Narcissism!! The consequence of data loss is enormous. I was also under the impression that Windows was the most targeted OS but the Android leads the pack of threatened! Another interesting piece of info I learnt that 15% of all iPhone owners use very easy passwords like '0000' and '1234'. Sophos suggestion:  Use the following methods to secure, 'Encryption', 'encryption' and 'encryption'. Use encryption from desktop to the cloud including the USB Drives, CD/DVDs. Sophos is also a leader and figures in the Magic quadrant for end point protection. Their clientele list occupies a whole slide and its borders. Look for SophosLabs on the internet.

LanDesk software presented 'Managing the top 3 security challenges in a distributed environment'. The focus was on desktops on remote offices, these being more vulnerable than those in HQ. Virus attacks and installation of unauthorized software, downloads, etc. are more difficult to secure.

I did not see Symantec, McAfee and others.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Microsoft takes on

Microsoft has now two tricks in the Cloud, PaaS and IaaS. Not satisfied with just being a PaaS vendor Microsoft began to sell IaaS as well. Two years after breaking into the clouds with Windows Azure Microsoft wants now to challenge the IaaS leader, has matured and Microsoft is a relatively new comer, but Microsoft has deep pockets and a solid record in PaaS and it will be an interesting development to watch.

How did this Microsoft getting into IaaS happen?  Microsoft broadened its cloud repertoire with persistent virtual machines; virtual networking and support for Linux instances. In days to come we will hear more about it. Read the breaking news on (July 2012, Page 2).

In my book on SQL Azure (December 2010, I had noted the following information (excerpt from Chapter 1) I had gathered for and Microsoft:

Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services through its Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) offered customers dynamically scaled computer infrastructure for running their application programs, thus offering infrastructure as a service. The term elastic came about by the ease with which the user can create, launch and terminate the active virtual server instances used in running the programs. To be elastic there was built-in redundancy in the resources and automated scaling which tracked the load. Also, to cater to wide scale adoption, there were a number of sizes the users could choose; from small instances to High-CPU extra-large instances. The applications could run on a computing platform the customer can choose from, which can be accessed by a web service (one of many Amazon Web Services). Although EC2 supported Linux operating system in the beginning, it rapidly added other platforms such as Open Solaris and Solaris Express Community Edition and even Windows. By adding Windows OS (2003 and 2008 Servers) it provided full support for all Microsoft applications (ASP.NET, AJAX, Silverlight, etc.) to be hosted on EC2 with data originating in SQL Server Express and SQL Server 2008 server[] instances. EC2 by itself had only temporary storage for data but later added Simple Storage Service (S3) and Elastic Block storage (EBS) for persisting data []. The 'Elasticity' of this cloud computing was further enhanced by Elastic IP, Elastic-load balancing and a reliable monitoring service in the form of Amazon CloudWatch. Most recently Amazon added a relational database as a service ( by adding MySQL to its roster of web service offerings accessible by simple API calls which could work with EC2.

Microsoft entered this area relatively late but directed a lot of its effort to branch out into this important business area very quickly and thus Microsoft Azure was born. Microsoft Azure platform in Microsoft Data Centers spans three continents, North America, Europe and East Asia. Microsoft Azure not only makes available this humongous infrastructure but also provides its signature software products; Windows Servers; SQL Server; and components of  .NET Framework.  It is therefore both infrastructure and software as service. It is in fact heading towards offering its entire framework as service.
Azure platform is resting on three pillars, the Windows Azure Services; the SQL Azure Services and the .Net Services which has been renamed Azure AppFabric recently to include other features. The Azure platform not only caters to cloud based applications but also to applications that run on the premises. It is really not one, that is cloud based, or the other that is ground based, but a mixture of the two that the businesses can customize based on their needs. The Azure platform is structured to be developer friendly, and can be leveraged by desktop, web and mobile devices using many of the programming languages such as PHP, Ruby etc. in addition to Microsoft’s VB, C# and F#. As the software programs that work with the Azure platform are not limited to those that are Microsoft Specific, the adaptability is much more general. As the accessibility uses Open Internet standards, clients can be on any platform.
On a practical footing, the Azure Platform, its hardware and software are physically located in the various Microsoft data centers []. On a general note, the Azure Platform is still in its infancy as evidenced by the fact that it is moving into production in early 2010 and a lot of additions are envisaged as the platform matures and its adoption grows.

Well, much water has flowed under the bridge and Cloud has evolved and come of age but still evolving.

Nokia E5 GSM Quadband Phone- Unlocked Black

Brother HL-2270DW Laser Printer

Canon T3 12.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens -

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

E Komo Mai! Windows 8 Phone

Welcome Windows 8 Phone


A billion people cannot be wrong; Windows 8 Phone is based on Windows OS.

Windows 8 Phone was officially announced today and it will be available at a kiosk near  you by the end of the year.

Windows OS is used by more than a billion people and the new Windows 8 Phone is built on this rock-solid foundation. Windows 8 Phone will have the same attractive common feature set as Windows 8 related to:
·         Networking
·         Security
·         Media and Brower technology
·         File system

Look at this gamut of features that the new phone will usher:
(The following taken from the blog: )

·         Multi-core processor support: As reviewers have noted, Windows Phone runs buttery smooth on phones with a single processor. But piggybacking on the Windows core provides support for multiple cores—so we’re ready for whatever hardware makers dream up.

·         Bigger, sharper screens: Windows Phone 8 supports two new screen resolutions—1280x768 and 1280x720, opening the door to amazing new handsets with high-definition 720p displays.

·         More flexible storage: Windows Phone 8 supports removable MicroSD cards, so you can stuff your phone with extra photos, music, and whatever else is important to you, and then easily move it all onto your PC.

·         NFC wireless sharing: If you haven’t heard the term “NFC” yet, I’m betting you soon will. This emerging wireless technology lets phones share things over short distances. In Windows Phone 8, it helps make sharing photos, Office docs, and contact info easier—just tap your phone another NFC-equipped device. How cool is that?

I              If you have not heard of NFC please review my previous post.  (not from blog)  

·         Internet Explorer 10: The next version of Windows Phone comes with the same web browsing engine that’s headed for Window 8 PCs and tablets. IE10 is faster and more secure, with advanced anti-phishing features like SmartScreen Filter to block dangerous websites and malware.

·         Wallet: Windows Phone 8’s new digital Wallet feature does two great things. It can keep debit and credit cards, coupons, boarding passes, and other important info right at your fingertips. And when paired with a secure SIM from your carrier, you can also pay for things with a tap of your phone at compatible checkout counters.

·         Better maps and directions: Windows Phone 8 builds in Nokia mapping as part of the platform. Our partnership will provide more detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions in many countries, plus the ability to store maps offline on your phone so you can work with maps without a data connection.

·         Cooler apps and games: Basing Windows Phone 8 on the Windows core will unleash a new wave of amazing apps and especially games, for reasons I’ll touch on in a moment.

Together with the release of Windows Phone 8 there appears to be Windows phone 7.8.

The reason for this is to assure the Windows 7 (7.5?) users that they can use the same start screen as Windows 8. It appears Windows 8 will not run on existing hardware.

What a pity, just as I was getting used to my Samsung Focus with Windows 7, Microsoft pulled the rug under my feet.:@

How many apps on Windows 8 Phone?

Well it looks like 10,000 and counting. The number is really immaterial, what matters is their usefulness.

Here is a quick scoop for developers. Sure, you get all the needed stuff:

·         Native Code Support
·         In-app purchase
·         Integrate Internet calling
·         Multitasking enhancements

Well, of course there will be an SDK as well. That should satisfy your thirst!

I suppose this will all encompass all bits and piece , Skype, PayPal, Twilio and many others. 

Read more details from the horse's mouth here.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

ProfitShares becomes Microsoft's Windows Azure Partner of the year

ProfitShares a division of Jack Henry and associates - a provider of
payment processing services was honored by Microsoft as the Windows
Azure partner of the year. This award recognizes ISVs that
incorporate Windows Azure and SQL Azure and develop flexible and
scalable solutions. The award recognized the Margin Maximizer
Interactive solution, that put together Silverlight and Windows Azure for 
loan and deposit processing.

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

A deal from Microsoft you cannot miss

Believe it or not, you can upgrade your XP, Vista or Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro for a mere 39.99. You also get Media Center thrown in. This is sweet and I am sure many will go for it. I will be getting two of them myself.

Details here,$39.99-media-center-too/

Looks like July 4 has opened up quite a few things:

(Stock)Market is up and Now this. Protection Status