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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Symantec Integrates Into VMWare

Symantec Corp. announced new solutions and technical integrations with VMware across its product portfolio to provide higher levels of protection for virtualised environments. Together, Symantec and VMware enable SMBs and enterprises to use the benefits of virtualisation without compromising protection.

IT administrators are seeking flexible solutions to help accelerate virtualisation as a first step in moving toward a cloud service delivery model. Symantec can address this transition with leading solutions now tightly integrated with VMware cloud infrastructure. As companies move business critical applications from physical to virtual, Symantec can help to:
  • Provide deeper visibility and control of virtual applications
  • Reduce impact on performance due to backup and recovery operations while increasing protection effectiveness
  • Execute high performance security and compliance trusted across virtual and cloud infrastructures
  • Improve application storage performance and availability

“Symantec and VMware are jointly innovating to help customers globally including in Malaysia accelerate the move to the cloud with confidence. Symantec’s deep integration with VMware enables companies to take advantage of the productivity of virtualisation and the cloud without compromising protection,” said Alex Ong, country director of Symantec Malaysia.

He added, “It’s important for businesses in Malaysia to make the most of their current infrastructure as IT budgets are shrinking. Fortunately, however, leveraging virtual infrastructure to enable cloud computing is possible without having to rip and replace the entire infrastructure. Symantec and VMware have teamed up to help businesses make the transition to virtualisation as smoothly as possible.”

“The integration with VMWare goes beyond simply enabling the technologies to work together. We have developed various integration levels ranging from technical API’s to best practice policy content to process workflows that automate redundant manual tasks. We’re providing these benefits in today’s most important technology areas, including storage, high availability, backup, security and compliance,” Ong said.

Bogomil Balkansky, VMware’s senior vice president, Cloud Infrastructure Products, said, “Symantec demonstrates an ongoing and consistent commitment to supporting VMware cloud infrastructure and provides valuable resources for organisations looking to expand their virtual environments and move to public, private and hybrid cloud environments. Smart integrations in security, backup and storage solutions create an opportunity for organisations to securely pursue the benefits of virtualisation and cloud computing.” Read more detailed blog post: Integration with Purpose: Symantec and VMware

Backup, Recovery and Archiving

Symantec Backup Exec and Symantec NetBackup help organisations of all sizes make the shift to virtualisation faster, easier and smoother by giving IT administrators the agility and confidence to automate further and faster. By archiving and offloading stale data, Enterprise Vault enables customers to further reduce their data center footprint and scale the applications and systems that are targeted for virtualisation.

NetBackup 7.6, scheduled to release later this year, plans to include NetBackup Accelerator now for VMware cloud infrastructure that provides up to 100 times faster backup while new NetBackup Instant Recovery for VMware cloud infrastructure will recover virtual machines 800 times faster. Planned new features for VMware vCloud Director and VMware vCenter Server will make management and automation even easier.

The Backup Exec 2012 V-Ray Edition gives virtualisation architects industry-leading Backup Exec protection technology across mixed physical and VMware environments. This unified platform consolidates backup and restore efforts, eliminating the management problems inherent to point solutions.

Enterprise Vault, which is VMware Ready certified, helps customers scale their physical and virtual environments by managing and migrating old and stale data into the archive and reclaiming primary storage capacity. Enterprise Vault can be virtualised and is optimised for VMware vSphere and VMware View, providing seamless interoperability within a virtualised infrastructure.

As virtualisation evolves to private clouds and customers begin adopting a multi-hypervisor strategy, IT organisations can no longer rely on point products to meet their data protection needs. “Organisations small and large need a holistic protection strategy, a single platform or solution, to handle the variety of data types and workloads as opposed to integrating a number of disparate point solutions, which proves to be costly and time consuming,” said Dave Russell, vice president of Storage Technologies and Strategies, Gartner.

Security and Compliance

By closely integrating with VMware cloud infrastructure, Symantec security solutions enable joint customers to efficiently protect their virtual and cloud infrastructure and business-critical applications with data loss prevention, IT risk and compliance, improved threat monitoring and intelligence and optimised protection of virtualised endpoints and data centers.

To protect virtual data centers against advanced threats, Symantec Critical System Protection now supports VMware vSphere 5 with granular, policy-based controls to protect and monitor the hypervisor, guest virtual machines and VMware vCenter Server. The solution enables organisations to identify server compliance violations and suspicious activity in real-time, limit administrative control, restrict network communications and prevent file and configuration tampering of the virtual infrastructure, all as recommended in the VMware Hardening Guidelines. To reduce both compliance and security risk, Symantec Control Compliance Suite allows users to automate their compliance assessment and reporting processes, enabling them to identify risk and prioritise remediation activities across both physical and virtual infrastructure. Symantec Security Information Manager (SSIM) and Symantec's Managed Security Service (MSS) both leverage the VMware vShield log management collector to augment an organisation’s ability to identify and respond to security threats that impact business critical applications across both their physical and virtual infrastructures.

Symantec also has an active beta program underway to finalise new features for Symantec Endpoint Protection 12 which includes VMware vShield Endpoint integration to deliver additional deployment options for improved performance. The upcoming release will offload critical security analysis from protected virtual machines to a dedicated security virtual appliance resulting in optimised scan performance, reduced resource utilisation, and increased management visibility.

Blue Coat Names Dr. Hugh Thompson as SVP and Chief Security Strategist

Blue Coat Systems, Inc., a leading provider of Web security and WAN optimization solutions, today announced that it has named Dr. Hugh Thompson as senior vice president and chief security strategist. Dr. Thompson is a luminary in the security industry and has co-authored three books and more than 80 academic and industry publications on information security. In his new role, he will focus on aligning Blue Coat’s vision and product implementation to market requirements. Dr. Thompson will report to President and Chief Operating Officer David Murphy.

Dr. Thompson is a leading force in the information security industry. In addition to delivering keynotes at some of the security industry’s largest events, he is a prolific writer and commentator on IT security. He also sits on the Editorial Board of IEEE Security and Privacy Magazine.

Blue Coat Unified Security solutions combine Global Threat Protection, Universal Policy and Unified Reporting to consistently secure users as they move across networks and devices. Blue Coat is the market leader in web security. Eighty-five percent of FORTUNE Global 500 companies rely on Blue Coat to secure their users and look to the company for continued innovation in web security.

Dr. Thompson holds a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the Florida Institute of Technology. For the past four years he has been an adjunct professor at Columbia University, where he teaches a graduate course that explores cutting edge techniques for secure software development and software vulnerability exploitation.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ChopChop - Digital Loyalty Card

ChopChop was founded by a team of 3 people. They refer themselves not as 3 musketeers but rather 2 hackers and 1 hustler.

Like some other digital loyalty card companies out there, ChopChop envisions to revolutionalise the digital wallet market as long term strategy. Currently, the system supports digitised loyalty cards and vouchers.

Digital loyalty card has many benefits out of which it allows better management of customer loyalty for both end users and retailers. End users get to collect reward points from their smartphones directly (by scanning QR codes) and it comes with all sort of functions such as reminder functions for points expiry and unredeemed rewards.

For retailers, with a budget of only RM 200 per month per outlet, they get to enjoy computerisation of loyalty system by having full control, real time monitoring, customer relationship management, ad-hoc loyalty policy changes and analytics.

Up to date, it has signed up with about 40 + retailers in Klang valley. These retailers are mostly F & B and Cafes.

For retailers who signed up, they are also entitled for marketing services which include facebook marketing.

The smartphone app is available for Apple iOS, Android and Blackberry platforms - it is free for end users. It is very simple to use, just follow these steps as explained in this link.

"We are in the game of customer loyalty and retention vs customer acquisition" says Aaron Hee co-founder of ChopChop. Aaron feels that the trend now is on group-buying and customer loyalty. Retailers must know its customer well in order to create returning customers because based on statistic, regular customers form the majority of profit. And according to the Gartner Group, 80% of your future profit is driven by 20% of existing customers.

In other words, customer loyalty and retention is an equally important element if not more than customer acquisition and both should be carried out at the same time. According to Aaron, implementing customer loyalty system is a must for businesses especially in the retail industry.

Aaron was inspired by Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) in journey of becoming an entrepreneur. Hoffman once said that to change the world, wealth isn't necessary, what is important is the the will to succeed and passion.

Being the hustler in the team, he once considered outsource the technical part of the system even it was against his principle. Eventually, he met the two software engineers during one WebCamp session and they hit it well. Soon afterwards, ChopChop was launched on part time effort until mid-April which they went full time.

"We had more than 2,000 users in a month right after we quit, validating the need for our product." says Aaron.

ChopChop was an effort of bootstrapping all the way and it was self funded initially and finally merchant-funded.

To date, they are planning to have footprints in Singapore and Indonesia, thanks to growing interests from those places.

Personally, I feel that digital loyalty system is must too, coupled with the fact that the trend is now on SaaS and smartphones. The Apple vs Samsung court case alone is US$1 billion in damages for patent infringement, not including anything else.

Social media trend is an equal defining force in the industry, especially on retail, A & P industry.

But competition remains high especially in the Klang Valley region. To level the game well, SaaS providers must learn the art of integrating well with other systems as well as create synergies with collaborators and channels.

The survivability of a system is always a balance between users and maintainability, failing either one will not bring about equilibrium.

FalconStor Enables Automated Service-Oriented Disaster Recovery for Any Environment

FalconStor Software, Inc., a market leader in disk-based data protection, today announced the latest version of RecoverTrac™ technology, offering customers fully automated recovery of complete IT services in any data center environment. Key enhancements in RecoverTrac 2.5 enable lightning fast recovery in mixed physical and virtual environments, failover and failback between dissimilar hardware and non-disruptive disaster recovery (DR) testing. As a standard feature of FalconStor® Continuous Data Protector (CDP) and FalconStor® Network Storage Server (NSS) solutions, the RecoverTrac DR automation tool allows customers to protect critical business services and recover these services in minutes.

“The rapidly rising demand for cloud computing, virtualization and big data have added new levels of complexity to IT infrastructures; these trends require organizations to rethink how they plan, test and execute DR strategies to meet high service level expectations,” said Suresh Nair, general manager and vice president of sales and marketing for FalconStor in the Asia Pacific region. “The RecoverTrac 2.5 tool provides one central management platform for IT administrators to define all recovery tasks, fully automate time-consuming manual processes, and initiate automatic, one-click DR testing without disrupting data center operations. RecoverTrac 2.5 technology recovers multiple servers and applications simultaneously, performing failover/failback between any combination of physical and virtual machines – dramatically eliminating the complexities of DR and reducing reliance on personnel.”

IT managers need to manage and protect mixed environments composed of physical and virtual assets and equipment from multiple vendors. RecoverTrac 2.5 technology is optimized for today’s heterogeneous data centers with enhancements that increase the speed and flexibility of DR automation:
  • Lightning fast recovery: Performance improvements and the ability to recover multiple machines simultaneously return organizations to full productivity in minutes.
  • Any-to-any recovery: Integration with VMware and Hyper-V and support for hardware templates enables failover and failback between any combination of physical and virtual servers and between dissimilar hardware.
  • Greater VMware support: VMware vSphere 5 and VMware cluster support enables load balancing and high-availability configurations.
  • Automated push-button DR rehearsal: Allows busy IT managers to test and refine recovery processes on a regular basis without disrupting business operations.

“IT resilience and data protection are key elements to a company’s success,” said John Morency, research vice president at Gartner. “Businesses must be able to recover quickly following a disruptive event, whether it is a lost file or the failure of a complex application or service. In failing to execute well tested disaster recovery, companies face the prospect of significant downtime, diminished employee productivity and lost revenue. Failover/failback automation ensures that IT managers can deploy and test DR processes far more efficiently and effectively – resulting in a significant reduction of the business impact of planned downtime.”

“The FalconStor CDP data protection solution enables server recovery after SAN storage failure and backup site recovery in the event of a natural disaster. Server recovery with FalconStor CDP is dramatically faster and easier compared to traditional backup methods,” said You Ootagaki, general manager and head of information technology at Nissay Asset Management. “Even if it were possible for an IT manager to be the first one to arrive at the scene to initiate recovery processes in an emergency, there would not be enough time to manage the task for a large number of servers. This is why FalconStor’s RecoverTrac automated disaster recovery tool is so important. With its sophisticated DR automation capabilities, RecoverTrac technology reassures me that FalconStor CDP’s high performance backup and recovery will be fast and efficient even in a true disaster scenario.”

“Panasonic Solution Technologies welcomes FalconStor’s RecoverTrac 2.5 automated DR tool with its new features and enhanced functions,” said Takashi Fukuchi, president of Panasonic Solution Technologies Co., Ltd. “We consider FalconStor’s data protection software the core technology in our business continuity offering area, and it plays a critical role in the IT-BCP solutions we provide our customers. We can now deliver more flexible business continuity offerings, as the new version of RecoverTrac enables faster system recovery with a variety of options in any mixture of physical/virtual environments.”

Availability and pricing

FalconStor RecoverTrac is available immediately as a standard feature of FalconStor CDP and FalconStor NSS.

Suresh Nair General Manager and VP of Sales and Marketing FalconStor Software, APAC.

Suresh Nair directs FalconStor’s sales operations through the Asia Pacific region, driving sales and furthering the company’s market penetration and leadership. Nair has extensive storage sales experience, most recently as regional sales director for EMC’s unified storage business in Asia Pacific and Japan. Prior to EMC, Nair was regional director of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for NetApp, Inc., regional sales director for ASEAN/India at McData Corporation, and regional business director in Asia Pacific for Hewlett Packard. Nair holds a bachelor’s degree in information technology from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Infocomm Technology Roadmap Symposium 2012

The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore held a Symposium on 17 Aug 2012 to facilitate discussion of the technologies and the innovation opportunities outlined in the Infocomm Technology Roadmap (ITR) 2012.

The Infocomm Technology Roadmap (ITR) is a co-creation process involving many people, including colleagues from the government sector, leaders in the private industry and the broader community.

It hopes to tap on the invaluable industry insights, experiences and feedback from the community to improve the roadmap and develop a shared technology vision.

IDA has identified 9 key technological trends which are expected to impact the adoption of Infocomm Technology over the next 3 to 5 years. The last ITR established was in year 2005.

The 9 key technological trends are:
  1. Big data
  2. Cloud computing
  3. Cyber security
  4. ICT and sustainability
  5. Comms of the future
  6. Social media
  7. New digital economy

The IDA is similar to MDeC and MCMC of Malaysia, responsible for the development and growth of the infocomm sector in Singapore. IDA functions as the country's infocomm industry champion, the national infocomm master-planner and developer, and the Government Chief Information Officer (CIO).

The symposium was fun. I went there as a delegate. It had invited great speakers from all around the world who are experts in their respective discipline (all computer science related).

In my earlier posting, I have mentioned that by the time the generation of my parents had passed on, everybody would understand computer science. That time will probably come in another 50 years plus minus. In fact the generation Y and Z are already having the world population of 31% to 51%. This is reassured by Mr. Cort Isernhagen, VP IDC Insights - International who stressed that these are the new customers that we should worry about, these are the tech savvy who grew up with computers.

Isernhagen believes that survivability of systems is about getting more users to use it. I strongly agree with this. A system has no value if it is without two factors:

  1. Users
  2. Continuous maintenance

Let's take a good example. Windows XP which Microsoft has stopped development after service pack 3. On April 8, 2014, all support for Windows XP, including security updates and hotfixes, will be terminated. Users will still be able to download old updates and hotfixes from Windows Update. Microsoft recommends that users upgrade to Windows 7.

In fact, despite being the best selling Windows operating system in the history, nobody really care much now. Updates are available for even pirated installation.

It is always good to move on.

Thus, Isernhagen explained that this ITR is a good guide to ensure longevity of any system if you care enough to maintain it.

"The world must start producing sufficiently for the many in order to embrace sustainability" says Dr. Peter Cochrane, Founder of Cochrane Associates.

Dr. Cochrane was stressing a point of sustainability where he went on to remark that when individuals make decision to buy something for themselves, they think long and wide, on every aspect such as will it break down in 5 years ???

However, he found that majority of organisations are lacking such sustainability ethic when it comes to making decision for procurement. The only ethic is usually costs-related. This resulted in capitalism grew out of control and jeopardises sustainability of human being.

The world must think about better process and technology on moving food to waste and then back to food again as a closed-loop cycle and efficiently.

Cochrane believes that the future should be about nano-tech combine with bio-tech combine with IT and A.I. Everything we do will demand greater embedded intelligence - having intelligence in cars, food, tools, offices, homes, clothing, appliances and etc.

Chochrane thinks that data should understand data, that meta data will be the key.

The most interesting idea come from Mr. Bo Parker, Managing Director, Centre of Technology & Innovation PWC who talked about new digital economy.

I was kind of dissappointed initially because it didn't address how people should make money when there are going to be less job for human. What is the workable digital economy anyway ?

Nonetheless, Mr. Parker did talk about what should be happening now and in near future, that is systems talking to systems via APIs. And such integration should be highly scalable and has no issue with performance.

This is also similar to what MDeC is talking about solution stacking in Malaysia.

This is not really profitable in terms of business, but like Mr. Parker put it, it is inevitable because the world simply has too many choices of computer systems for users to choose from - consumers have enough variety to choose from. More importantly,  there is just not enough time to innovate everything while hoping that there is not going to be any competitor coming into the marketplace tomorrow - market dynamism is an every second headache.

"The cloud is going to replace Moore's law" says Dr. Norman Nie, Senior Advisor for Products and Strategy, Revolutionary Analytics.

In fact, this is true as some physicists believe that Moore's Law will come to an end soon where semiconductor up to the smallest scale will simply invite instability. In other words, there has got to be a limit and when it happens, people will stop buying new hardware more frequently as in now - to own computer with faster speed.

I feel that Singapore is trying to buy time. All these trends are actually not new, in fact it is the same everywhere and Malaysia too - no difference at all. Singapore has no competitor, its economy is doing well and there is no need to think-out-of-the-box to become different. The ITR 2012 will help with having a proper direction for the country and businesses but it shouldn't matter a lot because ultimately the ICT world is pretty much a free market ruled by trends.

Take a look at the preview of the ITR 2012. The final report will be published in November 2012. 

Top Web Sites Worldwide (According to hits)

If you are into advertising, there is a need to know what's hot out there.

One avenue to research is through buysellads.com; wholesaler of advertising space for web sites.

It will amaze you how hotties generated traffics and how much they craze for advertising fees.

Examples.


1.) Logopond

Logopond showcases the best in identity work from around the web. Logo artist from all development stages and areas of the world frequent this site.
  • 650,000 monthly visits
  • 8,225,000 monthly expressions

2.) SpyreStudios

SpyreStudios is an online magazine about web-design & development and the myriads of other topics that fall in between. This site is a fast growing resource for designers, artists, developers and bloggers alike, the audience is very internet savvy. SpyreStudios receives consistent traffic from search engines as well as social media sites and direct traffic (we are also part of the SmashingMagazine network). Most of our visitors are from the US, Canada and Europe. With over 15K RSS subscribers, advertising with us means putting your brand, services and products in front of quite a lot of eyeballs. Now the next step would be to click that 'add to cart' button and try us out for a couple months :)
  • 280,000 monthly visits
  • 350,000 monthly expressions

3.) RaiYai

RaiYai - The ultimate travel and lifestyle guide for Thailand.
  • 20,000 monthly visits
  • 20,000 monthly expressions

Categories of buysellads.com
  • Small Publishers - anything impressions
  • Medium Publishers - 100,000 to 10 million impressions
  • Large Publishers - 10 + million to 20 million impressions
  • Media Companies - 20 + million to 100 million impressions

Saturday, August 25, 2012

MSC Companies Infotech Cluster (How Things Work ?)

In 2011, under the leadership of MDeC, Infotech ( Information Technology) cluster under the MSC Malaysia umbrella contributed to the biggest revenue for Malaysia's digital economy and is the biggest job contributor. Refer more on Malaysia Technology News.

Infotech led the Global Sourcing and Creative Multimedia clusters to grow 22-percent from 2010 to RM15.36 billion in 2011. Of the 7602 new jobs created, 4030 were from the Infotech cluster as well.

The Infotech cluster is one of the three clusters under the MSC Status initiative. The other two clusters are global sourcing and creative multimedia.

Basically what infotech means is companies which belong to this cluster perform R & D and create solutions. Global sourcing means the company performs shared services and creative multimedia means the company is involved with creative products such as multimedia content like animation, games and etc.

The reason behind the success of infotech cluster can be attributed to an initiative known as 'solution stacking'. Basically what it means is that companies with different products try to stack together to deliver a common solution for a customer such as AirAsia and etc.

Solution stacking not only ensures that everybody can contribute its best solution but also it can encourage customers to get involved (more) with design and customisation of the solutions simply because less time is going to be spent on the coding stage.

For example, let's say a project with 10 modules has a duration of 6 months. And usually customers will only be involved heavily during design and planning stage. If the project is awarded to only one particular Infotech company, then this company has to churn out 10 modules in 6 months from design to coding to maintenance in an agile manner. When this occurs, the Infotech company will only probably only allocate 30% of the time for design and planning, 50% for coding and 20% for testing and commissioning. Thus, customers are only involved with 30% of the project (in the design and planning stage).

Coming back to solution stacking, this project can then be awarded to 10 different Infotech companies, each will contribute their best ability to a module only. When such is possible, there is no need to spend 50% of the 6 months on coding stage anymore, because most of the codes could have been ready and thus more time can be allocated for design and planning. This is how it works.

MDeC explains that their turf is up to the Malaysian shore only whereby it is hard for them to exert influences on Malaysian based MNCs because procurement decision is usually done offshore. Therefore, MDeC would most of the time, get Infotech companies to work with Malaysian PLC, GLC or public sector.

MDeC is expected to focus on cooking up the industry for embedded system next.

Watch out for MDeC.

Cyber-threats set to become number one business risk

Cyber-threats are predicted to be to be the number one risk to businesses within the next two years, according to the latest survey from B2B International in conjunction with Kaspersky Lab. The survey, involving over 3,300 IT specialists in 22 countries worldwide, found that cyber-threats were viewed as second only to economic uncertainty in terms of current business risk with the gap quickly closing.

Other IT security risks identified as amongst the top three concerns of organizations surveyed included the theft of intellectual property (cited by 31% of participants) fraud (26%) and industrial espionage (24%).

Although such threats existed long before malware emerged, data theft, fraud and industrial spying are all now typically conducted through cyber-attacks. The picture painted is of an environment under siege, with an alarming 41% of businesses acknowledging themselves less than ready to face cyber-threats.

For companies, effective protection from current levels of cybercrime means implementing unified security policies across the organization, as well as building a comprehensive system for the entire IT infrastructure.

Kaspersky Lab can provide this level of cyber-security through a range of effective business solutions to ensure the security of important network nodes (file and mail servers) and workstations running under Windows, Linux or MacOSX. Protecting data on smartphones connected to corporate networks is also critical and is accomplished by Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Smartphone . Managing the entire IT security infrastructure is handled through a single console provided by Kaspersky Security Center.

The effectiveness of Kaspersky Lab’s solutions in combating cybercrime is widely known. To learn more about our clients’ success stories, visit the dedicated section of the “Be Ready for What’s Next” portal.

The full report on B2B International’s July 2012 survey results.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

EnSurvey is an Online Survey Community

EnSurvey is a startup providing online survey.

How it works is companies who wanted to perform survey can do it immediately by launching a survey from EnSurvey.

It is hooked up to the vast network of Facebook (10,000 respondents) and it has the ability to deliver fast real-time report.

It is highly affordable where one can start a survey with as low as MYR 8.00 per response.

Each survey can be customised according to demographic criteria and private groups.

To get started, login normally with your Facebook account or sign up directly, and activate your account to become a surveyor. For more information.

Sample surveys

Majority believe to be able to find jobs within a month Majority do not agree to eating shark fin during wedding


Check out more surveys.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Silver Peak Unveils First Point-and-Click Solution for Accelerating Virtual Workloads over Distance

Silver Peak Systems, the leader in accelerating data over distance, introduced the first point-and-click solution for accelerating individual workloads directly from VMware vCenter and other virtual infrastructure management consoles. This is part of Silver Peak’s new “Agility” technology initiative that focuses on improving the application owner’s experience through software-defined virtual workload acceleration. Silver Peak Agility is putting unprecedented control in the hands of virtualization experts, enabling them to maximize the performance of individual workloads in a fast, easy and highly-efficient manner.

When enterprises extend workloads beyond a single data center they must contend with the adverse effects of latency, congestion, and limited network capacity—all of which can significantly impair application performance over distance. Silver Peak Virtual Acceleration Open Architecture (VXOA) software solves these challenges. With Agility, VXOA is deployed and managed from within the virtualization domain, using common management platforms like VMware vCenter. As a result, little or no networking expertise is required, making it easier than ever before to accelerate any application or workload in a virtual environment. This saves companies time and money by allowing virtual administrators to easily provision, manage, and control the acceleration of individual workloads from the same interface they are already comfortable using on a daily basis.

“Applications and data can shift from server to server, data center to data center, and private cloud to public cloud [in today’s virtual enterprise], and application developers and hypervisor administrators procure most of the virtualized firewalls, WAN optimization controllers, and application delivery controllers for their infrastructures,” said Andre Kindness, senior infrastructure and operations analyst for Forrester Research, Inc., in the July 2012 report entitled “Networking Predictions for 2013.”

Silver Peak Agility is beneficial for accelerating managed service provider (MSP) and cloud deployments. In both these scenarios, customers typically do not have access to the physical network devices owned by the service provider. Silver Peak Agility takes away the network-based deployment and configuration requirements, simplifies management, and allows the cloud or MSP manager to easily scale from a few applications to thousands of applications from the virtualization infrastructure management console.

“Virtualization enables WAN optimization technology to be consumed by users beyond the traditional networking audience and without disruption of the network,” said David Hughes, founder and CTO of Silver Peak. “Our software-defined approach to acceleration allows any networking, storage, server, and compute administrator to quickly and easily accelerate any application over distance using the tools with which they are the most comfortable.”

Availability

All of Silver Peak’s software-based WAN optimization products are available today as free self-service trials from the Silver Peak Virtual Marketplace: www.silver-peak.com/marketplace. Silver Peak Agility will be available as a plug-in to third-party virtualization management tools, such as VMware vCenter. Timing is dependent upon availability of the various virtual switch vendors’ integration capabilities, with Silver Peak’s first Agility product expected before the end of 2012.

Groupon Malaysia Collaborates with Tripadvisor

Groupon Malaysia, leading group buying site in Malaysia and TripAdvisor™, the world’s largest travel site have inked a partnership to give customers who shop for travel deals through Groupon Getaways, Malaysia access to fresh traveller content.

As part of the partnership, travel deals featured daily on Groupon Getaways, Malaysia will display TripAdvisor ratings, reviews and opinions. Additionally, Groupon Getaways Guide will feature the TripAdvisor "Best of" Destination widget that displays a map, the best traveller photos as well as the chosen destinations’ top attractions and restaurants as recommended by TripAdvisor travellers.

“This partnership is yet another milestone for Groupon Malaysia as we are now able to help over 1.7 million Groupon subscribers find the best travel deal based on TripAdvisor traveller reviews and opinions,” said Joel Neoh, Vice President and General Manager for Groupon Southeast Asia and India.

TripAdvisor Traveller Rating

“Our partnership with TripAdvisor is another way to thank our customers for their outstanding support and an innovative way to continuously provide amazing experiences to Malaysians while they explore new horizons with the same level of trust and confidence. Groupon Malaysia will continue to develop new partnerships and working relationships to provide customers throughout Malaysia with not only the best value, but also the best experiences possible. The Groupon Experience,” Joel added.

Commenting on the partnership, Aaron Hung, Director of APAC Partnerships for TripAdvisor said, “We are thrilled with this collaboration as it demonstrates Groupon

Malaysia’s desire to embrace trusted traveller reviews and enable its customers to make better informed decisions based on the insights and ratings of TripAdvisor's global community of travellers.”

Launched on July 2011, Groupon Getaways is a speciality travel deals site which provides customers with the best holiday deals including unbeatable rates on flights, hotels and cruises throughout Asia. With over 100,000 travel packages sold since its launch in July 2012, Groupon Getaways has quickly grown to become a leading online travel planning marketing platform to introduce customers to new destination.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sourcefire Introduces “Chalk Talks” Series of Educational Cybersecurity videos

Sourcefire, Inc., a leader in intelligent cybersecurity solutions, today announces the availability of Sourcefire Chalk Talks, a complementary collection of informative cybersecurity videos for IT practitioners and general public references.

The ongoing series will provide viewers with deeper, unbiased knowledge on essential cybersecurity topics, initially focusing on malware and network security.

The initial content creation for the video series is spearheaded by Sourcefire’s chief scientist in its cloud technology group, Zulfikar Ramzan.

According to Sourcefire Malaysia’s Country Manager, Ivan Wen that there is a gulf has developed between cybersecurity threats, which are increasing in sophistication, and the general public's limited perception of these threats.

“For this reason, Sourcefire developed Chalk Talks as a resource to bolster broader understanding of network security, malware and endpoint security, and cybersecurity in general.”

The Introduction of Sourcefire Chalk Talks

Introductory topics for the conversational “chalk talk” style videos include fundamentals of network security technologies such as firewalls and intrusion prevention, malware behaviors and protection techniques and “case-study” looks at prominent malware and advanced persistent threats.

New content will be added regularly to expose viewers to an even wider variety of cybersecurity material.

Videos are intended to be of utility to a broad audience, ranging from students interested in supplementing course work to IT and network security specialists looking to further understand pressing topics and trends to anyone interested in learning more about cybersecurity.

Beyond our Chalk Talks series, Sourcefire offers extensive formal education programs for security professionals around the world. Sourcefire training courses, whether computer-based or onsite and instructor-led, reduce deployment costs and maintenance while encouraging employee development.

Sourcefire training qualifies for CCSP and CISSP continuing professional education (CPE) credits. For more information see http://www.sourcefire.com/services.

To view Sourcefire Chalk Talks, go to: sourcefire.com/chalktalks.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Symantec Security Response - New Targeted Attacks Aims to Destroy Rather than Steal

Dubbed The Shamoon Attacks, W32.Disttrack is a new threat that is being used in specific targeted attacks against at least one organization in the energy sector. It is a destructive malware that corrupts files on a compromised computer and overwrites the MBR (Master Boot Record) in an effort to render a computer unusable.

W32.Disttrack consists of several components:

  1. Dropper—the main component and source of the original infection. It drops a number of other modules.
  2. Wiper—this module is responsible for the destructive functionality of the threat.
  3. Reporter—this module is responsible for reporting infection information back to the attacker.

Threats with such destructive payloads are unusual and are not typical of targeted attacks. Symantec Security Response is continuing to analyze this threat and will post more information as it becomes available. Symantec customers are protected from this threat, which our security products detect as W32.Disttrack.

The malware also has a suicide function that results in the malware removing itself after it has accomplished its purpose.

More details.

Kaspersky Lab Invites contributors to Help solve the Mystery of Gauss’s Encrypted Payload

Kaspersky Lab recently announced the discovery of Gauss , a complex, nation-state sponsored cyber-espionage toolkit. Gauss contains many info-stealing capabilities, with a specific focus on browser passwords, online banking account credentials, and system configurations of infected machines. Kaspersky Lab’s experts discovered Gauss by identifying the commonalities the malicious program shares with Flame. Since late May 2012, more than 2,500 infections have been recorded by Kaspersky Lab’s cloud-based security system, with the majority of infections found in the Middle East.

Kaspersky Lab’s experts published a research paper about Gauss that analyzed its primary functions and characteristics, in addition to its architecture, the malware’s unique modules, communication methods, and its infection statistics. However, several mysteries and unanswered questions about Gauss still remain. One of the most intriguing aspects is related to Gauss’s encrypted payload.

The encrypted payload is located in Gauss’s USB data-stealing modules and is designed to surgically target a certain system (or systems) which have a specific program installed. Once an infected USB stick is plugged into a vulnerable computer, the malware is executed and tries to decrypt the payload by creating a key to unlock it. The key is derived from specific system configurations on the machine. For instance, it includes the name of a folder in Program Files which must have its first character written into an extended character set such as Arabic or Hebrew. If the malware identifies the appropriate system configurations, it will successfully unlock and execute the payload.

“The purpose and functions of the encrypted payload currently remain a mystery,” said Aleks Gostev, Chief Security Expert, Global Research and Analysis Team, Kaspersky Lab. “The use of cryptography and the precautions the authors have used to hide this payload indicate its targets are high profile. The size of the payload is also a concern. It’s big enough to contain coding that could be used for cyber-sabotage, similar to Stuxnet’s SCADA code. Decrypting the payload will provide a better understanding of its overall objective and the nature of this threat.”

Kaspersky Lab would like to invite anyone with an interest in cryptography, reverse engineering or mathematics to help find the decryption keys and unlock the hidden payload.

More details and a technical description of the problem are available in our blogpost at Securelist.com

Friday, August 17, 2012

‘Buffet’ a Top Search Trend During Ramadhan

The weeks leading up to Ramadhan had Malaysians searching on their desktops, mobile phones and tablets for many things related to the holy month and the upcoming Hari Raya celebration.

So, what was trending on Google Search during this time.

On google.com.my, Malaysians searched using the term 'buffet' during Ramadhan more than at any other time of the year. No other period gets more searches using that term than during this period.

Searches for the term ‘buffet’ increased by 64% from 2009 - 2012 (2012 being partial results), showing that Malaysians are more interested in buffets than any other type of dining styles during this period.

Interestingly, searches for the term ‘Ramadhan buffet’ also increased by a whopping 164% (2012 being partial results) from 2009 - 2012. This confirms that it is particularly the ‘Ramadhan buffet’ that is the crowd draw year-after-year with a large number of Malaysians searching for information on where to break their fast; with restaurants presumably drawing the largest number of customers to their buffet promotions than at any other time of the year.

Using Google’s Insights for Search free tool that helps to provide better insight into online consumer search behaviour, we also compared ‘hotel buffet’ and ‘Ramadhan buffet’ to see which search phrase was more popular over time.

As it turns out, search interest in 'Ramadhan buffet' was 120% higher than 'hotel buffet' between 2009-2012 (taking the highest peak from each term). In other words, consumer searches for ‘Ramadhan buffet’ during the Ramadhan period is 2.2 times higher than ‘hotel buffet’.

This is most relevant for example for hotels and restaurants, as they can be comfortable skewing their online and offline marketing efforts towards those consumers who are mainly searching for ‘Ramadhan buffet’ during this time.

“Businesses and marketers can now predict future trends that are resonating with their target audience, focus their marketing campaigns and also monitor the impact of their marketing efforts,” said Sajith Sivanandan, Google Malaysia’s country manager. “Based on search trends, businesses can actively target customers at the right time when the customers are actively searching online and are seeking to make a purchase.”

For businesses and marketers, this means the ability to test their products and services to reach audiences with relevant messages, identify emerging trends and discover opportunities, anticipate demand and seasonality, understand geographic distribution and optimise campaigns or keyword development.

Note: The numbers on the graph reflect how many searches have been done for a particular term relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. They do not represent absolute search volume numbers, because the data is normalised and presented on a scale from 0-100.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Oracle ThinkQuest Competition 2012: Malaysian Team wins Trip to San Francisco!

Oracle, the world leading IT solution provider for information management, today proudly announces three Malaysian teams’ win at its recent ThinkQuest competition 2012.

One of the Malaysian teams – made up of three primary students, won an exclusive trip to attend ThinkQuest Live, an inspirational awards event which is to be held at San Francisco Bay Area.

ThinkQuest Competition

The Oracle ThinkQuest Competition is a global competition sponsored by the Oracle Education Foundation (OEF) which aims to challenge students to solve a real problem using their critical thinking, communication and technology skills.;

Competing teams were given approximately eight months to define a problem and present their solution using a variety of technologies – including interactive applications, online games, websites, photo essays, online journals/blogs, animations, and videos.

An international panel of volunteer judges reviewed the entries and selected 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners within three age divisions for each event.

The winning teams were selected from among 5,624 teams. Countries represented by winners include Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Great Britain, Greece, India, Malaysia, Puerto Rico, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the United States.

Prizes for the winners include laptop computers, school grants, and a trip to ThinkQuest Live, the inspirational awards event in the San Francisco Bay Area.

This year, the Oracle Thinkquest competition saw more than 51,000 participants from 59 countries taking part.

Managing Director of Oracle Corporation Malaysia, Jimmy Cheah says, “We are honored to recognize the outstanding achievements of the Malaysia students who participated in this year’s competition.”

Outstanding Local Performances

Malaysia garnered two wins from the ThinkQuest Projects Category, a 2nd place in the ’12 and under’ division, 3rd place in the ‘19 and under’ division, and a 3rd place win from the ‘Application Development’ category.

The 2nd place winning team for the ’12 and under’ division, formed by Ainina, Liyana, and Farah from Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Jasin Malacca for their entry “Entrepreneurial Kids”.

Team coach En. Hasan Haniff of SK Jasin Malacca shares that the team created a project to raise children’s interest in setting up their own businesses. “The ‘Entrepreneurial Kids’ team created a simple but realistic business plan and shared it through an online workshop to teach other students how to start their own business and share what they had learned.”

The 3rd place win under the ThinkQuest Projects Category was by Sekolah Tun Datu Tuanku Haji Bujang with the participation of Jiji, Lene, Byo, Aqil, Dydy as a team members.

Their coach, Sawaran Jit Kaur, shares that the students were excited to take part in the competition, collborate and share their knowledge about turning waste into a usable resource - fertilizer - with others. “While creating “Make Garbage Enzyme Our Hero: Use Garbage Enzyme,” the team also honed their technology skills to communicate their findings via the Internet and Web-based channels.”

“The ThinkQuest Competition helps students develop skills that are required for life and work in the 21st century, while helping to awaken students’ interest in technology,” ends Cheah.

A full list of winning entries can be viewed at www.thinkquest.org.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

SEEBURGER Sets Up ASEAN’s Regional Headquarter in Malaysia

SEEBURGER, a leading global business integration and enterprise class Managed File Transfer (MFT) solutions provider, today announces the set up of its official presence in Malaysia as its first ASEAN’s representative office as the base to drive its strategic expansion into the region.

Founded in Bretten, Germany in 1986, SEEBURGER is a leading ICT brand known for its world-class business integration solutions that ranges from managing data communications, to providing seamless data sharing integration support between internal and external channels of mid- to large-sized enterprises.

SEEBURGER’s APAC, Regional Director, James Hatcher, shares that the company will be embarking on a proactive go-to-market campaign to introduce the company – which is still relatively unknown in the region, outside the specialty market of business-platform data integration IT solutioning.

Leveraging Malaysia’s Regional Lead in Data Security Compliance

The highlight technology from SEEEBURGER is known as Managed File Transfer (‘MFT’).

(L-R)Soon Koi Voon - Sales Director of Seeburger, South East Asia,Steven Lim – CEO of Time Engineering Berhad,James Hatcher - Regional Director of Seeburger APAC, Alex Wee – Managing Director of Datamation (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

In the recent months, the MFT market has grown rapidly as enterprises increasingly seek a single unified solution to manage the increasingly complicated problem of moving mass enterprise application data efficiently across the enterprise, WAN (wide area network), via the Internet, to partners, suppliers and service providers’ networks.

Malaysia in particular, stands out as the ideal market hub for SEEBURGER to launch its ASEAN expansion for several reasons:-

“Malaysia shows its leadership in the area of data security with its impending Info Security Management System Certification enforcement, expected in 2013.”

“We believe that as the country’s cybersecurity baseline for the Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) sectors in Malaysia, this government-lead compliance initiative will be an important impetus for organizations to look into their info-security systems – and this is why business integration and MFT comes right into the picture,” says Hatcher.

SEEBURGER foresees more local organizations moving to implement more secure and efficient managed file transfer systems to comply with the country’s latest data security and governance policy.

The selection of Malaysia as SEEBURGER’s regional ASEAN hub also took into the considerations of operational costs, central geographic location and the local ICT market’s maturity and local potential.

SAP and Local Partners

At a global level, SEEBURGER is a long-established and recognized SAP certified partner. This trusted relationship can now extend to SAP customers in Malaysia, and ASEAN, which need to achieve exponential efficiencies with their enterprise software investments.

On the German company’s business model, Hatcher says that the focus to extend SEEBURGER’s reach into the ASEAN markets will be via strategic collaboration with select local ICT partners of the respective countries.

“In Malaysia, the SEEBURGER local partners are Time Engineering Berhad and Datamation (M) Sdn Bhd – both of which will concentrate on providing SEEBURGER’s flagship Business Integration Suite (BIS) to the local industries,” says Hatcher.

In penetrating the ASEAN market, SEEBURGER is well-positioned to stay in the forefront of the competition and to capitalize on the expanding size of focus industries that include the manufacturing, telecommunications, healthcare, retail, commercial, financial services, and public sector.

Today, SEEBURGER has over 8,800 customers in 15 industries in more than 50 countries, which include globally recognized brands such as Siemens, Bosch, Osram, Volkswagen and many more.

SEEBURGER’s Managed File Transfer

On the market’s demand for SEEBURGER’s MFT solution, Hatcher shares, “One of the largest drivers of MFT growth is due to File Transfer Protocol (FTP) – which is no longer a viable option to manage the transfer of “big data” which is basically any large company files, data or reports that need to be sent securely. ”

For large batch files and individual data transfer, organizations are required to assure that the handling of information is meeting corporate policy compliance, security and regulatory requirements. In particular for the financial, healthcare and government sectors are all seeing an increased need for a solution that is able to maintain the confidentiality of critical information.

“MFT fills the gap here. It provides visibility and validation of file transfer through dashboards, reporting, real-time updates on data transfer and audit trails,” ends Hatcher.

Using Mobile Device Management Solution To Embrace BYOD

Sophos announced the latest version of its mobile device management (MDM) solution, Sophos Mobile Control 2.5. With an updated web-based administrative console and extensive new feature set, the latest version provides a simple way to bring BYOD into the enterprise—quickly, safely and securely, all while reducing the reliance upon IT.

The Growing Issues and Opportunities of BYOD (and BYOT)

Businesses of all sizes are embracing the use of personal devices on their corporate network as a means to reduce IT expenses. According to the Cisco IBSG Horizons Study published in May of 2012, 95 percent of companies allow employee-owned devices in some shape or form, with 84 percent providing some level of support, and 36 percent providing full support for these devices.

And according to the June 2012 Forrester Research, Inc. report, “Charting the Rising Tide of Bring-Your-Own Technology,” BYOT brings both issues and opportunities into an IT organization — and info workers recognize that. 35 percent stated that their organization would make them uninstall or stop using the unauthorized software they have installed.

Given the tremendous momentum behind this trend, blocking or ignoring BYOT will put an organization at a distinct disadvantage, such as not being able to attract top talent or to collaborate and share documents easily with business partners outside corporate boundaries.

Increased control, reduced intervention

Sophos Mobile Control 2.5 has optimized workflows, so IT administrators can complete many common tasks in just one click. The new version also offers easy integration with existing IT infrastructure by supporting the use of directories, such as Active Directory, to automatically assign newly-registered devices to existing groups and apply the associated policies to them.

The enhanced interface includes detailed graphical reports to assist IT administrators in managing all aspects of mobile devices, offering them immediate insight into which devices require updating, and ensuring that all devices are secure.

“BYOD is top of mind for myriad organizations; however, it’s causing some concern among IT. The increase in personal devices accessing the network may complicate the process of ensuring devices are secure and compliant with company policies, making it difficult for IT to justify broad BYOD acceptance,” said Stacy K. Crook, senior analyst, Mobile Enterprise Research, IDC. “Solutions with features like those found in the latest version of Sophos Mobile Control allow organizations to develop BYOD strategies without compromising on security, or complicating the overall management of the network.”

Ensuring compliance, on the go

It is increasingly difficult to manage employees’ mobile devices through self-service portals because employees often are unable to access the internet. Sophos’ new mobile client interface includes a compliance tab, which provides the device’s compliance status, reasons for non-compliance and any actions the user needs to resolve the issue, thereby alleviating the need for IT help. The user can also access their current compliance status and a list of issues in the self-service portal.

Sophos Mobile Control 2.5 offers improved risk mitigation, such as allowing IT to remotely conduct a corporate wipe of a device if an employee leaves the company or remains non-compliant with security policies. The support for iOS-managed apps allows the company to tie their corporate or compulsory apps to their MDM solution and to push them to the employee device.

These apps, as well as any associated data, can be deleted directly from the admin console. In addition, if it a mobile device becomes non-compliant, the new release will alert IT, so the administrator can send messages to the user for minor violations . For more serious incidents, the administrator can configure a set of tasks, which will be applied automatically. Examples include corporate or full wipes as well as policy changes to avert any risk for corporate data.

“We have made considerable advancements in MDM over the past few months. Following our recent acquisition of DIALOGS, we have been able to aggressively improve the features within our complete mobile security offerings, which have resonated with the market. We now count more than 1,500 Mobile Control customers using the solution to control and secure half a million devices—companies are saying ‘yes’ to BYOD without risking security and compliance,” said Matthias Pankert, vice president of Product Management, Mobile Data Protection, Sophos.

“This rapid momentum in our mobile business is evidence that it is no longer enough for businesses to just control their own devices. They must now make sure that all devices, regardless of whether they are corporate or personal, are protected and secured and meet the corporation’s security standards.”

Sophos Mobile Control is available as a subscription license or as part of the Sophos Complete Security Suite, which combines endpoint, data, email, web, server and mobile protection in one license. Sophos plans further integration of its mobile products in future releases, for example, with the integration of Sophos Mobile Control into Sophos UTM and reporting for both Sophos Mobile Security and Sophos Mobile Encryption in Sophos Mobile Control.

For more information, visit the what’s new in Sophos Mobile Control 2.5 page on our website.

SAP APAC Japan Scores Double-digit Software Revenue Growth for 10th Consecutive Quarter

SAP Asia Pacific Japan (APJ) today announced it has delivered its best ever Q2 performance. Second quarter results showed growth of 25% year-on-year in Non-IFRS Software Revenue.

Stephen Watts, President, SAP Asia Pacific Japan, said: “Q2 2012 continues the consistently outstanding performance that APJ region has now delivered for ten consecutive quarters. Business performance was strong and balanced across the region with Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) delivering exceptional results and India, Japan and China demonstrating their continuing strong growth momentum.” In China, the company reported its strongest Q2 quarter ever with double-digit growth in applications, database, mobile, and analytics.

SAP’s investments in in-house innovation and strategic acquisitions delivered accelerating customer acceptance in Q2. Database and Technology solutions represented fully 25% of the quarter’s software revenues with the HANA in-memory database growing very strongly at 103% year-over-year. Mobile solutions grew an astonishing 181% over the corresponding period in 2011.

Mr. Steve Watts (Stephen Watts), President, SAP Asia Pacific Japan
SAP APJ’s quarterly result was also strengthened by balanced performance across industries with notable performance in Public Sector and Banking. Similarly, the Ecosystem in APJ grew its share of revenue by 32% as the company attracts an increasing number of partners and service providers to bring SAP HANA, Sybase, Analytics, Cloud and Mobile solutions to more customers across the region.

“Our customers, partners and markets across APJ are accelerating their consumption of SAP’s innovations as they derive game-changing value from our new applications and technologies. APJ continues to be a global economic growth engine and SAP is proud to be a key part of the growth of our customers around the region,” added Watts.

“SAP Malaysia has delivered yet another stellar performance of earnings for this quarter as a result of strong growth in Business Analytics, Enterprise Performance Management and Human Capital Management. SAP’s strategy is well positioned and supported with excellent products and services in order to help our customers run better. With more local organisations moving towards an increasingly intelligent and efficient management framework, we achieved large and significant wins from service industries such as Media, Airlines, and Public Sector,” said Kowshik Sriman, Managing Director, SAP Malaysia and Singapore.

In Q2 2012, SAP APJ’s Non-IFRS Software and Software Related Services Revenue grew 23% while Non-IFRS Total Revenue saw a corresponding 25% growth.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

‘Gauss’ – A New Complex Cyber-Threat Designed to Monitor Online Banking Accounts

Kaspersky Lab announces the discovery of ‘Gauss’, a new cyber-threat targeting users in the Middle East. Gauss is a complex, nation-state sponsored cyber-espionage toolkit designed to steal sensitive data, with a specific focus on browser passwords, online banking account credentials, cookies, and specific configurations of infected machines.

The online banking Trojan functionality found in Gauss is a unique characteristic that was not found in any previously known cyber-weapons.

Gauss was discovered during the course of the ongoing effort initiated by the InternationalTelecommunication Union (ITU), following the discovery of Flame. The effort is aimed at mitigating the risks posed by cyber-weapons, which is a key component in achieving the overall objective of global cyber-peace.

ITU, with expertise provided by Kaspersky Lab, is taking important steps to strengthen global cyber-security by actively collaborating with all relevant stakeholders such as governments, the private sector, international organizations and civil society, in addition to its key partners within the ITU-IMPACT initiative.

Kaspersky Lab’s experts discovered Gauss by identifying commonalities the malicious program share with Flame. These include similar architectural platforms, module structures, code bases and means of communication with command & control (C&C) servers.

Quick facts:
  • Analysis indicates that Gauss began operations in the September 2011 timeframe.
  • It was first discovered in June 2012, resulting from the knowledge gained by the in-depth analysis and research conducted on the Flame malware.
  • This discovery was made possible due to strong resemblances and correlations between Flame and Gauss.
  • The Gauss C&C infrastructure was shutdown in July 2012 shortly after its discovery. Currently the malware is in a dormant state, waiting for its C&C servers to become active.
  • Since late May 2012, more than 2,500 infections were recorded by Kaspersky Lab’s cloud-based security system, with the estimated total number of victims of Gauss probably being in the tens of thousands. This number is lower compared to the case of Stuxnet but it’s significantly higher than the number of attacks in Flame and Duqu.
  • Gauss steals detailed information about infected PCs including browser history, cookies, passwords, and system configurations. It is also capable of stealing access credentials for various online banking systems and payment methods.
  • Analysis of Gauss shows it was designed to steal data from several Lebanese banks including the Bank of Beirut, EBLF, BlomBank, ByblosBank, FransaBank and Credit Libanais. In addition, it targets users of Citibank and PayPal.
The new malware was discovered by Kaspersky Lab’s experts in June 2012. Its main module was named by the unknown creators after the German mathematician Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss. Other components bear the names of famous mathematicians as well, including Joseph-Louis Lagrange and Kurt Gödel. The investigation revealed that the first incidents with Gauss date back as early as September 2011. In July 2012 the command and control servers of Gauss stopped functioning.

Multiple modules of Gauss serve the purpose of collecting information from browsers, which include the history of visited websites and passwords. Detailed data on the infected machine is also sent to the attackers, including specifics of network interfaces, the computer’s drives and BIOS information. The Gauss module is also capable of stealing data from the clients of several Lebanese banks including the Bank of Beirut, EBLF, BlomBank, ByblosBank, FransaBank and Credit Libanais. It also targets users of Citibank and PayPal.

Another key feature of Gauss is the ability to infect USB thumb drives, using the same LNK vulnerability that was previously used in Stuxnet and Flame. At the same time, the process of infecting USB sticks is more intelligent. Gauss is capable of “disinfecting” the drive under certain circumstances, and uses the removable media to store collected information in a hidden file. Another activity of the Trojan is the installation of a special font called Palida Narrow, and the purpose of this action is still unknown.

While Gauss is similar to Flame in design, the geography of infections is noticeably different. The highest number of computers hit by Flame was recorded in Iran, while the majority of Gauss victims were located in Lebanon. The number of infections is also different. Based on telemetry reported from the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN), Gauss infected approximately 2,500 machines. In comparison, Flame was significantly lower, infecting closer to 700 machines.

Although the exact method used to infect the computers is not yet known, it is clear that Gauss propagates in a different manner to Flame or Duqu; however, similar to the two previous cyber-espionage weapons, Gauss’ spreading mechanisms are conducted in a controlled fashion, which emphasize stealth and secrecy for the operation.

Alexander Gostev, Chief Security Expert, Kaspersky Lab, commented: “Gauss bears striking resemblances to Flame, such as its design and code base, which enabled us to discover the malicious program. Similar to Flame and Duqu, Gauss is a complex cyber-espionage toolkit, with its design emphasizing stealth and secrecy; however, its purpose was different to Flame or Duqu. Gauss targets multiple users in select countries to steal large amounts of data, with a specific focus on banking and financial information.”

At the present time, the Gauss Trojan is successfully detected, blocked and remediated by Kaspersky Lab’s products, classified as Trojan-Spy.Win32.Gauss.

The company’s experts have published in-depth analysis of the malware at Securelist.com.

A Gauss FAQ containing the essential information about the threat is also available.

Stay tuned for updates by following our Facebook page.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mars Rover Curiosity Flew To Mars in 7 or 8 months ?

Mars Rover Curiosity is cool stuff, it is a robot - it is a big guy.


It is exciting, getting more and more exciting as London 2012.

Total distance traveled = 560 million km.

And the science to get there ?

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/videos/index.cfm?v=32&a=2

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/videos/movies/miam20111121/miam20111121-320.mov

The exact time taken ?

Departed from Earth: 7:02 a.m. PST, Nov. 26, 2011

Landed on Mars: 10:32 p.m. PDT, Aug. 5, 2012 (1:32 a.m. EDT, Aug. 6, 2012)

Let's convert all to GMT first.

http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/time-zone/usa/pacific-time/convert/index.htm

Departed from Earth: 7:02 a.m. PST, Nov. 26, 2011 --> Nov 26 2011 15:02 (GMT)

Landed on Mars: 10:32 p.m. PDT, Aug. 5, 2012 (1:32 a.m. EDT, Aug. 6, 2012) --> Aug 5 2012 17:32 (GMT)

Use wolframalpha to calculate the time difference.

And hence it took 8 months 10 days 2 hours 30 minutes approximately to travel from planet Earth to planet Mars.



It makes me wonder if Pixar's WALL.E is just a coincidence ?

Kaspersky Lab Expert :Television Fraud of Olympic Proportions

By Dmitry Bestuzhev(Kaspersky Lab Expert) Whenever an important event takes place, new opportunities for cyber criminals, especially for those who develop attacks based on social engineering, arise. Currently, the whole world has its eyes glued to TV screens watching the London 2012 Olympic Games. Worldwide interest on this event is so strong that cyber criminals were quick to take advantage of this opportunity and launched multiple campaigns promoting alleged paid online TV programming that would allow users to see live broadcasts of the Olympic Games via the Internet. Several fake pages were found with titles such as:
  • Best way to watch London 2012 Olympics online live stream HD
  • London 2012 Live Streaming 


For this scam, cybercriminals create websites that are very appealing; some even look very professional that they make it seem that you are close to having access to live programming. At the instance you click on the link provided, you are redirected through a series of affiliate pages until finally the victim sees a site where they can make a payment of US$49.95 to start streaming live video of the Olympic Games:


From July 22-30, Kaspersky Lab registered more than 80 malicious domains using this same fraud scheme.

Following are the statistics of some of these fraudulent domains involved in the campaign afore mentioned:

Total number of clicks redirected to fraudulent Olympic programming sites: 38,303.

Victims stem from 100 different countries. The greatest numbers of victims live in Indonesia and the United States.

The campaign continues to be very active as on August 1st, when I wrote this post, there were 9,447 clicks, which correspond to almost the same number of potential victims.

Supposing that from all of the potential victims only 1% go through with the payment for the fraudulent TV programming, cybercriminals would make close to US$19,000 in profits. The actual figure may be higher.

A way that consumers can protect themselves from becoming a victim of these types of online scams is by learning about social engineering so they can recognize it and avoid falling into these traps. Also, the public should only visit official websites, such as http://www.london2012.com/ , and the sites of established news organizations they know well and have been using for some time.

IBM SmartCamp Kickstart ASEAN - For Entrepreneurs

Refer to Enterprise IT News.

It is to meant identify early stage entrepreneurs who are developing business ventures that align with IBM Smarter Planet vision. Smarter planet means anything that is futuristic such as robotics, automation and etc.

To enroll.

The only problem is such a short notice - Applications for SmartCamp KickStart are now open across ASEAN countries and will close on 24 August 2012. Finalists will be announced on 31 August 2012 and will be asked to present their business idea to a panel of IT experts at the SmartCamp KickStart event in Singapore on 10September 2012.

IBM Global Enterpreneur.

More on entrepreneurship.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Yahoo! Premieres IntoNow 3.0: Accelerating Second Screen Experiences

Yahoo!, the technology powered media company, unveiled the next evolution of IntoNow from Yahoo! that delivers a more innovative and engaging way for people to capture, communicate and discover television content. In an era where 80 percent of people watching TV now have mobile or tablet devices in-hand, IntoNow 3.0 gives fans entirely new ways to share moments on TV, learn more about what they're watching and engage with friends, social networks and the broader IntoNow community.

"iOS devices are pervasive in our living rooms, and second screen behavior is now commonplace. IntoNow wanted to up the ante and give people a whole new experience," said Adam Cahan, founder of IntoNow and vice president of Product, Yahoo!. "We're the first to offer some major technological innovations — like the ability to capture and share moments that happened seconds ago on TV or automatically identify songs playing in the background — all of which gives people watching TV with IntoNow 3.0 a unique, interactive experience."

IntoNow 3.0 from Yahoo! has been rebuilt and re-designed around three new features:

  • TV and Music Sync: Taps into what people are watching to surface the most relevant content, including personalities, sports teams, songs, polls, or trivia, as it's happening on TV. Music Sync is the first technology to automatically identify "what's that song?" playing during a show — whether a live performance, featured song or even background music. Songs surfaced by Music Sync can be one-click purchased through iTunes or people can view the music video on YouTube.
  • CapIt: Delivers industry-first technology that gives people the ability to capture and caption "did you see that?" TV moments like a breaking news story, a red carpet dazzler or even a funny scene. Simply tap a button and this iOS exclusive app will instantly synchronize and deliver still images of the program that is shown on TV. People can then select the image they want, add a caption, and share with friends on Facebook, Twitter or IntoNow.
  • Group Chat: Instantly create private conversations with friends within the IntoNow app, form groups for a particular TV event; or set-up a recurring conversation to talk about favorite shows as the season progresses.

IntoNow 3.0 uses patented SoundPrint technology to automatically identify live or previously aired television content spanning more than 2.7 million airings. Over 160 U.S. TV channels are currently being indexed live, creating a rich database to build video discovery and programming experiences.

The IntoNow 3.0 App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.iTunes.com/appstore/.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Marmalade and Urban Airship Partner to Offer Richer and Stickier Native Cross-Platform Apps

Marmalade, provider of the world’s most powerful cross-platform SDK for native mobile apps, and Urban Airship, the leading provider of high-performance push messaging, today at Casual Connect announced a partnership combining their best-in-class products to help create apps that drive greater engagement, retention and monetisation.

By making the Urban Airship APIs available as Marmalade extensions, Urban Airship and Marmalade are enabling all mobile app and game developers to use Urban Airship’s services such as push notifications, rich mobile messaging and engagement analytics, all within a cross-platform SDK that delivers native mobile apps from a single code base.

As more and more apps move to a service-based model, with regular feature and content updates being delivered to users, developers face the challenge of simultaneously updating apps across multiple OS platforms and devices, whilst striving to maintain user engagement through connected messaging services.

For developers, the Marmalade SDK uniquely provides performance and cross-platform portability accelerating their time to market for releases and updates. Combined with Urban Airship’s leading mobile customer engagement services, app publishers are now better positioned than ever before to deliver richer, stickier apps simply and simultaneously to users regardless of their device.

Christopher Dean, chief revenue officer, Urban Airship, commented: “Urban Airship’s sole focus is to help app publishers drive better engagement and monetisation from their apps. Today’s apps need to work across iOS, Android and beyond, and by using Marmalade together with the Urban Airship extensions, app publishers now have a high-performance set of tools at their fingertips with which to reach and retain more users.”

Tim Closs, CTO, Marmalade, added: “Marmalade enables developers to create and distribute amazing cross-platform apps that people can love regardless of their device. We’re delighted to be working with Urban Airship to make Marmalade apps even stickier.”

Surviving 2012: ICT Job Market by PIKOM

According to Malaysia Technology News, the job market for the rest of 2012 is 50% - only 50% of job applicants will be able to get desirable jobs or only 50% of employers are able to recruit the right candidates.

The report accounted that this slow-down is partly due to the quality of local graduates who lack in terms of soft skills, English language skill, analytical skills and even independence when it comes to comparing with graduates who hail from overseas.

It blames the Malaysian educational systems for being non-creative and too conventional - for failing to live up to trends.

Generally, the average monthly salary of ICT professionals in Malaysia was RM 6,240 in 2011. Given the prospect of the economy, it anticipates a 9.0% rise in the average salary of ICT professional in 2012, which would average out to RM 6,800 per month.

But let's not forget that only 50% of job applicants will manage to get jobs as desirable. This means that even though the industry is paying people well averagely, it still couldn't help with solving 50% of unmatched employments. Once again, this points the finger to the quality of local graduates. Then just hire foreign graduates; if they want to work here.

The report gives an indicator that a fresh graduate in the ICT industry has the average salary of 2,238 in 2011. The industry with the highest pay for fresh graduates are semiconductor, manufacturing, oil & gas and logistics.

A senior executive should be earning RM 5,039 monthly, while middle manager RM 7,837 and senior manager RM 12,166.

The industry which rewards employees well are oil and gas, telecommunication, retails, manufacturing and banking with oil and gas being the champion.

Employees are encouraged to look for companies with employee size of more than 100, location at Klang Valley in order to secure jobs whose pays will equal these average pays.

The top jobs to target are:
  • Project Management
  • ERP/business applications
  • Software Development
  • System Administration
  • IT Security Analyst

The top skill sets are C#, C++, .Net developers, SAP certification, IT audit and security consultants, data warehousing, business intelligence analysts, senior Oracle and SQL DBAs and Cisco certified engineering disciplines.

Comparing with neighbour countries, the results showed that more advanced Asian economies, in particular Hong Kong and Singapore, recorded average remuneration which was 3.10 times and 2.52 times more than the average remuneration earned by Malaysian ICT professionals in 2011.

The differentiation is even higher when comparing with developed countries. The respective salary is 4.08 times as high in the United States, 3.18 times in Australia and 3.06 times in New Zealand for a Senior Software Engineer / Developer/ Programmer. Surprisingly, the rate in the United Kingdom is only 2.78 times the average salary in Malaysia.

An interesting point to take note is the comparison between those in the vendors versus those in the end-users market which it found that there is no clear cut distinction in salaries earned by ICT professionals in the ICT industry segments and ICT user industries.

The average monthly salary earned by junior ICT executives in ICT industry segments was RM3,275, which was 3.6% higher than their counterparts in the ICT user industries comprising banking, insurance, agriculture, manufacturing, oil and gas sector etc. Similarly, in the managerial category, the earning capacity of ICT professionals in the ICT industry at RM8,623 per month was higher by 7.2% than those working in the ICT user industries, who on an average took home RM8,045. In the senior executive level, however, ICT professionals in the ICT industry segments were 5.9% lower than their counterparts in the ICT user industries.

This strongly suggests that Malaysian market do not reward innovators as much as in the USA. Good paying employees must play by the books and by trends - do not think too much out-of-the-box because this is essentially a 'consumption-based' economy.

There is an indication that the number of job applications for local jobs has slowed down and people are attempting to look for jobs elsewhere.

Pikom proposes the industry to migrate from 'consumption-based' economy to 'creative-based' economy. To do this, a few things are needed to be done.

1.) Review educational systems. 2.) Economy needs to improve so that hiring power will be increased.

44% of respondents felt that their companies would be hiring fewer people and replacing or filling essential positions in the next 12 months. Only 23% are confident their company would be expanding their businesses, hence hiring more people.

The report also highlighted certain accounts of Malaysia's economic outlook for the rest of 2012.

The Malaysian economy grew at an average rate of 5.1% in 2011. Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has projected an economic growth of between 4% and 5% in 2012. Leading private sector research based institutions such as CIMB Investment Bank and Goldman Sachs, however, have forecasted a lower estimate of 3.8% due to the on-going Eurozone debt crisis and other fragilities that are poised to significantly affect Malaysian economic growth. Nonetheless, PIKOM is optimistic of sustained growth for the Malaysian economy at no less than a rate of 5% in 2012, mainly as a result of the nation’s expanding trade with China and India.

Although the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised downwards its original forecast for China and India, nevertheless, it has projected impressive growth rates of 8.25% for China and 7.0% for India for 2012. Indeed, such growth rates for the two Asian trading giants are advantageous to Malaysia.

PIKOM has projected at least 9.0% growth in average remuneration offered to ICT professionals in 2012. It should be noted that the ICT sector is still being plagued by the shortage in the supply of ICT graduates especially those deemed employable and who have skills sets compatible with industry needs.

Download the full report.

More on trends.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

10 Sites to Find Hotspot in the USA

By Laura Backes.
  • wififreespot.com - It breaks down the search for WiFi into easy searches such as restaurants and retails establishments versus hotels and other types of businesses.
  • wifidirectory.com - This site is sponsored by netstumbler.com and can find Hot Spots in these countries and many more - For travellers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Asia, or the Middle East?
  • jiwire.com - start searching for wifi hotspot with a map of the world and you can click on whatever country you are traveling to. for world travellers
  • http://www.boingo.com/- Boingo offers a paid service to provide Hot Spots worldwide and now even on airplanes.
  • openwifispots.com - not for small cities in the US.
  • http://www.att.com/gen/general?pid=13540 - Provides AT&T hot spots only, but still a useful tool.
  • wefi.com - This tool requires you to download a program to search for WiFi Hot Spots. You can download it to your device and it will automatically connect you to a free WiFi Hot Spot that has the strongest signal.
  • http://www.wi-fihotspotlist.com/ - The WiFi hot spot list is very user friendly. All you have to do is type in your zip code and it will pull up in writing where the free hot spot is and what the address is.
  • http://hotspotr.com/ - Type in your zip code and it will pull up a map with all of the hot spots marked.
  • content.hotspot.t-mobile.com - worth checking into if you have a T-mobile phone anyway or even if you are just looking for an additional service to help you get connected.

For more details.