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Security News & Analysis

Discussion Point: How Big are Data Security Threats?

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You may have heard that some cyber criminals in Russia recently stole more than a billion user IDs and passwords -- yes, that's billion with a "B."  

In the past year, online security and data theft has been making international headlines, as evidenced by huge security breaches at retailers like Target and Neiman Marcus.

How bad is it? With our lives becoming more digitally entwined, it makes sense that potential security threats are more visible. Think about how many times a day you exchange digital information using either an Internet connection or a mobile device.

Despite the security hysteria, experts say there are simple ways to take steps to tighten up your Internet security -- whether for your own personal or business use. CMSWire reached out to a collection of Internet security experts to find what's going on.

IBM Focuses on Security Again With Lighthouse Buy

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Hot on the heels of the CrossIdeas acquisition two weeks ago, IBM plans to buy the business operations of Lighthouse Security Group (LSG), again for an undisclosed sum.

LSG and CrossIdeas will be integrated with IBM’s existing identity and access management offering to provide a full suite of software that will protect and manage users’ identity.

Cyber Criminals in Russia Might Know the Password You Forgot

2014-08-August-broken-padlock.jpgIs the notion of online security as passé as the illusion of privacy? Maybe.

Just this week, we learned that a small group of hackers in Russia amassed a database of 1.2 billion stolen user IDs and passwords.

Hold Security, the Milwaukee, Wis.-based company that disclosed the incident, described the incident as "arguably the largest data breach known to date."

The Russian cyber gang targeted websites indiscriminately, hitting Fortune 500 companies and mom and pop sites alike. Hold Security reported the thieves "amassed more than 4.5 billion records, mostly consisting of stolen credentials. 1.2 billion of these credentials appear to be unique, belonging to over half a billion e-mail addresses."

What's Behind Google's Encryption Moves

As part of the growing movement toward encrypting web data, Google announced this week that it will boost the search status of web sites that use HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) to encrypt data, shedding more light on its own motivations to lock and further anonymize  the web.

Website Shutdown Averted? WordPress, Drupal Release Security Updates

web cms, Website Shutdown Averted? WordPress, Drupal Release Security Updates

The message today to the millions of users of WordPress and Drupal content management systems: Fire up those security updates.

The web content management system (CMS) providers released security updates this week after an industry expert tipped them off to a potential attack that shuts down websites and servers running on the WordPress or Drupal engine.

Nir Goldshlager, a security researcher from Salesforce.com's product security team, first caught the potential bug.

In a blog post, he wrote that he detected XML Denial of Service in both WordPress and Drupal. This phenomenon, he wrote, is predicated on a well-known cyber attack, known as the XML Quadratic Blowup Attack.

5 Administration Tips for SharePoint and OneDrive for Business

2014-06-August-traffic-police.jpgI've been planning on writing a Top 5 article on SharePoint administration and management for the past six months, but now that I'm finally doing it I find I must expand the scope. What's different?

The pace of change has accelerated.

Having worked in the SharePoint space for the past 10 years, it's easy to note the changes, the biggest shift being what is happening with Office 365. With OneDrive for Business, Microsoft has taken aim at the online drive space. And just as the competitors, they are trying to replace your hard drive and file shares with a cloud version, providing 1 terabyte of storage for each user.

CrossIdeas Acqusition Underlines IBM's Security Drive

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IBM seems hungry for acquisitions, even though its revenues are down two percent on the year. The latest buy comes in the shape of CrossIdeas, a Rome, Italy-based cyber security vendor.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, which means Big Blue probably got it relatively cheap. It also underlines IBM’s growing strength in the security space after it took third position as the biggest security vendor globally after Symantec and McAfee, pushing Trend Micros into fourth place.

Top 5 Internet of Things Security Concerns

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Security concerns are developing faster than the Internet of Things (IoT). But HP claims it is tackling IoT related concerns head on and has identified what it describes as the top five issues for businesses to consider.

The research, carried out by Fortify, part of HP Enterprise Security Products, confirms those security concerns. It shows 70 percent of the most commonly used IoT devices contain vulnerabilities, including password security, encryption and general lack of granular user access permissions.

Googlebot Imposters Attack, Hack and Spam Your Site

2014-24-JULY-SPIDERBOT.jpgContent producers spend a lot of time worrying about Google's search algorithms. But maybe it's time to think less about how frequently Google crawls your site -- and more about the potential damage from evil Googlebot imposters, who assume Googlebot’s identity to gain privileged access to websites and online information.

According to new research released today by Incapsula, a web security firm, millions of these “evil twins” are used for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, hacking, spam, content theft and other shady activities on a daily basis.

Marc Gaffan, Incapsula’s co-founder and Chief Business Officer, shared a disturbing statistic. "For every 25 Googlebots that visit your site, you will also be visited by a fake Googlebot," he said.

Why worry? Because more than 23 percent of these fake Googlebots are designed to wreak havoc on your website.

Dropbox for Business Raises Its Sync and Share Game

Dropbox isn’t particularly interested in what Box, Syncplicity, Citrix or any other of the 100 plus companies who are fighting for their share of the enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) market are up to.

“We’re the market leader, we don’t worry about what others do,” said Ilya Fushman, head of product, Dropbox for Business. Instead, he said, the company looks at the features and functions its customers request and builds and delivers those that the make the most sense.

And with 80,000 companies paying to use Dropbox for Business (Box claims 34,000 in the S-1 it filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission), it’s hard to argue with the strategy. It’s clear some buyers opt for the experience Dropbox has to offer vs. who Gartner rates higher in its Magic Quadrant (MQ).

AWS Message is Clear: Get Your Head Into Cloud for Agility

2014-16-July-Ostrich.jpgIt’s amazing that I still hear companies say cloud computing is not part of their strategy or they can't run the risk of storing secure data in the cloud. It's kind of like saying they still work by candlelight despite the invention of the light bulb. It’s time to come out of the dark ages!

The attendance at last week's AWS Summit 2014 held in New York City may be an indication that the tide is finally turning. The event drew a record attendance and claimed to have more than 10,000 registrations. The attendees clogged registration lines to the point where they actually ran out of badges. Thousands of others also watched the event remotely in real time. Maybe this is all a sign that people are finally getting their heads out of the sand and into the cloud!
 

Facebook's Mind Experiments: Just Media As Usual

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Yes, "furor erupted" over Facebook's massive psychological experiment to control user emotions by changing the configuration of posts.

How naive are we, really? Of course Facebook wants to control your thoughts — that's the whole point of media.

Emotional manipulation in the media is nothing new. That's why we have Rush Limbaugh. Perhaps Facebook's experiment was more disturbing because of its scale, and the fact that it failed to alert or gain the consent of its users.

But anybody thinking that the trend of media companies using real time user data to control reactions of its audience is something new is mistaken. 

Microsoft Tightens Email Security

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Edward Snowden has done more for electronic security than anyone else. Singlehandedly, he has forced some of the biggest IT vendors to take a close look at data, data transfer, and how it is stored.

This follows the revelation that security agencies across the world were systematically scanning emails.

In response, Google has made much of its email encryption practices and its efforts to secure the contents of the email itself.

Last night, Microsoft, in turn announced that it has upgraded its encryption standards across all its networks.

The Enterprise Mobility Showdown

To achieve competitive advantage, large organizations today are developing mobile applications that meet three key objectives: 1) enable new mobile business processes for employees, 2) meet the growing mobile demands of customers, and 3) unlock new revenue potential within their business and with partners.

To accomplish this, organizations often need to integrate mobile apps with enterprise systems and data — collectively referred to as the backend.

Organizations that do not integrate mobile apps securely and effectively with their existing backend infrastructure will face competitors whose employees are more productive, whose customers are more satisfied and whose ecosystem fuels new business opportunities.

Tradeoff Between Control and Simplicity

At the crux of many management decisions today is the tradeoff between control and simplicity.

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