Word of the Day: Tech Definitions from WhatIs.com

February 10, 2009  2:54 PM

Overheard – FCC regulations for “Identity Theft Red Flags”

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
As institutions embrace automated services such as self-service password reset for purposes of reducing costs and boosting efficiency, these services are being targeted by attackers for the relative ease with which they can be used to gain access to registered accounts.

Thomas Varghese, Addressing Red Flags compliance

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has instituted new regulations known as “Identity Theft Red Flags” that promise to mitigate the havoc posed by identity theft to financial institutions and their customers. Effective May 1, 2009, these new regulations require financial institutions and creditors with covered accounts to implement programs that detect, prevent, and mitigate instances of identity theft.

Under the rules, entities must develop a written program that identifies and detects the relevant warning signs – or “red flags” – of identity theft. The FTC has issued guidelines that identify 26 different red flags to assist in designing identity theft prevention programs. These red flags are not a checklist, rather examples that financial institutions and creditors can model as a reference.

February 9, 2009  3:10 PM

Overheard – Improving iPhone reception in your house

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
AT&T may be working to improve its cellular network reception by building a femtocell, an in-home cell base station, directly into its fiber-optic U-Verse service’s modem.

Glenn Fleishman, AT&T might insert femtocell into fiber modem

Don’t tell my husband, but I’m about to write something…err…negative about his beloved iPhone. You see, in the house, it’s a brick. A lovely, sleek brick, but it’s still a brick. If he wants to make a call when it’s minus 10 degrees, he either has to put on his coat and go out on the deck or use an AT&T calling card.

When he first realized the iPhone wasn’t an indoor phone, he wanted to pick up VoIP from our cable company, but really — how can you justify the cost of iPhone service AND VoIP when our local phone company only charges $7.98 a month for local service? I couldn’t.

Bless you AT&T. A femtocell for ALL our AT&T cell phones is just what we need.

February 6, 2009  12:55 PM

Overheard – Avoiding common audit pitfalls

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
“Make no mistake — auditors will find fault with your systems, your processes, and the people who operate them. They’re auditors. It’s their job.”

Kelly Jackson Higgins, Experts share tips on how to avoid the most common pitfalls in an audit

If you missed Kelly’s article when it first came out, take moment and read through it.  I bet you’ll learn something.

Key points I want to remember:

  • Two of their most common reasons for failing an audit are poor documentation and poor training programs.
  • It’s all about proving that data isn’t tampered with — from inside or out.

– Manage change in a consistent manner.
– Clearly define roles and permissions.
– Know who (and where) users are, what role they play and what permissions they have.
– Align physical security with IT security.
– Be ready to demonstrate how you monitor security.
– Be ready to demonstrate how you are able to detect and act on anomalies.
– Map security processes to business processes. A checklist isn’t enough.

February 5, 2009  4:14 PM

Overheard – How a windshield becomes an attack vector

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
An enterprising group of criminals has been using a real-world scam in an effort to spread malware. The attacks reportedly began with a series of phony parking tickets issued in Grand Rapids, North Dakota. Individuals had the tickets placed under their windshields along with instructions to visit a website.

Shaun Nichols, ‘Parking ticket’ scam brings malware infection

Of course, the website was a malware drop.  Lenny Zeltser (SANS Institute) explains how the scam worked. Later on, McAfee’s Avert Labs Blog identified the Trojan as Vundo.

Remember the good old days when phishing stayed on the Internet where it belonged?

February 4, 2009  4:11 PM

Overheard – The power of ping

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
posey Ping is probably the simplest TCP/IP diagnostic utility ever created, but the information that it can provide you with is invaluable. Simply put, ping tells you whether or not your workstation can communicate with another machine.

Brien M. Posey, Using ping command for troubleshooting Windows network connectivity

February 3, 2009  2:09 PM

Overheard – Facebook finds a business model?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Facebook intends to capitalize on the wealth of information it has about its users by offering its 150 million-strong customer base to corporations as a market research tool.

Richard Wray, Facebook aims to market its user data bank to businesses

Could it be that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has finally found a way to monetize social networking? If you believe Richard Wray, it just might be a GENIUS way to monetize the site.  That is, if members don’t cry “Privacy!” like they did with the site’s last attempt to make some money, Beacon.

The magic word is…polls.

Now mind you, polling at Facebook is nothing new. What’s new is the perfect storm that surrounds Facebook — the site’s expanding demographics,  demonstrated audience engagement — and a tanking economy where marketers have less money to throw at more traditional focus groups.

This might be exactly the right time for Facebook to push out self-service polls and make them them the basis for monetizing the site, much as Google figured out how to monetize search back in October of 2000 with self-service AdSense ads.

February 2, 2009  1:39 PM

Overheard – Another GDrive sighting

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
It would appear Google has its own Loch Ness monster, with mysterious sightings suggesting the existence of Google GDrive, Google’s mythical online storage service.

Sylvie Barak, Mythical Gdrive surfaces in Google code

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves when bogger Brian Ussery stumbled across a wee bit of code hidden away in a Google Pack software bundle for Windows users, which appeared to contain GDrive’s product category and description.

Atlanta blogger Brian Ussery spotted a reference to the mythical GDrive last week — and started a blogswarm. The description said:

GoogleGDrive provides reliable storage for all of your files, including photos, music and documents. GDrive allows you to access your files from anywhere, anytime, and from any device – be it from your desktop, web browser or cellular phone.

OMG — what if the rumors in 2009 — as compared to the same rumors in 2006, 2007 and 2008 turned out to be true?


I think the only interesting thing, when we finally get confirmation that indeed — the GDrive is ready and available — will be how much free storage Google grants you. Microsoft started out with five but now gives you 25 GB for free with SkyDrive. If Google tops that, THEN I’ll be impressed.

January 30, 2009  1:24 PM

Overheard – Who’s not ready for DTV?

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
This is a surprise: Baby Boomers and older Americans are better prepared for the switch over to digital television than younger people.

Paul Briand, Baby Boomers better prepared for TV switch

Nielsen said it measured the preparedness for the upcoming transition to all-digital broadcasting and how many households would be unable to receive any television programming at all if the transition occurred on Jan. 22, the day of the survey’s posting.

It said 4.0 percent of Americans 55 and older were unready for the transition, while 8.8 percent of Americans 35 and younger were not prepared.

According to Nielsen, a total of 6.5 Americans (5.7 percent) aren’t ready for the switch to digital television, which is scheduled for Feb. 17.

For the life of me, I don’t understand why our Senate voted to delay the switch to digital TV.

January 29, 2009  12:57 PM

Overheard – Wikimedia and Mozilla hook up to shake up

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Today, video and audio on the web are dominated by proprietary technologies, most frequently patent-encumbered codecs wrapped into closed-source player widgets. Wikimedia and Mozilla want to help to build a web where video and audio are first class citizens: easy to use and manipulate by anyone, without compulsory royalty schemes or other barriers to participation.

Erik Möller, Mozilla and Wikimedia Join Forces to Support Open Video

Mozilla and Wikimedia share a strong commitment to open standards. Version 3.1 of the Mozilla Firefox web browser will include built-in support to play audio and video in the open source Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora formats. All audio and video in Wikipedia is stored in these formats.

This is interesting. Mozilla gave $100,000 to the Wikimedia Foundation to “help coordinate improvements to the development of Ogg Theora and related open video technologies.”  That’s not a lot of money, but it’s generating a lot of buzz because it’s a step towards open video standards.  Christopher Blizzard (Mozilla) does a nice job explaining how a better Ogg would potentially open up the market for streaming video and knock both Adobe (Flash) and Microsoft (Silverlight) off their proprietary thrones.

Ogg isn’t a file format — it’s a container format.  What’s that? Well, when you order something from Amazon, it’s put in a box and the UPS guy delivers the box to your house.  On the Web, when you order a streaming video, think of Ogg as the virtual box that’s used to deliver the video to your computer.   Wikipedia has a handy chart that compares container formats.

January 28, 2009  11:36 AM

Overheard – Viral marketing at its best

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse
Celeb Choreographer Ashley Wallen took the dancers through an intensive 80 hour rehearsal to ensure they nailed the performance as they could only film a single take. Commuters stand and watch in amazement as the routine gets going and many can be seen taking pictures on their phones still unaware of what is happening around them.

Karl Walderman, T Mobile Liverpool Street Station flashmob ad storms YouTube

By now you’ve probably heard about the T-Mobile flashmob at the Liverpool train station.  What a brilliant piece of marketing.

Here’s the official press release.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/mUZrrbgCdYc" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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