Tag Archives: Data

The SEC Hack Shows That Not Even Top Government Data Is Safe

A major computer hack at America’s top stock market regulator is the latest sign that data stored in the highest reaches of the U.S. government remains vulnerable to cyber attacks, despite efforts across multiple presidencies to limit high-profile breaches that are so frequent many consider them routine.

In recent years, nation-state and criminal hackers, as well as rogue employees, have stolen data from the Internal Revenue Service, the State Department and intelligence agencies, including millions of government employee files allegedly exfiltrated by the Chinese military, U.S. officials say.

The Sec urities and Exchange Commission ( SEC ), America’s chief stock market regulator, said on Wednesday that cyber criminals may have used data stolen last year to make money in the stock market, making it the latest federal agency to grab headlines for losing control of its data.

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At the same time, being only the latest major breach is not special, said Dan Guido, chief executive of Trail of Bits, which does cyber sec urity consulting for the U.S. government.

“It simply reflects the status quo of our digital sec urity,” said Guido, who is a former member of the cyber sec urity team at the Federal Reserve, America’s central bank.

Central bank officials have detected dozens of cases of cyber breaches, including several in 2012 that were described internally as “espionage.”

The U.S. federal government has sharply increased funding dedicated to protecting its own digital systems over the last several years, attempting to counter what is widely viewed as a worsening national sec urity liability.

But as one of the world’s largest collectors of sensitive information, America’s federal government is a major target for hackers from both the private sec tor and foreign governments.

“When you have one central repository for all this information – man, that’s a target,” said Republican Representative Bill Huizenga, chairman of the House subcommittee on Capital Markets, Sec urities, and Investment, which oversees the SEC .

Last year, U.S. federal, state and local government agencies ranked in last place in cyber sec urity when compared against 17 major private industries, including transportation, retail and healthcare, according to benchmarking firm Sec urityScorecard.

An update of the rankings in August showed the U.S. government had improved to third worst, ahead of only telecommunications and education.

“We also must recognize – in both the public and private sec tors, including the SEC – that there will be intrusions, and that a key component of cyber risk management is resilience and recovery,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton.

The federal government audits cyber sec urity measures every year at top agencies, producing reports that routinely expose shortfalls and sometimes major breaches. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also looks for hacking attempts and helped spot an alleged intrusion by Chinese military-backed hackers into a major banking regulator between 2010 and 2013.

Weekly scans of government systems by the Department of Homeland Sec urity showed in January that the SEC had critical cyber sec urity weaknesses but that vulnerabilities were worse at three agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services and the General Services Administration.

Some agencies said they had improved their cyber sec urity posture since that report.

For more about cybersecurity, see Fortune’s video:

A GSA spokeswoman said the agency has not had any critical vulnerabilities in the past six months, and that the ones identified in January were patched in under 10 days.

A Department of Labor spokesman said all identified vulnerabilities had been fixed and that its systems were not compromised by the identified flaws.

But, he added, “addressing vulnerabilities associated with legacy systems can be challenging.”

Tech

A Data Scientist Crunched the Numbers to Find the Most Heavy Metal Word in the English Language

The primary purpose of speaking and writing is to sound as cool as possible at all times, and now a data scientist has given us the specific keywords we need to impress our peers, no matter where we are. In a post on Degenerate State, the scientist took the lyrics off DarkLyrics.com,“the largest metal lyrics archive on the web,” from a database of 222,623 songs by 7,634 bands to analyze the most and least metal words. Comparing the DarkLyrics data with the Brown Corpus—a 1961 collection of English-language documents (no song lyrics) that is “the first of the modern, computer readable, general corpora”—the data scientist found the top 20 most and least metal words. Here’s a sampling:

Read more…


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EU prepares to raise Privacy Shield over data transfers to U.S.

European Union officials are set to give final approval to a new EU-U.S. data transfer agreement early next week, after member states gave their approval to an updated text on Friday.

Privacy Shield is intended to replace the Safe Harbor Agreement as a means to legalize the transfer of EU citizens’ personal information to the U.S. while still respecting EU privacy laws.

A new deal is needed because the Court of Justice of the EU invalidated the Safe Harbor Agreement last October, concerned that it provided Europeans with insufficient protection from state surveillance when companies exported their personal data to the U.S. for processing.

The first draft of Privacy Shield agreement presented by the European Commission in January lacked key assurances from U.S. officials on the same matters that had concerned the CJEU about Safe Harbor.

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Change this Netflix setting to use less data on mobile

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Streaming Netflix on a smartphone isn’t a viable or sustainable option for many people. Data plans can cap you at a couple gigs or less, and getting in one more episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt just isn’t worth hiking up the price of your cellphone bill.

To help, Netflix announced a new feature Thursday allowing mobile users to more easily control and keep track of how much data is being used when they stream over a cellular network. You can choose between different stream quality settings that correspond to specific data-to-time ratios. Read more…

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Bring your company’s ‘dark data’ to light with this free new tool from Tamr

All the analytics tools in the world won’t do a company much good if it doesn’t know what data it has to analyze. Tamr offers a free, downloadable tool designed to help tackle that “dark data” problem.

Dark data generally refers to all the information an organization collects, processes and stores but doesn’t use for analytics or other purposes. It’s often unstructured or qualitative data that’s harder to keep track of than numerical data is, and by research firm IDC’s reckoning, it can account for as much as 90 percent of an organization’s information assets.

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Bring your company’s ‘dark data’ to light with this free new tool from Tamr

All the analytics tools in the world won’t do a company much good if it doesn’t know what data it has to analyze. Tamr offers a free, downloadable tool designed to help tackle that “dark data” problem.

Dark data generally refers to all the information an organization collects, processes and stores but doesn’t use for analytics or other purposes. It’s often unstructured or qualitative data that’s harder to keep track of than numerical data is, and by research firm IDC’s reckoning, it can account for as much as 90 percent of an organization’s information assets.

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IDG Contributor Network: 5 myths about data encryption

It’s a heartache, nothing but a heartache. Hits you when it’s too late, hits you when you’re down. It’s a fools’ game, nothing but a fool’s game. Standing in the cold rain, feeling like a clown.

When singer Bonnie Tyler recorded in her distinctive raspy voice “It’s A Heartache” in 1978, you’d think she was an oracle of sorts, predicting the rocky road that encryption would have to travel.

Just a year earlier in 1977 the Encryption Standard (DES) became the federal standard for block symmetric encryption (FIPS 46). But, oh, what a disappointment encryption DES would become. In less than 20 years since its inception, DES would be declared DOA (dead on arrival), impenetrable NOT.

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Get the most out of your marketing stack by unifying data sources

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GUEST:

When it comes to getting the most value out of data, successful companies take a practical approach, first defining their own data strategy and then determining the tools needed to get it done. A good example of this is Airbnb, which set their own data strategy and tools to help users more accurately price their home listings. Too often, however, companies fail to lay out a clear strategy, instead relying on the available tools to show them where they need to go. Unfortunately, these tools usually serve up packaged metrics with data that is too detailed and lacks cohesion.

The mobile marketing data landscape

marketing data landscape mobile

In VentureBeat’s The State of Marketing Analytics: Insights in the age of the customer, author Jon Cifuentes writes:

“Enterprises are stuck between fragmented data silos…There’s customer data, inventory data, log data, search data, reporting, analytics, CRM, session data, et. al – with different vendors supporting each. While “real-time” customer data sounds nice in theory, the actual process of broadcasting this information through the organization is time-consuming, expensive, fragmented, and frustrating.”

These cobbled-together sources and tools provide directional insight but don’t align with initial expectations, particularly as companies start requiring custom insights and metrics.  In fact, most companies quickly find themselves in exactly the situation they had hoped to avoid – working in increasingly complex systems with considerably higher non-value added workloads.

data silo

The challenge for companies is: how do you align your data vision with your unique acquisition, engagement and monetization strategies?

Purpose-built tools like app analytics, A/B testing, marketing automation, etc. have done a great job in recent years of allowing non-technical people to analyze data, run tests and engage users. However, since these tools were built for single-use cases and by separate companies with proprietary data stores, they have failed to address a core issue: the need to access the same user data in order to truly provide a personalized experience to each user.

Data-capture tools and user engagement tools also need to be integrated in order to provide a full picture of how changes impact the product downstream.  For instance, teams need to be able to apply user actions from app analytics to run A/B tests, which will in turn impact the user experience.

The path forward

The solution exists at the platform level: unifying data sources before applications are built on top of them, with a flexible 2-way structure that enables real-time integration between event and user data, at all levels in the stack, and not just based on basic pre-determined rules with segmentations on top.

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This type of structure makes it possible for events to be enriched by boundless user attributes (user state) and enables contextual analytics.  This, in turn, produces a robust targeting framework, because now the user state can be updated in any manner, in real-time.  For example, Glassdoor utilizes this methodology to deliver real-time dynamic notifications of job alerts to users based on their prior behavior when browsing the Glassdoor website.

While many marketing vendors are fighting to define themselves as integrated or unified marketing platforms, most still need to reach deeper down the stack and unify product and marketing tools with data tools at a platform level.   Because they refer to the same data source, there will be no discrepancies between insights and actions.  For example, segments defined for analytics will maintain the same properties in A/B testing or content delivery.  Applications developed on top of unified data platforms will be inherently more flexible and manageable.

From VentureBeat

VB just released The State of Marketing Analytics: Insights in the age of the customer. $ 499 on VB Insight, or free with your martech subscription.

Omniata is coming out of beta on September 24th!  You can reach us at [email protected] to learn more. Though just coming out of beta, we’re already tracking 300 million monthly active users, 2 billion events per day, and handling over 17,000 requests per second!

Alex Arias is the CEO and cofounder of Omniata, a unified data, analytics and user engagement platform.  For more than 10 years, Alex has been an entrepreneur and driver of innovation in digital services, working previously at Digital Chocolate and EA.  He’s been helping companies define their own Data Value Journey since cofounding Omniata two and a half years ago.


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Adobe gets creative with new data visualization product

Adobe company logos are seen in this picture illustration taken in Vienna July 9, 2013. Picture taken July 9, 2013. To match Special Report TAX-BIGTECH/ REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger (AUSTRIA - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY LOGO) - RTX11VPB

VB INSIGHT:

Adobe is a strong and active player in the marketing tech landscape. We’ve studied their solutions in market across marketing clouds, mobile analytics and acquisition tools, and marketing automation tools at VB Insight. Frankly, with so many digital marketing solutions across so many areas — audience targeting, campaign management, social media, etc. — the company has to have a sturdy analytics platform integrating those disparate, but related marketing functions. Today, the company is introducing Analysis Workspace in Adobe Analytics, a reporting and data visualization tool to better help companies communicate what’s happening across all of these channels.

Data analytics is really tricky for most companies. But it’s a critical means to an end. You can’t have great marketing — social marketing, online advertising, even customer service — without great analytics. And since marketing is increasingly becoming wildly data dependent while taking on more responsibility for the overall customer experience, the use of data analytics across any organization simply needs to proliferate.

Except there’s one big, hairy problem there.

From VentureBeat

VB just released The State of Marketing Analytics: Insights in the age of the customer. $ 499 on VB Insight, or free with your martech subscription.

Most companies don’t have the skills in house to make sense of all the data. McKinsey is projecting that by 2018, demand for data scientists may be as much as 60 percent greater than the supply. Suffice it to say, companies are struggling to fill this gap with adequate data talent.

In our own recent report on marketing analytics, we asked over one thousand marketers two questions on this topic:

  • How effective is your marketing organization at generating insight?
  • How effective is your greater organization — outside of marketing — at translating that insight into action?

Unfortunately, for most marketers, this confidence level falls somewhere between “somewhat” and “not very” effective.

analytics effectiveness

Adobe is hoping its new visualization product, now available to all customers using Adobe Analytics suite, will mind that gap and help companies create better dashboards with broad business appeal — stitching together disparate data sources into a single view that makes sense for multiple lines of business — to more than just data analysts.

In a demo of the Analysis Workspace product yesterday, I saw a dashboard that’s flexible, can be built by non-data analysts, and could meet endless marketing insight functions for a business.

Adobe Analysis Workspace Screenshot

Above: Sample Adobe Analysis Workspace

Analysis Workspace — Highlights:

  • Simple, Photoshop-inspired Workflows: Analysis Workspace lets users simply drag and drop dimensions, metrics and segments to create any type of report.
  • Intuitive Data Visualizations: After dragging relevant components into an Analysis Workspace table, visualizations are applied to the table data set in real time. These visualizations can be easily manipulated, allowing users to resize, rename and swap between different charts and graphs with interactive elements — while introducing new sharing functions to better communicate insights.

Marketing dashboards are a dime a dozen. With over 800 tools in market supporting marketing data analytics, and plans for companies of all sizes to massively increase spend on analytics, one can’t overstate the importance of making sense of all this data. Adobe is hoping its latest product will help the non-data scientist come up to speed with marketing data.

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New MadgeTech Data Logger Software Packed With Features

Announcing the release of MadgeTech Data Logger Software version 4.2.7.0 (MadgeTech Secure version 4.2.6.0.). This release…

(PRWeb September 22, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/09/prweb12976432.htm

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4 Reasons Oil & Gas Companies Are Going To Fail In A Big Data World

In Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle, you won’t find the term “big data” listed anymore – because it’s no longer considered hype. Big data has made it all the way from its emergence in West Coast dotcoms to East Coast financial institutions, Far East manufacturing companies, and many more diverse places and industries around the globe.

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