Tag Archives: Facebook

Characteristics of Advanced Data Archiving Software

Data archiving is a specific process to transfer data to a storage device for future use. Unlike backups, data archives do not contain copies of actual data. Before selecting archiving software, there are many useful features to consider. Data archives are based on older, but important data that can be retained for compliance. Searchability is bare-bone feature that helps in providing useful solution for data archiving. To get significant search functionality, data archiving software have particular attributes:

In order to carry on searches, granularity plays an important role. It is an indispensable capability which is necessary to perform e-discovery process. As bulk of data is examined at this stage to get important information, software must have competence to carry on searches on following basis:

Data Sources: Through search, access end results from which file server, such as Microsoft SharePoint, financial apps
Data Type: Microsoft Office document, PDF, email and many other files
Important Data: Files such as social security numbers, bank account number and credit card numbers
Author of Document: Search by author of file

Storage Optimization
Another significant feature, other than granularity, is known as Storage Optimization. When this feature is selected, it helps in reducing the amount of data, as well as access data in seamless way. Storage Optimization feature gives benefits in form of reducing operating costs and capital. It helps in improving information governance, access to data for analysis and reporting and lower risk.

It seems absurd to find a lot of copies of same data in search results. To cope with this situation, deduplication engine (available in archiving software) is used that works all the way to avoid such situations. Through compliance, effective policies are developed for keeping data in archives for a specific time period. Archiving is best for certain type of data that is required to be backed up, but will not be accessed frequently.

Third most important feature of archiving software is flexibility to support maximum data platforms and popular applications. Some software offer facility to archive data from social networking sites like organization content on Twitter or Facebook.

Additionally, wide range of sources, writing capabilities and data targets should be handled properly for extraction. An organization cannot afford to follow limited tracks, such as tape archives, when unlimited and affordable archival alternatives are offered to them. Wide-ranging media is supported to extract archived data. Furthermore, extracted data can be written to DVD, tape, Blu-ray and many other mediums.

In a nutshell, best software for data archiving require more features, such as automation and compliance regulation to assist users in managing data. Once you confirm what type of data is important for future use and how long you need to store that data in the archives, organization can get maximum benefit from archiving software.

Empowering Collaboration

Collaboration has been around for two decades now. Yet, companies who have looked over collaboration options available over the LAN, exhibit unease around the concept and seem to prefer to use email for collaboration rather than collaboration tools. But, email has its limitations as a collaboration tool. Users can collaborate with only one user at a time and a number of versions of a document may be generated as multiple users work independently on the same document and return it to storage server. The process of shuffling the documents back and forth between the users can also hamper productivity and may even prove deterministic as it allows for only one working style.

The cloud has empowered collaboration by transforming Outlook and Word into collaboration tools. The barriers for entry such as large monetary investment in collaboration tools have been removed and the pay as you go model ensures that the tools are just a click away. SharePoint servers linked to the cloud become all the more powerful as partners and contractors integrate into the workflow and remote branch office no longer feel isolated from decision making as they have access to the same tools.

Interestingly, collaboration is accommodating and absorbing a number of emerging devices/ communication modes into workflows. The mobile worker, the smart phone, the iPhone or laptop user can quickly and easily link up to the network and collaborate with their colleagues stationed across the globe. IM, Facebook, LinkedIn and other modes of communication add on to the collaborative process, creating a dynamic, buzzing business environment.

This multiplicity of collaboration tools has naturally highlighted and intensified questions around security. But, it must be remembered that the focus on security is greater with mobility and cloud vendors have made security enhancements to meet these new challenges. Moreover, documents passed around for collaboration are often hedged around with access rights, roles and privileges unlike email documents which travel as mere attachments to the mail.

We, at Backup Technology, believe that collaboration will be the way of work in the future and have strengthened the collaboration tools that are available with our software. Collaborating with the right secure software is a low ­risk, high reward option. You are welcome to test drive our product. Sign up for a trial and check out how our product, helps your organisation capitalise on the new opportunities that open up with collaboration.

Online Privacy: Is it achievable?

Facebook has made developments to allow their users access to the site without disclosing their identity or personal information. This has raised concerns regarding the safety of Facebook users, whether their personal information will be visible to unknown users and will the unidentified users be held accountable for their online behaviour. However, Facebook argues that this decision is allowing the site to develop further and become even more globally accessible.

Previously, Tor users could access Facebook via Tor, however the recent changes are allowing Tor users to use the service and continue unidentified, as opposed to previously, when they were recognised as hacked accounts and blocked.

In order to allow Facebook users access to the site whilst withholding their name, email address, personal details, Facebook has launched an .onionaddress.  This development has been described as an, ‘experiment,’ by the social network, recognizing  that the development is going to have flaws with regards to privacy, and that this first step will be one of several to achieve complete privacy for Facebook users.

The decision to allow complete anonymity has sparked controversy to those that find comfort in the safety and security of the service. Making the site available to anonymous users opens the door to the unknown and potential danger. This begs the questions what is Tor? And what are Tor users hiding?

Tor is an open network and free software, known as the Tor Browser bundle, which can be downloaded online. Tor prides itself on providing a service that can protect a user’s privacy and, ‘defend against network surveillance and traffic analysis.’ It anonymises users, through routing a user’s traffic in a series of other computers. It attempts to hide a person’s location and identity by sending data across the internet via a very circuitous route involving several “nodes” – which, in this context, means using volunteers’ PCs and computer servers as connection points.

This creates difficulty when trying to access Facebook because Facebook enforce security measures when a user attempts to log-in from an unexpected location. They ask a series of security questions to ensure that the account is not being used by a hacker, for example holidaymakers often find they must go through additional security steps, such as naming people in pictures, before being able to log-in while abroad. Furthermore, for a service that’s prime function for many is to socialize, and express yourself and your identity; withholding your identity and information somewhat defies the concept of social media.

Tor users continue to show as having various locations and consequently accounts were being locked out. This and several other difficulties such as fonts not displaying correctly, spurred Facebook to converse with Tor and establish ways for the two to work together, despite the concerns regarding Tor’s involvement with, ‘the dark web.’ There has been speculation that Tor has been used as a tool to pursue criminal activity; making illegal trades of arms, drugs and child abuse images accessible. However, the creators of the service argue that the service is for legitimate users that require confidentiality in their profession, such as journalists, activists, law enforcement etc.

Despite this reputation, Facebook and Tor have found common ground with regards to them both pushing for permission to be more transparent to its users about the amount of government attention they receive. The Tor project is a non-profit organisation that conducts research into authorities and large corporation involvement with social media, and the information that these bodies have access to.

Very recently this growing concern regarding online privacy has been the topic of conversation in the tech community with it being core to the debate at the Yorkshire Digital Summit. Key speakers such as Gareth Cameron, Information Commissioner’s Office, Paul Berwin, senior partner of Berwins Solicitors, Alex Craven, the chief executive of Bloom, argued a spectrum of ideas on the continually growing concern of our privacy as a result of social media and the World Wide Web. Cameron, argued that it is essential we take a grasp of our information and ensure that it does not fall into unknown or unsavoury hands, and then on the opposing side was Alex Craven.  Craven convincingly argued that online privacy is a concept of the past and that being online does leave us open to the dangers of the web.

In conclusion, there are two core reasons to why Facebook has made the controversial decision to work with Tor, allowing Facebook to be easily accessible from their page. Firstly, Facebook’s alliance with Tor makes them accessible to people where the network is blocked. Facebook’s decision will prove popular to those that want to stop their location and browsing habits from being tracked should they be located in nations where social media is not permitted, e.g. China, Iran, North Korea and Cuba are among countries that have attempted to prevent access to the site. Secondly, it would be beneficial for Facebook to further spread its net to the professional users of Tor. Tor is regularly used by professionals such as journalists, the military and law enforcement officers; they use Tor as a means of connecting with individuals exposing information that could put them in danger, members of the public that wish to keep their identity unknown for a variety of legitimate reasons.

Call for Social Media Websites to Provide Data

The new head of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, has called for social media websites to work more closely with intelligence agencies to help reduce the threat of terrorist organisations.

The GCHQ is an intelligence and security organisation which aims to keep Britain safe.

Hannigan believes that the use of social media websites have become one of the primary methods of communication that terrorist organisations use in an attempt to avoid surveillance due to the reluctance of many social media companies to work with surveillance organisations.

Hannigan stated, “However much they [tech companies] may dislike it, they have become the command and control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals, who find their services as transformational as the rest of us. The challenge to governments and their intelligence agencies is huge – and it can only be met with greater co-operation from technology companies.”

Hannigan added, “GCHQ and its sister agencies, MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service, cannot tackle these challenges at scale without greater support from the private sector, including the largest US technology companies which dominate the web.”

Jamie Bartlett who is the author of the book The Dark Net: Inside The Digital Underworld, believes that it is a very difficult issue to deal with due to the sophisticated methods that the organisations use to try and avoid censorship.

Bartlett stated, “It is incredibly difficult for them [intelligence agencies] and the police and indeed on the big internet service providers to actually get a handle on just how much propaganda, how much material is being produced and shared by Islamic State and other terrorist groups on these platforms.”

Bartlett added, “What we’ve seen with Islamic State and indeed every other terrorist group is quite a sophisticated way of avoiding censorship. Islamic State has been really very good at creating hundreds of different accounts on Twitter and Facebook and every time they’re closed down, they simply start again.”

There will always be a problem with just how much information people and service providers believe is a suitable amount to provide intelligence and security organisations.

It is therefore very important that whatever information you provide to a social media website, that you are happy and understand that it may find its way to an intelligence and security organisation.

Do you think that social media websites should be made to work more closely with intelligence and security organisations?

Heartbleed may decrease internet speeds

As the Heartbleed flaw in the OpenSSL security software spreads to cause more problems, one of the issues highlighted is the possible decrease in internet speeds. This possible drop in speed will most likely be caused by the number of sites refreshing their security certificates as part of everyday interactions on the internet.

Whenever one computer talks to another on the internet, e.g. a home PC or laptop connecting to a webserver hosting a website, security certificates are exchanged so that the two machines can be sure of eachother’s identity. In short, because of the flaws in OpenSSL exposed by the Heartbleed bug, there are many more certificates being exchanged during these interactions, which causes the authentication process to take longer.

The estimated number of affected sites is thought to be around 500,000, and includes big names such as Google, Facebook and Dropbox, sites used everyday by hundreds of millions. However, these bigger sites are thought to have patched the security flaws in OpenSSL, which will prevent cyber-criminals from attacking web servers.

The updating of security certificates ties in with OpenSSL, as it guarantees a site’s identity. OpenSSL simply transports sensitive data to a destination in a secure fashion, but once at the destination the two points communicate with each other in order to verify the identity of one another. If one machine can’t prove it’s secure, the information will not be delivered. This is the same principle as how your email client blocks an email address if you mark it as spam.

The Heartbleed bug virtually rendered OpenSSL (SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer) insecure, as criminals could get their hands on the security keys of websites which used the software. Once stolen, criminals could then use the key to impersonate another legitimate website, in order to gain information illegally.

The fact that big companies like Google or Facebook were affected does not mean that these corporations don’t take security seriously, it just highlights how common the use of OpenSSL is on the internet. This in turn highlights how quickly a virus or another security scare can spread across the internet if such a flaw is identified.

Some are now calling for these big companies, and governments, who use the OpenSSL software to a huge extent, to contribute to its maintenance and future research. Currently, annual donations to the OpenSSL foundation amount to $2,000, a mere pittance to somebody like Google or Facebook.

NSA & GCHQ Target Mobile Apps to Gain Personal Data

It has been reported that personal data has been obtained by the British spy agency, Government Communications HQ (GCHQ) and the US spy agency, National Security Agency (NSA) from smartphone apps which leak personal data.

The documents were leaked by Edward Snowden who is currently living in asylum in Russia and faces espionage charges in the USA after revealing the NSA’s telephone and surveillance programmes last year.

It is reported that the leaked documents show that mapping, gaming and social networking apps are providing the GCHQ and NSA with location information and other details such as their political association and sexual orientation.

One app that has been heavily exploited is Angry Birds. It is one of the leading apps with a download count of over 1.7 billion worldwide.

Rovio, the company that made the app Angry Birds claimed that they have no knowledge of the GCHQ or NSA trying to collect data from their app.

Saara Bergström, who is Rovio’s VP of marketing and communications stated, “Rovio doesn’t have any previous knowledge of this matter, and have not been aware of such activity in 3rd party advertising networks. Nor do we have any involvement with the organizations you mentioned (NSA and GCHQ).”

Angry Birds wasn’t the only app to be detailed in which personal data was obtained. In one of the leaked documents, there was a list which detailed other mobile apps which could be exploited. Such apps that were listed included the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Flixster and Flickr.

Reports in the New York Times and the Guardian suggested that the joint spying programme “effectively means that anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of a GCHQ system.”

The NSA has released a statement claiming that these allegations are not true. In the statement, they claimed that, “Any implication that NSA’s foreign intelligence collection is focused on the smartphone or social media communications of everyday Americans is not true. We collect only those communications that we are authorised by law to collect for valid foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes – regardless of the technical means used by the targets.”

The GCHQ refused to comment but claimed that all of its activities were “authorised, necessary and proportionate.”

With social media apps and gaming apps becoming more and more popular, it is important that you are happy with just how much personal data is potentially being disclosed as it is unknown just who may be able to access it.

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