Monthly Archives: December 2016

VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT

Vulnerability Assessment

Vulnerability scanning is a tool to help the organizations to identify the vulnerabilities on its networked computing devices. The results of vulnerability scans to help and caution management and computing device administrators of potential vulnerabilities so that, vulnerabilities can be addressed and managed. Vulnerability scanning can be used at a wide level to ensure that university information security practices are working properly and effectively.

RANGE

This standard applies to the employees, contractors, vendors, and agents to access the campus information systems. This standard applies to all the organization-owned devices which are connected to the network and can also be applied to personally-owned devices if it solely or broadly used to conduct company’s related business.

STEPS FOR AN EFFECTIVE VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT

IDENTIFYING AND UNDERSTANDING YOUR BUSINESS PROCESS

The very first step for providing business context is to identify and understand your organization’s business processes, focusing on those that are critical and sensitive in terms of compliance, customer privacy, and competitive position. In most of the organizations, it requires association between IT and representatives of the business units, the finance department, and the legal counsel. Many organizations put together the security strategy task forces with representatives from each department, who work together for several weeks to analyse the business processes and the information and infrastructure they depend on.

Vulnerability Assessment

PINPOINT THE APPLICATIONS AND DATA THAT UNDERLIE BUSINESS PROCESSES

Once the business process is identified and ranked in terms of mission criticality and sensitivity, the next step is to identify the applications and the data on which those mission-critical process is depending on. This can be accomplished only through an association between IT and other business players. From extensive collaborative discussions, one may discover applications that are much more critical than expected. For instance, email may be an absolutely critical application for one department, but not critical for many others.

FINDING THE HIDDEN DATA SOURCES

While searching out for applications and data sources, make sure that you take into account mobile devices, smartphones, and tablets, as-well-as desktop PCs. Collectively, these devices often contain the most recent and sensitive data of your organization. Work with the business units to understand who is using mobile devices for accessing and sharing corporate applications and data. Understand the data which flows between these devices and data center applications and storage. Another often hidden category to investigate is the software development environment, as they are inherently less secure than production environments. Software developers and testers often use current, sometimes mission-critical data to test new and upgraded applications.

DETERMINE WHAT HARDWARE UNDERLIES APPLICATIONS AND DATA

Continue working down the layers of infrastructure to identify the servers, both virtual and physical, that run your mission-critical applications. Identify the data storage devices that hold the mission-critical and sensitive data used by the applications.

MAP THE NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE THAT CONNECT THE HARDWARE

Develop an understanding routers and other network devices that your applications and hardware depends on for fast and secure performance.

IDENTIFY WHICH CONTROLS ARE IN RIGHT PLACE

Note down the security and business continuity measures which the developer has already kept in place – including policies, firewalls, application firewalls, VPN’s, data loss prevention (DLP) and encryption to protect each set of servers and storage devices hosting mission-critical applications and data. Understand the key capabilities of these protections, and which vulnerabilities they address most effectively.

APPLY BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CONTEXT TO SCANNER RESULTS

Your scanner may produce scores of host and other vulnerabilities with severity ratings, but since results and scores are based on the objective measures, it’s important to determine the organization’s business and infrastructure context. Deriving meaningful and actionable information about business risks from vulnerability data is a complex and difficult task. After evaluating the organization’s staff level of knowledge and workload, one may determine that it would be helpful to partner with a company that is well-versed in all aspects of security and threat assessment. Whether undertaking this task internally or getting outside assistance, the results needed to be analysed to determine which infrastructure vulnerabilities should be targeted first and most aggressively.

WHAT IS MESOSPHERE

What is Mesosphere

Mesosphere

The mesosphere is a software solution that grows upon the cluster management capabilities of Apache Mesos with added components to provide a new and unique way to manage server infrastructures. By combining several components with Mesos, such as Marathon and Chronos, Mesosphere endows a way to easily scale applications by abstracting many of the challenges associated with scaling.

Mesosphere also provides features such as application scheduling, scaling, and fault-tolerance. It also provides application service discovery, port unification, and end-point elasticity.

To give you a better idea on how Mesosphere provides the features, in this article we have explained briefly that, what is Mesosphere, starting with Apache Mesos, its key components, and architecture.

AN OVERVIEW OF APACHE MESOS

Apache Mesos is an open source cluster manager that facilitates running applications on a scalable cluster of servers.

Mesos offers many of the features that you would expect from a cluster manager, such as:

  • Scalability to over 10,000 nodes.
  • Resource segregation for tasks through Linux Containers.
  • Effective CPU and memory-aware resource scheduling.
  • Web UI for monitoring cluster state.

ARCHITECTURE OF MESOS

Mesos consists of an architecture that is composed of master and slave daemons and frameworks. Here are some quick malfunctions of these components, and some relevant terms:

Master daemon: Runs on a master node and manages slave daemons.

Slave daemon: Runs on a master node and runs the tasks that belongs to frameworks.

Framework: It is also known as a Mesos application, is composed of a scheduler, which registers with the master to receive resource offers, and one or more executors, which dispatches the tasks on slaves.

Offer : It consists of a list of slave node’s available in CPU and memory resources. All slave nodes send offers to the master, and the master provides offers to the registered frameworks.

Task: A unit of work that is scheduled by a framework, and is executed on a slave node. A task can be anything from a bash command or script to an SQL query, to a Hadoop task.

Apache ZooKeeper: It is a software that is used to coordinate the master nodes.

AN OVERVIEW OF MARATHON

Marathon is a framework for Mesos which is designed to launch long-running applications, in Mesosphere and serves as a replacement for a traditional init system. It consists of many features that simplifies running applications in a clustered environment, such as high-availability, node constraints, application health checks, service discovery, and an easy to use web user interface. It also adds its scaling and self-healing capabilities to the Mesosphere feature set.

Marathon can also be used to start other Mesos frameworks, and it can launch any process that can be started in the regular shell. As it is designed for long-running applications, it will safeguard the applications it has launched and will continue running, even if the slave node(s) which are running fails.

AN OVERVIEW OF CHRONOS

Chronos is a framework for Mesos that was originally developed by Airbnb as a replacement for cron. Chronos is a fully-featured, distributed, and fault-tolerant scheduler for Mesos, which alleviates the orchestration of jobs, which are the collection of tasks. It also includes an API that allows for scripting of scheduling jobs and a web UI for ease of use.

In Mesosphere, Chronos compliments Marathon as it provides another way to run applications, according to a schedule or other conditions, for the completion of another job. It is also capable of scheduling jobs on multiple Mesos slave nodes and provides a clear statistics of job failures and successes.

THE VERDICT

Mesosphere employs server infrastructure paradigms that may seem unaccustomed, as it was designed with a keen focus on clustering and scalability, but hopefully you now have a good understanding of how it works. Each of these components is based on the solutions to issues that are commonly faced while dealing with clustering and scaling a server infrastructure, and Mesosphere aims to provide a complete solution to these needs.

MATERIAL DESIGN AWARDS 2016 BY GOOGLE

Material Design AWARDS 2016 BY GOOGLE

A design system only comes into existence when it’s used to create meaningful experiences. Last year, Google has introduced the Material Design Awards to recognize best-in-class achievements in employing Material Design. At Google I/O 2016, Robinhood was presented with the Google Play Award for Best Use of Material Design, Google wants to continue recognizing the makers who are helping to provide the next generation of Material Design.

This year Google is proud to announce the winners of the second annual Material Design Awards. Whereas the last year winners are highlighted in specific aspects of Material Design used in creating apps which satisfy the users while aptly expressing their brand. The five winners have been honoured at the SPAN LA conference on October 27, representing the finest application of aspects of Material Design.

THE TOP FIVE WINNERS ARE AS FOLLOWS :
Asana: Team Tasks & Projects by Asana, Inc.

An application built on making team more productive and collaborative which is visually focused and clear to keep the users concentrated on getting work done in time. Asana achieves this by polishing short, frequently repeated interactions to make efficiency feel rewarding. The content is never submerged by the wide range of actions because they are organized brilliantly and are very easy to trigger.

Asana’s design team has worked with the brand experience at every turn. Tenuous gradients are applied to the floating action button, as well as in moments of more casually paced user communication. The product logo is resonated in the circular outlines around icons which shows up while editing a task.

FABULOUS – MOTIVATE ME!BY THEFABULOUS

It’s always hard to rewire the brain and to adopt a routine, but it can be made easier with a perspective coach from your side. The Fabulous app a self-described “happiness trainer” that helps you to make a positive choice.

The application’s has the most charming illustration style which makes an instant impression. The crisp state transitions and pleasing goal completion animations keeps up the motivation— the experiences beyond the application functionality are keenly considered, with bold notifications style and with a good soundscape.

C CHANNEL BY C CHANNEL CORPORATION

When it comes to designing an application navigation, higher content usually means higher problems. Search often becomes a primary mode of exploration. The C Channel application clearly balances a blend of studio-created and user-submitted videos which is related to fashion, food, and much more.

Material Design AWARDS 2016

C Channel organizes the content into a series of tabs that can be seen easily with a simple swipe.

KITCHEN STORIES BY KITCHEN STORIES

Kitchen Stories shines in creating effective, easy-to-check layouts for recipes across a variety of screens and sizes. Home cooks will be more excited to have their tablets in the kitchen: content is organized smartly, there is no need of touching the screen with messy fingers. Kitchen stories is grabbing the attention through other moments in the application such as precise positioning for the playful use of the logo as a textural element on background surfaces.

AIRBNB BY AIRBNB,INC.

In Airbnb, the essential tasks are satisfied through clear design, routing users clearly and quickly from sign in, to browsing, and booking a reservation. They have clearly segmented the larger goals into smaller steps. Airbnb’s visual appeal is at the point. Photography is clear and communicates a sense of opportunity in each new destination.

AIRBNB BY AIRBNB

WHAT IS RANSOMWARE

What Is Ransomware

Ransomware

Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts files on an affected device and holds their hostage until the user pays a ransom to the malware operators. Millions of dollars have been extracted through ransomware attacks, the most common strains of ransomware includes Cryptolocker, Cryptowall, Locky, and Samas or Samsam.

In this article, we have explained what is ransomware and how to protect against ransomware attacks.

WHAT IS RANSOMWARE

Ransomware commonly enters devices as a Trojan, impersonating as a normal file that is downloaded intentionally or unintentionally by the user. Upon execution, ransomware starts encrypting the files on an infected device and consistently displays a message informing the victim that their files can only be decrypted if a ransom amount is paid to the attackers. The user is provoked into paying the operators, who may or may not supply a code or program to decrypt the files. If the user fails to pay the ransom within the certain time period provided can result in an increased ransom amount or deletion of the encrypted files. The most dangerous types of ransomware are those were only the creators of the program have access to decrypt the key. Ransoms are typically paid in Bitcoin or other digital currencies that are difficult to trace.

THE COMMON TYPES OF RANSOMWARE STRAINS:
CRYPTOLOCKER

CryptoLocker was discovered on September 15, 2013, and is considered to be the first modern strain of ransomware. It is distributed through email attachments in order to encrypt files on Windows computers and any mounted drives. Even though CryptoLocker itself is easy to remove from infected devices, the files remains encrypted, and the only viable way to access files is to pay the ransom requested by the cyber criminals. Payment for the decryption of the key is taken in the form of Bitcoin or pre-paid cash vouchers.

CRYPTOWALL

CryptoWall was discovered on June 19, 2014, and it is related to CryptoLocker in some form. It has gone through a multiple number of releases with different names and has not yet been secluded. Initially, it was distributed through exploit kits and emails but recently it has been connected with malicious ads and compromised websites as well. CryptoWall encrypts the files and deletes any VSS or shadow copies to prevent data recovery. After infecting, the computer displays a web page or a text document that provides the directions for payment to the user.

SAMAS/SAMSAM/SAMSA

Samas, perhaps the most destructive form of ransomware, was first discovered on December 9, 2015. The code for Samas is not very advanced, but the methods of distribution are more focused than other attacks. Cybercriminals will first identify specific networks that have unpatched servers running JBoss enterprise products. Once they get the access, the operators will move parallel from the entry point to identify more hosts. The ransomware is manually installed once enough systems have been violated. Like CryptoWall, Samas will delete the outlined copies after encrypting the original files and demand payment in the form of Bitcoin. Unlike previous strains, the majority of Sama’s attacks have focused on hospitals, schools, and other networks with a stock of sensitive information that can be sold for a greater profit.

SAMAS_SAMSAM_SAMSA

BEST PRACTICES FOR RANSOMWARE PROTECTION

Always back up your files regularly: Having assiduous data backup processes in place can limit the damage caused by a ransomware attack significantly, as the encrypted data can be restored without paying a ransom.

Do not click on any email attachments or links from unconfirmed sources: Email is the most popular medium for phishing attacks that distribute ransomware or other malware through infected attachments or links to spiteful websites.

Disable Autorun for all mounted devices: Disabling the autorun will prevent malware from being able to spread individually.

Disable remote desktop connections when possible: Disabling this feature will block the attackers or malware from being able to access user’s devices and files remotely.

Log-in as the only administrator: Limit administrator allowances and the use of admin accounts whenever it is possible, to ensure that a user that has been compromised isn’t inadvertently granting administrative privileges to an attacker who has already gained access to their account.

Awareness and education in an organizations are the key for protecting against ransomware attacks. By educating yourself and your users on basic protection practices and keeping up with current security threats, you may reduce the risk of ransomware and keep your data safe.

HOW SPARK ON AWS HELPS BIG DATA

How Spark on AWS helps Big Data

WHAT SPARK IS ABOUT

Apache Spark is an open-source big data processing framework built around speed, easy to use, and sophisticated analytics. It was first developed in 2009 in UC Berkeley’s AMPLab, and open sourced in 2010 as an Apache project.

Spark has many advantages compared to other Big Data and MapReduce technologies like Hadoop and Storm.

Firstly, Spark gives us a comprehensive, united framework to manage big data processing requirements with a wide variety of data sets that are diverse in nature.

Spark endows applications in Hadoop clusters to run 100 times faster in memory and 10 times faster even when running on disk. Spark lets the user to quickly write the applications in Java, Scala, or Python.

FEATURES OF SPARK

Spark takes MapReduce to the next level with reasonable shuffles in the data processing. With capabilities like in-memory data storage and real-time processing, the performance is several times faster than the other big data technologies.

Spark also supports the assessment of big data queries, which helps in optimizing the steps in data processing workflows. It also provides a higher level API to improve the developer’s productivity and a consistent architect model for big data solutions.

Spark holds intermediate results in memory rather than writing them in disk which is very useful especially when the user needs to work on the same dataset for multiple times. Spark operators and performs external operations when data does not fit in the memory.

Spark will try to store as much as data in memory and then will discharge it to the disk. It can also store part of the data set in memory and the remaining data on the disk. The developer has to look at their data and use cases to estimate the memory requirements.

OTHER SPARK FEATURES INCLUDE

– It supports more than Map and Reduce functions.
– It optimizes arbitrary operator graphs.
-It also provides brief and consistent API’s in Scala, Java, and Python.

SPARK’S ECOSYSTEM

Other than Spark API, there are some additional libraries which are a part of the Spark ecosystem and provides some additional capabilities in Big Data analytics.

The libraries includes:
SPARK STREAMING

Spark Streaming can be used for processing the real-time data streaming. This is completely based on the micro batch style of computing and processing. It uses the DStream which is a series of RDDs, to process the real-time data.

SPARK SQL

Spark SQL provides the capability to disclose the Spark datasets over JDBC API and allows running the SQL queries on Spark data by using traditional BI and visualization tools. Spark SQL allows the developer to ETL their data from different sources and transforms it and exposes it for ad-hoc querying.

SPARK MLLIB

MLlib in Spark is an extensible machine learning library which consists of common learning algorithms and utilities, including classification, regression, clustering, collaborative filtering, and dimensionality reduction.

SPARK GRAPHX

GraphX is the new Spark API for graphs and graph-parallel computations. To support graph computation, GraphX exposes a set of fundamental operators such as subgraph, joinVertices, and aggregateMessages as well as an optimized variant of the Pregel API. In addition to that, GraphX also includes a collection of graph algorithms and builders to simplify the graph analytics tasks.

KEY CONCEPTS OF KUBERNETES

Key concepts of Kubernetes

At a very high level, there are three key concepts:

Pods are the smallest deployable units that can be created, scheduled, and managed. Its a logical collection of containers that belong to an application.

Master is the central control point that provides a unified view of the cluster. There is a single master node that control multiple minions.

Minion is a worker node that run tasks as delegated by the master. Minions can run one or more pods. It provides an application-specific “virtual host” in a containerized environment.

WHAT IS A ANSIBLE TOWER?

What is a Ansible Tower?

Ansible Tower (formerly ‘AWX’) is a web-based solution that makes Ansible even more easy to use for IT teams of all kinds. It’s designed to be the hub for all of your automation tasks.

Tower allows you to control access to who can access what, even allowing sharing of SSH credentials without someone being able to transfer those credentials. Inventory can be graphically managed or synced with a wide variety of cloud sources. It logs all of your jobs, integrates well with LDAP, and has an amazing browsable REST API. Command line tools are available for easy integration with Jenkins as well. Provisioning callbacks provide great support for autoscaling topologies.

WHAT IS KUBERNETES? EXPLAIN

What is Kubernetes? Explain

It is massively scalable tool for managing containers, made by Google. It is used internally on huge deployments and because of that it is maybe the best option for production use of containers. It supports self healing by restating non responsive containers, it pack containers in a way that they take less resources and has many other great features.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

WHAT ARE ANSIBLE PLAYBOOKS?

What are ansible playbooks?

Playbooks express configuration, deployment, and orchestration in Ansible. The Playbook format is in the form of YAML. Each Playbook maps a group of hosts to a set of roles. Each role is represented by calls to Ansible call tasks.