Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘intellectual property’ Category

A New Class Of Security

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Click to enlarge. This graph outlines some of the key types of security attacker types and techniques that the 2011 IBM X-Force Trends Report identified as being most common. By the end of last year, the frequency and scope of these incidents persisted, and continue to bring awareness to the basic tenants of operating a business and protecting its assets in an increasingly connected world.

As hackers increasingly find new and nefarious ways to threaten the global digital infrastructure, recent policy advancements such as the proposed “Cybersecurity Act of 2012″ in the U.S. have been introduced as solutions to the world’s growing cybersecurity problem.

While IBM accepts it is an imperative to properly secure critical systems, private sector advancements should be balanced with pragmatic legislative policies that avoid overly-prescriptive mandates that can inhibit the very innovation needed to ensure cybersecurity.

Consequently, IBM moved quickly and sent a letter urging the U.S. Senate to address flaws in the proposed cybersecurity bill.

According to IBM’s X-Force 2011 Trend and Risk Report, cyber attackers are adapting and moving quickly to target newer information technologies such as social networks and mobile devices. This rapidly evolving nature of cyber attacks necessitates a new approach to enabling cybersecurity.

Responding to the ever-changing nature and volume of attacks requires agility, risk-based management, and a commitment to innovative defensive measures. IBM supports bipartisan, cybersecurity legislation, but the “Cybersecurity Act of 2012″ would add bureaucracy to a process that needs speed to succeed.

Government and industry would be best served by a common-sense approach to cybersecurity that allows for investment in R&D, improved information sharing between public and private sectors, better security for federal IT networks, and criminal penalties for cyber-crimes.

Industry Solutions To A Network Problem

Advanced threats, rapid adoption of social media, and Web applications have also been driving the need for new, intelligent approaches to security.

As employee access to the Web has become ubiquitous, enterprises are struggling with massive increases in malware as well as Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), which can compromise proprietary data.

Many of today’s security solutions often offer limited visibility and control over network activity, which can put the company at risk.

To help clients proactively protect against evolving security threats, including those posed by social media sites and malicious websites, IBM today announced a new class of network security appliance that delivers a more granular view of a company’s security posture and a simplified security management interface.

This new next-generation intrusion prevention appliance helps clients address advanced attacks targeting their organization, providing visibility into exactly what applications are being used on the network, where users are going on the Web, with the ability to monitor and control this activity, which can result in improved security and reduced operational costs.

IBM Security Network Protection XGS 5000

IBM Security Network Protection XGS 5000 is a next-generation intrusion protection system specifically designed to address the constantly evolving, increasingly sophisticated threats that organizations face today.

It builds on the proven, core security features found in IBM Security Network Intrusion Prevention System, including helping protect against “zero-day” exploits, by adding new levels of visibility and control over the network, applications, data and users to help improve security by helping prevent misuse and identify previously undetectable threats.

IBM Security Network Protection incorporates global threat intelligence from X-Force, including a Web filter database of over 15 billion URLs — capable of monitoring and categorizing millions of Web servers and applications each day to provide superior protection against the changing threat landscape.

Gaining Control, And Visibility, Into Security Events

Once organizations are aware of the nature of activity on their network, the new application control features enable clients to have granular control over what is happening on their network; this means granular user and group-level control over which applications and Websites are permitted, and how they are used down to individual actions or activities within these applications and sites.

IBM Security’s Advanced Threat Protection Platform helps clients by providing the following features and capabilities:

  • Proven security to help protect against zero-day threats: enables preemptive protection against a full spectrum of advanced threats, including Web application attacks and exploits hidden in files. IBM’s protection engine is built upon years of security intelligence gathered by X-Force Research, and can stop entire classes of attacks — including new and unknown threats – without updates; most solutions available today match individual protection signatures — a process that can be too slow to stop evolving threats and can result in higher rates of false positives and false negatives.
  • Visibility and insight: provides application awareness, monitoring and control, with high level dashboards for drilling down into events and reporting. Also provides deep insight into the nature of activities on the network through broad application awareness and flow data analysis. Integrates with QRadar Security Intelligence Platform to provide even greater levels of insight including anomaly detection and event correlation.
  • Control: utilizes intelligence related to Web applications, Websites, and non-Web applications, including Web application and Web site coverage with over 15 Billion URLs across 68 categories and support for 1000+ applications and actions.

IBM Security Network Protection XGS 5000 will be available starting in 3Q12.

 About IBM Security

IBM’s security portfolio provides the security intelligence to help organizations holistically protect their people, data, applications and infrastructure. IBM offers solutions for identity and access management, security information and event management, database security, application development, risk management, endpoint management, next-generation intrusion protection and more.

IBM operates one of the world’s broadest security research and development, and delivery organizations. This comprises nine security operations centers, nine IBM Research centers, 11 software security development labs and an Institute for Advanced Security with chapters in the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific. IBM monitors 15 billion security events per day in more than 130 countries and holds more than 3,000 security patents.

Internet Insecurity

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You ever get one of those emails where there are two headlines that couldn’t have been more synchronous?

That’s what I got today in a Washington Post email newsletter:

“New malware is 20 times size of Stuxnet”

“Cybersecurity experts needed to meet growing demand”

Surely the Post newsletter editor at least chuckled when he put those two together.

I didn’t chuckle, however, when I started reading up on this new Internet security phenom.

Wired’s Threat Level blog led with this: “A massive, highly sophisticated piece of malware has been newly found infecting systems in Iran and elsewhere and is believed to be part of a well-coordinated, ongoing, state-run cyberespionage operation.”

Here was The New York Times lead on the story: The computers of high-ranking Iranian officials appear to have been penetrated by a data-mining virus called Flame, in what may be the most destructive cyberattack on Iran since the notorious Stuxnet virus, an Iranian cyberdefense organization confirmed on Thursday.

And, the Post led with: Researchers have identified a sophisticated new computer virus 20 times the size of Stuxnet, the malicious software the disabled centrifuges in an Iranian nuclear plant. But unlike Stuxnet, the new malware appears to be used solely for espionage.

The Post goes on to cite analysts who “suspect Israel and the United States, given the virus’s sophistication, among other things.”

Which is it, we need more cybersecurity experts in the U.S., or we’re the “nation-state” behind this latest cyber war virus?

Whatever the case, the BBC’s coverage included the following facts: Russian security firm Kaspersky Labs believed the malware had been operating since August 2010 and described Flame as “one of the most complex threats ever discovered.”

If you don’t remember Stuxnet, it was the alleged state-sponsored virus which wreaked havoc on Iran’s uranium centrifuges.  This new malware, according to the BBC story, “appears not to cause physical damage,” but instead collects “huge amounts of sensitive information.”

Wired also adds to the story, reporting Flame was “written by different programmers, its complexity, the geographic scope of its infections and its behavior indicate strongly that a nation-state is behind Flame, rather than common cyber-criminals.”

Wired went on to report that “Early analysis of Flame by the Lab indicates that it’s designed primarily to spy on the users of infected computers and steal data from them, including documents, recorded conversations and keystrokes. It also opens a backdoor to infected systems to allow the attackers to tweak the toolkit and add new functionality.”

Recorded conversations?

Yes, indeedy.  According to Wired, one of the modules in Flame is “one that turns on the internal microphone of an infected machine to secretly record conversations that occur either over Skype or in the computer’s near vicinity.”

It also allegedly contains a module that turns “Bluetooth-enabled computers into a Bluetooth beacon,” scanning for other Bluetooth-enabled devices in order to “siphon names and phone numbers from their contacts folder.”

It can also store “frequent screenshots of activity on the machine,” screenshots that include everything from emeetings to instant messages, email….you get the picture.  Literally.

I don’t know about you, but I sense a whole new genre of cyber espionage novels looming on the horizon.

More details on Flame as they emerge…

The Global Market For Intellectual Property

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IBM’s own Manny Schecter, chief patent counsel, chimes in via a guest blog post on Forbes on the emerging global marketplace for intellectual property.

IBM Chief Patent Counsel Manny Schecter writes in a recent guest blog post on Forbes that "Intellectual property has become one of the most important resources in the 21st century." Like financial capital or commodities or labor, he explains, IP is more than an economic asset – it also forms the basis of a global market.

Schecter explains that intellectual property has “become one of the most important resources in the 21st century,” but that more national governments need to step up the pace in providing balance in their patents systems because patents “can be used to both promote and inhibit innovation.”

Schecter also explains that more corporate leaders need to recognize intellectual property as an “asset like any other assets” and to better integrate their IP and business strategies.

Moreover, Schecter calls for more transparency in the intellectual property realm, asking to “make all pertinent information about patents, patent applications and the patent process available to everyone.”

You can read more in Manny’s post here.

Written by turbotodd

April 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm

IBM Breaks U.S. Patent Record, Tops Patent List for 19th Consecutive Year

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At this point, IBM’s annual patent leadership is almost a bit of a yawner.

IBM announced today it set a new U.S. patent record in 2011, marking the 19th consecutive year that the company has led the annual list of patent recipients. IBM inventors earned a record 6,180 U.S. patents in 2011, more than quadrupling Hewlett-Packard’s issuances and exceeding by six times those of Oracle/Sun.

You know, the awe-inspiring, intellectual property-excited kind of yawn.

I say that, because IBM announced it set a new U.S. patent record in 2011, marketing the 19th consecutive year the company has led the annual list of patent recipients.

IBM inventors earned a record 6,180 U.S. patents in 2011, more than quadrupling Hewlett-Packard’s issuances and exceeding by six times those of Oracle/Sun.

Averaged out, that’s 16.93 patents per day!

In 2011, more than 8,000 IBMers residing in 46 different U.S. States and 36 countries were responsible for the company’s record-breaking 2011 patent tally.

IBM inventors who reside outside the U.S. contributed to more than 26% of the company’s 2011 patents.

The more than 6,000 patents IBMers received in 2011 represent a range of inventions that enable new innovations and add significant value to the company’s products, services, including smarter solutions for retail, banking, healthcare, transportation and other industries.

These patented inventions also span a wide range of computing technologies poised to support a new generation of more cognitive, intelligent and insight-driven systems, processes and infrastructures for smarter commerce, shopping, medicine, transportation, and more.

Written by turbotodd

January 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Singin’ In The Amazon Cloud

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If the sun doesn’t come back out in Austin soon, I’m going to have to move closer to the equator.

But for some, cloudy skies are just what the doctor ordered.

Amazon’s new Cloud Drive, Cloud Player for Web, and Cloud Player for Android was announced overnight and tees up some big guns pointed directly at Google and Apple in the online music marketplace.

According to the Amazon press release, “these services enable customers to securely store music in the cloud and play it on any Android phone, Android tablet, Mac or PC, wherever they are.

“Customers can easily upload their music library to Amazon Cloud Drive and can save any new Amazon MP3 purchases directly to their Amazon Cloud drive for free.”

Music in the clouds?  Or in too many Amazon executive’s heads?

Only time, and perhaps a few gazillion Amazonian music streams, will tell the tale.

The good news is, the streaming service from the Amazon cloud is free.

The bad news is, how do I get all those countless hours of my life back that I spent burning CDs into iTunes?

What do you mean, there’s no rebate for that??

Don’t pay any attention to me, I’m obviously biased (although I’ve never been a big fan of iTunes, either.  Come to think of it, I really just don’t like DRM!)

Engadget deconstructs the new service and explains that it works something like this: Existing Amazon customers in the US can upload their MP3 purchases from Amazon to their own 5GB cloud space (I’ve always wanted to have my own place in the clouds!).

This is then upgradable to a one-year 20GB plan for free upon purchasing an MP3 album, with additional plans then starting at $20 a year.

My two cents: It’s one heckuva lot easier to just subscribe to Slacker or Pandora for a year.

But maybe that’s just me: I gave up moving all those digital files around about the moment I figured out how I was spending way much more time moving music files around that I was actually listening to music.

But, I’m a forever Amazon customer, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and see how this plays out.

Pun intended.

Written by turbotodd

March 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm

IBM Patent Leadership

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I feel as though I’ve written this blog post before.  That’s probably because I have.

But I’m happy to write it again this year.

Today, IBM announced that its inventors received a record 5,896 U.S. patents in 2010, marking the 18th consecutive year it has topped the list of the world’s most inventive companies.

(Ah, that’s why I’m having déjà vu!)

IBM also became the first company to be granted as many as 5,000 U.S. patents in a single year.

It took IBM’s inventors more than 50 years to receive their first 5,000 patents after the company was established in 1911.

2010 Patent Portfolio: Patients, Traffic, Performance

IBM received patents for a range of inventions in 2010, including the following:

  • A method for gathering, analyzing, and processing patient information from multiple data sources to provide more effective diagnoses of medical conditions
  • A system for predicting traffic conditions based on information exchanged over short-range wireless communications; a technique that analyzes data from sensors in computer hard drives to enable faster emergency response in the event of earthquakes and other disasters
  • A technology advancement for enabling computer chips to communicate using pulses of light instead of electrical signals, which can  deliver increased performance of computing systems.

More than 7,000 IBM inventors residing in 46 different U.S. states and 29 countries generated the company’s record-breaking 2010 patent tally.

Inventors residing outside the U.S. contributed to more than 22% of the company’s patents in 2010, representing a 27% increase over international inventor contributions during the last three years.

IBM’s 2010 patent total nearly quadrupled Hewlett-Packard’s and exceeded the combined issuances of Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, EMC, and Google.

IBM’s inventiveness stems from the company’s long-term commitment to development and bold, exploratory research. IBM spends approximately $6 billion in R&D annually.

This year marks IBM’s Centennial, and from the first patent IBM received in 1911 for an invention related to punched card tabulation – to patent its inventors received in 2010 for analytics, core computing and software technologies, and smart utilities, traffic systems, and healthcare systems — the company consistently has pursued a balanced and versatile intellectual property strategy that can translate into real-world solutions, and make systems, processes and infrastructures more efficient, more productive and more responsive.

Check out the video below to see  IBM’s 2010 patent portfolio highlights.

Written by turbotodd

January 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm

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