Solutions Blog

Security Myths Debunked

By Richard Arneson

It could be argued that network security is similar to the average man’s relationship with the doctor’s appointment. It isn’t seen as important until something goes wrong.

Appointment-fearing men aside, the following are seen as the two (2) most common myths concerning network security, at least according to Ciaran Martin, the CEO of the National Cyber Security Center, which is the cyber arm of Great Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Martin went on to issue this admonishment: “There isn’t much of an excuse any longer for not knowing about security as a business risk.” Nobody can argue his point, even though many don’t abide by it.

Myth One (1)—cyberattacks are targeted

While it’s true that cyberattacks are becoming slightly more targeted, the majority—as in just slightly under a hundred percent (<100%)
— aren’t prejudiced. They don’t care one (1) whit who they’ve trap in their web of deceit, lies and downright evil. Many companies still feel they’ve been flying under the radar due to the size or their organization or the industry in which they work. They think their anonymity somehow shields them from attacks. According to Martin, they don’t believe they’ll ever appear in the crosshairs of a cyberattack. “Tell that,” Martin said, “to the Western business leaders hit by NotPetya in the summer of 2017.” That malware attack, which was originally launched by Russia to infect Ukrainian networks, quickly spread throughout the world like a California wildfire. The damages to businesses globally reached around $300M. They’re rarely targeted! Myth Busted!

Myth Two (2) —cyber security is just too darn complicated

While this myth may sound like an April Fool’s joke, it’s not. Other than it being February 13th, it’s astounding, according to Martin, how many C-level executives share this sentiment. According to Martin, “When I view businesses in the UK and around the world, I’m often amazed by the sheer complexity and sophistication of the businesses and the risks that they manage.

“A company that can extract stuff from way below the ground, a company that can transport fragile goods to the other end of the planet in a really short period of time, a company that can process billions of financial transactions every hour is more than capable of managing cyber security risk.”

While this isn’t a security panacea, your company’s security posture can be substantially strengthened by ensuring software and systems are up-to-date. That doesn’t sound so complicated.

Here’s another easy security measure to implement: Conduct security awareness training. Create policies concerning network security, provide accompanying training, and heavily stress the importance of strictly adhering to them. For every employee (and there could be hundreds, maybe thousands) who rolls their eyes at what might seem like commonsensical security training, all it takes is that one individual who doesn’t pay attention.

If nothing else, communicate this to employees: Make sure they ask themselves, prior to opening a link or attachment:

  • Do I know the sender? 
  • Do I really need to open this link or file?

If they don’t consider these questions, your organization could be ripe for the picking. Myth Busted!

Let these folks take the complexity out of your security posture

To find out how to secure your organization’s network and protect its mission critical data, contact GDT’s tenured and talented engineers and security analysts at SOC@GDT.com. From their Security and Network Operations Centers, they manage, monitor and protect the networks of companies of all sizes, including those for some of the most notable enterprises, service providers, healthcare organizations and government agencies in the world. They’d love to hear from you.

If you want more information about network security, check out the following articles:

State of the Union address focuses on technology–briefly

The technology arms race was just amped up

Apparently, cyber attackers also consider imitation to be the sincerest form of flattery

Last week’s DHS “alert” upgraded to “an emergency directive”

The Collection #1 data breach—sit down first; the numbers are pretty scary

Shutdown affects more than workers

DDoS Attacks will deny a Massachusetts Man Ten (10) years of Freedom

Phishing for Apples

This isn’t fake news

Don’t get blinded by binge-watching

Mo Money, Mo Technology―Taylor Swift uses facial recognition at concerts

Step aside all ye crimes—there’s a new king in town

Q & A for a Q & A website: Quora, what happened?

They were discovered on Google Play, but this is no game

And in this corner…

Elections are in, but there’s one (1) tally that remains to be counted

Hiring A Hacker Probably Shouldn’t Be Part of Your Business Plan

Gen V

Sexy, yes, but potentially dangerous

Tetration—you should know its meaning

It’s in their DNA

When SOC plays second fiddle to NOC, you could be in for an expensive tune

How to protect against Ransomware

Bleichenbacher—the man, the legend, the TLS attack

By Richard Arneson

No, no, this is a good man.

According to a technical paper published by a team of academics, there’s a new cryptographic attack lurking. It allows attackers to intercept data believed to be secure through TLS (Transport Layer Security), which provides authentication encryption between network devices. The researchers who identified it have dubbed it ROBOT, an acronym for Return of Bleichenbacher’s Oracle Threat.

Technically, it’s not really new

As is often the case, attackers, who often lack creativity, ingenuity, or both, borrow from previously and successfully launched evil. In this particular case, the miscreants filched from the Bleichenbacher attack, which was launched last century (1998) and victimized SSL servers. In it, the attackers sent encrypted text, known as ciphertext, to be decrypted. The decrypted results they got back picked subsequent ciphertexts, and so on, and so on…

The attacker performs decryption through RSA, which is a key-exchange algorithm utilized by TLS and its predecessor, SSL (Secure Socket Layer). Along with key-exchange algorithms, TLS and SSL utilize symmetric-key algorithms, which are faster than their counterpart, but not quite on an encryption par. The key-exchange algorithms help determine the symmetric keys to use during a TLS or SSL session. Key-exchange algorithms are like a mediator who determines whether you’d like to converse with somebody, even though both of you speak a range of languages. Once you both agree that a conversation is merited, symmetric keys represent the language in which you’d both like to converse. The symmetric keys are created for agreed upon encryption and decryption, including any detected tampering.

Before you go hating on the name Bleichenbacher, (his Christian name Daniel) know that he is one (1) of the good guys. He is the erstwhile Bell Labs researcher who discovered the attack over two (2) decades ago.

These latest plagiarists come from a long line of scoundrels, though. There have been over ten (10) attacks that borrowed from the original Bleichenbacher attack. They were all effective to some degree, hence the imitations.

Here’s why it’s working

The authors of the TLS protocol had their hearts in the right place, but their retrofitted measures to make guessing the RSA decryption key more difficult have fallen short. Essentially, they’ve patched worn tires instead of buying new ones. What was needed was the replacement of the insecure RSA algorithm. Now, instead, many TSL-capable routers, servers, firewall and VPNs are still vulnerable.

The hits just keep coming

Not to be a downer, but it’s important to note that this latest attack works against Google’s new QUIC encryption protocol. And how’s this for irony? Google is Daniel Bleichenbacher’s current employer.

 Security Experts with the answers

To find out how to secure your organization’s network and protect its mission critical data, contact GDT’s tenured and talented engineers and security analysts at SOC@GDT.com. From their Security and Network Operations Centers, they manage, monitor and protect the networks of companies of all sizes, including those for some of the most notable enterprises, service providers, healthcare organizations and government agencies in the world. They’d love to hear from you.

If you want more information about network security, check out the following articles:

State of the Union address focuses on technology–briefly

The technology arms race was just amped up

Apparently, cyber attackers also consider imitation to be the sincerest form of flattery

Last week’s DHS “alert” upgraded to “an emergency directive”

The Collection #1 data breach—sit down first; the numbers are pretty scary

Shutdown affects more than workers

DDoS Attacks will deny a Massachusetts Man Ten (10) years of Freedom

Phishing for Apples

This isn’t fake news

Don’t get blinded by binge-watching

Mo Money, Mo Technology―Taylor Swift uses facial recognition at concerts

Step aside all ye crimes—there’s a new king in town

Q & A for a Q & A website: Quora, what happened?

They were discovered on Google Play, but this is no game

And in this corner…

Elections are in, but there’s one (1) tally that remains to be counted

Hiring A Hacker Probably Shouldn’t Be Part of Your Business Plan

Gen V

Sexy, yes, but potentially dangerous

Tetration—you should know its meaning

It’s in their DNA

When SOC plays second fiddle to NOC, you could be in for an expensive tune

How to protect against Ransomware

State of the Union address focuses on technology—briefly

By Richard Arneson

If you missed it, you’re probably not the only one. It was fleeting, but if it slipped past you, technology was a focal point for one (1) brief, shining moment during last night’s State of the Union address. President Trump alluded to technology when he mentioned the need to increase the federal government’s “investments in the cutting-edge industries of the future.” Given the technological arms race between China and, well, the rest of the world, it’s a safe bet that 5G and AI were on his mind.

Executive Orders are waiting in the wings

The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump is preparing a number of executive orders to ramp up 5G and AI (Artificial Intelligence). While we’ll have to wait patiently to learn what specifically will be addressed, the Journal reports states that, according to administration officials, the orders will involve more government resources to advance AI and nudge private companies to enter the race to 5G.

According to Michael Kratsios, a White House technology policy aide, Trump’s overarching technology-related goal is to help ensure that American innovation will remain the envy of the world for generations to come.

Without mentioning the world’s most populated country, Trump’s commitment is clearly aimed at better competing against China, which is, according to most industry analysts both here and abroad, the far and away leader in the race to 5G. That’s not to say security-related issues are playing second fiddle, though. It’s a widely held suspicion that companies utilizing telecom equipment from China—most specifically equipment manufactured by Huawei or ZTE—are opening the door for Chinese espionage.

The United States and several Western European countries are mulling over legislation that would ban equipment manufactured by Huawei or ZTE. On Wednesday, Rob Strayer, the deputy assistance secretary for cyber and international communications and information policy, warned countries that purchasing Huawei networking gear would expand China’s surveillance capabilities to all four (4) corners of the world. Strayer warned that by using its massive 5G presence, Huawei would be poised to steal trillions of dollars in intellectual property and more easily deploy malware and attack competitors’ networks.

Can you afford to not talk to Security Experts?

To find out how to secure your organization’s network and protect its mission critical data, contact GDT’s tenured and talented engineers and security analysts at SOC@GDT.com. From their Security and Network Operations Centers, they manage, monitor and protect the networks of companies of all sizes, including those for some of the most notable enterprises, service providers, healthcare organizations and government agencies in the world. They’d love to hear from you.

If you want more information about network security, check out the following articles:

The technology arms race was just amped up

Apparently, cyber attackers also consider imitation to be the sincerest form of flattery

Last week’s DHS “alert” upgraded to “an emergency directive”

The Collection #1 data breach—sit down first; the numbers are pretty scary

Shutdown affects more than workers

DDoS Attacks will deny a Massachusetts Man Ten (10) years of Freedom

Phishing for Apples

This isn’t fake news

Don’t get blinded by binge-watching

Mo Money, Mo Technology―Taylor Swift uses facial recognition at concerts

Step aside all ye crimes—there’s a new king in town

Q & A for a Q & A website: Quora, what happened?

They were discovered on Google Play, but this is no game

And in this corner…

Elections are in, but there’s one (1) tally that remains to be counted

Hiring A Hacker Probably Shouldn’t Be Part of Your Business Plan

Gen V

Sexy, yes, but potentially dangerous

Tetration—you should know its meaning

It’s in their DNA

When SOC plays second fiddle to NOC, you could be in for an expensive tune

How to protect against Ransomware

A road less traveled…than you’d think

By Richard Arneson

According to a recent study by a New York-based IT consultancy firm that works exclusively with Fortune 1,000 corporations, large companies aren’t transforming into truly data-driven organizations as fast as you’d suspect. The big boys, as it turns out, are a little behind the curve when it comes to utilizing data and analytics to help drive their organizations. Apparently, the road to digital transformation is paved with fewer Fortune 1,000 logos than you’d think.

While determining the degree at which organizations are data-driven is subjective, its meaning isn’t. In its basic of definitions, data-driven refers to the management of captured data to help, through analytics, develop business- driving and revenue-generating strategies and initiatives. Let’s face it, hunch-based decisions aren’t as sound as those derived through analytics.

The Study

The survey included sixty-four (64) C-Level technology executives from some of the world’s largest corporations—the biggies, ones we’ve all heard of, and many whose products we use daily. But it’s definitely not that they don’t regard becoming data-driven as highly important. It’s just that a spate of obstacles, both internal and external, have hamstrung their efforts.

Their impeded journeys aren’t due to a lack of spend, though. Over ninety percent (>90%) of those surveyed reported that their AI and Big Data spends are growing, and over fifty percent (>50%) said their investments in both have exceeded over $50 million. And respondents confirmed that they’re building organizations specifically to address them. In fact, almost seventy percent (<70%) currently have a Chief Data Officer. But here’s a big issue: seventy-five percent (75%) fear that moving too aggressively toward Big Data and AI may kink up their operations. They’ve spent the money, hired the driver, but they’re skittish about getting the race car onto the track.

What’s holding them back?

Evolving into a data-driven organization, especially when employing hundreds of thousands of workers in dozens of countries and spanning several continents, is no mean feat. It’s a slow process, even painfully so. Nobody would argue that point. But the slow migrations can be chalked up to more than a simple “It takes a while” retort. Over forty percent (>40%) stated that their organization isn’t properly and cohesively aligned to become data-driven, and almost twenty-five percent (<25%) said that cultural resistance is hampering their speed to digital transformation. Interestingly, though, just over seven percent (>7%) said that technology (yes, technology!) didn’t present any of the primary challenges. Here’s what did—business adoption. Almost eighty percent (<80%) cited it as their greatest challenge.

Another issue that may be holding them back is immediate need to secure revenue, which can easily push data-driven initiatives to the back burner. They know how digital transformation will enhance and advance their organization, but revenue will always hold the trump card.

Additional, and rather surprising, findings

One (1) of the things that’s surprising is that the percentage of respondents who identified their organization as being data-driven has dropped in each of the past three (3) years, from thirty-seven percent (37%) in 2017 to a skosh over thirty percent (30%) today. Here are a few more shockers:

Over seventy percent (>70%) admitted that they haven’t yet created a “data culture”, almost seventy percent (<70%) said that they have developed a data-driven organization, over fifty percent (>50%) don’t consider and treat data as a corporate asset, and over fifty percent (>50%) aren’t utilizing data and related analytics to help them become more competitive in the marketplace.

Questions about how to transform your organization into one (1) that’s data-driven?

If you’d like to learn more about how AI, Big Data and Analytics can digitally transform your organization, talk to the expert solutions architects and engineers at GDT. For years they’ve been helping customers of all sizes, and from a wide array of industries, realize their digital transformation goals by designing and deploying innovative, cutting-edge solutions that shape their organizations and help them realize positive business outcomes. Contact them at SolutionsArchitects@gdt.com or at Engineering@gdt.com. They’d love to hear from you.

You can read more about how to digitally transform your infrastructure here:

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If you fall victim to it, you won’t end up marking it as “like”

They were discovered on Google Play, but this is no game

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You won’t want to let this policy lapse

By Richard Arneson

If statistical models and tables can be built to address it, there’s probably insurance to cover it…whatever it is. It can be anything from protecting against an automobile-winning hole-in-one at a company golf tournament, to fingers in the event you’re the lead guitarist of The Rolling Stones. The list is seemingly endless, and also silly, at times. Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine allegedly has insurance to protect against alien abduction, and Lloyd’s of London, the king of the odd insurance policy, once offered—and sold—policies to protect movie-goers against death by laughter. Seriously. So, it should come as no surprise to learn that companies can now insure against cyber threats.

According to Rob Smart of Mactavish, a firm that works with many of England’s largest property & casualty insurance companies, said that it’s rare when a customer doesn’t inquire about cyber insurance. Many analysts believe the current cyber insurance market will double in the next eighteen (18) months, from $4 billion to $8 billion in premiums.

While it doesn’t get a lot of press, cyber insurance is more developed in the U.S. than in any other country due, in large part, to 2003 California legislation that requires firms to disclose information related to large data breaches. Many other states have followed suit. Europe is quickly ramping up, too, as a result of privacy and reporting laws that are now even stricter than those in the U.S.

Pricing the premiums proves problematic

The trickiest part of the equation for insurance companies is determining how much to charge for premiums. Basically, all software contains bugs, and many of them weaken security and open the door for hackers. And, unlike most other industries, insurance companies don’t have a lot of historical data about cyber threats and attacks from which to pull. And the pace of technological change makes it especially vexing considering future threats are just that—in the future. The most savvy of security experts can’t imagine or anticipate every danger that will surface down the road. When a company purchases a garden-variety property & casualty insurance policy, for instance, there is a ton of historical data that helps insurance companies know which events threaten a company and which ones present liability exposures.

Threats don’t discriminate

Another difficulty for insurance companies stems from the fact that cyber attacks don’t work independently. If a company is covered against hail in Texas, it won’t affect the insured in other parts of the country. But a software flaw can make all users immediately at risk, regardless of their location, industry or size. Take, for instance, 2017’s Wanna Cry Ransomware attack. A software vulnerability ended up affecting a quarter of a million computers spanning the globe. It didn’t matter who they were or where they were located.

And if the insurance company hasn’t properly calculated risks and, as a result, has undercharged for premiums, they’ll be left paying out more than they’ve taken in. And insurance companies don’t like to do that.

Here’s another way to protect against cyber threats

To find out how to secure your organization’s network and protect its mission critical data, contact GDT’s tenured and talented engineers and security analysts at SOC@GDT.com. From their Security and Network Operations Centers, they manage, monitor and protect the networks of companies of all sizes, including those for some of the most notable enterprises, service providers, healthcare organizations and government agencies in the world. They’d love to hear from you.

If you want more information about network security, check out the following articles:

But it’s just so exciting!

The technology arms race just got amped up

Apparently, cyber attackers also consider imitation to be the sincerest form of flattery

Last week’s DHS “alert” upgraded to “an emergency directive”

The Collection #1 data breach—sit down first; the numbers are pretty scary

Shutdown affects more than workers

DDoS Attacks will deny a Massachusetts Man Ten (10) years of Freedom

Phishing for Apples

This isn’t fake news

Don’t get blinded by binge-watching

Mo Money, Mo Technology―Taylor Swift uses facial recognition at concerts

Step aside all ye crimes—there’s a new king in town

Q & A for a Q & A website: Quora, what happened?

They were discovered on Google Play, but this is no game

And in this corner…

Elections are in, but there’s one (1) tally that remains to be counted

Hiring A Hacker Probably Shouldn’t Be Part of Your Business Plan

Gen V

Sexy, yes, but potentially dangerous

Tetration—you should know its meaning

It’s in their DNA

When SOC plays second fiddle to NOC, you could be in for an expensive tune

How to protect against Ransomware

What’s in store for IoT in 2019

By Richard Arneson



Prognostications that IoT will become more pervasive in our daily lives is like predicting the New England Patriots will win another Super Bowl. Like it or not, both are going to happen. But the question is, how exactly will IoT become more pervasive? The following predictions aren’t exactly going out on a limb, but they inch slightly closer to it.

Here a few of the ways IoT will become more ubiquitous in our day-to-day lives in 2019:

Voice Control

You better get those voice lessons out of the way soon. If enunciating is an issue, you may find IoT more frustrating in the near future. Sure, we’re used to carefully pronouncing words for Siri and Alexa, but get ready for a host of new IoT devices that will be voice-controlled. Take the automotive industry, for instance. It would be difficult to find an automotive manufacturer that isn’t developing virtual assistants to help with much of the functionality that still relies on manual operation.

And Natural Language Processing, which is a subset, of sorts, of Artificial Intelligence (AI), is helping bridge gaps between computers and the human voice. As much as we’d like them to, computers can’t interpret what we’re trying to say. But with advances in Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL), computers are becoming more equipped to perform translations, including understanding semantics.

When that fifth G finally gets here…

This is the year when 5G is targeted for wide-scale unveiling. It will offer speeds up to twenty times (20x) faster than the sluggish mobile networks we’re currently using. Guess what IoT really needs to become more prevalent and influential in our daily lives? Speed. Sure, availability is a big component—if you can’t get it, how can you use it, right?—but the speed of 5G is what will get IoT rolling like a tumbleweed in a West Texas windstorm.

AI…IoT’s collaborator, friend and protector

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoT go together like, to quote Forrest Gump, “peas and carrots.” IoT pulls in enormous amounts of data and AI will rely on it to, through learning algorithms, detect anomalies or outliers, and create opportunities to uncover and enhance efficiencies. And it will provide alerts to signal impending problems. And through automated threat detection, AI will help IoT become, and remain, more secure.

Smarter edges

Consider the security camera, one (1) of the superstars of IoT. Imagine how much data it collects that is useless. Hours and hours of worthless 1’s and 0’s getting pushed to the cloud or a server, even though a fraction of it will ever need to be accessed. Now imagine IoT devices that can handle computations on their own. This will free up storage space for vital, useful data, and networks will be less congested, to boot. Software and hardware will be running on the IoT device and, in the camera example, image recognition algorithms will recognize changes and only push its associated data to the cloud or storage.

Get more IoT and Smart City info from the experts

For more information about IoT and Smart City solutions, talk to the experts at GDT. Their tenured, talented solutions architects, engineers and security analysts understand how to design and deploy IoT and Smart City solutions for organizations of all sizes to help them realize more productivity, enhanced operations and greater revenue. GDT helps organizations transform their legacy environments into highly productive digital infrastructures and architectures. You can reach them at IoT@gdt.com. They’d love to hear from you.

You can read more about Smart Cities and IoT Solutions here:

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GDT is leading the Smart Cities Revolution

But it’s just so exciting!

By Richard Arneson

Ever tossed aside an installation manual and went without because the excitement of a new gadget ran counter to the need to practice patience? If you answered in the affirmative, you can probably relate to the following.

To say the issue is plaguing the IT industry may be an overstatement, but it’s certainly something that’s becoming more common. Like a kid on Christmas morning, many organizations are so excited about implementing the latest and greatest technology that they’re getting ahead of themselves. They end up giving short shrift to something that, if ignored, can quickly turn that excitement into misery—having a strong, sound security posture.

Not delaying gratification may result in poor security

On Tuesday, the IDC released findings from a research project they conducted based on a survey of 1,200 IT and security executives from nine (9) countries. Among other things, it revealed this security-related nugget—while companies are quickly adopting many of the new, exciting technologies of the day, they’re dropping the ball when it comes to protecting their organizations against cyber threats. Metaphorically-speaking, they’re tossing aside the instruction manual so they can get to the good stuff sooner.

It’s certainly not a matter of organizations ignoring the need for security, however. They’re challenged with consistently applying needed levels of security across all architectures. The result are attempts to retrofit older security solutions to address new, transformative technologies. They’re bringing a knife to a gunfight. And if they’ve spent big bucks on new technology, security to protect it may be getting shorted. In fact, only half of those surveyed said that they’re expecting an increase in their security budget. That percentage is down considerably—just one (1) year ago, seventy-nine percent (79%) expected an increase in their security spend.

The research also revealed that sixty percent (60%) of respondents have experienced a breach, and thirty percent (30%) have fallen victim to at least one (1) in the past year. And remember, respondents represented nine (9) different countries. U.S.-based organizations in the study experienced higher rates—over sixty percent (65%) have been hit with a breach, and thirty-six percent (36%) have had at least one (1) in the past year. What’s odd, even disconcerting, is that only eighty-six percent (86%) of respondents acknowledged that they are vulnerable to a security threat. So, fourteen percent (14%), or a hundred sixty-eight (168) respondents, may have put down roots in a fool’s paradise.

Complexity listed as one (1) of the primary barriers against better securing organizations

The aforementioned study revealed that forty-four percent (44%) of respondents rated complexity as a key barrier to implementing data security. That’s why turning to security experts is an important first step in helping your organization protect against cyberthreats.

To find out how to secure your organization’s network and protect mission critical data, contact GDT’s tenured and talented engineers and security analysts at SOC@GDT.com. From their Security and Network Operations Centers, they manage, monitor and protect the networks of companies of all sizes, including those for some of the most notable enterprises, service providers, healthcare organizations and government agencies in the world. They’d love to hear from you.

If you want more information about network security, check out the following articles:

The technology arms race just got amped up

Apparently, cyber attackers also consider imitation to be the sincerest form of flattery

Last week’s DHS “alert” upgraded to “an emergency directive”

The Collection #1 data breach—sit down first; the numbers are pretty scary

Shutdown affects more than workers

DDoS Attacks will deny a Massachusetts Man Ten (10) years of Freedom

Phishing for Apples

This isn’t fake news

Don’t get blinded by binge-watching

Mo Money, Mo Technology―Taylor Swift uses facial recognition at concerts

Step aside all ye crimes—there’s a new king in town

Q & A for a Q & A website: Quora, what happened?

They were discovered on Google Play, but this is no game

And in this corner…

Elections are in, but there’s one (1) tally that remains to be counted

Hiring A Hacker Probably Shouldn’t Be Part of Your Business Plan

Gen V

Sexy, yes, but potentially dangerous

Tetration—you should know its meaning

It’s in their DNA

When SOC plays second fiddle to NOC, you could be in for an expensive tune

How to protect against Ransomware

Just another day in the life of fiber optics

By Richard Arneson

It’s 1958. Eisenhower was finishing up his second term in The White House, NASA was created, Arnold Palmer won the first of his seven (7) major titles, and, as everyone knows, Richard Sturzebecher was tasked with creating a formula that represented light traveling through glass fiber. It was an odd request, especially considering Sturzebecher was a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army.

It’s been sixty (60) years since the manager of Copper Cable and Wire, a department within the U.S. Army Signal Corps Labs, decided the signal transmission issues they regularly experienced due to lightning and water were no longer bearable. They turned to Sam DiVita, the Signal Corps’ Manager of Materials Research, to develop a solution to replace the copper wire they used to transmit signals. DiVita, borrowing from years of conjecture by several notables in the industry, such as Alexander Graham Bell, was convinced that light sent down strands of glass just might work. He consulted with his engineers, who lazily opined that the glass fiber would break. Yes, they mailed it in that day.

DiVita promptly turned to Lt. Sturzebecher and yanked him from his duties to focus on the hunch. Sturzebecher was attending Signal School at the time, but had just finished his senior thesis, which detailed how he had melted several triaxial glass systems by using Silicon Oxide (SiO2). Apparently, it was a very impressive feat. Word about his thesis began to spread, and soon Sturzebecher was asked to construct a formula that supported DiVita’s hopes that glass fiber could indeed transmit light signals.

Apparently, Sturzebecher had been holding out. He already knew—or at least suspected he knew—the answer. He used a microscope to measure the refraction of SiO2 glass. The lack of glass powders present allowed more light to pass through the microscope’s slide and into his peepers. Other than developing a headache from the light’s brightness (that’s actually true), Sturzebecher discovered that the purer the SiO2 glass, the more brilliant the light. It just so happens that Sturzebecher already knew about Corning’s high purity SiO2 powder, which they had earlier developed by oxidizing pure SiCl4 (Silicon tetrachloride) into SiO2. Thanks to Sturzebecher’s brain, and the headache that afflicted it, he was able to develop his formula. As you probably guessed, Corning Glass Works won the contract.

Years later, in the early Sixties, DiVita was forced to make the discovery public due to a law allowing any research laboratory to bid on federal contracts. The high purity SiO2 cat was officially out of the bag due to a new federal bid solicitation. Federal funding of The Signal Corps’ fiber optic research continued until the mid-1980’s.

While not a household name, Sturzebecher—or any pronunciation of it—should be.

For questions, turn to these optical networking experts

If you have questions or would like more information about fiber optics or optical networking, contact GDT’s Optical Networking practice professionals at Optical@gdt.com. Composed of experienced optical engineers, solutions architects and project managers who specialize in optical networks, the GDT Optical Networking team supports some of the largest service providers and enterprises in the world. They’d love to hear from you.

For additional reading about the greatness of fiber optics, check these out:

Don’t sell fiber optics short—what it can also deliver is pretty amazing

A fiber optic first

When good fiber goes bad

Busting myths about fiber optics

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better

And see how GDT’s talented and tenured Optical Networking team provided an optical solution, service and support for one (1) of the world’s largest social media companies:

When a redundancy plan needs…redundancy

Ask not what you can do for Wi-Fi, but what Wi-Fi can do for you

By Richard Arneson

It’s about time Wi-Fi technology pulls its own weight. It’s never fast enough and its signal strength wavers like a politician. And now it needs range extenders to boost its deficient signal. Isn’t it about time we ask Wi-Fi what else—other than connecting us to the world—it can do for us? Well, apparently that question has already been asked. The time may be coming when Wi-Fi tackles an issue that pesters us daily.

No, Wi-Fi won’t vacuum or dust; it won’t prepare meals or pay bills. No, even better—it will charge batteries. Scientists in the U.S. have developed a device that can convert those Wi-Fi-generated radio signals caroming around your house into DC current. While it may sound somewhat dangerous, it’s not—DC current, unlike the plug-in-the-wall AC type, only flows in one (1) direction. And in this case, it produces—or, rather, they hope it will one (1) day produce—just enough juice to charge electronics, like smartphones, computers, wearables, even, possibly, medical devices.

Here’s how it works

It all starts with a rectenna. Yes, a rectenna. The poorly named device was developed from a semiconductor a few atoms—yes, atoms—thick. And if its microscopic size isn’t enough, it’s also flexible and sucks up radio signals like a Dyson vacuum. While all radio signals come in the form of very high-frequency AC current, the current generated comes in tiny, minuscule amounts. From there, the radio signals gets converted into battery-charging DC current.

Its Future is so bright

One of the key scientists working on the rectenna is Dr. Tomas Palacios, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Microsystems Technology Laboratories Centre for Graphene Devices and 2D Systems. He envisions living in a battery-free world. And given the material’s flexibility, he imagines a day when it could encase structures of all shapes and sizes like shrink wrap.

According to Dr. Palacios, “What if we could develop electronic systems that we wrap around a bridge or cover an entire highway, or the walls of our office and bring electronic intelligence to everything around us? We have come up with….a way to bring intelligence to every object around us.”

When will the rectenna make its first public appearance?

Hang tight, it’s not ready for prime time yet. And hopefully when it is, it will be given a better name. In tests, the rectenna can generate around forty (40) microwatts of power when exposed to Wi-Fi signals, which transmit at around a hundred fifty (150) microwatts. While forty (40) microwatts is enough power to light a simple mobile display or activate silicon chips, it’s not ready to re-charge those devices we rely on daily. Not to be downer, but a microwatt is one millionth of a watt and, on average, computers consume about twenty-five (25) watts of power. Do the math. It’s not there yet, but hang tight. Remember, this is technology. Things move pretty fast.

Got IoT or Smart City Questions?

Talk to the experts at GDT. Their tenured, talented solutions architects, engineers and security analysts understand how to design and deploy IoT and Smart City solutions for organizations of all sizes to help them realize more productivity, enhanced operations and greater revenue. GDT helps organizations transform their legacy environments into highly productive digital infrastructures and architectures. You can reach them at IoT@gdt.com. They’d love to hear from you.

You can read more about Smart Cities and IoT Solutions here:

These are no dim bulbs

Why Smart Cities? It’s in the numbers

Five (5) things to consider prior to your company’s IoT journey

Without Application Performance Monitoring, your IoT goals may be MIA

How does IoT fit with SD-WAN?

GDT is leading the Smart Cities Revolution

The technology arms race was just amped up

By Richard Arneson

On Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) held a press conference to announce that it is seeking criminal charges against Huawei, China’s mobile manufacturing giant. The company and its CFO, Meng Wanzhou, who is the daughter of Huawei founder and president Ren Zhonghe, are accused of bank and wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. In addition, Huawei is accused of obstructing justice.

At the news conference, FBI head Christopher Wray stated that the charges “lay bare Huawei’s alleged blatant disregard for the laws of our country and standard global business practices.” Not surprisingly, Huawei insists it’s innocent of all charges.

Wire Fraud

The DOJ claims that Huawei, Meng and a Hong Kong-based Huawei subsidiary named Skycom Technologies, committed wire fraud by violating the United States’ trade sanctions against Iran.

Stealing Trade Secrets

In 2014, T-Mobile, the number three (3) wireless service provider in the U.S., slapped Huawei with a civil suit. While a jury ruled in favor of Huawei, determining that T-Mobile didn’t suffer damages and Huawei didn’t engage in willful or malicious conduct, the DOJ wasn’t satisfied with the ruling. They’re convinced that Huawei stole information related to Tappy, a robot T-Mobile uses to test its smartphones.

Meng’s Charges

Meng, who was arrested in Canada last month at the behest of the United States government, is accused of violating the aforementioned trade sanctions against Iran. After her arrest, the United States filed extradition paperwork, but Meng remains in Canada. A three-day bail hearing in Vancouver resulted in the court’s ruling that she was indeed a flight risk. While she was allowed to be released after posting a $7.2 million dollar bail, she is being closely monitored by the Canadian government and sports an electronic ankle bracelet.

Huawei’s tough year will probably get tougher

Reportedly, the White House is preparing an executive order to bar U.S. firms from using equipment supplied by Huawei and ZTE, another major Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer.

In addition, draft legislation is making the rounds in Congress that would make it illegal for U.S. companies to sell chips or other components to either Huawei or ZTE.

Both Australia and Japan have been lobbying telecom companies in their respective countries to steer clear of utilizing Huawei to advance their 5G initiatives. They fear the company’s equipment will result in spying by the Chinese government.

Security Questions? Talk to the Experts

To find out how to secure your organization’s network and protect mission critical data, contact GDT’s tenured and talented engineers and security analysts at SOC@GDT.com. From their Security and Network Operations Centers, they manage, monitor and protect the networks of companies of all sizes, including those for some of the most notable enterprises, service providers, healthcare organizations and government agencies in the world. They’d love to hear from you.

If you want more information about network security, check out the following articles:

Apparently, cyber attackers also consider imitation to be the sincerest form of flattery

Last week’s DHS “alert” upgraded to “an emergency directive”

The Collection #1 data breach—sit down first; the numbers are pretty scary

Shutdown affects more than workers

DDoS Attacks will deny a Massachusetts Man Ten (10) years of Freedom

Phishing for Apples

This isn’t fake news

Don’t get blinded by binge-watching

Mo Money, Mo Technology―Taylor Swift uses facial recognition at concerts

Step aside all ye crimes—there’s a new king in town

Q & A for a Q & A website: Quora, what happened?

They were discovered on Google Play, but this is no game

And in this corner…

Elections are in, but there’s one (1) tally that remains to be counted

Hiring A Hacker Probably Shouldn’t Be Part of Your Business Plan

Gen V

Sexy, yes, but potentially dangerous

Tetration—you should know its meaning

It’s in their DNA

When SOC plays second fiddle to NOC, you could be in for an expensive tune

How to protect against Ransomware