Yahoo’s Fire Eagle

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Friends on Fire is a Facebook application that allows friends to share location based information. I’ll admit that I’m a tad leary of location based applications, after all, who knows how stalkers will use this information? Never the less, it is intriguing to think you can find your friends in real time.

For a more in depth look read: Yahoo counters Google Latitude: Friends on Fire | Webware – CNET.

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Simple point & click enrichment of your blog posts (and e-mails). In real-time, while you type. We suggest tags, links, photos, and related articles. You save time and aspirin.

Zemanta is a FireFox add-in that helps link related content to your blog posts. Simply install to add-in and create your posts, and Zemanta will find keywords, links, tags, and other complementary content and automatically add it to your your posts.

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TechieBytes: Google Docs

Working on a corporate network, it’s no surprise that I spend the majority of my time working within Microsoft products. Recently I was lured out of my Microsoft bubble and forced to pick-up a shared file in Google Docs. Within minutes I found myself thinking through ways Google Docs might enhance my day to day tasks within the enterprise and reduce my frustration with SharePoint. Sure enough after only a couple of weeks, I’ve found myself counting on Google Docs for a growing number of tasks.

For those of you who have never used Google Docs, it’s like an online office suite. You can create, store, and share various types of files including documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. To make it more convenient, you can synchronize your Google Docs with your local computer using Google Gears.

Some Pros:

  • A simple interface makes Google Docs a breeze to learn and use.
  • No software to install or update.
  • Browser based applications make accessing your docs from any location a reality.
  • Files can be shared easily and modified collaboratively reducing the frustration of managing or merging document changes.

Some Cons:

  • Your files are hosted remotely and could be compromised.
  • Incomplete advanced feature set compared to big desktop applications suites.

Overall Google Docs is an excellent tool that covers the majority of most people’s needs. If you haven’t tried it, you should, as it has something for everyone. For a quick video overview of Google Docs, click the video below.

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Social Networking and Security

Recently the SNOsoft Research Team released an excellent blog post titled Facebook from the hackers perspective. In the article they detail a Social Engineering/Phishing attack built on information found within online communities. After reading the article several things came to mind:

Would a simple security awareness program have saved them?

While it’s possible, it’s unlikely due to the nature of the attack. Phishing through cross site scripting can be almost undetectable. Obviously the attack was well implemented if someone with Firewall credentials was compromised. Perhaps the staff would have trusted the engineered account less if they had been warned about the potential risk. Just seeing "Omigawd have you seen this I think we got hacked!" should have raised some red flags. Staff could have been trained not to click hacked links.

Would shutting off access to social networking sites have saved them?

Nope, people will continue to utilize communities regardless of access restrictions. Mobile capabilities, open APIs, and third party sites make blocking social networks unrealistic. More importantly, the benefit of social networking will outweigh the risks in most organizations.

Would a good documentation and change management program have saved them?

Most likely, with proper documentation and change management the vulnerability would have been identified or never existed. This vulnerability most often occurs when programmers fail to test code properly, and would have been captured in the testing phase of a change management process.

Of course we know what did save them…

A security vulnerability scan saved this company from a potentially devastating breach. So in these times of budget cuts, I’d be very cautious about rolling back on that security budget.

With the economy down and people out of work, "Cyber Attacks" will be on the rise. Make sure you’re doing your due diligence to protect your assets. A security audit should be conducted yearly, and recovering from a data breach should be part of your business continuity planning.