Translate My Page

Sunday, September 30, 2012

IE 9 Surprised in Web Browser Test done by NSS Labs

Google Chrome might be the most used Web browser, but Microsoft IE9 shines in NSS Labs security test.

Microsoft IE9 blew away Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari in new tests by NSS Labs to measure the ability of web browsers to block malware and catch click fraud.

NSS subjected Apple Safari 5, Google Chrome 15-19, Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 and Mozilla Firefox 7-13 to over 3 million test runs against over 84,000 URLs determined to be active and malicious out of a unique sample set of 227,841. Out of 750,000 test cases per browser, NSS labs found in its 75-day review that IE9's malware block rate was 95%, whle Firefox and Safari trailed far behind at 6% apiece and Chrome was somewhere in the middle, with its rate varying from 13% to 74%.

(IE and Chrome are neck and neck, by the way, for the global lead in Web browser share, followed by Firefox and Safari.)

The NSS "Is your Browser Putting You at Risk?" report conclude that users should "evaluate browser security as part of their layered security strategy."

NSS Labs says browser protection entails an "'in-the-cloud' reputation-based system that scours the Internet for malicious websites and categorizes content accordingly, either by adding it to a black or white list, or assigning a score (depending on the vendor's approach)." When a browser detects a site as "bad," it will re-direct the user to a warning message or page informing them that the URL is malicious. Sometimes the browser will instruct the user that content is malicious or should be cancelled, the report says.

NSS Labs also says its testing determined that the SafeBrowsing API 2.0, which provides reputation services for executable files (otherwise called "malicious downloads"), has been integrated into Chrome but not Firefox or Safari.

NSS Labs also tested the browsers for protection against click fraud, a crime that abuses pay-per-click advertising through use of malware infection. Click fraud "causes minimal direct harm to the typical end user, as the ultimate target is the ad buyer," the NSS Labs report points out.

According to the testing, the click-fraud catch rates are as follows: IE9 at 96.6%, followed by Chrome at 1.6%, Firefox at 0.8% and Safari at 0.7%. The lab notes the average lifespan of a click fraud URL was 32 hours with over 50% expiring within 54 hours.

NSS Labs recommends that ad buyers "put pressure on Google to increase the click fraud protection capabilities of Chrome and the SafeBrowsing API."

NSS Labs is making its browser-security test reports available for free here and here.

12 IT Certifications That Aid Career Advancement

Certifications play an important part of any IT professional's career, although there will always be some debate on how important. Certifications are, like most things in life: The more you put into them, the more you will get out. While the actual knowledge you gain on the journey is the true reward, certifications also indicate to employers that you take your job seriously and that you are knowledgeable on the respective technology.

With more than 1,700 professional IT certifications running the gamut of IT technologies, knowing which certifications are the most important for your specialty can seem an insurmountable task. To help you meet the challenge, we've sifted through data from Robert Half Technology to narrow your search and bring you a manageable list of the most relevant IT certifications for the remainder of 2012., citing Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, reports that Q2 2012 jobless rate for IT techs is at 3.6 percent, much lower than our national average. In a competitive market, you've got to do everything you can to distinguish yourself from your peers. Certification is an important part of that process. A recent poll asked users why they chose certification. The number one answer--at 51 percent--was that certification was a way to position themselves for a promotion or potential job.

What was your greatest motivation for pursuing certification? Pie chart.


Knowing Which IT Certification Is Right

Before you jump into a specific certification, there are some important questions that you need to ask yourself about your career goals and objectives:

  - What demographic of IT do you fall into? (Security, Web Development, Programmer and so on)

  - What are your career objectives?
  - What IT career are you most interested in?
  - What type of resources are needed (i.e. money and time)?
  - Will this certification have a significant impact on my career?

Certifications indicate to employers that you take your job seriously and that you are knowledgeable on the respective technology.

Taking the time to think about and document your response to these questions can help solidify your future goals and narrow your list of potential certifications further.

Once you've identified a role you'd like to advance to, look through Monster, Dice, CareerBuilder and other sites for those positions and see what IT certifications employers are looking for. You may find that on-the-job experience is what employers are searching for in one area of your expertise, so it would be logical to invest your time and money into certification in a different area to further your career goals.

Bonus Tip:
You'll find a must-have utility for your IT certification toolbox at GoCertify. The Certification Advisor allows you to plug in your area of expertise, skill level, career goals and more to generate a list of recommended certifications.

If your area of expertise is related to a listed certification's focus and you don't have that certification, you will definitely want to delve into it further. Now without further ado, here are our Top 12 IT Certifications.

1. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Completing the Project Management Professional certification shows employers that you have the necessary skills and resources to get the project one from start to finish, on time and on budget. It's never been more relevant than in today's IT industry where we all have multiple responsibilities.
Average salary:

2. Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP)

CISSP is a vendor neutral security certification. People who hold this certification have the skills and knowledge to complete high-level tasks involving architecture, design, management and/or controls that assure the security of business environments.

If you keep up with the news, you've seen all the latest security breaches at Sony, LinkedIn and many others; security is at the top of everyone's list today. To punctuate that, the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide reported that 24 percent of the 1,600 polled CIO's stated security as their top concern. The amount of data companies now store can be mind boggling. Breaches cost money, man power and many times credibility. As threats continue to escalate, so will the demand for professionals who can find security holes and ward off the attacking hordes.

Average salary: $97,000

3. Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)

RHCE is a Linux Red Hat Entperprise Linux certification and demonstrates that the holder has the skills and knowledge to perform the duties of senior system administrator, responsible for Red Hat systems. Deployments and migrations are second nature to an RHCE.

Linux continues to be adopted by more and more companies in an effort to decrease operating costs. Demand is outpacing supply making this one of the hottest Linux certifications. Note: In order to be eligible for this certification you must receive your RHCSA certification.

Average salary: $90,000

4. VMware Certified Professional (VCP)

VCP VMware's first level of certification that focuses squarely on the vSphere virtualization platform. Recipients should have the skills to install, deploy, scale and manage vSphere environments, as well as general virtualization skills.

Virtualization is more popular than ever in today's IT world and with cloud computing-based virtualization becoming more and more common this is sure to be a skillset that will be in demand for the next few years.

Average salary: $95,000

5. CompTIA A+

A+ from the trade group CompTIA, is another vendor-neutral certification and is considered entry level. It encompasses a number of different foundation level IT skills.

This is an industry standard for IT and tech support folks. Earning this certification indicates that you have the skills and knowledge to install, secure and troubleshoot networks as well as conduct preventative maintenance.

Average salary: $47,000

6. Oracle DBA

Every company has a database that is crucial to its operation and most have several, making Oracle certified professionals in demand. The Oracle DBA certification factors in training, experience and testing to establish a strong foundation and expertise in Oracle 9i Database techniques, including backup and recovery, performance tuning and administration.
Average salary: $103,000

7. Information Technology Infrastructure Library

The ITIL certification is the basis of the worldwide standard for quality IT Service Management and is considered to have laid the groundwork for effective IT departments. It outlines non-organizational specific "best practices" that are used by companies to establish a level of competency. There are four flavors for this cetification: Foundation, Intermediate, Expert and Master. It's hard to imagine a company these days that doesn't maintain some type of web presence and as more and more businesses become dependent on IT, the skills to manage IT services have become a "make or break" role. Demand for this certification has skyrocketed over recent years and it should continue to grow into 2013 and beyond.
Average "ITIL Expert" salary: $98,000

Cisco Certifications

Cisco Certifications, like Microsoft and others, have been IT industry standards for years and are used to validate knowledge of Cisco products and technologies. So much business passes through Cisco systems that these always seem to be in demand. The two listed below should continue to grow well into the foreseeable future.

8. Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)

CCIE demonstrates that the recipient has all the expert-level skills required to plan, prepare, operate, monitor, and troubleshoot complex data center networks. CCIE is a common goal for network professionals who want to be recognized as experts in their field. Cisco touts this certification as "the most prestigious networking certification in the industry" and this certification has also been called out by RHT as one of the most in-demand certifications for 2012.
Average salary: $103,000

9. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

CCNA certification is a second-level Cisco Career certification. It lets employers know that you have demonstrated the ability "to install, configure, operate and troubleshoot medium-size routed and switched networks, including implementation and verification of connections to remote sites in a WAN". Anyone who wants to work in the newtworking field or if you happen to work on Cisco hardware on a regular basis should consider adding this certification to their skillset. As mentioned earlier, security is going to continue to grow and according to RHT data so will the need for this credential.
Average salary: $86,000

Microsoft Certifications

Microsoft software and systems are a staple in most IT departments making these and other Microsoft certifications in demand skills. The RHT Salary Guide calls out all three of the Microsoft certifications listed below as top needed skills in today's job market.

10. Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)

MCITP certifications, one of Microsoft's newer certifications, tests technical proficiency in the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certifications. There are many different areas of certification.
Average salary: $85,000.

Windows Client

MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7
MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7
MCITP: Consumer Support Technician on Windows Vista
MCITP: Enterprise Support Technician on Windows Vista

Windows Server
MCITP: Enterprise Administrator on Windows Server 2008
MCITP: Server Administrator on Windows Server 2008
MCITP: Virtualization Administrator on Windows Server 2008 R2

Microsoft SQL Server
MCITP: Database Administrator 2008
MCITP: Database Developer 2008
MCITP: Business Intelligence Developer 2008
MCITP: Enterprise Project Management with Microsoft Office Project Server 2007

Microsoft Exchange Server
MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator on Exchange 2010
MCITP: Enterprise Messaging Administrator on Exchange 2007

Microsoft SharePoint Server
MCITP: SharePoint Administrator 2010

Microsoft Lync Server
MCITP: Lync Server Administrator 2010

11. Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS)

MCTS certification validates skills on a particular Microsoft technology. As with MCITP, there are many technologies that you can certify for, for example, Exchange server, Lync Server and Office Communications Server, virtualization and more. There are simply to many to list them all by name here, 57 in fact. The entire list can be found here.
Average salary: $90,000

12. Microsoft's Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)

An MCSE certification demonstrates that the recipient can design, implement and administer technology infrastructures using Microsoft Windows Server 2000 and other Windows server platforms. This certification is common to systems engineers, tech support engineers, system analysts, network analysts and technical consultants.
Average salary: $77,000

Why Certs Pay Off

Certifications are a great way to break into a new technology, cover gaps in your resume or advance your current position. The best people in the IT business are the ones who are passionate about learning and that is a key to being successful. Technology is evolving at a pace that is difficult to keep up with. As the environment moves forward and changes so must you. Regular education is a must whether it's back to college, buying a book or getting a certification. Choose wisely and always explore your options.

Do Authentication Questions Really Protect You?

Do Authentication Questions Really Protect You?

With so much information shared online, authentication questions can be trivial for attackers to bypass.

What is your mother's maiden name? It seems like that question has been used as secondary authentication to verify identity since the dawn of time. Over time, the authentication questions have become much more diverse. Sites now ask for things like what city you went to high school in, or who was your favorite teacher, or what was your first car.

The problem with most authentication questions, though, is that the information can often be found with a simple Google search or two. Ten years ago, or even five years ago it might have been much harder to learn the answers to such obscure questions. But, in the current age of oversharing on social networks it's entirely possible all your intimate details are out there somewhere. 

Have you ever participated in the Internet meme of answering a series of questions about yourself and then passing the results on to a group of friends? Many have. The purpose of the exercise is to share more information and get to know people better, but the fallout is that those questionnaires often target the same sort of semi-obscure information that authentication questions ask for.

The real problem with authentication questions is that they can be guessed or breached the same way a password can. An attacker may not know who your favorite sports team is. But, given a few contextual clues from your social networking profiles, conducting a search of your tweets on Twitter, or simply trying different sports teams out until the right one is discovered, the attacker can probably get past the authentication questions.

Like a username, the authentication question might seem like it adds a layer of security--and to some extent that's true. But, usernames are easily guessed, and authentication questions are becoming increasingly trivial to bypass thanks to social networking. The password should be the toughest part of this equation, yet many people still use their cat's name or "123456" despite years of security experts drilling about choosing better passwords.

One solution that might help a little is to make up a fictitious answer. For example, maybe you went to high school Omaha, and everyone online knows you went to high school in Omaha. But, for the purposes of your authentication security question you could change the answer to "Metropolis" or "onion rings" and just keep that information to yourself.

Some sites and services let you create your own custom authentication questions. This can also be an opportunity to create something unique that nobody but you would know the answer to. The sillier you are with both the question and the answer, the less likely it is that an attacker could guess it.

To protect your data from viruses, phishing attacks, and other malware--whether its on your PC, smartphone, or tablet--you should have some sort of cross-device security tool in place. But, when it comes to preventing unauthorized access to information stored elsewhere, two-factor authentication provides better protection. 

An attacker may be able to guess your username, Google the answers to your authentication questions, and crack your password. But, if access to your data also requires a unique PIN that can only be sent to the mobile phone you have registered with the account for that purpose it makes it much harder to get in.

Friday, September 28, 2012

India to drop local roaming charges by 2013

India's government said it will end local roaming charges in 2013 to reduce consumers' mobile bill when they travel around the country, but the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) have yet to consult with relevant industry stakeholders on this proposal.

In a report by the Times of India on Tuesday, Communications Minister Kapil 
Sibal reiterated national roaming charges will be made free from next year, which was first promised in the National Telecom Policy 2012. Currently, users pay around INR 0.60 a minute in their home region but pay between INR 1.25 and INR 1.50 a minute while roaming in another telecom region.

However, TRAI has yet to kick off consultations for this move, which is the norm when such changes are proposed. The process requires a discussion paper followed by open house sessions with stakeholders before the rules are finalized, the report noted.

One of the issues that will need to be resolved will be the interconnect charges operators pay to another to connect a mobile user from one roaming circle to another, and this will take some time to resolve since this is a source of revenue for operators, it added.

Rajan Mathews, director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), also pointed out operators would have to rework their infrastructure and billing systems to comply with the new rules. 

He added the ending of local roaming charges might be too much hassle for too little users. "Our data suggests that only 10 percent of customers roam nationally. While the move is welcome, you are making the industry go through a churn for something that benefits only 10 percent of customers," Mathews said. 

Top 10 Indian mobile vendors revealed

Fall in India-specific revenues of mobile handset makers including Nokia, RIM and LG, led by de-growth in feature phone sales and lower average selling values pulled down industry-wide sales by five per cent to Rs. 31,215 crore in 2011-12, says a Voice&Data survey.

The survey said the mobile handset sales in India stood at Rs. 33,031 crore in the previous fiscal. It also said the main stay of domestic handset makers like Micromax and Spice (feature phones) saw negative growth, while the entry level smartphones of various companies saw a marginal rise.

The annual survey on Indian Telecom industry by CyberMedia group's journal Voice&Data attributes the total revenue drop to lower average selling values (ASVs) as well. 

"Indian mobile phone brands that had hoped to make a mark by sourcing Chinese handsets and selling them only on the price plank were in for a big surprise. These players will have to quickly rethink their product, marketing and service strategy afresh to put their house in order," Voice&Data Group Editor Ibrahim Ahmad said.

India is one of the fastest growing telecom markets in the world. However, in the last few months, the growth rate has slowed down from monthly additions of 12-15 million to 7.99 million in May 2012.

As per the survey, Nokia retained its leadership with 38.2 percent share. However, its revenues have fallen 7.7 percent to Rs. 11,925 crore in 2011-12 from Rs. 12,929 crore in 2010-11.

The Finnish company lost market share in smartphones and multi-media segment to Samsung, HTC and Apple, among others, but made a headway in the dual SIM phones category, it said.

Korean handset giant Samsung, on the other hand, saw its revenues growing 38 percent to Rs. 7,891 crore in 2011-12 from Rs. 5,720 crore in the previous fiscal. It had a market share of 25.3 percent, thanks to its rich product portfolio based on Windows, Android and Bada operating systems, as per Voice&Data.

Samsung's Galaxy Note, a hybrid between smartphone and tablet was a trailblazer, selling 40,000 units each month since the launch in late 2011, the survey said. "As consumers look for applications beyond voice and SMS the market will see fight for high end feature phones and smart phones intensify further. Consumers can also look forward to steeper price drops and more features in the same price," Ahmad said.

Homegrown handset company Micromax ranked third on the list with revenues of Rs. 1,978 crore with a market share of 6.3 percent. Its revenues dipped 13 percent compared to the previous fiscal. BlackBerry maker Research in Motion's (RIM) revenues dropped 25 percent to Rs. 1,460 crore. With a market share of 4.7 per cent, it ranked fourth in the list.

The steepest fall was seen in the revenues of LG, which fell by 57 per cent to Rs. 780 crore in 2011-12 from Rs 1,834 crore in 2010-11.

Taiwanese handset maker HTC, on the other hand, saw its revenues more than doubling to Rs. 923 crore in 2011-12 from Rs. 450 crore. Its market share stood at three percent.

Other key players in the Top 10 list include Spice (Rs. 790 crore), Huawei (Rs 760 crore) and G'Five (Rs 670 crore). It surveyed over 30 mobile handset firms -- both multi- national and Indian -- selling feature phones, multimedia phones, enterprise phones and smartphones in India.

Indian phonemakers not ready to be global players yet

India phonemakers are being held back from global success due to a legacy of protectionist policies, the absence of a strong domestic supply chain, and inadequate market share which is n

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Spice Mobile fined Rs 18k for not repairing cellphone

NEW DELHI: Spice Mobile has been asked by a consumer forum here to pay Rs 18,000 to a doctor for not fixing or returning her cell phone which she had given to the company's service centre for repair.

The South West District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed the mobile phone manufacturer as well as its service centre to jointly pay the amount after finding them guilty of deficiency in service, relying on the affidavit of the Haryana-based doctor.

"We find no reason to disbelieve her sworn testimony and hence come to the irresistible conclusion that opposite party 2 (Spice Mobile) being the principal and opposite party 3 (Spice Service Centre) being agent are guilty of deficiency in service for not replying to her legal notice, nor repairing the handset or returning the same despite it being received on September 20, 2010 by the service centre.

"We, therefore, allow the complaint and direct opposite party 2 and 3 either to jointly or severally pay complainant (Dr Asha Sharma) the price of the mobile handset amounting to Rs 5,000. They shall also pay her Rs 10,000 for mental and physical harassment and for alleged loss of data stored in the handset, along with cost of litigation of Rs 3,000," the bench presided by Narendra Kumar said.

Dr Asha Sharma, in her complaint had said that she had bought a Spice mobile for Rs 5,000 on June 4, 2010.

The handset had developed several faults, including hanging, stopping automatically while charging, and later it stopped functioning altogether, she had alleged.

She had deposited the handset with the service centre for repair on September 20, 2010 but it failed to return the mobile, she had alleged adding that she then issued a legal notice asking for refund of the phone's price, notice fee, compensation and litigation cost.

However, she had received no reply to the notice sent to the opposite parties, she had alleged.

In its affidavit, Spice Mobile denied the doctor's allegation that there was deficiency on its or its service centre's part.

IBM to lay off 500 workers in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES: A union for workers at IBM Argentina says the company has initiated a plan to lay off 500 workers in the next few months.

Asked for comment Wednesday, the company sent a statement to The Associated Press saying only that ``change is constant in the technology industry.''

The union said IBM's campus of 9,000 workers in suburban Buenos Aires would be reduced by more than 5 percent under a plan seeking to avoid losses for the subsidiary.

The Ecolatina consulting firm says Argentine labor costs have more than quintupled since 2002, including a 17 per cent hike in the last year.

Blue Card: Opportunities for Indian IT professionals in Germany

Ever since the German green card scheme, that was meant to attract IT professionals from non-EU countries, was discontinued in December 2004, Indian techies have missed it badly. The scheme, which came into effect from mid-2000, was meant to fill skill gaps in the country's IT sector.

Not surprisingly, the largest number of German green cards were issued to Indians. And now, with the introduction of the new German 'blue card initiative' from August 1, 2012, skilled and highly qualified workers from India can again look forward to tapping opportunities in Germany.

Along with the new scheme, the German government has also announced the Recognition Act, which facilitates the recognition of foreign professional credentials.

Bid to tap skills
The changes to the Residence Act include regulations regarding the issuance of the new EU blue card which is a residence permit intended for highly skilled non-EU nationals seeking employment in Germany. It also offers new benefits for foreign students. While pointing out the advantages of the blue card scheme for young professionals from India, the German ambassador in Delhi Michael Steiner, said at a recent Global Skills Summit organised by FICCI that while India has the advantage of a young workforce, Germany is an ageing society that needs skilled workers.

"The new EU blue card is one step towards providing better access to jobs in Germany for skilled international workers. India has a young workforce and an enormous potential to become the country with the largest number of qualified young people. Germany and many of our European partners are ageing societies that need skilled workers. Young and qualified Indians could cater to this specific need," Ambassador Steiner said.

Advantage for students
Germany has announced a slew of changes targeted specially at wooing foreign students and academics in German universities. "Today's ideas are what make tomorrow's technologies, products and services possible. This is why we are providing targeted funding for young academics including measures that make it easier for specialists and scientists from abroad to come to Germany," Federal minister of education and research Annette Schavan, said while unveiling the changes last month.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is very upbeat about the opportunities that will be now available for foreign students. "This new law gives foreign academics more freedom of choice on extending their stay in Germany. This is an important step at a time when we are urgently in need of skilled workers," president of DAAD, Margret Wintermantel, said.

In the academic year 2010-11, the number of Indian students in Germany has gone up to 5,038, an increase of approximately 24% over the previous year. Now, with the new right to residence after study and easing of post-study employment prospects, the numbers are expected to go up further. "Since 2000, when the earlier green card scheme was launched, Germany needed to attract Indian software professionals.

But because of language problems and a perception among skilled Indians that countries such as the US and UK were better to live in, the best talent from India did not move here," says Chirantan Banerjee, a researcher at the University of Bonn and a permanent resident of Germany on the merit of his high-end research work. Banerjee believes that for the new system to work, the German government should revamp its immigration policy to attract very high end talent from India to gain knowledge capital.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

IT company MindTree chasing 2-3 large deals

MUMBAI: IT services provider MindTree is chasing 2-3 large deals of over $ 25 million, according to note by brokerage Prabhudas Lilladher. The firm was also shortlisted in some large deals although it failed to make the final cut. "We see this as positive. 

However, we may need to wait for 1-2 quarters more before we see positive traction from their investment in large deal's team," the note by senior research analyst Shashi Bhusan said.

The brokerage has a 'buy' rating on the stock. While MindTree's IT services unit is expected to continue to drive growth, the product engineering services unit is likely to return to growth as ramp-downs have bottomed out, the note said. 

The company's revenue growth guidance is in the range of 11-14%, on par with what the apex software industry organisation Nasscom has projected.

However, the brokerage said the company may moderate fresher joining as utilisation was around 69%. It has made approximately 3,000 offers to freshers for FY13 and expects around 250 freshers to join in the September 2012 quarter.

Profit margins for the September 2012 are expected to flat as salary increments will likely offset any currency depreciation gains.For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service

Google adds coral reef panoramas to Street View maps

Apo Islands, Philippines
Panoramic images of several coral reefs have been added to Google's Street View service in its maps, allowing users to navigate their way around the sites.

The material was gathered by the Catlin Seaview Survey - a project studying the health of the reefs, including the impact of global warming.

The programme's

Blackmail fraudsters target webcam daters

Webcam and a heart 

Men using social networking and online dating sites are being targeted by fraudsters posing as attractive young women.

Victims are typically lured into taking off their clothes in front of their webcam allowing the fraudster to record a video. 

A threat is then made to publish the video with false allegations of paedophilia unless money is paid. 

French police say they are being told of incidents every day, with most probably going unreported. 

One victim, a 28-year-old man, is willing to speak about his experience but wishes to remain anonymous. 

"She sent me a message and I was happy because normally the girls don't take the first step," he says. 

This photo shows a webcam on top of a computer at an office in London on June 1, 2011

I looked at the video - you could see my face... you could see everything.

"She said she was French, living in Lyon, but was on holiday in Ivory Coast. We then chatted for a bit on MSN and I could see a video of her. She was a very beautiful French-looking girl, very pretty." 

"She was dressed to begin with and asked whether I would be interested in going further. I asked what that meant and she said she wanted to see my body... everything. 

"She put on another video and started to undress. I was completely taken in. I had no idea this was a video. I thought it was real. 

But her real intentions soon became clear. 

"After five minutes she sent me a message saying: 'Have a look at this video I've taken of you. I am going to put it on YouTube unless you send me some money.' 

"I looked at the video - you could see my face... you could see everything."
Paedophilia allegations

On the same page, the victim saw many other similar videos of people entrapped in this way. 

The blackmailer wanted 500 euros ($600) wired to Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast, or else the video would remain online. 

It was captioned with the victim's name and the false allegation that he was performing a sexual act in front of a young girl. 

French police have received a spate of reports of blackmail attempts fitting a similar description. 

"At the moment we are persuaded that there are several blackmail attempts committed every day," says Vincent Lemoine, a specialist in cybercrime in the Gendarmerie's criminal investigations unit. 

"Unfortunately, not everyone who finds themselves victims of this crime is coming forward to the police because these blackmail attempts are so intimate." 

The French reputation management company, Reputation Squad, has received an alarming number of calls from lonely hearts after they were persuaded to reveal too much of themselves online. 

Euros in an envelope

His blackmailers were relentless and he could see no end to his ordeal. A week after the first demand, he killed himself.

"Most of the time the people that call us are really panicked and they don't know what to do and are very afraid it is going to ruin their entire life," says Alberic Guigou. 

"So they come to us in despair and they always make up stories. They never say: 'I met someone on the internet and I went naked'. 

"But 95% of the time it is actually webcam blackmail." 

If initial attempts to extort payment fail, the men behind the beguiling internet mask finally reveal themselves, this time posing as agents from the Ivorian police. 

"The blackmailers also post the video up on a false website purporting to be that of Interpol, the local police or the French police," says Vincent Lemoine. 

"At the same time, they email false documents, which indicate to the person that they have committed acts of paedo-pornography and to bring an end to the affair they have to pay a fine." 


I spoke to one woman whose ex-husband paid out around 3,500 euros ($4,250) to blackmailers in June this year. 

His blackmailers were relentless and he could see no end to his ordeal. A week after the first demand, he killed himself. 

Journalist for the Le Monde newspaper Laure Belot has spoken to people who never thought they would be a victim of this kind of scam. 

"We can say what an idiot for undressing in front of a webcam but our society is a society of solitude where people are alone in their rooms with a computer during the night. 

"For a person who is already alone, you can imagine that this is enormously destructive. If you have people around you who can help, that is great, but often these are people who are alone and it can be very dramatic. If you are very young, this can be devastating." 

Alberic Guigou says: "People get the feeling that when something is out there on the internet it is going to stay there forever. 

"Fortunately it is not always the case. And there are many, many cases in which you can intervene and get things removed from the internet, especially when it is pornography such as the webcam blackmail." 

YouTube does not host sexually explicit content and should such a video be posted on their site it can be flagged as inappropriate and taken down. 

French police advise victims not to meet the blackmailer's demands - the 28 year-old victim we spoke to refused to pay - his blackmailers lost interest and went away. Another victim who paid up, ended up being asked for more. 

They also advise victims of webcam blackmail to report it to them or to at least signal it on their website. Police have been investigating, but there is only so much they can do - current mechanisms for international co-operation between police are limited. 

This sort of crime is only possible because of the unique connectability, anonymity and intimacy-at-a-distance which the internet affords. 

Until the differences that separate international law enforcers are bridged as easily, we will continue with victims in one country, perpetrators in another - and with little that can be done about it.

Yahoo CEO fleshes out plans, new CFO named

Yahoo! Chief Executive Marissa Mayer speaks during a Startup Battlefield session at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2012 at the San Francisco Design Center Concourse in San Francisco, California September 12, 2012. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
New Yahoo Inc CEO Marissa Mayer laid out broad goals for the Internet giant in her first companywide address Tuesday, and received an enthusiastic reception from a workforce that has faced years of uncertainty and management turmoil.

Mayer mainly sketched broad visions rather than concrete details for her turnaround strategy, according to several people familiar with what was said in the tightly controlled meeting.

But her personal credibility as a long-time senior Google Inc executive, combined with some recent morale-boosting moves such as providing new iPhones and free food for employees, have had a dramatic and positive impact on the "vibe" at the company, one of the people said.

Speaking at Yahoo's Sunnyvale, California headquarters, Mayer stressed the importance of personalizing Yahoo's Web services and adapting the company's products to mobile devices, AllThingsD reported. Although her speech touched on frequently mentioned industry themes, Mayer's delivery nonetheless won spontaneous applause from the workforce, according to a second person with knowledge of the company meeting.

"It was some of the same types of lines that had been said before, but people believe it now," said the person, who declined to be identified because the information is private.

After a steady stream of occasionally embarrassing reports, Yahoo in recent months has clamped down firmly on leaks to the press. Attendees at Tuesday's assembly were instructed to shut their laptops during Mayer's address.

Yahoo declined repeated requests for comment.

Mayer first presented her strategy to Yahoo's board in meetings last week, outlining plans to bring back advertisers and expand the company's user base, said a third source, who declined to be identified because the information was not public.

Yahoo also announced that it appointed as its new chief financial officer Ken Goldman, formerly CFO at cybersecurity software firm Fortinet 

The appointment comes two months after Yahoo's board tapped Mayer to restore a household Internet name overshadowed by rivals like Facebook Inc and Google in recent years.

Yahoo remains one of the world's most popular websites, with more than 700 million monthly visitors who use products like its email service and read its news pages, according to the company. But Yahoo's revenue has stagnated as online display advertising prices have fallen and as it faces competition from Facebook and Google.

Mayer, Yahoo's third CEO in about a year, arrived after a tumultuous period in the company in which former CEO Scott Thompson resigned after less than 6 months on the job over a controversy over his academic credentials. Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang had also stepped down as CEO, and an internal reorganization eliminated thousands of jobs.

Mayer's latest hire, Goldman, replaces Tim Morse, who served last year as interim Yahoo CEO while the company underwent another episode of leadership turmoil.


Since taking the helm, Mayer has sought to boost morale at the nearly two-decade-old Internet company, eliminating corporate bureaucracy and introducing perks such as free cafeteria food and state-of-the-art smartphones for employees that are standard fare at other Silicon Valley Web companies.

But Mayer has so far offered scant details about her plan to revive revenue growth and to expand its audience - a challenge that has frustrated a string of her predecessors as well as countless shareholders.

Many analysts and investors believe Mayer will renew Yahoo's focus on Web technology and products rather than beefing up online content, as appeared to be the mission during interim CEO Ross Levinsohn's brief tenure.

That has raised concerns among some investors that Mayer will embark on an expensive acquisition spree.

Mayer assuaged some of those fears last week when Yahoo closed the sale of half of its stake in Chinese Internet company Alibaba Group. Yahoo said it would give shareholders $3 billion of the deal's $4.3 billion in after-tax proceeds.

Xbox games get kids moving, but benefits unclear

Attendees play the Dance Central 2 for the Xbox 360 Kinect during the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles June 7, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Attendees play the Dance Central 2 
for the Xbox 360 Kinect during the Electronic Entertainment Expo, 
or E3, in Los Angeles June 7, 2011. 

Kids burned more calories while playing dance and boxing video games than they did during a sedentary car racing game, in a new UK study.

Researchers said it's not surprising children would get their body working harder while

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Non-tech companies hiring more IT professionals

BANGALORE: Hiring may be slowing down for technology companies, but hiring of technology professionals accounted for 31% of the total hiring done by the non-IT sector in the country in the first half of calendar 2012. This is up from 22% in the same period last year, says an analysis carried out by MyHiring-Club .com, a recruitment platform.

The study considered 1,241 companies across 23 industry verticals, except IT. These companies have hired a total of 117,895 people during the first half of 2012, of which 36,547 were IT professionals.

Headhunters confirm the trend, saying there has been an increased demand from non-IT enterprises for talent across areas like network administration, desktop support, Windows administration, database management, wireless network management, telecom support, business intelligence, virtualization , ERP implementation, e-commerce etc.

IT hiring was led by verticals like manufacturing, retail, BFSI, FMCG, real estate, telecom and automotive .

Nirupama V G, managing director in recruitment firm AdAstra, says, "In fact non-tech sectors are keeping IT hiring alive. We have seen a 10% increase for such talent this year." Traditional enterprises are increasingly strengthening their IT backbone. Many of them are planning mega online marketing activities and social media campaigns to reduce marketing costs.

IT has also become extremely strategic for enterprises. Companies across segments are trying to drive most of their marketing, sales, branding, mobile payment, and customer/supplier relationship activities through technology.

Priya Chetty Rajagopal, VP in executive search firm Stanton Chase, says every enterprise is setting up its own little design shop, to support product development and to drive other internal and external functions.

"A lot of IT has been outsourced today, but no company wants to send out its core stuff and the technology around it. Also, everyone is trying to cash in on the power of the social media. So it's only natural that traditional enterprises are in additional need of tech guys; they need not be coders," she says.

Non-banking finance company SKS Microfinance recently hired a chief information officer. "We recently hired tech talent also for value engineering, MIS functions, analytics and technology," says Srinivas Reddy Vudumula, senior executive VP at SKS Microfinance.

A large number of non-tech SMEs too have contributed to tech hiring during the year. For most non-IT startups, IT is key to success . "IT is a strategic decision for them. What will give them size, growth, impact, reach, branding etc is IT," said the study by

"So many of these companies are hiring hybrid talent, people who are comfortable with both business and technology. The companies we have surveyed expect this trend to continue during the second half of the year,'' says Rajesh Kumar, CEO, MyHiringClub-. com. The study found that non-tech companies from southern parts of the country have led the IT hiring trend, followed by those in the West. The trend was not visible among companies in the North and East zones.

List of 10 most demanding IT jobs

NEW DELHI: Are you an IT worker? If not, then better understand what that techie, geeky friend of yours toil so hard for - ensuring the bank works 24x7, your systems are always on, your mobile network never goes down et al.

It might sound cool, but the IT jobs call for professionals to be always available, always accurate and always work at peak capacities to keep everything clicking.

Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson released "The Most Always-On IT Jobs," a report on the most demanding IT jobs. The report, based on a survey of nearly 800 IT professionals in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the US that sought to determine the degree to which they have to be always available, always working at peak capacity and always accurate.

It is expected that technology, like smart phones and websites, will be always-on and available, 24/7, in this hyper-speed, hyper-connected world. But what about the people who support that technology? Do they have to be always-on as well? Are some more always-on than others?

Survey respondents confirmed the hunch that IT professionals must be as always-on as the data center. When asked to describe an always-on situation, typical comments included "I have to be on, the same way the system is required to run 24 hours every day," and "There are strict timelines to finish projects while still working to put out fires."

"IT is a hugely demanding profession," said Blake Carlson,vice president of the IT business segment, Avocent Products & Services, Emerson Network Power. "They need to be smart, flexible and quick - a lot like the technology they work to support. And, they must be able to handle multiple tasks at once and figure out how to get things done with limited or inadequate resources. In my experience, IT professionals are a breed apart."

"IT professionals make it possible to deliver best-in-class technology services to clients round-the-clock," said Pratik Chube, country general manager for products and marketing at Emerson Network Power in India. "They are under pressure to perform, at times even before they enter the workplace. And they do a marvelous job of navigating projects through conflicting priorities and meeting commitments with limited resources."

Overall, the Emerson Network Power survey found:

All IT jobs are highly always-on, averaging a score of 71 on a 0 to 100-point scale.

On average, IT professionals are required to be available to work 119 hours in each 168-hour week.

In general, the higher level the job, the more always-on.

Respondents ranked the top 10 most always-on IT jobs as:

1. Executive Director/Administrator

2. IT Procurement

3. CIO

4. IT Manager/Director

5. IT Operations

6. Data Center Manager

7. Engineering

8. IT Security

9. Applications/Software Development

10. Database Management

IT pros in the number one slot have the job titles administrator, leader, department head and director. All survey respondents performing this role agree they work on many projects at once, and that their work requires a high level of intelligence.

Only 25% agree or strongly agree that success depends on things out of their control. In other words, they are accountable for success, and that translates into taxing job demands.

As one director put it, "I must always be available for any emergency, on alert and pushing the limit so we can deliver results to our clients." The requirement of continuous availability was common among
the group. One respondent summed it up best: "Always there, always there, always there."

National Policy on IT to create 10 million jobs by 2020

NEW DELHI: The National Policy on Information Technology 2012, which envisages the growth of the IT market to $300 billion and creation of another 10 million jobs by 2020, has been approved by the union cabinet.

A statement from the communications and IT ministry said the policy attempts also to leverage India's global edge in information and communication technology (ICT) to advance national competitiveness in other sectors, particularly those of strategic and economic importance.

The thrust areas of the policy includes encouraging adoption of ICTs in key sectors to improve their competitiveness and productivity besides providing fiscal benefits to small and medium enterprises and start-ups for adoption of IT in value creation.

It envisages creating a pool of 10 million additional skilled manpower in ICT and make at least one individual in every household e-literate.

The policy will enhance transparency, accountability, efficiency, reliability and decentralization in government and in particular, in delivery of public services.

The policy will be notified in the Gazette shortly, the ministry said.

Intel: 98% of internet servers run on our architecture

NEW DELHI: Chipmaker Intel will focus on tapping the emerging markets where it has witnessed an 18% growth rate.

Stating that 85% of the world population is in emerging markets, Greg Pearson, Vice President, General Manager, Worldwide Sales & Operations Group, Intel said "Intel is very committed to emerging markets as a whole."

Pearson was delivering a talk titled 'Emerging markets- the next wave of growth for Intel' at 'Conversations' - the first ever Annual One Intel Summit in New Delhi on Friday.

He noted that a rising middle class populations in countries like India -- where Intel has been investing since 1988 -- were fuelling the increasing spend on consumer electronics.

"People are willing to spend more on IT devices," said Pearson.

Pearson felt the low PC penetration rate in India -- which stands at 3-4% -- presented a huge opportunity for the PC sector as "first time buyers drive 85% of the market."

While the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for PCs from 2012-2016 in the emerging markets will be 18%, it will be 53% for tablets and 24% for smartphones, he said.

"Quite a phenomenal transition that is happening," he said while adding "Net users in emerging markets were fast outpacing those in mature markets," he added.

In a world where mobile device usage is ever-increasing, Pearson noted that "PC is (still) the predominant net access usage device."

He also disclosed that 98% of the internet ( server infrastructure) runs on Intel architecture.

Speaking on 'Fostering developer innovation in India', Narendra Bhandari, Director, Software and Services Group, Intel South Asia said "Computing is about experience and software can shape experience a lot."

He observed that "experiences are clashing" and that it was not about PCs or smartphones anymore.

Touching upon multiple platforms and challenges they pose for developers, Bhandari rooted for HTML 5 stating that it provides scope for creativity, productivity and standardization.