Quantum computing and cybersecurity: A quantum of solace or a massive threat?

For as long as it has been in development inside the science labs of the universities, corporations and government agencies, quantum computing has been considered the next frontier in cybersecurity. Quantum computers are machines that do not work with classical electrical on and off-states but instead rely on quantum states that can be in several states at once, a circumstance known as „superposition(1)“. While they are still in their very infancy, their capabilities have been mystified over and over and it’s probably fair to say that quantum computing is one of the most misunderstood technological advancements of our day and age.

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Super-human data processing might hold good and bad in store for the cybersecurity field

Within the ongoing arms race in the perimeter of information security, artificial intelligence and machine learning are two of the most promising innovations.

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While AI in common „personal assistants“, like those developed by Amazon, Alibaba and Google has recently reached levels at which it can convincingly make phone calls on behalf of their users, the capabilities of AI in the hands of defenders, as well as attackers, will likely evolve from buzzword to technology of significant importance over the next years.

On the defensive side, artificial intelligence powered intrusion detection will deliver the ability to pick up on anomalies within an organizations network or perimeters and raise alerts or even countermeasures much quicker than would be possible for any human security team. AI technologies supreme and literally superhumanly quick pattern recognition capabilities enable it to consistently collect intelligence regarding new threats, attempted attacks, acceptable user behaviour and constantly evolve its knowledge.   This does allow AI-powered intrusion detection mechanism to find the proverbial needle in the haystack (and react to it) much faster and more concise than classical signature-based intrusion detection systems or a human security analyst.

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Azure Security Center is a cybersecurity solution that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning integrating with the organization’s digital estate.

This does have a flip-side, of course: The same AI capabilities could be used to learn about specific defences and normal user behaviour pattern in an organization and mask the malicious behaviour so it will not be recognized by classical intrusion detection systems or human onlookers.

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Four Azure Tools Which Help You Secure Your Cloud Services

In today’s interconnected cloud-first, mobile world, securing your online apps and services is vital. However, building secure solutions which deliver value in today’s complex and regulated environment can be a challenge. With information essentially becoming the currency of the digital age, the creation of multiple compliance regulations has forced organizations to implement technical security measures to protect their online systems and customers. Meeting these compliance requirements can be challenging, especially if you are leveraging the benefits of the cloud. Not only do you need to build and configure your apps and services securely, but you also need to ensure your chosen cloud provider meets any necessary compliance requirements.

Compliance in the Cloud Compliance Is a Shared Responsibility

On Azure, Microsoft is responsible for meeting the compliance requirements for its platform while you are responsible for any compliance measures which relate to your cloud service.

With more certifications than any other cloud service provider, Azure meets a broad set of international as well as industry-specific compliance standards. These include the GDPR, ISO 27001, HIPAA, SOC, among others. Microsoft also conducts regular comprehensive audits to ensure it maintains these standards and adheres to the security controls needed.

However, as stated, ensuring your services that are running on Azure meet compliance requirements is your responsibility. Thankfully Microsoft Azure provides a few tools which can help you secure your cloud services and meet the necessary compliance standards.

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Configuring VMware Identity Manager for Salesforce – Part 1

Now we’ll look at configuring SAML integration between VMware Identity Manager and Salesforce for Workspace ONE.

Definition:  Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML). It is an open standard which enables SSO for many different services and platforms. Authenticating with SAML allows a user to log in once per session.

Here are the defining components of SAML:

  • Service provider (i.e. an application.)
  • Identity provider (who is authenticated, and what authentication methods are used.)
  • End user who is accessing over SAML.

 

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  1. User starts the SAML Application
  2. Service Provider (SP) sends a request to the Identity Provider (IdP) for authentication
  3. If the user is not authenticated, the IdP requests authentication from the user. (I.e. username and password)
  4. The IdP then sends response to the SP with a token for that user.

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Installing VMware Enterprise Systems Connector

Things change fast, very fast. So VMware AirWatch 9.1 is out and so is the new installer which serves as the unified connector for Workspace ONE; AirWatch, and Identity Manager.

So if you were used to installing the ACC (AirWatch Cloud Connector) or the Linux appliance vIDM (VMware Identity Manager Connector), you should know that these two products have now been tied into one and have been branded VMware Enterprise Systems Connector.

Which I think is great, as editing a Linux appliance and bash, sudo, cat, vi. Yeah, it was fun.

I’ll walk you through the installation of the VMware Enterprise Systems Connector and enterprise integration.

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An update and a recap we are in the middle of 2018!

It’s Summer, the heat in Norway and most of the world is unreal these days with world records being broken. We are in the middle of 2018, and a lot has happened!

I joined Lumagate in March as a Principal Solution Architect, and in May the rebranding to Innofactor was completed which was celebrated with an event called Inspirit that was held in Helsinki.

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Innofactor is a leading provider of digitalization and cloud solutions in the Nordic countries. Our task is to help our customers digitalize their business, promote a collaborative way of working, and develop their business processes by utilizing data-driven decision making and secure cloud services. Together with our customers, partners, employees, and investors we produce solutions that help our customers and society to succeed.

If you are looking for a place where you can work with cutting-edge technology, good colleagues and exciting days, you should definitely check us out.

On the 7th of June, I spoke at GNIST, a cloud seminar put-together by Innofactor. Primed on cloud computing, there were a lot of exciting speakers and topics. I was asked to hold a session, and I did one called “A recipe for Cloud Migration” where I covered getting control over operational costs, increasing workforce productivity and driving business agility by moving to Cloud.

If you are holding an event and have a call for content or speakers, let me know. I’ll check it out, and I can if you want also forward it to other relevant speakers based on topic and audience.

 

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Also at the start of July, I was announced as an Alibaba Cloud Most Valuable Professional which I am incredibly humbled by and appreciative to be recognised by Alibaba Cloud for doing the things I love. Nothing is more rewarding than to be able to do what I’m passionate about technology, security and the intersection of it all with the human element. There is no doubt that Alibaba Cloud is the go-to cloud for anyone looking to have a presence in mainland China.

 

2018 has been a year to symbolise new beginnings and challenges which I am thoroughly enjoying. Working a lot with governance for enterprise organizations as well as hosters in the Nordics and massive datacenter migrations to cloud, I’m looking forward to writing more on this going forward and sharing my insight as well as hearing from you; what your thoughts, gotchas, questions or pitfalls you’d like to ask about or share.

 

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Enjoy the summer and remember to stay hydrated!

If there are any topics or areas you’d like me to focus on, don’t hesitate to let me know! As always you can reach me at @UlvBjornsson, via the comments or by connecting with me on LinkedIn.

Microsoft’s Coco framework: Enhancing cybersecurity on the Blockchain

Article-5-2.jpgCoco Framework, is NOT a blockchain ledger.

Coco is a blockchain ledger framework.

It leverages a combination of trusted execution environments, advanced cryptography and innovative blockchain-focused consensus mechanisms to enable new ways of utilizing the blockchain. Coco stands for Confidential Consortium.

If you want a deeper dive, I suggest you check out the Coco Framework whitepaper, here.

Additionally, Microsoft offers BaaS (Blockchain-as-a-service) and was chosen by Bankchain which is a platform for banks that want to implement blockchain technology; members include State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, DCB Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Federal Bank, Deutsche Bank and UAE Exchange.

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GOODBYE TWENTY SEVENTEEN, HELLO TWENTY EIGHTEEN.

January has gone by fast, feels like New Year’s Eve was just yesterday. I’m writing this to catch up with all of you and to officially say welcome 2018!

Some highlights for me this year has been to increase the number of certifications I hold the most noteworthy being:

MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure — Certified 2018
MCSE: Productivity — Certified 2018
MCSE: Mobility — Certified 2018
MCSA: Windows Server 2016 – Certified 2018
MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure — Certified 2017
Certified Ethical Hacker

I’ve travelled extensively! going to Seoul in Korea and later to VMworld Barcelona in Spain as well as the World Blockchain Forum in London and to Singapore during Christmas, for vacation and meet-ups.

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Artificial intelligence and Cloud computing: Real-time fraud detection in online banking application within the cloud

Over the last few years, cloud computing has been the buzz. Cloud computing services offer an infrastructure that is highly scalable and supports high-performance computing. With high adoption by businesses of all sizes. Development and deployment of applications within the cloud platform are easy and time to market is done in a fraction of the time.

Artificial intelligence is not a new technology. It has been here for a long time and has helped develop computers and software that perform tasks that are associated with intelligence. Machine learning and deep learning are subsets of artificial intelligence that involve the development of algorithms that learn from data inputs and give intelligent output based on that data and the learned patterns.

A lot of research has been done and still is being done on implementing artificial intelligence into cloud computing. Cloud service providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft have already integrated AI into their clouds to improve service delivery. AI brings about capabilities such as machine learning, recognition of patterns and robotics to the cloud. On the other hand, the cloud is able to provide a wide range and large volumes of data since these capabilities are largely dependent on data as input so as to produce the desired output. The cloud also allows the systems to open-access and open-source data which is very crucial in facilitating collaborative learning.

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Aww ye, I can now call myself a Certified Ethical Hacker

Busy days! Reading, exams, a lot of exciting features coming out into the market from a myriad of different vendors and gigantic leaps being made every day.

I wanted to share the news, I am now a Certified Ethical Hacker!

What does that mean? Just that I now am certified to attest that I have a baseline knowledge when it comes to how to go about penetrating a network or a computer system but with the purpose of finding and fixing security vulnerabilities within an ethical framework.

There is a progression learning track so the next step would be to study to be a Certified Security Analyst or a Licensed Penetration Tester.

To summarize what the CEH exam tests you on it is broken up into these sections:

I. Background

II. Analysis/Assessment

III. Security

IV. Tools/Systems/Programs

V. Procedures / Methodology

VI. Regulation/Policy

VII. Ethics

If you are curious about what the exam objectives are in detail, check out this blueprint.

You can connect with me on Twitter @UlvBjornsson, on this blog, or in the comment section below.

See you around!

Ulv
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