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EDU- The Most Bot-Infested Sector

DarkReading confirms, what I have pointed out to Bach Seat readers for a while, education people are terrible at IT security. The latest evidence comes from a BitSight report which concludes that the more bots in-house, the more a company is likely to have reported a data breach. The report finds that the education sector harbor

Wi-Fi Charges Up Ethernet

Information Technology prognosticators Gartner (IT) predicts that 40% of enterprises will use Wi-Fi as the default connection for mobile and non-mobile devices by 2018 according to Fred Donovan at FierceMobileIT. The prediction says that typically fixed location devices like; desktops, desk phones, projectors and conference rooms will use Wi-Fi as their primary connection. Gartner says Wi-Fi is facilitating BYOD.

IPv6 is 20 Years Old

Networking’s little brother is growing up. IPv6 turned 20 years old this month. The IETF IPv6 Operations groups’ mailing list noted that the first independent IPv6 connection was established between sipper.pa-x.dec.com and ottawa.inria.fr in 1995. Related articles Video: IPv6 Myths and Reality (ipspace.net) Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT,

802.3bt More Power to the People’s Devices

Power over Ethernet (PoE) powers more than one million end devices today. To continue PoE’s success, the IEEE is answering the market’s demands for more power by developing a third generation of PoE. The first generation of PoE (2003), 802.3af delivered 12.95 Watts. The second generation, 802.3at (2009) provides 25.5 Watts to the equipment. The new version of PoE, will address the

Another Cloud Goes Bust

On April Fools day, another cloud provider shuttered is operations without any warning. FierceBigData reports that OpenStack cloud vendor Nebula shut-down operations on April 01, 2015 without ever a heads-up. The firm, founded in 2011 by former NASA CTO, Chris Kemp, appeared to have it under control. According to CSC, they seemed to have customers for its

EDU- The Most Bot-Infested Sector

EDU- The Most Bot-Infested SectorDarkReading confirms, what I have pointed out to Bach Seat readers for a while, education people are terrible at IT security. The latest evidence comes from a BitSight report which concludes that the more bots in-house, the more a company is likely to have reported a data breach. The report finds that the education sector harbor the most botnet infections, according to a new study. The study highlights how bot infections correlate with a higher rate of data breach.

BotnetThe DarkReading article says BitSight, a security ratings firm, studied public breach disclosure data between March 2014 and March 2015 across the finance, retail, healthcare, utilities, and education industries. The study concluded that organizations with a botnet grade of B or below had experienced data breaches at a rate of 2.2 times more than organizations with an A grade. The report says there is a correlation between botnet infestations and data breaches; “This does not mean the infections were the cause of the breaches; rather, it means that the infections and breach incidents are correlated.”

The education sector fared poorly. Only 23% of institutions got an A as their botnet grade, and 33% get a F. The main botnets dogging schools and universities: Jadtre (59.2%), Flashback (22.1%), the Java exploit targeting Apple OS X, TDSS (8.3%), Zeus (6%), and Sality (4.4%).

Ed TechThe report notes Flashback is malware that targets Apple computers by taking advantage of a Java vulnerability. Mac computers are popular among younger generations and educational institutions, intensifying the proliferation of this malware in education. Although the Flashback botnet itself has largely been shut down, the large number of infections that still exist indicates that people are running machines that have not been updated; thus, they are still vulnerable to other forms of infection.

Other industries received better scores better than Education.
• 74% of Financial Services firms got an A
• 57% of Retailers receive an A grade
• 53% of healthcare received an A grade
• 50% of Utilities received an A

Data breachThe report concludes that organizations with bot-infected machines are more likely to report a data breach. “The implications for organizations across industries are that botnet infections cannot be ignored. Companies with poor botnet grades have been breached far more often than those with good grades, and actions should be taken to mitigate these risks.”

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Been there done that … EDU people don’t get IT security, they don’t understand how much PII they collect and randomly hang-onto. Their systems send data in clear-text across the inter-tubes to change schools.

Someone is going to get breached and sued and maybe they will learn.

 

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Wi-Fi Charges Up Ethernet

Wi-Fi Charges Up EthernetInformation Technology prognosticators Gartner (IT) predicts that 40% of enterprises will use Wi-Fi as the default connection for mobile and non-mobile devices by 2018 according to Fred Donovan at FierceMobileIT. The prediction says that typically fixed location devices like; desktops, desk phones, projectors and conference rooms will use Wi-Fi as their primary connection.

Enterprise Wi-FiGartner says Wi-Fi is facilitating BYOD. The enterprise Wi-Fi network now allows workers to choose any device and move anywhere in the workplace. Gartner argues that the introduction of security measures like 802.1X augmented with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption has lessened IT’s worry about security breaches involving the Wi-Fi infrastructure. Ken Dulaney, V.P. and distinguished analyst at Gartner said;

Ethernet cabling has been the mainstay of the business workspace connectivity since the beginning of networking. However, as smartphones, laptops, tablets and other consumer devices have multiplied, the consumer space has largely converted to a wireless-first world

Wi-FiAs the first connection to the enterprise infrastructure, Wi-Fi brings workers the ability to choose any device and move anywhere without worry. VP Dulaney continued;

As bring your own device (BYOD) has increased in many organizations, the collision of the business and consumer worlds has changed workers’ demands

Cat 5 cablesFurthermore, cabling systems or even peer-to-peer (P2P) wireless solutions using technologies that offer cable replacement have had to deal with a variety of connectors challenges, such as USB and micro-USB, as video systems move beyond Video Graphics Array (VGA). The market research firm also argues that MACD costs will decrease.

Additions, moves and changes are costly inconveniences that waste time for enterprise IT organizations. A move can sometimes involve cabling changes that can cost as much as $1,000 … With Wi-Fi printers, desktops and other devices, all that is required is a cable to the power source, leaving workers free to move themselves making reconfigurations of offices easier.

Because of the many benefits of Wi-FI, Gartner VP Dulaney predicts firms are going to change how they connect;

we expect many organizations to shift to a wireless-by-default and a wired-by-exception model.

Captain EthernetIn order to deal with the new wireless-by-default realty, changes are needed on the wired network.  at FierceCIO reports that the vendor community is working to address the Wi-Fi first world. Unfortunately, there are two industry groups pushing their own new Ethernet specifications. Mr. Mah says that new Ethernet standard are needed to work with Wave 2 of 802.11ac wireless access points (AP) with a theoretical maximum throughput of up to 3.5Gbps.

New standards are needed because existing Gigabit Ethernet is a bottleneck and current alternatives are not attractive. First, link-aggregating two Gigabit Ethernet connections for each Wi-Fi AP would need additional cabling and more expensive managed switches to support it. Using 10GbE would be an overkill. Upgrading to 10GbE is a significant investment that includes new Category 6a or Category 7 cables, more power and more cabling.

One faction, the MGBase-T Alliance, formed in June 2014 and includes; Avaya, Aruba Networks (ARUN) and Brocade (BRCD) as well as component vendors Broadcom (BRCM) and Freescale Semiconductor. The other group known as the NBase-T Alliance formed in October 2014. This faction consists of Cisco (CSCO), Intel, Xilinx (XLNX), Freescale and Aquantia, a company that’s already making 2.5G/5G components.

Ethernet cablesAt the moment, the only agreement between the two factions is that 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps speeds are needed. The IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee has set up the P802.3bz 2.5/5GBase-T Task Force to address this issue. The 2015 Q1 CommScope Standards Advisor reports that the 802.3bz committee as decided so far that:

  • The 2.5 GBase-T option will run on Cat 5e (Class D) 4 pair UTP up to 100M, and
  • The 5 GBase-T option will run on Cat 6 (Class E) 4 pair UTP up to 100M.
  • There is no release date yet

The concern however, is that vendors could jump the gun by shipping pre-standard products ahead of standards rectification, complicating matters and slowing down the development of the pertinent standards.

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Remember 802.11n? Pre-standard products? Given that there is no guarantee that systems built with components from the two groups will work together. Don’t jump the gun – waiting for the standard to solidify before buying into new 2.5G/5G Ethernet networking hardware.

For now, Dell’Oro Group analyst Alan Weckel told FierceCIO is that enterprises will probably be able to buy 2.5G/5G equipment starting in Q2 of 2015. 

 

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

IPv6 is 20 Years Old

IPv6 is 20 years oldIPv6 is 20 years oldNetworking’s little brother is growing up. IPv6 turned 20 years old this month. The IETF IPv6 Operations groups’ mailing list noted that the first independent IPv6 connection was established between sipper.pa-x.dec.com and ottawa.inria.fr in 1995.

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

802.3bt More Power to the People’s Devices

802.3bt More Power to the People's DevicesPower over Ethernet (PoE) powers more than one million end devices today. To continue PoE’s success, the IEEE is answering the market’s demands for more power by developing a third generation of PoE.

The first generation of PoE (2003), 802.3af delivered 12.95 Watts. The second generation, 802.3at (2009) provides 25.5 Watts to the equipment. The new version of PoE, will address the need for higher power PoE. The IEEE has proposed a new standard, 802.3bt, which promises to double the power output of the current 802.3at standard. The new 802.3bt standard, scheduled to be released in 2017, will also adjust PoE to work with 10Gbase-T.

IEEECabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine provides an excellent overview of the new standard. They report that the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee which develops and maintains networking standards like Ethernet, VLANs and Wireless LAN, is developing the new standard. The DTE Power via MDI over 4-Pair Task Force is working to specify a set of next-generation PoE specifications, and the levels of power likely to be delivered ultimately via the 802.3bt standard will still work on twisted-pair cable, possibly as a four-pair PoE specification which could improve energy efficiency and provide greater power.

New PoE applications

The new PoE standard will support 10GBase-T. The 10GBase-T standard uses all 4 pairs to send data. These facts will force the IEEE committee to figure out how to keep the power from interfering with the data on the same wires to supply a minimum of 49 watts at the powered device. One of the key parameters the article mentions is to limit pair-to-pair current imbalance.

Power over EthernetOther objectives for the “bt” standard are: to be backward-compatible with “af” and “at.” and increased energy efficiency. According to the article, a global move to 4-pair POE systems would create potential energy savings of 60.8 million kilowatt-hours which would prevent greenhouse gasses from 66 million pounds of coal saved annually.

Paul Vanderlaan, technical manager of cable maker Berk-Tek – Nexans’ advanced design and applications lab and other cabling-industry technical experts believe that 802.3bt’s support of 10GBase-T means that the minimum twisted-pair cabling system requirement will increase.  In order to support 10GBase-T it seems likely that a Category 6A system will be the recommendation. The author notes that the IEEE does not address  cabling performance, that is the focus of groups like the TIA or ISO/IEC.

10GBase-TThe transition to the new PoE standard will not be simple. CommScope published a white paper where they explain:

… Category 5e cabling only provides the minimum level of performance required. Therefore, it is recommended to use Category 6 or Category 6A cabling-preferably solutions … 

Berk-Tek’s Vanderlaan explained why Category 6A cabling is the prefered system. He summarizes the electrical-engineering calculations;

As a general rule, increased copper content, or larger gauge size, will aid in power delivery … when you migrate … you should see larger gauge sizes and more copper content.

performance characteristicsUnder the new standard users will have to pay attention to new cabling-system performance characteristics like DC resistance unbalance and pair-to-pair resistance imbalance.  The higher wattages up to 1 full amp (1,000 milliamps) will present challenges to performance requirements. Mr. Vanderlaan told Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine:

For users, cable selection will be based not just on the speed that can be supported, but rather on speed as well as power delivery. What you simply plug in today, you may want to also power in the future.

A new challenge cable plant owners will have to consider is heat. CommScope explains that heat generated within bundles of cables supporting IEEE 802.3bt could rise enough to effect performance.

ambient temperature … the temperature of the cabling will rise due to heat generation in the copper conductors  … the temperature of the cable bundle higher than the ambient temperature of the surrounding environment … The IEEE 802.3bt four-pair PoE standard is expected to assume a maximum temperature rise of 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees F) when all four pairs are energized … the ambient temperature should not exceed 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees F) … CommScope recommends Category 6A cabling for four-pair PoE applications. Because increased thermal loading can also increase insertion loss, the maximum cable length should be de-rated for higher temperatures, per ANSI/TIA-568-C.2.

Several vendors have already released pre-standard device-powering systems to meet users’ current needs.

As in the pre-PoE standard days, Cisco (CSCO) has marketed proprietary PoE systems since 2011. Cisco’s Universal Power Over Ethernet (UPOE) technology, which delivers 60 watts of power to devices powered by the Catalyst 4500E; some of those devices include Cisco IP phones, personal telepresence systems, compact switches and wireless access points.

Also, the non-standard Power Over HDBase-T (POH) was introduced by the HDBase-T Alliance a trade group that promotes and standardize HDBase-T technology for whole-home distribution of uncompressed high-definition (HD) multimedia content. This system delivers up to 100 watts of power to TVs and other devices over distances up to 100 meters/320 feet via one Category 5e or 6 cable with standard RJ45 connectors.

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The new standard is a welcome addition to the toolkit. One of the appeals to PoE was that it was cost saver on projects because low voltage contractors did the work rather than electrical contractors.. If the new system pushes the maximum rate to 75W at the devices as some predict, with there be a backlash from the EC’s and authorities having jurisdiction? Time will tell.

In the meantime, the article says  owners and managers should check their current infrastructure with eyes toward how the next generation of devices might be powered via more-capable PoE technology.

Of course it is always a good idea to pull out your acceptance documentation to understand the installed base of cable, and the likelihood that cable has the electrical-performance characteristics required to support a next generation of PoE.

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Another Cloud Goes Bust

Another Cloud Goes BustOn April Fools day, another cloud provider shuttered is operations without any warning. FierceBigData reports that OpenStack cloud vendor Nebula shut-down operations on April 01, 2015 without ever a heads-up.

Not againThe firm, founded in 2011 by former NASA CTO, Chris Kemp, appeared to have it under control. According to CSC, they seemed to have customers for its Nebula Cloud Controller, an appliance that integrated up to forty x86 white-box servers into a turnkey OpenStack cloud. Customers of Nebula have included Lockheed Martin, Shutterfly, Sandia National Laboratories, and Genentech.

The company also had a fat war-chest of almost $40 million from top-tier VCs. Silicon Angle reports that Nebula managed to burn $38.5 million in venture capital prior to its closure, from investors including Webb Investment Network, Comcast Ventures, Scott McNealy, William Hearts II, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Highland Capital Partners, and others.

Despite its well-stocked war-chest, customer support ended immediately. The defunct company told its former customers turn to “OpenStack products from vendors including Red HatIBM (IBM), HP (HPQ) and others.”

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stability of cloud providersThe stability of cloud providers is really questionable. I have covered other cloud provider implosions; MegaCloud, Nirvanix and Code Spaces.

In the end it is as simple as the author says the moral of the story is “that you should look very carefully at your partners … you must be able to count on your system integrator, value-added reseller, whoever, to be there when you need them. 

 

Ralph Bach has been in IT for fifteen years and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow me at Facebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.