Author Archive Jayanthi

ByJayanthi

Single sign on

In the wake of the Facebook data breach that supposedly compromised 50 million accounts and other personal data last week,  it is but imperative to look at yet another aspect of ‘Information security’ – ‘Single sign on’.

What is ‘Single sign on’?

Remember, the time when you discovered a new website or app ? You had to register to get into the site. You were presented with these options:

                ‘Continue with Google’

                 ‘Continue with Facebook’

in addition to a lengthy sign up process. In a hurry to understand what the new craze was, you just signed in with your ‘Facebook’ or Google account information instead of going through the whole signing up rigmarole. This is ‘Single sign on’ wherein by just signing into Facebook or Google, you can access many other apps and sites with ease.

data breach

What is the downside of ‘Single sign on’?

It seems to be such an easy thing to do – just sign in with one account and we can access so many other sites with ease. So, what is exactly the problem? If you have signed into multiple accounts using Facebook or Google, when the main ‘sign on’  site gets hacked, it is quite a possibility that the other apps that use ‘Single sign’ on method of being authenticated would have their data breached too. 

So in essence, you are exposing the data related to all other apps to the hackers too!

How do we ensure the safety of our data in the wake of the breach?

Since there is nothing that is simple and easy in this world, single sign on comes with its own troubles. In case of the Facebook data breach, you would have definitely received appropriate messages and notifications if, your account was indeed hacked. In addition,it is  good to always:

  1. Check ‘Settings’  in ‘Facebook’ and check the devices and locations where you are logged in from. Logout from all of them and re-login with a new password.
  2. It is also good to login to each site/app with a separate login and password henceforth and give your memory a good workout! 🙂 (Seriously though, a password manager might be a good option to consider since it is difficult to remember multiple logins and passwords)
  3. It is better to try two factor authentication to prevent further data loss.

These security tips will hold good for some time before the next breach occurs!

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA. She has written blogs for Simplilearn, Whizlabs software, InfoSec institute and Jigsaw academy. She has created e-learning videos for Whizlabs software and Twenty19.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! 🙂

ByJayanthi

‘Minimum online presence’

No sooner had I written about maintaining a ‘minimum online presence’ on my Hacking post, I had several comments relating to that(either, ‘it was not possible’ or ‘how do we that’) While it is next to impossible to grow a business or forge business relationships without a good social media presence, it is also imperative to reveal only what is needed.  In this post I will discuss what I meant by ‘minimum online presence’:

  • It is unnecessary to reveal location information all the time. It is pretty exciting to tell our social media world the smallest details relating to our current location/life – but it is good information for a hacker or anybody of malicious intent.  Occasionally, revealing is fine but we do not have to feed all the social media giants with our data all the time!  ‘Location’ is needed only for food delivery apps and Uber/Ola booking services.
Cyber security
  • Posting of children’s pictures is also absolutely unnecessary. Children’s pictures can also be stolen and used for malicious purposes. You don’t want strangers leering at your child’s picture, do you? But again, posting once in a while will not do any major harm. 
  • It is also good to not divulge bank account numbers, passwords, phone numbers,credit card numbers and other personal numbers in public conversations without appropriate encryption.Why? – because, once that information is received by hackers,  your bank balance will be reduced to zero! 
  • It is a better idea to change your profile picture occasionally on different social media platforms than changing it frequently
  •    It is also good to never go overboard with excessive personal information(whether pictures, conversations, or any other data) Balance is always the key!

Going to an online world is just like going to work – if we will not reveal everything about ourselves to everyone at our work place – we should not reveal everything about our self in the online world too! It is best for your  business to thrive but not at the cost of your kids/personal safety or your financial information. 

For any other information that has to be shared, visit the person, call or private message the person. It builds good business/personal relationships too! 🙂

This is my eighth post for #MyFriendAlexa by @Blogchatter

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA. She has written blogs for Simplilearn, Whizlabs software, InfoSec institute and Jigsaw academy. She has created e-learning videos for Whizlabs software and Twenty19.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! 🙂

ByJayanthi

Bengaluru traffic

I had written a post long back about why Bengaluru or Bangalore, India is an ideal place for NRIs to return back…in that post I carefully avoided one of the Bengaluru’s worst kept secrets – the notorious and infamous Bengaluru traffic! 🙂

Bengaluru not having the same infrastructure as a Chennai – is more prone to nasty traffic. The roads are definitely more narrow and with the area seeing rapid growth with new apartments, malls and the metro construction – you can imagine the state of the roads!! Numerous vehicles try to get past the small space everyday causing frustration and delays.  Living in the heart of India’s Silicon valley and literally sitting in the eye of the traffic storm , I get to witness the serpentine traffic as I step out each day(and remember in India we have vehicles of all shapes and sizes- the autos, the bikers, the water tankers, the buses, the cars, the SUVs, the bicyclists, the pedestrians)  Here are a few realities :

  1. As soon as you walk out of your home/apartment you will see traffic standing in a long line right in front of you. On those days it is good to just “work from home”, walk – if your destination is closer or try other modes of transportation. (like an auto, bus, car pooling etc)
  2. 2 kms does take 45 minutes on certain sectors!(Silk board, Kundanahalli gate, Marathahalli) It is still amazing how most of these vehicles weave in and out of traffic and reach their destination. They also drive so close to each other and still not cause major collisions !!(there are still scratches, bumps for vehicles along the way! :))
  3. In spite of all the traffic, I do see many solo drivers on cars.
  4. When it rains, chaos doubles or triples – you can be assured that you will be rooted to the same spot for at least an hour! 
  5. You will see bikers also moving in all directions(they will drive confidently on the wrong side of the road without a helmet!)
  6. The back roads and smaller roads are a savior for many(there are plenty of back roads for every major road – but they might be in worse shape than the main road)

So, how does everybody  go about their work?

  1. Many of them find the time of day when the traffic is relatively lighter and which works in the office(say, leave,  1/2 hr early from home everyday)
  2. This might be a known fact – but many companies do have their own transportation for their employees to chauffeur them around  within a certain radius(a good move, I would say)
  3. Many people still drive 20 kms or so everyday for their work and I am sure they have their schedule for working out things(like finishing con-calls in the car! :))
  4. Good rule of thumb is  to never go out on a Saturday!! 🙂 You will not get to your destination, rather – you will only be stuck in traffic for hours.
  5. Plan family activities and other fun things for a Sunday!

And the silver lining – if you have lived and commuted in Bengaluru, you can drive anywhere in the world! 🙂

This is my seventh post for #MyFriendAlexa by @Bloghchatter

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA. She has written blogs for Simplilearn, Whizlabs software, InfoSec institute and Jigsaw academy. She has created e-learning videos for Whizlabs software and Twenty19.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! 🙂

ByJayanthi

Tamil Nadu

Born and brought up in Tamil Nadu(a state in Southern India) and having lived close to 23 years in the state,I have never done a post on my home state  – how did it happen? Let’s get started right away…:) Here are a few points about my beloved state:

  1. Language – Most of you might be knowing this – but to reiterate there is only one language that is freely spoken and understood in Tamil Nadu – and that is Tamizh! 🙂 Unfortunately, no other language is visible except for English, of course… It is not to say that people from other parts of India cannot thrive here – once here, everybody blends in very well after a while… 🙂 
  2. Food – We love our idlis and dosas…I have written extensively written about it…in addition we also love our Venn Pongal, Sakkarai Pongal(sweet Pongal), Vadai, Thayir sadam(Curd rice), different varieties of rice(Puliyodharai(tamarind rice), lemon rice)  and all other poriyals(vegetables)!  Rice is our staple and it finds its way into all the meals whether directly or indirectly…The non-vegetarian spread is no less too!
  3. Cities – the more important cities in Tamil Nadu are Chennai, Coimbatore, Salem, Madurai and Trichy.
  4. Weather – It is a very hot state – there is no concept of winter here – though the month of ‘Margazhi'(December) is considered to be slightly cooler…
  5. Music and dance: It is a great state to learn classical dance and music. If you would like to learn Bharatnatyam or classical music in the true authentic way – then this is the place to be. With places like the Kalakshetra and gurus like the Dhanajayans – it is THE place to learn Bharatnatyam.
  6. Festivals –  the ‘Golu’ season(Dusshera) is celebrated with dolls adorning the steps for the nine days. ‘Pongal’ (Sankranti) is another important festival which is celebrated with much pomp and happiness for a full five days.  Unlike other cities, Chennai wakes up early in the morning to celebrate Diwali (around 4:00 a.m. or so)
    And interestingly enough, there is no dancing or partying for any of the festivals! 🙂 And no –  no, Holi , Karva Chauth etc. 🙂
  7. Fashion – It is one of states where women still dress conservatively(at least, I think so! :)) No ripped pants, shorts, 3/4 pant, sleeveless tops etc. etc. for women. Fashion for women can still be a simple salwar kameez with beautiful jasmine flowers to adorn the hair! 🙂 Of course, not to say that nobody wears western clothes – but the number of people wearing them might be less(and might be only in Chennai)
  8. Temples – Tamil Nadu has huge number of temples with beautiful architecture for the various Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Most of these temples are several hundred years old and it is a privilege to visit these temples!
Temple

These are a few things that I could think of that make Tamil Nadu…can you think of anything else? Add them in comments below! 🙂

This post is my sixth post for my #MyFriendAlexa by @Blogchatter.

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA. She has written blogs for Simplilearn, Whizlabs software, InfoSec institute and Jigsaw academy. She has created e-learning videos for Whizlabs software and Twenty19.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! 🙂

ByJayanthi

Black Widow

The Information security world is a deep one and sometimes it is quite shocking to know the things that can be done. Did you know that ‘Black widow’ is not just the name of a spider…but it is a actual software that is used for ‘reconnaissance’ too(Of course, InfoSec professionals will know :))

‘Reconnaissance’ is the ability to obtain freely available information about a website. Vocabulary.com defines “Reconnoitering as checking something out, but in a sneaky way!”

Once this information is obtained one can seal the extra unwanted information that is unintentionally creeping out(for example, maybe passwords and employee details are visible with the reconnaissance tools) One of the ways that a site can be ripped is by employing website downloaders like ‘Black Widow’, Website downloader  and Httrack.

Most of these tools will allow you to download the entire website and the directory structure, external links, bad links and email addresses. The picture below shows a screen shot of the ‘Black Widow’ software…

The details provided above are for informational purposes only! Please do not use it in any inappropriate way!

This is my fifth post for #MyFriendAlexa by @Blogchatter!

Liked this post? Please comment and share! 🙂

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA. She has written blogs for Simplilearn, Whizlabs software, InfoSec institute and Jigsaw academy. She has created e-learning videos for Whizlabs software and Twenty19.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! 🙂

ByJayanthi

The clock

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He got up at the same time of 4:30 every morning. Not one morning had he ever gotten up late. In fact, the alarm always needed him to get up… 🙂 He had his fixed morning routines that he would follow everyday. Whether it was the gym or walking – it was followed meticulously and perfectly. Neither rain nor shine could ever disrupt anything. He would leave for work at the exact same time everyday and get back home at the exact time everyday. Breakfast, lunch, dinner was had at the same time of day. Exercise was reserved for certain days of the week. Personal phone calls were made at the exact time intervals(nobody gets extra free calls in his routine!! :)) Even the move to India had not thrown his schedule out of gear. 

If he was busy doing something, it had to be at a particular time of day…There was no need to to look at the clock in this house as there was already a “clock” roaming around! 🙂 Once you see him in a particular location, you knew the time of the day.

She knew the routine as she was married to him for a very long time. While most people maintain a routine, he was an absolute stickler for it…from food habits to exercise to sleep and work – everything followed the hands of the clock. No wonder she thought she was married to the clock rather than him!! 🙂

Most of you must have guessed this “clock” – if you haven’t as yet guessed, come home – I will introduce you to him! 🙂

Clock

This is the fourth post for #MyFriendAlexa by @Blogchatter

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA. She has written blogs for Simplilearn, Whizlabs software, InfoSec institute and Jigsaw academy. She has created e-learning videos for Whizlabs software and Twenty19.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! 🙂

ByJayanthi

Pharming

The online world unfortunately is not a fun place as it seems. There are other types of people around too seeking to grab credit card numbers, bank account numbers, steal pictures of children and/or any personal data that is floating around. 

Let us assume that you would like to visit a website, www.abac.com (a fictitional website) What happens when you visit www.abac.com and do a bit shopping and submit your bank account details or any other personal details only to realize after a day – that the website that you visited was actually a fake one? 

This type of attack is known as ‘Pharming’. ‘Pharming’ is done by modifying the victim’s file or by a more complicated technique known as ‘DNS poisoning’. 

To protect oneself:

The best way to protect oneself from ‘Pharming’ attacks is to:

  1. install the latest version of anti-virus software
  2. Apply the patches as and when posted
  3. Associating one-self with a good ISP
  4. When making payments ensure that SSL(secure sockets layer) is enabled for the website
  5. Keeping with the latest in the security field(where are the breaches, what was stolen, what is the newest type of attack)
  6. And keeping ears and eyes open! 🙂

We have seen yet another concept of ‘Information security’ in this post.

This is the third post for ‘MyFriendAlexa’ by @Blogchatter!

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA. She has written blogs for Simplilearn, Whizlabs software, InfoSec institute and Jigsaw academy. She has created e-learning videos for Whizlabs software and Twenty19.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! 🙂

ByJayanthi

Who are better multi-taskers? Men or Women?

She was busy in the kitchen. It was a Monday morning. The school bus would be here anytime. It was idli for breakfast. While the first kid was unhappy about idli being the breakfast for the day, the second kid was super excited!  One preferred  coriander chutney. The other one preferred sambhar. Husband was already rushed and late for a meeting(what’s new?! :)) It was a super busy morning making breakfast/lunch – sending the kids and husband off to school/work and getting herself ready for work too!

After work, she had to give attention to both kids as each of them had separate requirements. One needed chart paper for a project, the other needed a printout. Home work, exams, were all over the place and seemed to be solely her responsibility. Dinner had to made and her own needs had to be met too. While her husband did step in every once in a while to help out…he could never keep with all the things she could do… 

Sounds like a familiar story? It is not mine 🙂 but I am sure it is many a woman’s story…

Multi-tasking is the art of doing multiple things simultaneously in my view. Who does this better? 

Working moms, stay at home moms, work from home moms, young ladies are all into multiple things at once. They will don multiple hats during the day and night. They create yummy food for their family according to each one’s taste, teach their kids, do their projects, become a doc for their kids during medical crisis, shuttle the kids from class to class, support their families, keep up with their own personal interests and more! I feel like they are demi-gods brandishing the ‘multi-tasking’ sword…

With all the above points, I have a faint idea about who is the better multi-tasker.. don’t you? 🙂

This post is my second post for #MyFriendAlexa by #Blogchatter!

Have a wonderful day! 🙂

mutitasking

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA. She has written blogs for Simplilearn, Whizlabs software, InfoSec institute and Jigsaw academy. She has created e-learning videos for Whizlabs software and Twenty19.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! 🙂

ByJayanthi

Hacking

While ‘Information security’ always gives us images of breaches, hacks, stolen credit card numbers and bank account numbers, my blog has always been associated with the concepts of ‘Information security’ or the many defenses that are there to keep your information safe.

In this post, I will like to delve into the reality of letting off the ‘Information security’defenses down. Apart from the breaches and hacks, what are the other ugly things that are possible?  While this may be common knowledge to those in InfoSec domain – it may not be known to every one. It is always a common thought – “it will not happen to me” – it is a reality that it does happen quite frequently and everybody gets affected at some point or other!

  1. Remotely controlling  Android/Apple device 

                There are a variety of ways in which one can remotely control another person’s Android or Apple device.  There are plenty of apps that allow you to control an Android device from a PC, via an another Android device, via WiFi, via Bluetooth and really the possibilities are endless!  

I am sure most of you remember the time when Saket Modi, the co-founder and CEO of Lucideus hacked the phone of a person sitting in the audience. Through this hacking, he was able to procure the subject’s SMSes, contacts, call logs, GPS locations and more! (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fT6pUQrY6M)

2. Hacking cars?

Is this even possible? Yes – maybe in the future! Researchers have shown that hackers can remotely kill your engine, lock the doors to your car, put the car in reverse gear without your permission and many other frightening moves! 

Automotive hacking may be a distinct possibility as the years roll by!

hacker

3. ATM skimming

Many people are sure to have fallen to this type of hack. A small skimmer is attached to the ATM machine by means of which bank details are retrieved.  The numbers are then transferred to blank ATM cards and money and data are stolen! 

4. Keylogger

‘Keylogger’ is a type of surveillance software which when installed on your system, can monitor every key stroke, record passwords, captures screenshots and more. It can be run in invisible mode and thereby the user will have no clue of its presence. This is commonly used by employers to keep tabs on their employees. 

In addition to all this, the devious mind can find ways to see your private Facebook picture, Instagram pictures and any other private information. In short, the more you want to keep it private online, the more someone is eager to see it! 🙂

This is just the tip of the wild side of security hacks… anything is possible  for a determined mind! 

How do we protect ourselves from all this?

Maintain a minimal online presence.  And it is good to keep up with all security updates and install all patches and upgrades as and when posted.

This is my first post for #MyFriendAlexa. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with #Blogchatter

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA. She has written blogs for Simplilearn, Whizlabs software, InfoSec institute and Jigsaw academy. She has created e-learning videos for Whizlabs software and Twenty19.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! 🙂

ByJayanthi

Idli or Dosa?

Born and raised in Tamil Nadu, a state in Southern India, Idlis and Dosas  were always a staple at home. Idli for the totally unfamiliar, is defined by Wikipedia as “savoury rice cakes” that is made from fermented batter and which is had mostly for breakfast. Dosa on the other hand, is a savoury crepe made from the same fermented batter. Both of them are served with a huge range of accompaniments to suit the palate. While both idli and dosa are ideally served for breakfast, if you are from Tamil Nadu – you don’t mind having it at any time of the day! 🙂 

How do we make them?

While I will leave the exact recipe for making the perfect idli and dosa to Google, I can say that idli/dosa batter cannot be made in an instant unlike other foods. If we would like to make the idli/dosa batter (totally homemade),  tomorrow morning, the process has to be started 24 hrs earlier – if you are in a tropical climate and longer if you are in a colder climate. 

This because, the lentils have to soaked and ground in a special appliance called a ‘grinder'(or we can do it in a blender too) The resulting batter has to be fermented at least for 6-10 hrs(preferably overnight) .

Once the batter has beautifully fermented,  the idlis and dosas are ready to be made and relished with the different accompaniments! 🙂

Accompaniments to the idli-dosa duo:

Now, there are a variety of chutneys that can accompany the popular idli-dosa combo. There is coconut chutney, coriander chutney, mint chutney, tomato chutney, onion chutney( and my kids prefer all the colored variations! :))  and even more combinations to make this humble food even more tasty! 

There is also the very authentic Tamil Nadu ‘sambhar’ (lentil based vegetable stew as per Wikipedia) that can accompany the idli or dosa along with a a variety of chutneys to make the food super yummy! 🙂

How should it be?

Now, depending the quality of the lentils, the temperature and the duration of the fermentation and the proportion of lentils, the idlis and dosas might come differently. Technically, the idlis have to soft (like ‘malligai poo’ 🙂 aka ‘jasmine flowers’ and dosas may or may not be crisp. But the taste is definitely out of this world! 🙂

Idli
Idli

Can we order them from outside?

Oh…yes, we can and while other states might boast of pani puri stalls and chaat houses everywhere , it is the humble ‘idli’ that will adorn the streets of Tamil Nadu. Numerous idli shops will definitely pepper houses in Tamil Nadu and home cooks will even sell freshly made ‘idli-dosa’ batter for nominal prices.

A mother’s best friend! 🙂

Did you know – most of us mothers in/from Tamil Nadu will be at a loss if we do not have the idli-dosa batter at home in the refrigerator at any point of time? 🙂  The idli-dosa batter is definitely a mother’s best friend! When most mother’s are always at their wits end for “lunch box” and “breakfast” ideas, having the batter always saves the day. We can whip dosas and idlis in a jiffy and save the day! 🙂 

Dosa
Dosa

Now the great question – is it Idli or Dosa that satisfies your palate?

While each of them have their own taste and texture(obviously because one is round and soft and the other is crispy and flat), I have seen most having a preference for one or the other – but not both.

While the daughter in the house loves the soft variations and can gulp them as it is without any accompaniments 🙂 the son, can hardly get the idli down his throat without the frequent ‘eowws’ 🙂 His idea of the Tamil Nadu’s favorite food has to be the crispy counterpart lathered with a generous dollop of ghee that gives it an immensely wonderful aroma!

So, what is your favorite and how do you like to eat it? 🙂

Jayanthi Manikandan has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from India and a Master’s degree in Information systems with a specialization in Information security from Detroit, MI, USA. She has written blogs for Simplilearn, Whizlabs software, InfoSec institute and Jigsaw academy. She has created e-learning videos for Whizlabs software and Twenty19.

She has been passionate about Information security and has several years of experience writing on various technical topics. Additionally, she loves to pen a few personal thoughts here as well! 🙂