• Security

    Social media and privacy concerns go hand in hand. On the one hand, we love the reach of sharing our day to day moments, our happiness, our sadness with the whole world with the click of a mouse – on the other hand, we are(and we should be) worried about the invisible eyes that are seeing the very same posts too! How do we strike a balance and ensure the security of our information will form the basis of this post. Some of the initial points are general pointers related to overall security.

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  • For the love of ‘Reading’…

    As I was pondering what to write for alphabet ‘R’ for my Blogchatter A2Z challenge, a recent conversation in my school Whatsapp groups – triggered me to write this post! 🙂 

    The olden and golden days:

    Reading paper books used to be such a beautiful past time for kids before the days of electronic devices. I remember us being curled up with our Nancy Drew’s, Secret Sevens, Famous Fives and Hardy Boys(they were the popular titles in India those days :)) Whether it was the summer vacation or the time after school –  books were our constant companions. Reading built our comprehension abilities, increased our concentration, improved our vocabulary and helped us make new friends too….. and we never bored! 🙂 Those were such sweet innocent days! 🙂

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  • Quiet

    There were kids playing in the house. But he found a way to be away from it all, reading a book in the corner of the house. It was not a story book. It was a technical book!  He could be sitting in any crowded place, be observant and be quiet. Most of the time, his head would be down engrossed in a book. Or if he was at home he would be by himself playing the keyboard. Even when he was alone with his mother at home, not a word would be uttered. The mother would feel the silence and the quietness. How could anyone be this quiet, was her thought all the time?! 🙂 She was never that way…

    It was quite interesting that even the chattiest person when seated with him would become quiet 🙂 …was this even possible?  If the dictionary described the word “quiet”, he epitomised it…

    It was not his personality to be a spontaneous talker. He could respond perfectly to questions asked to him. Inspite of being so ‘quiet’ it was not like he was not listening to things around him. He was a great and fantastic listener… but he was extremely reticent by nature. 

    Who was this boy, who gave the word “quiet” such a huge spotlight?! It is my son!! 🙂 I could never think of a better word to describe the alphabet ‘Q’ for the Blogchatter challenge… read the previous post here…

  • Palm tree fruit

    Have you seen a small jelly like fruit sold by street vendors with a delicious taste? This is the  ‘Palm fruit’, Palm tree fruit’ or ‘Nongu’ (in Tamil) found mostly in Southern Tamil Nadu. During all my years in the US, I sorely missed this tropical fruit! I am sure it is available in other places too – with their unique names . The ‘Palm fruit’ grows on the ‘Palm tree’. 

    So, what is this Palm fruit?

    It is a jelly like fruit which is housed inside a black shell and is absolutely heavenly! This tropical fruit is a natural cooler and is one of the best and natural fruits to beat the raging summer heat.  The black shell houses three ‘palm fruits’. The shell can be broken with a sickle and the delicious fruit is taken outside. There is a white skin which has to be removed and viola! the jelly fruit is here to be relished! 🙂

    The above picture shows the palm fruit with and without their skins.

    How should the Palm fruit be consumed?

    The delicious fruit can be consumed as is or can be made into a ‘kheer’. It can also be blended with the ‘king of fruits'(mango) to give the taste buds an even better experience! 🙂

    So, if possible, try this tropical delicacy and enjoy summer with natural coolers!

    This post is for alphabet ‘P’ for the Blogchatter challenge… 

     

  • Object oriented programming

    ‘Object oriented programming’ is a type of programming which involves object oriented principles like encapsulation, polymorphism and inheritance. These principles are implemented by means of classes, methods, variables and other constructs in Java. We saw a sneak peek into object oriented programming in the Java 101 post. 

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  • NIST publications

    NIST stands for ‘National Institute of Standards and Technology’ and the NIST special (SP) publications act as a reference for organizations, academic institutions and government agencies that seek to form an information security plan and secure their perimeter. They are available free of charge. We will discuss some of the NIST special publications in this post:

    1. NIST SP 800-30: Guide for conducting Risk assessments:

    Before we discuss NIST SP 800-30, we refresh the basic concepts related to risk. The security terms “threat”, “vulnerability” and “risk” play a key role in risk assessments.

    Recall from an earlier post that “vulnerability” is a hole in the security posture that is waiting to be exploited (examples of vulnerability can be open port, unpatched software)

    “Threat” is the tool that causes the damage to the organization (examples of threats can be floods, power failure, fire etc) 

    And “risk” is the “threat agent” making use of the “vulnerability” and exploiting it and causing physical and monetary damages. Putting these concepts together, “Risk assessment is the process of identifying, estimating, and prioritizing information security risks” (Guide for Conducting Risk Assessments, 2012)

    The NIST SP 800-30 publication guides users on how to conduct risk assessments. This publication first deals with the fundamentals of risk assessment followed by the different processes in risk assessment (preparing for risk assessment, conducting risk assessment and communicating risk assessment information) The NIST SP 800-30 publication is an extension to the NIST SP 800-39 publication which is a publication for managing ‘Information Security Risk’.

    1. NIST SP 800-45 version 2: Guidelines on Electronic Mail Security

    E-mail or electronic mail is one of most prevalent forms of communication in today’s digitized world.  Considering this, electronic mail will be targeted for a host of attacks on the mail server, mail client or the entire infrastructure. Some of the different types of attacks may be DoS attacks, social engineering, or gaining access to unencrypted information in the email.

     The NIST SP 800-45 on electronic mail security guides users on configuring mail servers, mail clients on public and private networks and prevent it from being subjected to attacks. Encrypting email messages (using OpenPGP,S/MIME) ways to harden the mail server, ways to harden the mail client are some of issues discussed in this publication. The other key guidelines included in this publication are the different types of protocols (such as the SMTP, POP) along with planning and management of a mail server. (Guidelines on Electronic Mail Security, 2007)

    We discussed a few of the NIST publications in this post today. The NIST publications seek to give guidance on many other security topics for organizations.  These are an effective means for different organizations who seek to improve their security posture.

    Bibliography:

    Guide for Conducting Risk Assessments. (2012, September). Retrieved from NIST.gov: http://www.nist.gov/customcf/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=912091

    Guidelines on Electronic Mail Security. (2007, Feb). Retrieved from NIST.gov: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-45-version2/SP800-45v2.pdf

    This post is for the alphabet ‘N’ for the Blogchatter challenge… read the previous post here

     

     

  • Michigan!

    What better post for ‘M’ than the state of  ‘Michigan’ in the USA – the place we stayed for 7 1/2 years! 🙂 Even though we left the Michigan almost 8 years ago, the memories remain fresh. The weather in Michigan is beautiful during the summer months. Here are a few facts about Michigan:

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  • List of Information security certifications

    ‘Information security’ briefly is that branch of study that deals with securing data and identifying weaknesses in systems and sealing them. Anti-virus software, firewalls are simple aspects of ‘Information security’ that we use unknowingly. There are a number of Information security certifications and we will review some of them here:

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  • ‘Kulambu’

    ‘Kulambu’, ‘Kozhumbhu’ or ‘Kolambu’ is a delicious South Indian gravy with the correct amount of tanginess and spice.  While I never do a cooking post because of this reason – the alphabet ‘K’ for the Blogchatter challenge did kick me into writing about one!

    My mother makes different types of ‘Kozhumbu’  like the ‘Vendakkai(ladies finger) kozhumbu’, ‘thakkali(tomato) kozhumbhu’, ‘brinjal kozhambhu’ and each one of them is lip smacking! 🙂 The non-vegetarian kulambhus like ‘chicken kozhmabu’ , ‘meen kozhumbhu’ are equally delicious but they might need slightly different cooking methods. 

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  • Java 101

    ‘Java’ the object oriented programming language was developed by James Gosling of Sun Microsystems(now a part of Oracle) in 1995. It is a platform independent programming language meaning that once a Java program is written and compiled – the compiled program can run on any architecture(Apple, Windows etc)It is this feature that makes it flexible. It is also much easier to work with Java than other programming languages like C++.

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