Aruba SD-Branch gets intrusion detection, prevention software

Wireless LAN vendor Aruba has strengthened security in its software-defined branch product by adding intrusion detection and prevention software. The vendor is aiming the latest technology at retailers, hotels and healthcare organizations with hundreds of locations.

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, also introduced this week an Aruba SD-Branch gateway appliance with a built-in Long Term Evolution (LTE) interface. Companies often use LTE cellular as a backup when other links are temporarily unavailable.

The latest iteration of Aruba’s SD-Branch has an intrusion detection system (IDS)  that performs deep packet inspection in monitoring network traffic for malware and suspicious activity. When either is detected, the IDS alerts network managers, while the new intrusion prevention system (IPS) takes immediate action to block threats from spreading to networked devices. The IPS software takes action based on policies set in Aruba’s ClearPass access control system.

Previously, Aruba security was mostly focused on letting customers set security policies that restricted network access of groups of users, devices and applications. The company also provided customers with a firewall.

“But this IDS and IPS capability takes it a step further and allows enterprises that have deployed Aruba to quickly detect and prevent unwanted traffic from entering and exiting their networks,” said Brandon Butler, an analyst at IDC.

The latest features bring Aruba in line with other vendors, Butler said. In general, security is part of a “holistic” approach vendors are taking toward SD-branch.

Other features vendors are adding include WAN optimization, direct access to specific SaaS and IaaS providers, and a management console for the wired and wireless LAN. Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology for traffic routing is a staple within all SD-branch offerings.

Aruba LTE gateway

The new gateway appliance is a key component of Aruba’s SD-Branch architecture. The multifunction hardware includes a firewall and an SD-WAN.

The device integrates with Aruba’s ClearPass and its cloud-based Central management console. The latter oversees the SD-WAN, as well as Aruba access points, switches and routers.

The new SD-Branch gateway with an LTE interface is the latest addition to the 9000 series Aruba launched in the fourth quarter of last year. The hardware is Aruba’s highest performing gateway with four 1 Gb ports and an LTE interface that delivers 600 Mbps downstream and 150 Mbps upstream.

Certification of the device by all major carriers will start this quarter, Aruba said.

Other network and security vendors providing SD-branch products include Cisco, Cradlepoint, Fortinet, Riverbed and Versa Networks. All the vendors combine internally developed technology with that of partners to deliver a comprehensive SD-Branch. Aruba, for example, has security partnerships with Zscaler, Palo Alto Networks and Check Point.

The vendors are competing for sales in a fast-growing market. Revenue from SD-branch will increase from $300 million in 2019 to $2.6 billion by 2023, according to Doyle Research.

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Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 19541 | Windows Experience Blog

Hello Windows Insiders, today we’re releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 19541 to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring.Don’t forget to read our last blog post to understand how the Fast ring will work going forward. If you want a complete look at what build is in which Insider ring, head over to Flight Hub. You can also check out the rest of our documentation here, including a list of new features and updates.
Not seeing any of the features in this build? Check your Windows Insider Settings to make sure you’re on the Fast ring. Submit feedback here to let us know if things weren’t working the way you expected.

Location in-use icon update
As some keen eyed Insiders have noticed, we’ve updated the notification area icon for when an app is using your location. The new icon looks like this:

Showing architecture in Task Manager
When you’re using the Details tab in Task Manager, we’ve added a new option to show the architecture of each process. If you’re interested, you can add it by right-clicking on a column header, choosing Select Columns, and selecting Architecture from the list.

Cortana App Update:
Following up on our previous post, we want to let Insiders know that Bing Instant Answers and Timers are back online. We’re continuing to work on getting jokes (and other assistant conversations) back up and running, and appreciate your patience.
If you’re running English (United States) and would like to try it out, here are some example queries you can use with Hey Cortana or by typing into Cortana:
Set a timer for 10 minutes
When was the Space Needle built?

We fixed an issue impacted System Settings reliability.
We fixed an issue that could result in Windows Update “Reboot needed” notifications persisting reboot.
We fixed an issue that could result in the update speed in Task Manager unexpectedly being set to Paused.
We fixed an issue when using Narrator that could result in Start not saying the correct index of an app in the all apps list.
We fixed an issue where the Search window wasn’t showing acrylic at the top.
We fixed an issue from the previous build resulting in the Feedback Hub unexpectedly not showing store apps in the list of contexts when logging feedback under the Apps category. This same issue resulted in the symptom of apps continuing to show Install in the Microsoft Store, rather than Launch, after the app had been installed.

BattlEye and Microsoft have found incompatibility issues due to changes in the operating system between some Insider Preview builds and certain versions of BattlEye anti-cheat software. To safeguard Insiders who might have these versions installed on their PC, we have applied a compatibility hold on these devices from being offered affected builds of Windows Insider Preview. See this article for details.
We’re looking into reports of the update process hanging for extended periods of time when attempting to install a new build.
We’re looking into reports of certain external USB 3.0 drives not responding with Start Code 10 after they’re attached.
The Optimize Drives Control Panel is incorrectly reporting that optimization has never run on some devices. Optimization is completing successfully, even though it is not reflected in the UI.
The Documents section under Privacy has a broken icon (just a rectangle).
Remote Desktop Connection crashes when attempting to connect to multiple sessions.
Snipping isn’t working on secondary monitors.
Timeline isn’t showing any activities.
We’re investigating reports that Outlook search isn’t working for some Insiders.
[ADDED] Narrator Home crashes when selecting “What’s New” button in Narrator Home.

Less than 20 days until the Grammy Awards! Are you ready? Check out our 2020 Grammy Awards Quiz to see if you truly know the nominees. Learn about the host, all-time records, and more. Test your skills and challenge your friends!
If you want to be among the first to learn about these Bing features, join our Bing Insiders Program.
Thanks,BLB

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, Galaxy Book Flex Alpha hands-on

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook

Who said Chromebooks had to be inexpensive and underpowered? Certainly not Samsung, as the Galaxy maker unveiled its latest and greatest Chromebook at CES 2020, fittingly named the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook.

Looking at the spec sheet, you’d think this was a premium Windows 10 two-in-one, like those launched by Dell and HP at this same event. The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook has a stunning 13.3-inch 3840 x 2160 4K AMOLED display, powered by a 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD, coupled with a fingerprint reader and Wi-Fi 6 support. Samsung offers upgrades to 16GB RAM and a 1TB SSD.

It’s fanless, with an aluminum chassis that feels great and cool to the touch, and durable too. It comes in what Samsung calls Fiesta Red and Mercury Gray. It’s thin and light, measuring .55 inches thick, and weighing 2.27 pounds. Ports include two USB-C inputs that double for charging, a microSD card slot and 3.5 mm audio jack.

Business users might scoff at the dearth of ports. But again, this runs Chrome OS, not Windows 10. It’s designed for mobility and working on the road. In fact, Samsung claims it meets the standards of Intel’s Project Athena, meaning instant on, extended battery life and fast charging.

Samsung unveiled its Galaxy Chromebook at CES 2020.
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook promises Windows-like power and performance.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook ships with an active pen for note-taking, which docks neatly in the device. This is not the same S Pen found on the Samsung Galaxy Note series of smartphones. It’s much more limited, used only for writing and drawing, and it does not support any of the hover actions or shortcuts found on recent Samsung pen-toting devices.

Is the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook overkill? With a $999 starting price, perhaps. Samsung is stepping on Google’s turf, as Google offers the premium Google Pixelbook and Pixelbook Go with similar price tags. But a device with these specs running this operating system, which supports Google Android apps, is also as future-proof as any laptop on the market. Chrome OS currently doesn’t necessitate much power to run smoothly. And when we are staring at 15th-generation Intel chips, the Galaxy Chromebook should still be humming right along.

No word on a specific release date. Samsung claims the Galaxy Chromebook will ship in the first quarter of 2020.

Samsung unveiled its Galaxy Chromebook at CES 2020.
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook comes in Fiesta Red and Mercury Gray.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex Alpha

If a $999 Chromebook is too much, how about a premium Windows 10 two-in-one for $830? That’s the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex Alpha.

Think of the Galaxy Book Flex Alpha as a scaled-down version of the Galaxy Book Flex announced last October. As with most all Samsung devices, it has an outstanding display, specifically, a 13.3-inch QLED HD display, which looks really sharp — when not compared directly the Galaxy Chromebook’s 4K display, at least.

It also has 10th-generation Intel Core processors — though Samsung hasn’t revealed the specific processor yet — starting with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. It can be upgraded to 12GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. Ports include USB-C, full-sized USB 3, and HDMI, along with a microSD card slot and 3.5 mm audio jack. Other specs include Wi-Fi 6 and a fingerprint reader.

The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex Alpha is nearly indistinguishable from its pricier predecessor.
The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex Alpha is an affordable 2-in-1.

Samsung claims 17.5 hours of juice from a full charge, with fast charging support.

At a glance it’s hard to distinguish from the Galaxy Book Flex, and that’s a good thing. To cut costs, Samsung opted not to include the active pen, offering it as a separate purchase. There is also no built-in Qi charging pad, or dedicated graphics options.

But for a sub-$1,000 laptop, the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex Alpha is potentially a pretty good haul. It’s cheaper than that Chromebook anyway.

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Experts weigh in on risk of Iranian cyberattacks against U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security warned of potential of Iranian cyberattacks against the U.S., and security experts weighed in on the risks facing enterprises.

In the bulletin, released Saturday as part of the National Terrorism Advisory System, DHS said there was no indication that attacks from Iran were imminent, but noted the country and its allies “have demonstrated the intent and capability to conduct operations in the United States.” The bulletin was issued in the wake of escalating military conflict with Iran.

“Iran maintains a robust cyber program and can execute cyberattacks against the United States. Iran is capable, at a minimum, of carrying out attacks with temporary disruptive effects against critical infrastructure in the United States,” DHS wrote in the bulletin. “Be prepared for cyber disruptions, suspicious emails, and network delays. Implement basic cyber hygiene practices such as effecting data backups and employing multi-factor authentication [MFA].”

In general, experts agreed there is a legitimate threat of Iranian cyberattacks against U.S. entities and many added that while Iran has offensive cyber capabilities, they are not known to have capabilities on the level of the U.S., China or Russia.

Rick Holland, CISO and vice president of strategy at Digital Shadows in San Francisco, said Iran has proven the ability to cause damage with cyberattacks.

“Iranian offensive cyber capabilities have grown significantly since the days of Stuxnet, which was a catalyst for the Iranian regime to mature their capabilities,” Holland told SearchSecurity. “While Iran isn’t as mature as the United States, Russia or China, they are capable of causing damage. Destructive or wiper malware like Iran used against Saudi Aramco could cause significant damage to their targets.”

Robert M. Lee, CEO and founder of Dragos, said Iran has “consistently been growing their capabilities and are aggressive and willing to be as destructive as they can be.”

“We’re unlikely to see widespread issues or scenarios such as disrupting electric power but it’s entirely possible we will see opportunistic responses to whatever damage they think they can inflict,” Lee told SearchSecurity. “Iran has shown previously to be opportunistic in its targeting of infrastructure with denial of service attacks against banks as well as trying to get access to industrial control systems in electric and water companies. While it is important to think where strategic targets would be for them, it’s just as relevant that they might search for those who are more insecure to be able to have an effect instead of a larger effect on a harder target.”

High disruption value

While DHS was unclear what organizations Iran might target with cyberoperations, some experts tended to agree with Lee that infrastructure and financial targets would be most likely.

Jake Williams, founder and president of Rendition Infosec in Augusta, Ga., classified Iran as having “moderately sophisticated capabilities.”

“They aren’t on par with Russia or China, but they aren’t script kiddies either. Iran will most likely target defense industrial base and financial institutions — basically, targets that have a high disruption value,” Williams told SearchSecurity. “For an enterprise, the things to keep in mind are DDoS and early indicators of compromise for defense industrial base organizations. Of course, Iran could target other verticals, but we assess these to be the most likely initial targets.”

Levi Gundert, vice president of intelligence and risk at Recorded Future, noted that “Iranian sponsored groups are constantly probing potential targets for weaknesses toward intelligence gathering.”

“When provoked, these groups have also successfully demonstrated retaliatory cyberattacks. Based on historical precedent, Iran retaliates with destructive attacks against perceived threatening organizations (e.g. Sands Corporation), or they attack businesses toward achieving economic impact — large American financial service companies (Operation Ababil) and Saudi Aramco are two good examples,” Gundert told SearchSecurity via email. “We believe the most likely targets of cyberattacks remain the United States government, contractors, and partner businesses involved in U.S. regional interests.”

However, Chris Morales, head of security analytics at threat detection vendor Vectra in San Jose, Calif., said “everyone could be at risk” of an Iranian cyberattack.

“While certain industries were targeted in the past for disruption or for data theft, there is no limitation to who could be targeted in an asymmetric attack that involves disruption, misdirection and confusion,” Morales told SearchSecurity. “Earlier state-sponsored Iranian actors stole only basic information, but over the past few years they have been building long-term espionage campaigns. The risk here being in many cases Iranian actors already persist inside networks and it becomes a case of identifying their presence and removing them.”

Holland said the risk of being targeted by Iran would be low for most organizations, but enterprises should perform threat modeling by asking:

  • How do Iranian interests intersect your business?
  • How has historic Iranian targeting/victimology related to your company?
  • How does the Iranian threat stack up against your supply chain?

Protecting your organization

Experts agreed that taking care of the basics is probably the best approach to defend against possible Iranian cyberattacks.

Dr. Chase Cunningham, principal analyst serving security and risk professionals for Forrester Research, suggested enterprises “fix the easy stuff: deploy MFA everywhere; bolster DDoS defense and make sure email security is in place. Other than that, brace for impact and maintain situational awareness.”

Holland said enterprises “shouldn’t have to take any extraordinary measures.”

“Patch operating systems and applications. Disable Microsoft Office macros. Implement application whitelisting. Restrict admin privileges. Disable external-facing Remote Desktop Protocol,” Holland said. “Enable multi-factor authentication for external-facing applications and privileged users. Monitor for malicious domains registrations related to your organization.”

Gundert suggested organizations “take the time to understand Iranian sponsored groups’ historical tools, tactics, and techniques.”

“These groups typically achieve initial unauthorized access through password re-use, phishing, and/or web shells,” Gundert said. “Now is a great time to review and improve security controls for each threat category, as well as visibility into post-compromise activity like the usage of native Windows tools.”

Lee said the best approach is for cybersecurity professionals to “be in a heightened sense of awareness and put the investments they’ve made into people, process, and technology to use.”

“For companies that have yet to make proper investments into the cybersecurity of their business, there is not much that can be done quickly in situations like this,” Lee said. “Companies need to prepare ahead of these moments and these moments and any angst felt should serve as an opportunity to look internally to determine what your plans would be especially for incident response and disaster recovery.”

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For Sale – Dell Latitude E7250 – i5 – 250GB SSD – 8GB RAM

Got an older, yet cool laptop for sale.
It performs really well still for work and home usage. This includes video streaming, video calls, etc.
I have attached a speccy pic, but here’s a breakdown:

  • i5 5300U 2.30GHz
  • 250GB SSD
  • 8GB RAM 1600MHz
  • Intel 5500 Graphics

The screen is 12.5″ and is touch screen. 1920×1080. Really beautiful, gorilla glass, great colours and brightness. It’s in pretty great shape other than the top (check pictures). This scratches are cosmetic. The laptop feels strong and sturdy still.
It has a dedicated SIM Card port under the battery, if that’s ya ting.
Keyboard is lovely and backlit.

It includes the Dell charger. Has Windows 10 Pro.

Check pics!

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AWS Outposts vs. Azure Stack vs. HCI

Giants Amazon and Microsoft offer cloud products and services that compete in areas usually reserved for the strengths that traditional hyper-converged infrastructure platforms bring to the enterprise IT table. These include hybrid cloud offerings AWS Outposts, which Amazon made generally available late last year, and Azure Stack from Microsoft.

An integrated hardware and software offering, Azure Stack is designed to deliver Microsoft Azure public cloud services to enable enterprises to construct hybrid clouds in a local data center. It delivers IaaS and PaaS for organizations developing web apps. By sharing its code, APIs and management portal with Microsoft Azure, Azure Stack provides a common platform to address hybrid cloud issues, such as maintaining consistency between cloud and on-premises environments. Stack is for those who want the benefits of a cloud-like platform but must keep certain data private due to regulations or some other constraint.

AWS Outposts is Amazon’s on-premises version of its IaaS offering. Amazon targets AWS Outposts at those who want to run workloads on Amazon Web Services, but instead of in the cloud, do so inside their own data centers to better meet regulatory requirements and, for example, to reduce latency.

Let’s delve deeper into AWS Outposts vs. Azure Stack to better see how they compete with each other and your typical hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) deployment.

hybrid cloud storage use cases

What is AWS Outposts?

AWS Outposts is Amazon’s acknowledgment that most enterprise class organizations prefer hybrid cloud to a public cloud-only model. Amazon generally has acted solely as a hyperscale public cloud provider, leaving its customers’ data center hardware needs for other vendors to handle. With AWS Outposts, however, Amazon is — for the first time — making its own appliances available for on-premises use.

AWS Outposts customers can run AWS on premises. They can also extend their AWS virtual private clouds into their on-premises environments, so a single virtual private cloud can contain both cloud and data center resources. That way, workloads with low-latency or geographical requirements can remain on premises while other workloads run in the Amazon cloud. Because Outposts is essentially an on-premises extension of the Amazon cloud, it also aims to ease the migration of workloads between the data center and the cloud.

What is Microsoft Azure Stack?

Although initially marketed as simply a way to host Azure services on premises, Azure Stack has evolved into a portfolio of products. The three products that make up the Azure Stack portfolio include Azure Stack Edge, Azure Stack Hub and Azure Stack HCI.

Azure Stack Edge is a cloud-managed appliance that enables you to run managed virtual machine (VM) and container workloads on premises. While this can also be done with Windows Server, the benefit to using Azure Stack Edge is workloads can be managed with a common tool set, whether they’re running on premises or in the cloud.

Azure Stack Hub is used for running cloud applications on premises. It’s mostly for situations in which data sovereignty is required or where connectivity isn’t available.

As its name implies, Azure Stack HCI is a version of Azure Stack that runs on HCI hardware.

AWS Outposts vs. Azure Stack vs. HCI

To appreciate how AWS Outposts competes with traditional HCI, consider common HCI use cases. HCI is often used as a virtualization platform. While AWS Outposts will presumably be able to host Elastic Compute Cloud virtual machine instances, the bigger news is that Amazon is preparing to release a VMware-specific version of Outposts in 2020. The VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts will allow a managed VMware software-defined data center to run on the Outposts infrastructure.

Organizations are also increasingly using HCI as a disaster recovery platform. While Amazon isn’t marketing Outposts as a DR tool, the fact that Outposts acts as a gateway between on-premises services and services running in the Amazon cloud means the platform will likely be well positioned as a DR enabler.

Many organizations have adopted hyper-converged systems as a platform for running VMs and containers. Azure Stack Edge may end up displacing some of those HCIs if an organization is already hosting VMs and containers in the Azure cloud. As for Azure Stack Hub, it seems unlikely that it will directly compete with HCI, except possibly in some specific branch office scenarios.

The member of the Azure Stack portfolio that’s most likely to compete with traditional hyper-convergence is Azure Stack HCI. It’s designed to run scalable VMs and provide those VMs with connectivity to Azure cloud services. These systems are being marketed for use in branch offices and with high-performance workloads.

Unlike first-generation HCI systems, Azure Stack HCI will provide scalability for both compute and storage. This could make it a viable replacement for traditional HCI platforms.

In summary, when it comes to AWS Outposts vs. Azure Stack or standard hyper-convergence, all three platforms have their merits, without any one being clearly superior to the others. If an organization is trying to choose between the three, then my advice would be to choose the platform that does the best job of meshing with the existing infrastructure and the organization’s operational requirements. If the organization already has a significant AWS or Azure footprint, then Outposts or Azure Stack would probably be a better fit, respectively. Otherwise, traditional HCI is probably going to entail less of a learning curve and may also end up being less expensive.

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