Social Engineering Attacks

The rise of 21st century marked the transition phase of the most global businesses towards a paperless office environment, where the focus shifted the manual to the computerized form of work culture. But at the same time, change brought a number of threats and menace in terms of one of the biggest issues of the current businesses, the social engineering used among the hackers for cracking techniques that rely more on human weaknesses rather than technology itself. The aim or motive of such attacks was getting access to passwords or other relevant information by tricking people for carrying out illegal or criminal activities. FBI and other security experts hold a firm view that majority of threats originate from the internal working environment or employees who have been granted additional privileges or authorities to company’s information. People who have an urge for power and control over other individuals exhibit the social engineering skills. Computer hacking is the modern form of social engineering and the most hi tech of all. The fundamental problem with online social networking services especially is that there are no criteria or authentication for evidence or proof of an individuals identity, which keeps at stake both our privacy and information.

Social engineering attacks are driven by financial needs where hackers try to obtain confidential information about the users to access accounts. Social engineering is the root cause to ideas behind phishing and pretexting where hackers gain confidence of people who are careless or blindly trust others helping them to take undue advantage.… Read the rest

Industrial Espionage

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines industrial espionage as “an individual or private business entity sponsorship or coordination of intelligence activity conducted for the purpose of enhancing their advantage in the marketplace.” While this definition may imply Industrial Espionage to be more or less the same as business or competitive intelligence, but there is an essential difference between the two – while business intelligence is generally under private sponsorship using an “open” methodology, espionage may be either government or privately sponsored and clandestine.

Industrial Espionage is the process of collecting information and data for the purpose of generating revenue. Generating revenue is very important aspect for these people. They are not thrill seeker, if the compensation does not justify the reward they will not bother attempting to collect the required information. Individuals who commit Industrial Espionage are not looking for information for information sake, but for information that will produce a big payday when acquired by a second party or when the information is viewed by unauthorized personnel the value of the information is no longer valuable. Money and power are motivators and the stakes in today’s billion dollar business environment the rewards far exceeds risks.

In the highly competitive and globalized business environment, proprietary intellectual property and economic information is considered the most valuable commodity by all nations, particularly the advanced ones. Businesses and/or governments involve in espionage activities for the purpose of unlawfully or clandestinely obtaining sensitive financial, trade or economic policy information, proprietary/sensitive economic information; or critical technologies including but not limited to data, plans, tools, mechanisms, compounds, designs, formulae, processes, procedures, programs, codes or commercial strategies, whether tangible or intangible, for competitive business advantage.… Read the rest

What is Expert System?

An expert system is an advanced computer application that is implemented for the purpose of providing solutions to complex problems, or to clarify uncertainties through the use of non-algorithmic programs where normally human expertise will be needed. Expert systems are most common in complex problem domain and are considered as widely used alternatives in searching for solutions that requires the existence of specific human expertise. The expert system is also able to justify its provided solutions based on the knowledge and data from past users. Normally expert systems are used in making business marketing strategic decisions, analyzing the performance of real time systems, configuring computers and perform many other functions which normally would require the existence of human expertise.

The difference between an expert system with a normal problem-solving system is that the latter is a system where both programs and data structures are encoded, while for expert system only the data structures are hard-coded and no problem-specific information is encoded in the program structure. Instead, the knowledge of a human expertise is captured and codified in a process known as knowledge engineering. Hence, whenever a particular problem requires the assistance of a certain human expertise to provide a solution, the human expertise which has been codified will be used and processed in order to provide a rational and logical solution. This knowledge-based expert system enables the system to be frequently added with new knowledge and adapt accordingly to meet new requirements from the ever-changing and unpredictable environment.

Components of Expert System

An expert system has many core system components to function and interfaces with individuals of various roles.… Read the rest

The Concept of Hybrid Managers

A hybrid manager can defined as a person who possesses strong technical skills and adequate business knowledge or vice versa. He should have the required skills needed in the technical as well as the management aspect. Along with that, he should also possess the management competences like communication skills, negotiation skills and also he should be able to motivate others working under him. A Hybrid manager should be able to reduce the gap between the business and technical aspects of the organization and build it with his expertise. Any organisation which has business and technical department working in tandom with each other has an advantage over other organisations whose technical and business department is not integrated. And this role of integration of the business and technical department is performed by the Hybrid managers.

Characteristics of a successful Hybrid Manager

  • Self-motivated/like being challenged – A successful hybrid manager is self-motivated person. He does not need any external factors to motivate him/her. His motivation lies within. Whenever any kind of problem or complication arises, they have the ability to make decisions. A successful hybrid manager is the one can take care of issues his own. They set high goals and always look to reach at the top. They have the confidence to step out of their comfort zone and try new ideas and strategies.They will never give up. If stuck somewhere, they will try for various options to get out of it.
  • Intelligent in the broad sense – A successful hybrid manager has very good technical skills.
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Case Study on Information Systems: Integrated Customer Ordering Service at Marks & Spencer

Marks and Spencer is one of the leading retail organizations in UK which sell stylish, quality and great value clothing and home products , also quality food. They are one of the most popular brand among people not only in UK but globally. They have more than 600 stores in UK and constantly increasing many more around the world. It was founded when in 1884, Michael Marks opened a stall at Leeds Kirkgate Market. In 1901, its first registered store was located at Derby street, Manchester. By 1924 they started expanding and the head office moved from Manchester to London. Implementation of new policies and maintenance of services and value kept on adding to the success of Marks and Spencer. In 1998, it became the first retailer to earn a profit of £1 billion. The organisation commonly called as M&S has always followed the principles of Quality, Value, Service, Innovation and Trust since its founded. This is the reason why it has been successful, distinguished and popular among people.

Need of the Information System: Integrated Customer Ordering Service (ICOS)

M&S was facing several backlogs in order processing and complaints were increasing day by day. The company had invested a lot to move ahead in this competitive business environment but was unable to overcome this problem. The need of the hour was to have an customer service ordering information system implemented which can accurately and assuredly keep away these problems which were an obstacle in the success of a great retail organisation.… Read the rest

What is Agile Methodology?

Engineering methodologies required a lot of documentation thereby causing the pace of development to slow down considerably. Agile Methodologies evolved in the 1990s to significantly eliminate this bureaucratic nature of engineering methodology. It was part of developer’s reaction against “heavyweight” methods, who desired to drift away from traditional structured, bureaucratic approaches to software development and move towards more flexible development styles. They were called the ‘Agile’ or ‘Light Weight’ methods and were defined in 1974 by Edmonds in a research paper.

Agile methodology is an approach to project management, typically used in software development. It refers to a group of software development methodologies based on iterative development. Requirements and solutions evolve through cooperation between self-organizing cross-functional teams, without concern for any hierarchy or team member roles. It promotes teamwork, collaboration, and process adaptability throughout the project life-cycle with increased face-to-face communication and reduced amount of written documentation.

Agile methods break tasks into small increments with no direct long term planning. Every aspect of development is continually revisited throughout the lifecycle of project by way of iterations (also called sprints). Iterations are short time frames (“timeboxes”) that normally last 1-4 weeks. This “inspect-and-adapt” approach significantly reduces both development costs and time to market. Each iteration involves working through a complete software development cycle characterized by planning, requirements analysis, design, coding, unit testing, and acceptance testing. This helps minimize overall risk, and quicker project adaptability. While iteration may not have enough functionality necessary for a market release, aim is to be ready with a release (with minimal bugs) at the end of each iteration.… Read the rest