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

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

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

Case Study of Zara: Use of Technology to Improve Operational Responsiveness

Fashion giant, Zara, forms part of the retail group ‘Grupo Inditex’ which is one of the “largest, fastest growing and successful” clothing retailers across Europe. Grupo Inditex is formulated by an amalgamation of major high street names from across Europe, including Zara, Pull and Bear and Bershka, in total boasting 3825 stores across 68 countries. Zara’s success story begins by offering a product range capable of catering for men, women and children, providing affordable and stylish clothes whatever the season. Coupled with this, is their keen eye for discovering new fashion trends and translating these trends from the catwalk to the high street, both quickly and affordably. Zara boasts a marketing strategy of firstly product variety with a focal point of ensuring speed to market. At present, Zara launch 10,000 new articles per year across their portfolio of stores. Finally, store location, as any marketing is left to store location rather than advertising. Opting for a strategy of minimal advertising provokes the consumer into having to visit their stores. Securing a foothold in as many markets as possible with the intended outcome of building brand awareness and an increased market share has resulted in Zara developing their brand, launching Zara Home. Zara opened their first store in Spain in 1975 and have since expanded internationally, opening their first international store in Portugal in 1988, and later opening a further store in New York, US, in 1989. Today the Zara name is recognized throughout the entire world.

Use of Technology to Improve Operational Responsiveness

Identification of fashion trend at Zara is part of the culture.… Read the rest

Case Study of Cisco: Transformation of Entire Supply Chain into an Extended Enterprise System

Cisco Systems of San Jose, California, is a company that develops networking devices such as switches, routers, network management software, and dial- up access servers. By the mid 1990s, realizing that growth depended on our ability to scale manufacturing, distribution and other supply chain processes quickly, Cisco managers decided to reinvent its business model and turn itself into a Web-enabled company. An ‘ecosystem’ which in fact transformed the entire supply chain into an extended enterprise system based on internet technology was created in order to links customers, prospects, partners, suppliers and employees in a multi-party, multi-location electronic network.

E-Business can be defined as all electronically mediated information exchanges, both within an organisation and with external stakeholders supporting the range of business processes. It links internal employees with external customers, suppliers through technology like Internet, intranets, and extranets. E-commerce, conceived as a subset of e-business, can be categorized as buy-side e-commerce which are equivalent to upstream supply chain and sell-side e-commerce which equate to downstream supply chain. A ‘supply chain’ is a network of facilities and distribution options that performs the functions of procurement of materials, transformation of these materials into intermediate and finished products, and the distribution of these finished products to customers. An effective supply chain management can improve efficiency throughout e-business.

Cisco estimated that in financial year 2000, a total of US$695 million would be saved by adopting this interconnected supply chain. These solid figures prove the potential benefits e-business can bring into Cisco are enormous. Broadly speaking, it is argued that there are at least two primary ways in which the application of e-business technologies can improve the efficiency of a supply chain.… Read the rest