Citizen Journalist

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ethical Hacking, few views. . .

George Jason, vice-president, Comguard Networks, in an interview to Diptiman Dewan elaborates on ethical hacking as a rapidly growing career option.

Ethical hacking, also known as penetration testing, intrusion testing or red teaming is used to find loopholes in an IT system and break into it. An ethical hacker is a computer and network expert who attacks a security system on behalf of its owners, seeking vulnerabilities that a malicious hacker could exploit. This work is ethical because it is performed to increase the safety of the computer systems, but only at the request of the company that owns the system and specifically to prevent others from attacking it. With the increasing use of the internet, it has become an essential part of IT security industry today.

Industry status
Last year ethical hacking was estimated to be a US$ 3.8 billion industry in the US alone. According to Nasscom, India will require at least 77,000 ethical hackers every year whereas we are producing only 15,000 in a year, currently. Ethical hacking is growing at a tremendous pace and offers a plethora of lucrative job opportunities.
Skillset required
First and foremost is the ability to write programmes in many programming languages like C, C++, Perl, Python, and Ruby. For those working with web applications, Microsoft .NET and PHP are vital. Knowledge of assembly language is also essential for those who want to analyse disassembled binaries. Knowledge of a variety of operating systems (Microsoft Windows, various versions of Linux, etc) is critical. Experience with various network devices, including switches, routers and firewalls is also important. An ethical hacker also should have a basic understanding of TCP/IP protocols such as SMTP, ICMP and HTTP. In addition to technical skills, an ethical hacker needs good soft skills. Perhaps the most important skill, however, is adaptability. When testing software and systems, ethical hackers never know what will come up, so the ability to be resourceful is vital.
Growth areas
The information security industry is going at a current worldwide growth rate of 21%. Frost & Sullivan have estimated that there are 2.28 million information security professionals worldwide which is expected to increase to nearly 4.2 million by 2015. The need for information security for security compliance in India is mandatory for all companies with an IT backbone. The requirement for such personnel is especially high with organisations in the IT/ITES space.
A fresher may work as an intern for a couple of months and can start with a minimum of Rs 2.5 lakh per annum. With one year of experience, one can expect upto Rs 4.5 lakh per annum. Those with work experience five years or more can get from 10-12 lakh per annum.

Five SEO stratagies . . .

No recipe exists for creating a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that will perfectly suit everyone's business. However, most recipes will feature similar ingredients. So, take the best elements of the various recipes and come up with the best plan for your own customers' taste and liking.

An infographic by GoBeyond SEO provides one type of plan for developing an SEO strategy. It features seven steps.

The first step is to begin with the end in mind. Ask yourself the purpose for your SEO. You won't know whether your SEO goals are achieved if you don't even know what they are.

Next, be sure to use keywords that your customers type when they search for what your company provides or for how they refer to your company. Take time to research the topics that your customers and would-be clients are discussing.

The third step is to bake in the on-page SEO. Use the aforementioned keywords in your titles, subtitles, captions, copy... all in a natural, flowing content. Then create that awesome content.

Once you've created fantastic content that's rich with SEO, make sure to share what you've created. Don't forget to make it easy for your customers to share the content as well; provide social sharing buttons whenever possible.

The sixth step is to make sure you get permission from your clients to contact them again. For example, consider creating an email auto-responder series. Build your relationships with clients.

Last, get links the smart way.

Need another recipe for creating SEO strategies? The second infographic, by Act-On, provides additional tips, such as getting quality links, setting a canonical URL, and creating a site with a responsive design.

SEO for birds- Hummingbirds !!!!

I was moderating a roundtable session at SES Chicago last week when the conversation turned to Hummingbird and how – according to the young lady I spoke to – it effectively means "Google is simplifying the query from long tail to shorter terms."
I've heard this point of view a few times over the past few weeks, and fundamentally disagree.
To (hopefully) put a different lens on the simplification argument, I'm laying out a few concepts for discussion. "Simple Queryists" please feel free to slice, dice, dissect, and discuss below.

Do a search for [Where can I buy a Larry Bird shirt]. Simple Queryists think that Google will shorten the query to something like "Buy Larry Bird Shirt" and match a result accordingly.
I don't believe this is what's happening. Rather, Hummingbird is adding a layer of understanding to the query that acts more like an expansion of the query, so that its meaning is clearer.
In this example, I'm thinking Google would interpret the query as the following:
Where (Place: User is located) can I buy (Intent: Purchase) a Larry Bird (Person: basketball player) shirt (Product: [via Association of Product to Player to Team] Boston Celtics shirt #33)
Not exactly shorter.
Let's break that down a little further, most importantly to see the implied connection between person and product.
With better meaning and context of understanding, I believe Google is connecting, via their Knowledge Graph, Larry Bird the basketball player with the context of the team he's most famous for, and the product that matches the shirt number he wore. The query is then more exact, and should return a more exact and relevant result. By using prior search data along with "big data," – other user behavior factors – the new more intelligent algorithm can predict the best match of content to a user's intent.
And that's a fundamental difference. Intelligence through experience and predictability is applied to improve results. And, if it's not exactly a match, real-time user behavior – clicks, query modification, dwell time and page interactions – can help finesse future results.

Google's Hummingbird Algorithm Ten Years Ago

Added 2013-11-10 – Google was granted a continuation version of this same patent (Search queries improved based on query semantic information) on November 5th, 2013, where the claims section has been completely re-written in some interesting ways. It describes using a substitute term for one of the original terms in the query, and using an inverse document frequency count to see how many times that substitute term appears in the result set for the modified version of the query and for the original version of the query. The timing of this update of the patent is interesting. The link below points to the old version of the patent, so if you want you can compare the claims sections.

Back in September, Google announced that they had started using an algorithm that rewrites queries submitted by searchers which they had given the code name “Hummingbird.” At the time, I was writing a blog post about a patent from Google that seemed like it might be very related to the update because the focus was upon re-writing long and complex queries, while paying more attention to all the words within those queries. I called the post, The Google Hummingbird Patent because the patent seemed to be such a good match.

Google has been granted a number of patents about query re-writing, sometimes also referred to as query expansion or query broadening, which try to make it more likely that the search engines will return results closer to what a searcher is looking for, even if they might not necessarily use the best choice of keywords to find the information that will fill their needs. I had also recently written about some other patents describing how Google might re-write queries and it seemed like they were putting together a framework that involved looking at search interactions to better understand probabilities for ranking pages.

Knowing that Google had been working upon patents involving re-writing queries for a number of years, I took this statement as a challenge. Could I find a patent that looks like it describes how Hummingbird might work filed around a decade ago? I searched around, and there was one that was co-invented by Google’s Head of Search Quality, who was involved in making the recent Hummingbird announcement, Amit Singhal. While the technology described in the patent was very similar, it definitely is simpler, and doesn’t seem to focus as much on the need that mobile searches might have for responding to conversational spoken searches. Instead, it tells us:

Interestingly, this older patent may have been filed back in 2003, but it wasn’t granted until 2011. The patent is:

Search queries improved based on query semantic information
Invented by Amit Singhal, Mehran Sahami, John Lamping, Marcin Kaszkiel, and Monika H. Henzinger
Assigned to Google
US Patent 8,055,669
Granted November 8, 2011
Filed: March 3, 2003

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A look at Sathya Sai Baba's glittering empire

NEW DELHI: The Sathya Sai Empire has over decades accumulated hundreds of acres of immovable property and cash assets in the form of donations that run into crores of rupees. 

The Sathya Sai Central Trust manages medical and degree colleges, schools, Sadhana Trust of books and publications, the Eswaramma Women's Welfare Trust, seva organizations and super-specialty hospitals at Puttaparthi and Bangalore. 

In addition, there are general hospitals , eye hospitals and drinking water schemes in Anantapur, Medak, Mahabubnagar, East and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh and Chennai. 

The Sai Empire has a presence in 186 nations and operates 1,200 organizations worldwide. Puttaparthi is the seat of the Sathya Sai University complex , the Chaitanya Jyoti Museum, a planetarium, an indoor stadium, an outdoor hill-view stadium, a general hospital, a music college, an airport, apart from the super-specialty hospital and Prasanthi Nilayam. 

All these projects are managed by the central trust, exempted from taxes since it is a charitable body. While Sathya Sai Baba is the chairman, retired IAS officer K Chakravarthi is the secretary. Donations pour in from every corner of the world every year and there is no official figure available of this. 

Sources said Isaac Tigrett Burton from Tennessee, USA, and founder of Hard Rock Cafe and House of Blues, donated Rs 300 crore for the Sathya Sai Super-specialty Hospital in 1991. Puttaparthi's super-specialty hospital was built at a cost of Rs 300 crore in a record 10 months. It was inaugurated by then PM P V Narasimha Rao on November 22, 1991. The Bangalore hospital cost around Rs 500 crore. 

Drinking water schemes in various districts amount to Rs 2,500 crore. The fancy indoor stadium at Puttaparthi was built in 132 days at a cost of Rs 30 crore. Baba unveiled a Rs 300 crore drinking water project to provide safe drinking water to 220 villages in East Godavari and 230 villages in West Godavari in 2005. 

Set up in 1968, the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning was made a deemed university in 1981. 

Sai Baba resides in Yajur Mandir and gives darshans at Sai Kulwant Hall, which has a capacity of 4,000. In the summer, Baba resides at Brindavan Ashram in Kadugodi, Whitefield, Bangalore. Occasionally, he visits Sai Shruti Ashram in Kodaikanal. Sources say Prasanthi Nilayam has a Green Room, to which only the Baba has access. 


Worth of Sathya Sai Central Trust as per income tax estimates - Rs 4,000 crore in Puttaparthi, the trust runs 

The university complex 

A specialty hospital 

World Religious Museum, Chaitanya Jyoti 

A planetarium 

A railway station 

Hill-view stadium 

A music college 

An administrative building 

An airport 

An indoor stadium 

A sports complex 

1,200 Sathya Sai Baba centres in over 180 countries 

Schools, cultural and health centres 


Sathya Sai Baba is the chairman 


Former IAS officer K Chakravarthi is the Trust secretary 

Indulal Shah (businessman from Mumbai) 

P N Bhagwati (former Chief Justice of India) 

Venu Srinivasan (CMD of TVS Motor Company) 

S V Giri (Former VC of Satya Sai University) 

J Ratnakar, son of Saibaba's brother Janakiram, is a trust member 

Estimated total worth of the Sathya Sai Baba Empire - Between Rs 40,000 cr and Rs 1.5 lakh cr 


Among one of Sathya Sai Baba's mega donors was Isaac Tigrett, who started Hard Rock Cafe. Sai Baba is said to have come in his dreams and saved him from a fatal disease. Tigrett apparently sold his cafe chain for $108 million and in 1991 gave the money to the Guru. This is how the famous Puttaparthi hospital was funded 


Rs 250 cr is the cost of Anantapur piped-water project. Benefits 750 villages in the district 

30 million is the estimated number of Sai Baba devotees