Posts Tagged ‘monitoring’
Monitoring the Delays of Trains in Real-Time in Germany
Last Updated on Sunday, 18 March 2012 02:23 Written by Celframe Web Team Thursday, 26 April 2012 01:24
The people behind OpenDataCity [opendatacity.de] released a real-time map of delayed long-distance trains [sueddeutsche.de] of the Deutsche Bahn, as they happen to drive around in Germany.
Trains are represented as arrows, of which the overlaying colored circle denotes an estimation of the actual delay. The map can be explored in a “live-mode”, revealing all current delayed trains, or in an “historic mode”, for instance by dragging (or selecting within) the timeline at the top. A Play-button then highlights the relative movement of the trains as they are traveling, or traveled so far, through Germany. In addition, each train on the map can be selected to display more detailed information (such as the official reasons for the delay, for example).
A separate query interface allows discovering the most delayed trains in a certain period of time, by train station, or by the train number. Resulting trains can then be selected from the result list to be highlighted on the map.
An dedicated, open API to access the actual delay data is in preparation.
Do Credit Monitoring Services Work?
Last Updated on Thursday, 8 March 2012 11:58 Written by Celframe Security Team Wednesday, 7 March 2012 11:31
Consumers concerned with the risk of identity theft often ask whether automated credit monitoring services work. The answer to this tricky question depends on the completeness and timeliness of the services provided as well as the effectiveness of consumer responses to the reported changes in the credit reports.
Let’s first establish how credit monitoring services work and what we mean by completeness and timeliness of the credit monitoring services as well as how we can overcome any shortcomings on the part of service providers. When we speak about the completeness of the automated credit monitoring and reporting process, we are referring to the notification of all changes reflected in all of our credit reports. The question we have to ask ourselves as consumers of automated credit monitoring services is whether we are receiving all credit change notifications. Is it possible that the monitoring systems fail to detect and/or report a credit change? The answer is probably yes as we understand the inherent limitation of all systems. The second question we have to ask ourselves is whether credit report changes are detected and reported timely as they appear in the credit reports. The entire credit report change notification process can be compromised if the service provider systems fail to detect all credit report changes and fail to report detected changes on a timely basis. As consumers, we do not have information regarding the credit monitoring service provider system and process performance as well as the sources from which the systems pull the information. For example, how do we know whether the credit monitoring systems obtain credit change information from one source or multiple sources such as all credit reporting agencies? In summary, we have to assume that the completeness and timeliness of the credit change notification process may be adversely impacted by various causes such as system glitches, inadequate processes, and lack of complete sources of information. We can address such potential shortcomings through regular retrieval and review of our credit reports. Learn how to get free credit reports by law.
The second part of this essay in addressing whether credit monitoring services work relates to the responsibilities of consumers. When concerned about identity theft, most people rush to the Internet and sign up with the cheapest or the first identity theft protection company that they come across on the first page of the search engine. The lack of consumer knowledge regarding the service quality of the identity theft protection company as well as consumer responsibilities following receipt of credit change notifications is the second point of failure in the identity theft protection process. Once the service quality of the service provider is assured through referrals, online reviews or direct questioning of the company representatives, consumers can sign up to receive credit change notifications, however, consumer responsibility does not end with the service provider selection. Consumers must follow-up with all credit changes reported by the system to ensure the changes are valid. In most cases, the credit changes reported relate to the consumer activities, however, they still need to be verified. And if a change is not recognized, consumers must promptly follow up with the creditor, credit reporting agency and the identity theft protection company.
From a budget standpoint, if you lack the financial resources to sign up for automated credit change notifications, do not be alarmed because although automated credit change notification is nice to have, it is not required for an effective identity protection. Consumers can download and review their credit reports every few months from one of the credit reporting agencies at no charge to detect unauthorized activities.
If you are not satisfied about how your current or potential credit monitoring services work, monitor your credit reports yourself.
Which Web Browser Is the Most Secure?
Last Updated on Tuesday, 6 March 2012 03:24 Written by Celframe Security Team Tuesday, 6 March 2012 01:34
When a massive spam attack posted violent and pornographic images across the news feeds of many Facebook users last year, many wondered how hackers had launched the attack. Turns out, it was by exploiting a vulnerability in users’ web browsers.
The event shed light on an often-overlooked issue of online security, your web browser. There are many browsers available, such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. But the real question is: which browser offers the most protection from malware, adware, viruses, and hackers?
Many browsers are fighting for market share, and therefore paying more attention to their security, but popularity and security are not always equal.
A recent Accuvant study revealed that Chrome (the second most popular browser) ranks as the most secure web browser when compared to Internet Explorer (the most popular) and Firefox. Interestingly, this month the German government named Chrome the most secure browser, perhaps lending weight to the study. However, critics have pointed out that the study was commissioned by Google (creator of Chrome), and the findings may therefore be skewed.
Still, according to the study, Chrome ranks the highest in creating and putting into use new safety measures to boost its security, with Internet Explorer only slightly behind Chrome. Firefox was deemed the least secure in the study.
Despite these recent findings, the browser wars remain a hot-button issue, with various entities dubbing some browsers more secure than others. During the 2011 hacker conference, Pwn2Own, hackers attacked four popular browsers: Internet Explorer, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. The hackers were able to quickly compromise Internet Explorer and Safari. In fact, these hackers were able to hack the browsers so thoroughly that they managed to write files on the hard drive of the computer they were attacking. Interestingly (and contrary to the Accuvant study findings), Chrome and Firefox both resisted hacking attacks during the exercise.
Regardless of the browser, manufacturers are always working to ensure users can enjoy surfing the web safely and securely—and that’s the good news. The bad news, as the Pwn2Own conference revealed, is that cybercriminals worldwide are also working hard to figure out new ways to hack your browser.
This means that it’s important for users to educate themselves about this threat and take the steps necessary to lessen their chances of falling victim to a browser security breach. What should you do? Keep the following tips in mind.
If you plan to download a new or different browser, make sure you are downloading a legitimate version. Go directly to the manufacturer’s site, and ignore ads or popups (which may be tricks to get you to install a corrupt version).Set your online preferences to allow for software updates. Some browsers, such as Internet Explorer and Safari, will automatically update with your operating system. But others, including Firefox, automatically update themselves to deploy security patches and provide enhanced security features.Set your browser’s security settings to the highest possible to prevent others from exploiting your browser.Disable popups in your browsers or install security software that prevents popup windows. Deploying infected popups is a popular way that hackers trick users into downloading malware.
No matter which browser you use, always follow safe practices and be alert to any unusual or suspicious functioning when you log onto the web.