100 Hacking Tools and Resources- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

 
As we recently surpassed $100 million dollars in bounties, we want to continue the celebration with this list of 100 tools and resources for hackers! These range from beginner to expert. Most are free but some cost money. Check them out to add to your own hacking toolkit! We’ll add these to our GitHub on Hacker101/_resources/ so feel free to continue adding even more tools and resources! 
Burp Suite
1. Burp Suite: The quintessential web app hacking tool. Once you hit 500 reputation on Tempemail, you are eligible for a free 3-month license of Burp Suite Pro! Check out these awesome Burp plugins:
2. ActiveScan++: ActiveScan++ extends Burp Suite’s active and passive scanning capabilities. Designed to add minimal network overhead, it identifies application behavior that may be of interest to advanced testers.
3. BurpSentinel: With BurpSentinel it is possible for the penetration tester to quickly and easily send a lot of malicious requests to parameters of a HTTP request. Not only that, but it also shows a lot of information of the HTTP responses, corresponding to the attack requests. It’s easy to find low-hanging fruit and hidden vulnerabilities like this, and it also allows the tester to focus on more important stuff!
4. Autorepeater Burp: Automated HTTP request repeating with Burp Suite. 
5. Autorize Burp: Autorize is an extension aimed at helping the penetration tester to detect authorization vulnerabilities—one of the more time-consuming tasks in a web application penetration test.
6. Burp Beautifier: BurpBeautifier is a Burpsuite extension for beautifying request/response body, supporting JS, JSON, HTML, XML format, writing in Jython 2.7.
7. Flow: This extension provides a Proxy history-like view along with search filter capabilities for all Burp tools.
8. Headless Burp: This extension allows you to run Burp Suite’s Spider and Scanner tools in headless mode via the command-line.
9. Logger++: Logger++ is a multi-threaded logging extension for Burp Suite. In addition to logging requests and responses from all Burp Suite tools, the extension allows advanced filters to be defined to highlight interesting entries or filter logs to only those which match the filter.
10. WSDL Wizard: This extension scans a target server for WSDL files. After performing normal mapping of an application’s content, right click on the relevant target in the site map, and choose “Scan for WSDL files” from the context menu. The extension will search the already discovered contents for URLs with the .wsdl file extension, and guess the locations of any additional WSDL files based on the file names known to be in use. The results of the scanning appear within the extension’s output tab in the Burp Extender tool.
11. JSON_Beautifier: This plugin provides a JSON tab with beautified representation of the request/response.
Web Hacking
12. JSParser: A python 2.7 script using Tornado and JSBeautifier to parse relative URLs from JavaScript files. This is especially useful for discovering AJAX requests when performing security research or bug bounty hunting.
13. Knockpy: Knockpy is a python tool designed to enumerate subdomains on a target domain through a word list. It is designed to scan for a DNS zone transfer and bypass the wildcard DNS record automatically, if it is enabled. Knockpy now supports queries to VirusTotal subdomains, you can set the API_KEY within the config.json file.
14. Lazys3: A Ruby script to brute-force for AWS s3 buckets using different permutations.
15. Sublist3r: Sublist3r is a python tool designed to enumerate subdomains of websites using OSINT. It helps penetration testers and bug hunters collect and gather subdomains for the domain they are targeting. Sublist3r enumerates subdomains using many search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, Baidu and Ask. Sublist3r also enumerates subdomains using Netcraft, Virustotal, ThreatCrowd, DNSdumpster and ReverseDNS.
16. Teh_s3_bucketeers: Teh_s3_bucketeers is a security tool to discover S3 buckets on Amazon’s AWS platform. 
17. Virtual-host-discovery: This is a basic HTTP scanner that enumerates virtual hosts on a given IP address. During recon, this might help expand the target by detecting old or deprecated code. It may also reveal hidden hosts that are statically mapped in the developer’s /etc/hosts file.
18. Wpscan: WPScan is a free (for non-commercial use) black box WordPress security scanner written for security professionals and bloggers to test the security of their sites.
19. Webscreenshot: A simple script to screenshot a list of websites, based on the url-to-image PhantomJS script.
20. Asnlookup: The ASN Information tool displays information about an IP address’s Autonomous System Number (ASN), such as: IP owner, registration date, issuing registrar and the max range of the AS with total IPs.
21. Unfurl: Unfurl is a tool that analyzes large collections of URLs and estimates their entropies to sift out URLs that might be vulnerable to attack.
22. Waybackurls: Accept line-delimited domains on stdin, fetch known URLs from the Wayback Machine for *.domain and output them on stdout.
23. Httprobe: Takes a list of domains and probes for working http and https servers.
24. Meg: Meg is a tool for fetching lots of URLs without taking a toll on the servers. It can be used to fetch many paths for many hosts, or fetching a single path for all hosts before moving on to the next path and repeating.
25. Gau: Getallurls (gau) fetches known URLs from AlienVault’s Open Threat Exchange, the Wayback Machine, and Common Crawl for any given domain. Inspired by Tomnomnom’s waybackurls.
26. Ffuf: A fast web fuzzer written in Go.
27. Dirsearch: A simple command line tool designed to brute force directories and files in websites.
28. OWASP Zed: OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is an open source tool which is offered by OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project), for penetration testing of your website/web application. It helps you find the security vulnerabilities in your application.
29. Subfinder: Subfinder is a subdomain discovery tool that discovers valid subdomains for websites by using passive online sources. It has a simple modular architecture and is optimized for speed. Subfinder is built for doing one thing only – passive subdomain enumeration, and it does that very well.
30. EyeWitnees: EyeWitness is designed to take screenshots of websites, provide some server header info, and identify any default credentials. EyeWitness is designed to run on Kali Linux. It will auto detect the file you give it with the -f flag as either being a text file with URLs on each new line, nmap xml output, or nessus xml output. The –timeout flag is completely optional, and lets you provide the max time to wait when trying to render and screenshot a web page.
31. Nuclei: Nuclei is a fast tool for configurable targeted scanning based on templates offering massive extensibility and ease of use.
32. Naabu: Naabu is a port scanning tool written in Go that allows you to enumerate valid ports for hosts in a fast and reliable manner. It is a really simple tool that does fast SYN scans on the host/list of hosts and lists all ports that return a reply.
33. Shuffledns: ShuffleDNS is a wrapper around massdns written in go that allows you to enumerate valid subdomains using active bruteforce, as well as resolve subdomains with wildcard handling and easy input-output support.
34. Dnsprobe: DNSProbe is a tool built on top of retryabledns that allows you to perform multiple dns queries of your choice with a list of user supplied resolvers.
35. Chaos: Chaos actively scans and maintains internet-wide assets’ data. This project is meant to enhance research and analyze changes around DNS for better insights.
36. Subjack: Subjack is a Subdomain Takeover tool written in Go designed to scan a list of subdomains concurrently and identify ones that are able to be hijacked. With Go’s speed and efficiency, this tool really stands out when it comes to mass-testing. Always double check the results manually to rule out false positives.
37. gitGraber: gitGraber is a tool developed in Python3 to monitor GitHub to search and find sensitive data in real time for different online services.
38. Shhgit: Shhgit finds secrets and sensitive files across GitHub code and Gists committed in nearly real-time by listening to the GitHub Events API.
39. Commit-stream: Commit-stream extracts commit logs from the Github event API,  exposing the author details (name and email address) associated with Github repositories in real time.
40. Masscan: This is an Internet-scale port scanner. It can scan the entire Internet in under 6 minutes, transmitting 10 million packets per second, all from a single machine.
41. Massdns: MassDNS is a simple high-performance DNS stub resolver targeting those who seek to resolve a massive amount of domain names in the order of millions or even billions. Without special configuration, MassDNS is capable of resolving over 350,000 names per second using publicly available resolvers.
42. Findomain: Findomain offers a dedicated monitoring service hosted in Amazon (only the local version is free), that allows you to monitor your target domains and send alerts to Discord and Slack webhooks or Telegram chats when new subdomains are found.
43. Amass: The OWASP Amass Project performs network mapping of attack surfaces and external asset discovery using open source information gathering and active reconnaissance techniques.
44. Dnsgen: This tool generates a combination of domain names from the provided input. Combinations are created based on wordlist. Custom words are extracted per execution.
45. Dngrep: A utility for quickly searching presorted DNS names. Built around the Rapid7 rdns & fdns dataset.
46. Wfuzz: Wfuzz has been created to facilitate the task in web applications assessments and it is based on a simple concept: it replaces any reference to the FUZZ keyword by the value of a given payload.
47. Aquatone: Aquatone is a tool for visual inspection of websites across a large number of hosts, which provides a convenient overview of HTTP-based attack surface.
48. WhatWeb: WhatWeb recognizes web technologies including content management systems (CMS), blogging platforms, statistic/analytics packages, JavaScript libraries, web servers, and embedded devices. WhatWeb has over 1800 plugins, each to recognise something different. WhatWeb also identifies version numbers, email addresses, account IDs, web framework modules, SQL errors, and more.
49. Dirb: ‘DIRB is a web content scanner. It launches a dictionary based attack against a web server and analyzes the response. 
50. Dnscan: Dnscan is a python wordlist-based DNS subdomain scanner.
51. Sublert: Sublert is a security and reconnaissance tool that was written in Python to leverage certificate transparency for the sole purpose of monitoring new subdomains deployed by specific organizations and an issued TLS/SSL certificate. The tool is supposed to be scheduled to run periodically at fixed times, dates, or intervals (Ideally each day). New identified subdomains will be sent to Slack workspace with a notification push. Furthermore, the tool performs DNS resolution to determine working subdomains.
52. Recon-ng: Recon-ng is a full-featured reconnaissance framework designed with the goal of providing a powerful environment to conduct open source, web-based reconnaissance quickly and thoroughly.
53. Jok3r: Jok3r is a framework that helps penetration testers with network infrastructure and web security assessments. Its goal is to automate as much as possible in order to quickly identify and exploit “low-hanging fruit” and “quick win” vulnerabilities on most common TCP/UDP services and most common web technologies (servers, CMS, languages…).
54. DirBuster: This tool is a multi-threaded java application that is used to perform brute force over directories and file names on web and application servers. DirBuster attempts to find hidden directories and pages within a web application, providing users with an additional attack vector.
55. Altdns: Altdns is a DNS recon tool that allows for the discovery of subdomains that conform to patterns. Altdns takes in words that could be present in subdomains under a domain (such as test, dev, staging), as well as a list of known subdomains.
56. Recon_profile: This tool is to help create easy aliases to run via an SSH/terminal.  
57. BBHT: Bug Bounty Hunting Tools is a script to install the most popular tools used while looking for vulnerabilities for a bug bounty program.
Mobile Hacking
58. MobSF: Mobile Security Framework (MobSF) is an automated, all-in-one mobile application (Android/iOS/Windows) pen-testing, malware analysis and security assessment framework capable of performing static and dynamic analysis.
59. Jadx: Jadx is a dex to Java decompiler. The command line and GUI tools for producing Java source code from Android Dex and Apk files. 
60. Dex2Jar: Dex2Jar is a freely available tool to work with Android “. dex” and Java “. class” files. 
61. Radare2: A free/libre toolchain for easing several low level tasks, such as forensics, software reverse engineering, exploiting, debugging, etc. It is composed by a large number of libraries (which are extended with plugins) and programs that can be automated with almost any programming language.
62. Genymotion: Cross-platform Android emulator for developers & QA engineers. Develop & automate your tests to deliver best quality apps.
63. Frida “Universal” SSL Unpinner: Universal unpinner. 
64. Frida: Dynamic instrumentation toolkit for developers, reverse-engineers, and security researchers.
Exploitation
65. SQLNinja: Sqlninja is a tool targeted to exploit SQL Injection vulnerabilities on a web application that uses Microsoft SQL Server as its back-end.
66. XSS hunter: XSS Hunter allows you to find all kinds of cross-site scripting vulnerabilities, including the often-missed blind XSS. The service works by hosting specialized XSS probes which, upon firing, scan the page and send information about the vulnerable page to the XSS Hunter service.
67. NoSQLMap: NoSQLMap is an open source Python tool designed to audit for, as well as automate injection attacks, and exploit default configuration weaknesses in NoSQL databases and web applications using NoSQL to disclose or clone data from the database. 
68. Ysoserial: A proof-of-concept tool for generating payloads that exploit unsafe Java object deserialization. 
69. Sqlmap: Sqlmap is an open-source penetration testing tool that automates the process of detecting and exploiting SQL injection flaws and taking over database servers. It comes with a powerful detection engine, many niche features for the ultimate penetration tester, and a broad range of switches including database fingerprinting, over data fetching from the database, accessing the underlying file system, and executing commands on the operating system via out-of-band connections.
70. SSRFTest: SSRF testing tool.
71. Retire.JS: Scanning website for vulnerable js libraries.
72. Spiderfoot: SpiderFoot is an open source intelligence (OSINT) automation tool. It integrates with just about every data source available, and automates OSINT collection so that you can focus on data analysis.
Scanners/Frameworks
73. OpenVAS: OpenVAS is a full-featured vulnerability scanner. Its capabilities include unauthenticated testing, authenticated testing, various high level and low-level Internet and industrial protocols, performance tuning for large-scale scans and a powerful internal programming language to implement any type of vulnerability test.
74. Nikto: Nikto is an Open Source (GPL) web server scanner which performs comprehensive tests against web servers for multiple items, including over 6700 potentially dangerous files/programs, checks for outdated versions of over 1250 servers, and version specific problems on over 270 servers.
75. Wapiti: Wapiti allows you to audit the security of your websites or web applications. It performs “black-box” scans (it does not study the source code) of the web application by crawling the web pages of the deployed webapp, looking for scripts and forms where it can inject data.
76. Metasploit: Metasploit is an open-source penetration testing framework.
77. Maltego: Maltego is an open source intelligence (OSINT) and graphical link analysis tool for gathering and connecting information for investigative tasks.
78. Canvas: CANVAS offers hundreds of exploits, an automated exploitation system, and a comprehensive, reliable exploit development framework to penetration testers and security professionals worldwide.
79. Sn1per: Sn1per Community Edition is an automated scanner that can be used during a penetration test to enumerate and scan for vulnerabilities. Sn1per Professional is Xero Security’s premium reporting addon for Professional Penetration Testers, Bug Bounty Researchers and Corporate Security teams to manage large environments and pentest scopes.
80. Lazyrecon: LazyRecon is a script written in Bash, intended to automate the tedious tasks of reconnaissance and information gathering. The information is organized in an html report at the end, which helps you identify next steps.
81. Osmedeus: Osmedeus allows you to automatically run the collection of awesome tools for reconnaissance and vulnerability scanning against the target.
82. Reconness: ReconNess helps you to run and keep all your #recon in the same place allowing you to focus only on the potentially vulnerable targets without distraction and without requiring a lot of bash skill, or programming skill in general.
83. IronWASP: IronWASP (Iron Web Application Advanced Security testing Platform) is an open-source tool used for web application vulnerability testing. It is designed in such a way that users having the right knowledge can create their own scanners using this as a framework. IronWASP is built using Python and Ruby and users having knowledge of them would be able to make full use of the platform. However, IronWASP provides a lot of features that are simple to understand.
84. Nmap: Nmap (“Network Mapper”) is a free and open-source (license) utility for network discovery and security auditing.
Datasets / Freemium Services 
85. Shodan: Shodan provides a public API that allows other tools to access all of Shodan’s data. Integrations are available for Nmap, Metasploit, Maltego, FOCA, Chrome, Firefox and many more.
86. Censys: Censys scans the most ports and houses the biggest certificate database in the world, and provides the most up-to-date,  thorough view of your known and unknown assets.
87. Rapid7 Forward DNS (FDNS): This dataset contains the responses to DNS requests for all forward DNS names known by Rapid7’s Project Sonar. 
88. C99.nl: C99.nl is a scanner that scans an entire domain to find as many subdomains as possible.
89. Seclists: SecLists is the security tester’s companion. It’s a collection of multiple types of lists used during security assessments, collected in one place. List types include usernames, passwords, URLs, sensitive data patterns, fuzzing payloads, web shells, and many more. The goal is to enable a security tester to pull this repository onto a new testing box and have access to every type of list that may be needed.
90. Payloads All The Things: A list of useful payloads and bypasses for Web Application Security. Feel free to improve with your payloads and techniques. 
Miscellaneous Hacking Tools
91. Ettercap: Ettercap is a comprehensive suite which features sniffing of live connections, content filtering, and support for active and passive dissection of many protocols, including multiple features for network and host analysis.
92. Transformations: Transformations makes it easier to detect common data obscurities, which may uncover security vulnerabilities or give insight into bypassing defenses. 
93. John the Ripper: John the Ripper is free and Open Source software, distributed primarily in a source code form.
94. Wireshark: Wireshark® is a network protocol analyzer that lets you capture and interactively browse the traffic running on a computer network.  
95. Foxyproxy: FoxyProxy is an advanced proxy management tool that completely replaces Firefox’s limited proxying capabilities. For a simpler tool and less advanced configuration options, please use FoxyProxy Basic.
96. Wappalyzer: Wappalyzer is a browser extension that uncovers the technologies used on websites. It detects content management systems, eCommerce platforms, web servers, JavaScript frameworks, analytics tools and many more.
97. Buildwith: BuiltWith’s goal is to help developers, researchers and designers find out what technologies web pages are using, which may help them decide what technologies to implement themselves.
98. Altair: Altair GraphQL Client helps you debug GraphQL queries and implementations – taking care of the hard part so you can focus on actually getting things done.
99. THC Hydra: This tool is a proof-of-concept code, designed to give researchers and security consultants the possibility to show how easy it would be to gain unauthorized access from remote to a system.
100. Swiftness X: A note taking tool for BB and pentesting.

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Google unveils new tools to help small businesses during Covid-19- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Google has announced new digital tools for small businesses along with expanding support links for donations and gift cards on their Business Profiles in additional 18 countries. Google recently allowed merchants in six countries to add support links for donations and gift cards to their Business Profiles on Google.
“We have partnered with PayPal and GoFundMe for donations. For gift cards, merchants can link directly to the relevant page on their website or to their gift card offerings with one of our eligible partners, which includes Square, Toast, Clover and Vagaro,” Google said in a statement.
According to the company, in the coming weeks, people will also be able to use Search and Maps to find all of the nearby businesses that are asking for support.
Google said it is also expanding ”Reserve with Google” to help merchants offer easy appointment bookings for online services so customers can quickly find available times, book a slot, and add it to their Google Calendar — all directly from a merchant”s Business Profile.
“Millions of people have already booked in-person appointments with salons, restaurants and other businesses thanks to integrations from over 100 Reserve with Google partners,” said Google, adding that it is including bookings for online services, starting with partners like Booksy, Regis, WellnessLiving, and Zooty.
Since March, Google has seen more than 1 million businesses share COVID-19 posts.
“Since March, more than 3 million restaurants have added or edited their dining attributes. Some restaurateurs are even ditching dining areas for good,” said the company

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5 Most-used Blockchain Tools In 2020 For Blockchain Development- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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With the ongoing pandemic, there is an expected rise in demand for blockchain as cybersecurity becomes vital. With people shifting their entire business to digital, this technology will soar as per the prediction that India will have the highest number of blockchain adoptions by 2023. To get a better perspective on how blockchain is developed, here are 5 tools that have been used persistently in 2020 for development. 
Blockchain as a service (BaaS)
2020 recorded that most companies have been using a BaaS model since having a full-fledged blockchain solution developed did not seem practical. For companies that are low on budget or lack of technical expertise, this form of service suits them best. Cloud infrastructure can be easily integrated with blockchain functions and apps to keep it operational. Microsoft Azure, SAP, and AWS are some of the companies that provide Blockchain as a service. 
MetaMask
Popularly called a browser extension, Metamask is a wallet that connects the ethereum blockchain with the browser such as Firefox or Google Chrome. It has the ability to interact with different Ethereum test networks which can be useful for blockchain developers. The platform will let you other ERC-20 assets along with Ether on your browser. 
Truffle
The whole aim of a Truffle is to make the job of a developer much easier. It is a testing framework that comes with binary management, contract compilation, linking, and deployment. Adding to this, it also helps a developer perform custom builds by providing configurable pipeline. 
Solc
The entire purpose of this tool is to give converted, readable scripts for Ethereum Virtual Machine. Solidity command line is written in C++ which needs to be converted to JavaScript so that the EVM can understand it. This tool can be used for compiling offline as well. 
Blockchain Testnet
Like every other technology, blockchain development too needs to be tested. A Blockchain testnet gives you the freedom to test your dApps to see if they are functioning correctly. Since blockchains are unique, you need to find the right testnet for your solution before you make it live. By doing this, you will save a lot of costs and complaints since the bugs and errors in the code will show up. 
Wrapping up…
Blockchain is a relatively new concept and developers can spend time experimenting with it. One thing that is certain is that it is here to stay as it is ideal for security reasons as well as creating an entirely new horizon for finance management. You can delve deeper into the basics of blockchain here. 

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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Use of Cloud Collaboration Tools Surge Across the World and So Do Attacks | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed companies to adapt to new government-mandated restrictions on workforce movement around the world. The immediate response has been a rapid adoption and integration of cloud services, particularly cloud-based tools such as Microsoft Office 365, Slack and other video conferencing platforms like Zoom.
A new report by security firm McAfee shows that hackers are responding to this mass migration to these platforms with an increased focus on abusing cloud account credentials.
After analyzing cloud usage data that was collected between January and April, from over 30-million enterprise users of its MVISION cloud security monitoring platform, the company estimates a 50% growth in adoption of cloud services across all industries.
Some industries, however, saw a much bigger spike–for example manufacturing with 144% and education with 114%.

The use rate of certain collaboration and videoconferencing tools has been particularly high. Cisco Webex usage has increased by 600%, Zoom by 350%, Microsoft Teams by 300% and Slack by 200%. Again, manufacturing and education ranked at the top.
While this rise in the adoption of cloud services is understandable and, some would argue, a good thing for productivity in light of the forced work-from-home situation, it has also introduced security risks. McAfee’s data shows that traffic from unmanaged devices to enterprise cloud accounts doubled.
“There’s no way to recover sensitive data from an unmanaged device, so this increased access could result in data loss events if security teams aren’t controlling cloud access by device type,” states McAfee.
Cloud threats increase
CSO writes that attackers have taken notice of this rapid adoption of cloud services and are trying to exploit the situation. McAfee reports that the number of external threats targeting cloud services increased by 630% over the same period, with the greatest concentration on collaboration platforms.
In the report, McAfee split suspicious login attempts and access into two categories: excessive usage from anomalous location and suspicious superhuman. Both have seen a similar surge and growth pattern over the time period analyzed.
In terms of excessive usage from anomalous locations, this category is for successful logins from locations that are unusual given the organization’s profile, followed by the user accessing large quantities of data or performing a high number of privileged tasks.
In terms of the suspicious superhuman category, this is for logins by the same user from two geographically distant locations over a short period of time – for example, if the same user logs into one service from one country and then minutes later access service while using an IP address from a different country.
The top ten sources for external attacks against enterprise cloud accounts by IP address location have been Thailand, USA, China, India, Brazil, Russia, Laos, Mexico, New Caledonia and Vietnam.
“Many of these attacks are likely opportunistic, essentially ‘spraying’ cloud accounts with access attempts using stolen credentials,” the McAfee researchers said. “However, several prominent industries are often targeted by external threat actors–in particular, financial services. These targeted attacks are often found to have a source in either China, Iran or Russia.”
Credential Stuffing attacks on the rise
The frequency of credential stuffing attacks, where criminals use lists of leaked or stolen username and password combinations to gain access to accounts, has grown significantly in recent years. Often the used credentials come from third-party data breaches and the attackers attempt to exploit the bad but still common practice of password reuse.
In a report released this year, security and content delivery company Akamai revealed that it observed 85.4 billion credential abuse attacks against organizations worldwide between December 2017 and November 2019. Of those, 473 million attacks targeted the financial sector.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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Odisha fights Covid-19 with advance tech tools, planning and effective execution- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Odisha has had a history of facing natural disasters and hence the administration is well-equipped to handle such disasters through SOPs. Covid-19, however, is a unique challenge – it affects human beings only, leaving all physical infrastructure untouched. “This is a first for the state and the world in general. We are evolving our response as we learn more about ways to tackle the pandemic,” says Asit Kumar Tripathy, Chief Secretary, Odisha.
The government has been driving the ‘Mo Sarkar’ and ‘5T’ projects for the past one-and-a-half years, which is all about changing the business process of the government and helping it to become transparent and efficient through technology. EC spoke with Manoj Kumar Mishra, Secretary, Electronics and Information Technology, Odisha, who shared how the state is using technology to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Edited Excerpts:
Manoj Kumar Mishra, Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of Odisha
Please brief us on the preparedness of the Odisha government to the battle against the pandemic. Odisha government’s incentive scheme for the people coming from abroad has been much talked about. How did it help to make sure people complete their quarantine period?
We had time to witness and learn from the experience of the coronavirus-affected countries. The government was quick to realise and recognise that the coronavirus would only come to Odisha via external sources i.e. through travellers coming back from foreign countries. The first statewide information, education and communication (IEC) outreach about the coronavirus in Odisha was conducted on March 8, the same day when the first international passenger was screened in the state. Two days later, the state government declared Covid-19 to be a ‘state disaster’. The state also empowered public officials to combat the spread under the Disaster Management Act 2005 and imposed the Epidemic Disease Act 1897 where necessary.
Even before the entire country bore the Covid-19 brunt; Odisha became the first state to enforce lockdown and incentivise self-declaration. Odisha incentivised the quarantine scheme and offered INR 15,000 to people coming from abroad and who declared their travel history on the portal. The government received an overwhelming response from the travellers largely because of the incentive. A total of 4,600 people were registered on the portal till March 26, before the international flights operations were suspended in the country.
We deployed all our resources to ensure travellers complete the quarantine period. The call centre team called them up thrice a day for thorough monitoring of their quarantine. Incentivisation literally helped us to keep travellers inside quarantine centres. We quickly set up testing protocols in place and started Covid-19 tests and the percentage of positive cases in Odisha turned out to be miniscule. By the end of it, we saw that some of the states had become hotspots of the coronavirus. From March 10, we started screening passengers coming to Odisha from states like Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi through trains. We sent them text messages and got 40,000 of them registered on the portal.
Odisha has always been a pioneer in managing disasters through cutting edge technology. What kind of innovative tech measures were taken by the IT department to handle the coronavirus pandemic?
When some of the Nizamuddin returnees arrived in Odisha, it prompted the government to clamp down curfew in three districts to restrict people inside their homes and the situation was fairly under control at that time. Meanwhile, the IT department deployed an Artificial Intelligence-based questionnaire, which was part of the CoViD 360 solution of the consortium of Deloitte, SalesForce and Diagnostic Robotics.
It was widely used in Odisha and follow up calls were made to the people to assess their condition. We also created a WhatsApp chatbot to disseminate information to people to combat any kind of fake information, and it was received well by everyone. Odisha’s State Covid-19 dashboard is one of the best across the country.
The IT department deployed high-end analytic tools with the help of SAS and it came out with predictive scenario. The government has also roped in engineering institutes’ professors and students to get their expertise to handle the pandemic. We expected a large influx of migrants workers as we are a labour exporting state after lifting of the lockdown on May 3, we launched a portal for registration of names to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The migrant workers will have to register their name and address in the portal covid19.odisha.gov.in. Anyone who wants to return to Odisha after lockdown via any means (air/train/road) is required to register by filling up the form online and offline. It is now managed by the home department. Based on assessment through call centres and registration, the government created more than 8000 temporary medical facilities across each Gram Panchayat and urban body to help people get quarantined after their arrival.
Besides, we have also pitched in hotels to accommodate travellers who wish to pay and stay in such facilities for quarantine. It is because of the preparedness of readying quarantine centres, Odisha is well managing the migrant labour issue. Odisha is also a labour exporting state like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and now labourersare getting back to the state. The government is keeping a close eye on the development.
Furthermore, in partnership with UNICEF India, we have unveiled a unique website “https://covidsangramee.odisha.gov.in” to invite volunteers to strengthen our state’s fight against the Covid-19.
We have also setup a dedicated telemedicine helpline facility which is an IVR system based module that enables the dial pad for identification, segmentation and routing of callers to the appropriate person. Anyone who is suffering from cough, fever, tiredness, and respiratory problems can dial the telemedicine helpline (14410) to seek medical advices from the qualified doctors, who have registered themselves to provide medical access to the suspected Covid-19 cases. Over 300 doctors have so far registered themselves to provide voluntary services to people with Covid-19 symptoms.
We also recently launched ePass for people who are stranded in Odisha and need to travel to other states. The can log into http://covid19.odisha.gov.in and apply and after online approval, ePass with passenger and vehicle details will be sent to the applicant though SMS and email.
Please shed some light on the coronavirus tests being done in the state. 
The state crossed the mark of 50,000 testings on May 7. While, the national average of coronavirus testing stands at 983 tests per million, it is 1150 in Odisha’s case. We had only one testing centre at RMRC, Bhubaneswar, which is the only agency having wherewithal to do the Covid-19 tests. Currently, we have developed adequate testing facilities. Odisha is one of the first states to have procured sufficient numbers of PPEs, ventilators, masks, sanitisers and other key equipment to battle against the Covid-19. We are doing around 5,000 tests per day. Efforts are continuous for increasing testing infrastructure. Even an advance state like Kerala registers one positive case per 75 tests, while Odisha registers a positive case per 230 tests. So testing per positive case is extremely high in the state.
What are the key focus areas to contain the Covid-19 in the state?
Apart from what I mentioned in my previous answer i.e. ramping up testing, tracing and isolating, the purpose of lockdown can be defined into three categories—to flatten the curve by making people understand the value of social distancing, strengthen the healthcare infrastructure and communicate with the citizens through digital means. IT department’s role was to take this communication to the people. We have been working with the state I&PR department and are able to substantially take this message to the last mile citizen. The government is trying to decrease the possibility of community transmission. Creation of hotspot zones, hassle free home delivery of services, encouraging people to wear mask in public areas are some of the priority areas of the government.
How did the IT department ensure the government functions smoothly in the lockdown? Can you brief us about tech tools that the department has been using amidst the pandemic?
It was a great challenge to ensure the government functions uninterrupted after the nationwide lockdown was imposed. We operated in the large part of the lockdown for the past one-and-a-half months with an average of 20 per cent of the workforce at the Odisha secretariat. VPN (virtual private network) access was given to around 2,000 officials of 46 departments of the state government to enable them do work from home. All the government files have become online and this is not new for us. We have been doing this for the past nine years so working online was never a herculean task. For collaborative working, the government tied up with Cisco for video conferencing and Microsoft, and both of them helped immensely to the Odisha government by offering extremely good services and given free licenses for the operations. At a time when the railways, airlines and roadways have stopped, internet is the only thing which kept us together in the lockdown.
The government has been driving the ‘Mo Sarkar’ and ‘5T’ projects for the past one-and-a-half years which is all about changing business process of the government and help it to become transparent and efficient through technology. Almost every major department has become online and dispensing their services online. It has become the new normal. We have prepared a digital infrastructure where citizens need not to visit the government establishments rather the latter would approach the citizens to resolve their issues.
We have also unveiled e-pass service for those who want to go outside Odisha and the powers to issue these passes have been given to Sub Collectors and Tehsildars. We have done end-to-end e-pass facility and people apply and receive these passes online if they fulfil the terms and conditions.
The state has further designated ‘Covid Hospitals’ across Odisha, with 34 functional in every district. The state has adopted GIS mapping to have all Covid infrastructure properly geo mapped for use of people as well as the administration. With GIS mapping visualisation of assets, granulated to GO levels, it gives single frame snapshots on adequacy of the infrastructures. Overlapping these maps with testing population and affected population gives the administration insights into planning for infra on short and medium terms.
How did the department manage to give key directives to the staff in the remote parts where poor connectivity has always been a challenge amidst the pandemic?
We have partially fibered the state through Bharatnet phase one and phase two is under implementation. All blocks in the state are connected with the optical fiber. The government aims to reach to the Gram Panchayat level and half of the state is already connected and the remaining work would soon resume as the norms have been relaxed in the lockdown. In another three months, we will be able to cover all the Gram Panchayats. The government is trying to provide similar digital facilities to the villages at par with the state capital.

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Origin Energy insources its security tools and team – Cloud – Security- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Origin Energy insourced its security team and tooling from a managed services arrangement as part of a broader digital transformation and move to public cloud.
CISO Christoph Strizik told the AWS Summit in Sydney that Origin had more or less undergone “a security revolution. We’re doing security very differently now,” he said.
Origin made clear its intention to adopt public cloud at scale back in 2016, setting up a central function in IT after some parts of the organisation started to run cloud instances themselves.
The initial target was more than 1000 workloads. The scope was expanded to 1500 workloads in 2018, coinciding with a restructure of the company’s cloud practice. Last year, it was revealed that some of the workloads would run in VMware Cloud on AWS.
At AWS Summit in Sydney, Strizik said Origin is “now 60 percent done with moving most of our systems to the public cloud.” 
He also put a finish date on the migration: 2022.
In slides accompanying the presentation, Strizik called the move to public cloud “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform [the] organisation and security.”

“As part of our public cloud journey, we transformed our security,” he said.
“We developed security principles [that] helped us define the required security culture and capability we wanted to create to enable our business.”
The company began the security transformation with three principles, which would eventually evolve to seven; Strizik highlighted a handful in his presentation.
“The first principle we had was [to] scale and maximise security value at low cost,” he said.
“We wanted to achieve that by using open source, cloud, and automation. 
“This immediately had a number of implications in how we thought about delivering security services for Origin.”
A second principle was to move to “holistic, timely and risk-based security solutions.” 
“When we talk about holistic, we talk about no gaps in our security information, so we want to have security information for all of our information assets and systems,” Strizik said.
“[For] timely, we want to have close to real-time security information for better decision making, and risk-based means we want to have security guardrails or controls baked into our cloud environment so the business can run as fast as needed safely.”
From a practical perspective, Origin’s security “revolution” saw it insource a security monitoring capability, stand up an entirely new stack, and focus on creating a culture of “security transparency”.
Strizik said Origin made the call to cancel an outsourced security contract with an undisclosed managed security services provider (MSSP).
“We were really good at governing outsourced security services, but we had to learn how to build and run cloud security solutions at scale in-house,” he said.
“As a business, we realised security is core to what we do and … we like to do what is core ourselves where it makes sense.”
Strizik also alluded to the construct of the MSSP deal not being conducive to operating infrastructure in the cloud at scale.
“When you digitize your business and move to public cloud, you have to decide if you want to use your existing security technology and stack, or if you reimagine your stack,” Strizik said.
“In our case, it did not make sense to use our existing stack. 
“We would have doubled our costs, and that’s a clear violation of our principle to maximise value at low cost. We also couldn’t achieve a number of other principles with our legacy stack. 
“So we cancelled our MSSP, and there’s a feeling of liberation – and probably also panic – that comes with that.”
The panic came from the “very tight timeline to transform” that decision produced.
“We made a call not to take over any of the existing security systems we had in place, which was both good and bad,” cloud security lead Glenn Bolton said.
“It was good because we had an incredible opportunity here to build new security capability in a greenfields environment, but the pressure was really on.
The clock was ticking and we needed as much coverage as possible as quickly as possible, preferably for the lowest possible cost. 
“We only had a few months to come up with something better.”
Bolton said Origin “knew what we didn’t want”.
“We knew we didn’t want a system where we were paying a huge amount of money only to be limited to a certain number of events per second, and we really didn’t want to be in the position where we had to pick and choose which log sources we could afford to keep and which ones we had to drop,” he said.
“What we wanted was opinionated but sensible alerts, out-of-the-box, with capability to build new alert types ourselves when we wanted to.”
Unpicking the stack
Some core systems and platforms already came “with opinionated but sensible alerts out-of-the-box”, Bolton said.
The company has branded these as “micro SIEMs” [security information and event management systems]. 
To fill in any monitoring gaps, Origin also stood up a “macro SIEM”.

Bolton said the company decided against using a “traditional SIEM” for the macro system because it did not want to be tied “to a particular vendor and licensing model.”
“I made a call early on to deliberately split out our macro SIEM into three discrete components: shipping and parsing, analytics and archive,” he said.
“Instead of trying to get one tool to do all three, we’ve used the best tools for each discrete component. 
“For shipping and parsing, we use a combination of Elastic’s Beats and LogStash with some cloud-native pipelines where they make sense for things like CloudTrail or [VPC] Flow Logs. 
“For analytics, we split off only the subset of logs that we actually need for our day-to-day security operations and alerting into Splunk, which helps us keep costs down. If we ever need to query out historical logs or resources not in Splunk, we do that with Amazon Athena, which lets us query our logs directly from our archive and only costs us when we need to use it. 
“And for archive, we compress and partition our logs in LogStash before storing them in S3 for long-term retention at very low cost.”
Bolton said the company regularly peaked at 8000 events per second, without the system “breaking a sweat”. 
Total run costs were around $800 a month, though Bolton said the company hadn’t “put a lot of effort into cost optimisation” at this stage.
From the macro SIEM, actionable alerts are communicated over an Origin Security API, which runs on Amazon API Gateway, through to Hive and Cortex for case management and response respectively.
“We respond to alerts using the Hive and Cortex which helps us be consistent and efficient, and we govern with the help of automated benchmarks like this, that encourage competitive compliance,” Bolton said.
“I’d read good things about the Hive project and Cortex and thought they might be useful here but I’d never actually used them myself. 
“Because we were in a culture that encouraged experimentation and we had a platform to run our experiments on, we quickly built this as a proof-of-concept and took it for a test drive, and decided that we liked it, so we’re still using it today.”
Bolton characterised Hive as “a cybersecurity case management tool … a little bit like ServiceNow but tailored for an analyst’s workflow.”
“It helps us with alert management and drives consistency with templated playbooks,” he said.
“The Hive also generates great metrics around alert types, investigations and false positives. 
“Having the metrics around false positives is great because it helps us tune our alerts so that we can help drive down analyst fatigue, and the metrics around our investigations and alerts gives us the evidence that we need to show that we’re doing a good job.”
Cortex, meanwhile, supported Hive “by helping to automate the lookup of observables – things like IP addresses, domain names and file hashes.”
“All this can save an analyst from having to copy and paste these sorts of pieces of evidence into a dozen different browser tabs.”
Bolton conceded the architecture “might all look like a lot of stuff to manage, and it is”, but said that  “for the most part it just runs itself.”
Outside the stack
Outside of the technology stack, Origin Energy has put considerable effort into building an internal security monitoring capability.
Strizik said the company had “tapped into a broader talent pool” to “overcome the talent shortage”, training up people from other technical or consultancy fields in cybersecurity.
“What we did is we started the process of ongoing learning, and I think this is really so important to us,” he said.
“We also promoted internal people with strong leadership skills but limited security skills to run our new security teams, which is of course an unusual step to take perhaps but worked out really well for us. 
“And last but not least, all our roles are flexible. So I think that’s also a game changer.”
Strizik said the team that builds and runs Origin’s security stack in the cloud is 46 percent female and with a total five percent turnover.
Security ‘league table’
Aside from the team and tooling, Strizik said considerable effort had been put behind “security transparency” at Origin.
“Why do you want to focus on this? Well, we believe that continuously improving our security culture is becoming more important, and we also want to be better positioned to leverage new technologies safely,” he said.
“We also believe that increased security information transparency drives the security culture in your organisation, and there’s broader research to back that up in how transparency drives positive change in cultures and societies. 
“This is not a new concept – we’re just applying it in security.”
Strizik said that Origin had effectively set up a security dashboard and “league table … which made it easy for people to see how their security compares to others.” 
“Greater transparency and the security league table is creating a sense of competition between teams, so teams are now asking, ‘How do we compare?’ 
“No one wants to be the last one on the league table. 
“As a result of this, we’re seeing improved compliance with security guardrails by up to 25 percent within the first year, and because of the transparency, we’re also seeing issues being resolved quicker.”

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KSDMA leverages data science, crowd sourcing tools to contain Covid- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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If disasters were to be ranked, then perhaps no disaster is equivalent to the magnitude of the one that is hovering over the world now, given Covid 19. Hence, the Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) has belted out technology solutions to manage the impact of the situation.
“The three major technology implementations being done at our department are – Unified Covid-19 Portal, Real-time Data Collection and Monitoring Tool, and Crowd Sourcing Monitoring Tool for KPME (Karnataka Private Medical Establishments) and pharmacy and drug stores for proactive reporting on ILI (Influenza-Like Illness) and SARI (Severe Acute Respiratory Infections) cases,” says Manoj Ranjan, Commissioner, Karnataka Disaster Management Authority and Special Secretary to Government of Karnataka.
The Unified Covid-19 Portal (covid19.karnataka.gov.in) consolidates all information related to Covid-19 at one place. It contains information on Covid related statistics, fake news busters, messages, mobile phone apps, helpline numbers, state war room analysis and clinical centres. This portal has a real-time dashboard giving analysis of data and information about positive, discharged and deceased patients along with travel history, gender analysis, etc. It gets periodic updates from the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Information and Public Relation, State Disaster Management Authority and the state war room.
The Karnataka government has come up with a real-time data collection technology framework using which information indexed at various levels including the state, district, town, panchayat and village or ward can be collated, analysed and forecasted using the latest data science and geographical models. This real-time information deciphering helps in quick and time-bound decision making when it is race against time to contain the spread of the virus.

Banking on the contingency plan, KSDMA has developed a Covid Monitoring Tool. The data collection templates range from registering citizens, tracing treatment cycles of the citizen from fever clinics, quarantine centres, supervised isolation centres and Covid hospitals, test results from testing centres and tracking home quarantine cases. In addition to the tests and treatment information, the consumables, health case inventory, beds, status and availability of critical equipment such as ventilators and PPEs are also tracked using the framework. The Covid Monitoring Tool registers patient data at various timelines allowing digital tracking. The tool contains inventory data as well which helps in inventory management of the state and accumulates data from the source or the point of origin.

The Crowd Sourcing Monitoring Tool for KPME and drug or pharmacy stores for proactive reporting on ILI and SARI cases is very useful one. “The tool enables instant information gathering from 22,800 private medical establishments and over over 41,000 drugs stores. This instant information about the cases from all location across the state is crowd-sourced information of capturing ILI and SARI cases in the state,” informs Ranjan. “Private medical establishments log onto the monitoring tool and report on the ILI and SARI cases they have treated in the day. This information across the state is collated and helps easy follow up and tracing of suspect cases.”
The system is also extended to include drug and pharmacy stores as a crowd-sourced model wherein the details of the people purchasing flu or cough related medicines (ILI and SARI cases) are voluntarily provided to the Government so that such cases may be proactively traced and acted upon before complications occur.
This apart technology is being used for contact tracing (primary and secondary) through a mobile app. Migrant workers data is being monitored and mapped using another mobile app. Various analytics, hot spots mapping and risk areas buffering using GIS is in place and reporting in real-time by citizens is happening in apps like Corona Watch, which tracks the movement history of people and lists out the places they have visited.

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Signzy’s Video Conferencing Tools Brings The ‘Human Factor’ To Banking- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Ankit Ratan, Co-founder, Signzy
Signzy has launched a video conferencing tool for banks to have seamless communication with their customers. The tool is an effort at having a face-to-face conversation virtually to ensure that social distancing is maintained and communication is not inadequate. 
Signzy has worked with 45+ financial institutions to enable digital customer journeys in their organisations. The company deploys Artificial Intelligence and blockchain to authenticate, identify, and perform background checks. Ankit Ratan co-founded Signzy in 2015 with previous experience of working with Ernst and Young, Essex Lake Group, and Ministry of Environment and Forest (Govt of India). 
Ankit Ratan explains the Virtual Conferencing tool’s application, security measures and plans of scaling up in the future in a conversation with Radhika Udas from Express Computer. 
Please brief us about your video conferencing tool for communication between banks/financial institutions and their customers.
Signzy’s Video Conferencing tool has been designed for enabling front-end processes that necessitate a face-to-face conversation with the customer digitally. This Video Conferencing (VC) tool ensures secure, private one-to-one communication between banks and other Financial Institutions on one hand, and their customers on the other. It uses AI to enhance security and reliability enabling seamless business continuity for banks, FIs and other organizations.
Video Calling App like Zoom is facing serious security challenges. For banks and financial institutions, a much higher security architecture would be required. What distinct security measures does Signzy take for its VC tool?
Generic video conferencing apps and tools are not specifically designed for banking-grade security and privacy and are unsuitable for use in Financial Services Industry’s largely customer-facing workflow.
The need for a secure platform for video conferencing is a crucial requirement in the banking sector. Signzy’s VC tool is honed with numerous layers of checks and balances including AI-enabled video forensics and identity document checks that eliminate security gaps by combining human scrutiny with both software and ML and AI-enabled learning.  
Signzy’s Video Conferencing tool, on the other hand, delivers industry-leading security and privacy for one-to-one interactions and is therefore well suited for banks, insurance companies and other organizations where security and privacy of communications is a critical requirement. 
How are you using Artificial Intelligence to ensure security?
AI in banking has become a priority for bankers, and they have identified two areas worthy of transformation with this latest technology- KYC and digital onboarding.
Al and ML enabled learning and forensics brings in seamless communication and end-to-end encryption along with securing data leakage. For example, a bank can choose to disable client-side video controls during a call, which would prevent a customer from switching off the video while the call is in progress. 
Further, the AI technology ensures that all calls can be audited and any breach in the protocol can be readily caught.  Since this has been developed with banks as intended users, no other third-party software currently matches this level of security
Netbanking and other online facilities are already helping customers with their bank transactions and communications. How does this tool stand out?
Netbanking has been widely used in the recent past, this is mostly personal with no human intervention, the VC tool brings the human factor in the banking process. Signzy’s VC tool allows banks, insurance companies and other financial services providers to go a few steps further and use secure video conferencing for other processes that otherwise necessitate a face-to-face interaction with the customer, inside the branch or at the customer’s premises. For example, client relationship managers can schedule a secure video call with their clients for processing certain types of financial transactions. 
What is your plan for scaling up in the future?
Technology in the banking sector is still in its nascent stage. With our technology and innovation, we aim to bring awareness and importance to the idea of video KYC and normalise digital banking across function at banks and financial institutions. The emphasis is on security features of our tools and ensuring customers and BFSIs consider this as their primary option.

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Special Report: Cyber-intel firms pitch governments on spy tools to trace coronavirus – Networking – Security – Software – Telco/ISP- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

When law enforcement agencies want to gather evidence locked inside an iPhone, they often turn to hacking software from the Israeli firm Cellebrite. By manually plugging the software into a suspect’s phone, police can break in and determine where the person has gone and whom he or she has met.
Now, as governments fight the spread of COVID-19, Cellebrite is pitching the same capability to help authorities learn who a coronavirus sufferer may have infected. When someone tests positive, authorities can siphon up the patient’s location data and contacts, making it easy to “quarantine the right people,” according to a Cellebrite email pitch to the Delhi police force this month.
This would usually be done with consent, the email said. But in legally justified cases, such as when a patient violates a law against public gatherings, police could use the tools to break into a confiscated device, Cellebrite advised. “We do not need the phone passcode to collect the data,” the salesman wrote to a senior officer in an April 22 email reviewed by Reuters.
A Cellebrite spokeswoman said the salesman was offering the same tools the company has long sold to help police enforce the law. The company is also offering a version of its product line for use by healthcare workers to trace the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, but the tools can only be used with patient consent and can’t hack phones, she said.
Cellebrite’s marketing overtures are part of a wave of efforts by at least eight surveillance and cyber-intelligence companies attempting to sell repurposed spy and law enforcement tools to track the virus and enforce quarantines, according to interviews with executives and non-public company promotional materials reviewed by Reuters.
For a graphic on Tracing COVID-19, click here. 
The executives declined to specify which countries have purchased their surveillance products, citing confidentiality agreements with governments. But executives at four of the companies said they are piloting or in the process of installing products to counter coronavirus in more than a dozen countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia. A Delhi police spokesman said the force wasn’t using Cellebrite for coronavirus containment. Reuters is not aware of any purchases by the U.S. government.
So far, Israel is the only country known to be testing a mass surveillance system pitched by the companies, asking NSO Group, one of the industry’s biggest players, to help build its platform.
But the rollout of NSO’s surveillance project with the Israeli Ministry of Defense is on hold pending legal challenges related to privacy issues, an NSO executive said.
A spokesman for Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said NSO was involved in the project but did not provide further details.
Surveillance-tech companies have flourished in recent years as law enforcement and spy agencies around the world have sought new methods for countering adversaries who now often communicate through encrypted mobile apps.
The firms argue that their experience helping governments track shadowy networks of militants makes them uniquely qualified to uncover the silent spread of a novel disease.
“I really believe this industry is doing more good than bad,” said Tal Dilian, a former Israeli intelligence officer and now a co-chief executive officer of Cyprus-based Intellexa, a cyber-surveillance firm that works with intelligence agencies in Southeast Asia and Europe. “Now is a good time to show that to the world.”
Yet some technologists remain skeptical that spying tools reliant on phone location data can be used to effectively combat a virus.
“It’s not precise enough, that’s the point. It’s not nearly going to get you down to whether you’re next to a certain person or not,” said Michael Veale, a lecturer in digital rights and regulation at University College London.
While the methods for location tracking and accuracy vary, surveillance companies say they can narrow down a person’s coordinates to within three feet, depending on conditions.
Privacy rights vs health concerns
Privacy issues loom. Civil liberties advocates fear that virus tracking efforts could open the door to the kind of ubiquitous government surveillance efforts they have fought for decades. Some are alarmed by the potential role of spyware firms, arguing their involvement could undermine the public trust governments need to restrain the spread of the virus.
“This public health crisis needs a public health solution – not the interjection of for-profit surveillance companies looking to exploit this crisis,” said Edin Omanovic, advocacy director for the UK-based civil liberties group Privacy International.
Claudio Guarnieri, a technologist with the human rights organization Amnesty International, said any new surveillance powers embraced by states to combat the virus should be met with “high scrutiny.”
“New systems of control, from location tracking to contact tracing, all raise different concerns on necessity and proportionality,” said Guarnieri.
Cellebrite, for one, said it requires “agencies that use our solutions to uphold the standards of international human rights law.”
Government officials have sought to address such concerns by pointing to the unprecedented nature of the crisis. COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, has so far infected more than 3 million people worldwide, killing over 210,000.
In South Africa, for example, after the government last month announced it would use telecom data to track the movements of citizens infected with COVID-19, a communications minister acknowledged concerns about loss of privacy.
“We do respect that everyone has a right to privacy, but in a situation like this our individual rights do not supersede the country’s rights,” Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, the communications minister, said at a press conference for South Africa’s COVID-19 command council this month.
The South African Health Ministry declined to comment on details of the program and whether it had contracted with any of the intelligence firms.
A number of countries are developing and deploying COVID-19 contact-tracing apps that do not rely on location data. Instead, these apps, already in use in Singapore, India and Colombia, tap the smartphone connectivity technology Bluetooth to sense and record when other devices are nearby. When someone tests positive for coronavirus, typically, everyone that person made contact with is notified.
Christophe Fraser, an epidemiologist at Oxford University’s Big Data Institute, said this approach, if implemented properly, could save lives and shorten lockdowns. “The idea is to try and maximize social distancing practices of those at risk of infection and minimize the impact on all the other people,” he said.
This app-based approach to contact tracing is considered, by its advocates, as more privacy friendly because people voluntarily download the app and sensitive personal data are visible only to health authorities. This method of containing the disease is the focus of a rare collaboration between Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google to quickly deploy the Bluetooth-based technology for use in the United States and elsewhere. But the approach relies on widespread adoption of the apps, and its accuracy remains unproven.
Apple says its plan is designed to “help amplify the efforts of the public health authorities” and that “many factors will help flatten [infection] curves — no one believes this is the only one.” A Google spokesman referred to a prior statement, which said “each user will have to make an explicit choice to turn on the technology.”
By contrast, deploying a mass surveillance platform like Intellexa’s means everyone would be under collection right away; no one needs to opt in, nor could anyone opt out. Such a setup can be done remotely in a matter of weeks, said an executive at NSO Group, which is also offering its wares to fight the coronavirus.
Public health vs spy tech
The surging spyware business is estimated by research firm MarketsandMarkets to be worth US$3.6 billion this year.
But the industry has been dogged by legal and ethical concerns. Human rights groups have accused some companies of helping undemocratic governments target dissidents and activists. The companies say they help governments prevent terrorism and capture criminals.
Last year, for example, Facebook’s WhatsApp unit accused NSO Group of helping governments hack 1,400 targets that included activists, journalists, diplomats and state officials. NSO denies the allegations, saying it only provides the technology to government agencies under strict controls and is not involved in operations.
Intellexa’s Dilian fled Cyprus last year after an arrest warrant was issued for him, on accusations that he used a surveillance van to illegally intercept communications in the country. Dilian denies the allegations, returned to Cyprus last month and said he is cooperating with authorities. A Cypriot police spokesman told Reuters the investigation is active.
Now, industry executives, investors and analysts say the coronavirus crisis offers intelligence firms the possibility of billions of dollars in business, while burnishing their reputations.
India is among the courted countries. In April, New York-based Verint Systems asked Indian officials to pay US$5 million for a year’s subscription to a host of services designed to track and surveil people with coronavirus. Those included a cellphone tower geolocation platform and a program to monitor social media activity, according to documents seen by Reuters and a person with knowledge of the negotiations. No sale has yet been agreed in India, the source said.
A Verint spokesman declined to answer questions, instead referring to an April 16 press release which said unspecified products were being used by an unnamed country to help respond to COVID-19. India’s Ministry of Interior said it had not purchased a system from Verint.
NSO Group and Intellexa are also both pitching COVID-19 tracking platforms to countries across Asia, Latin America and Europe. Their technology could allow a government to track the movement of nearly every person in the country who carries a cellphone, sucking up a continuous trove of location data. Installed within telecom providers, the technology functions through the analysis of call records, said NSO and Intellexa executives.
When a person tests positive, the systems would allow authorities to input the result, tracking those who made contact with the patient in the past few weeks. Those exposed would receive a text message encouraging them to get tested or self-isolate. NSO said the system’s administrators would not see the identity of individuals.
Revelations in 2013 that the U.S. Tempemail Security Agency had collected this kind of mobile phone data about Americans to track national security threats created a storm of controversy and fueled new restrictions on surveillance.
Suzanne Spaulding, a former U.S. intelligence community lawyer and senior Homeland Security official, described this potential COVID-19 tracking approach as “among the most privacy-invasive.” That’s because it “envisions all of the data about everyone’s movements, not just infected individuals and their known contacts, going to the government.”
South Korea, Pakistan, Ecuador and South Africa have all indicated in public statements they were rolling out contact tracing systems using telecom data to track infected citizens, though the details haven’t been released.
South Korean officials say any loss of privacy from surveillance must be weighed against the disastrous economic consequences caused from a long-term shutdown.
“It is also a restriction of freedom when you ban free movement of people in crisis,” Jung Seung-soo, a deputy director at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, told Reuters. The country is not using outside surveillance vendors, the official said.
Intellexa is in the process of installing its system in two Western European countries, Dilian said. He declined to name them.
In an interview with Reuters, NSO employees responsible for the product said the company is piloting the approach in 10 countries in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, but declined to name them.
Three other Israeli companies, Rayzone Group, Cobwebs Technologies and Patternz, are offering countries coronavirus tracking capabilities. These largely rely on location data gathered from mobile advertising platforms, according to company promotional documents reviewed by Reuters and people familiar with the companies.
Rayzone Group declined to comment. Requests for comment to Patternz went unanswered. Omri Timianker, president and co-founder of Cobwebs Technologies, said his company is working with five governments to help track the spread of the virus, but declined to identify them.
While some experts say advertising data isn’t precise enough to combat the spread of COVID-19, the documents reviewed by Reuters suggest the three firms are marketing technology which they contend can ingest and process advertising data into a form that’s useful for narrowly tracking individuals.
Intellexa’s Dilian said his company’s platform will cost between US$9 million and US$16 million for countries with large populations. He believes COVID-19 tracking will be just the beginning. Once the pandemic ends, he hopes countries that invested in his mass surveillance tool will adapt it for espionage and security. “We want to enable them to upgrade,” he said.

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The Best Social Media Management Tools in 2020 – Blog – 10 minute

In 2020, digital marketers need a reliable social media marketing tool. And with so many social media management tasks ahead of you – whether it’s social media analytics, content creation, community management, or social listening  – you don’t have time to research all the best social media tools for business. Luckily, all the info you need is in this blog for you.
The Top Social Media Tools for Business
Over the past five years, global social media usage has increased drastically, and according to Statista, an estimated 2.82 billion people used social media worldwide in 2019, a number projected to increase to almost 3.1 billion by 2021.
As social media usage continues to grow, social media platforms will evolve and become more complex. Fortunately, these social media marketing tools will evolve even further to make the work of digital marketers easier and more effective.
Socialbakers
When it comes to social media management, Socialbakers is your answer. It’s an end-to-end platform that helps you through the entire process, all the way from analysis and content planning to streamlined publishing and hassle-free community management.
It’s been the trusted platform for marketers from SMBs and large enterprise companies for years. It’s easy and quick to set up, so your teams can start using it immediately.
Of course, it offers all you’d expect from an end-to-end marketing platform, but then there’s a lot more added to the package that truly allows you to take your marketing to the next level.
Key Benefits

Streamlined Social Media Management: You can scale all your social media strategies with AI publishing recommendations and boost publishing efficiency with team approval workflows. You can effortlessly manage all your channels in one place.
Powerful AI Analytics and Measurement: With Socialbakers, it’s really easy to understand your own performance, but more critically it helps you benchmark your performance against your competitors with unparalleled precision. Marketing teams have developed successful campaigns to combat competitors from this solution alone. What’s more, it helps you predict performance into the future! No, we’re not kidding.
Everything for Your Content Strategy: With the content insights that are powered by AI image recognition technology and deep content intelligence, Socialbakers platform gives social media managers what they need to truly create the most engaging content. 
Easy Community Management: Socialbakers provides one place to manage all your social media care from community management to crisis management. And it’s made extremely effective through templates and task automation. 
End-to-End Influencer Marketing: Successful social media management today is entangled with influencer marketing. Socialbakers helps you connect them seamlessly. From super easy AI influencer discovery to campaign tracking, and actually engaging with influencers, the platform makes it all a smooth process.

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Facebook Business Manager
Every business needs a Facebook business page and Facebook Business Manager has always been a few steps ahead by providing the necessary social media tools for publishing content. Facebook gives businesses the opportunity to grow with free tools, insights, and a global community of over 2.5 billion people.
Even though it’s only limited to Facebook and Instagram posting, it’s a great package to get started in growing your social media presence for small businesses, startups, and ambitious entrepreneurs. 
Key Benefits

Facebook Ads: There are 1.6 billion people who are connected to a small business on Facebook. Marketers can create ads and personalize them with precise audience insights that not only cover age and location, but demographics, interests and behaviors.  
Audience Network: It enables marketers to expand and scale Facebook campaigns with powerful features. Marketers can also create Custom Audiences that include core and lookalike audiences.

Iconosquare
Started as a social media tool for fashion brands, Iconosquare has a multitude of features such as page analytics, community management, and post publishing. It can monitor your results, engage with your followers, and publish content systematically. 
Key Benefits

Quick Scheduler: Iconosquare’s publishing has built-in features such as geolocation and user tagging. The platform even gives you information on the best time to post.  
Auto-Posting: Iconosquare offers auto-posting for Instagram. Marketers can schedule Instagram carousels and stories with ease. Marketers can also see how their content is making an impact. 

Buffer
Buffer offers a range of solutions for marketers. The social media tool can streamline engagement and results on social media with all the basic attributes from team approvals and collaborations to a dynamic calendar.
Marketers have the ability to engage with customers directly from the platform and analyze campaigns.
Key Benefits

Publishing: Buffer’s unique Instagram publishing features include a shop grid to drive traffic and sales from an Instagram bio. Marketers can also include a first comment when scheduling a post.
Analytics: Work with reports and statistics for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Buffer’s analytics provides recommendations to grow reach, engagement, and sales.  

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Later 
Later is an innovative app and cloud-based platform that helps marketers plan, manage, and schedule posts on a visual dashboard. 
Solely focused on Instagram, Later helps influencers organize social media content and marketing campaigns with a smooth mobile app interface. If Instagram is your main channel, Later is the perfect platform for you. 
Key Benefits

Plan Instantly: Marketers can plan and schedule their content in a matter of minutes. With a visual content calendar, marketers can easily drag and drop photos to create a personalized feed. With auto-publishing, influencers can find their experience smooth and easy. 
Analyze Content Performance: Later give marketers the ability to track likes, clicks, and followers. It’s important to have the right analytics and gain a clear view of organic performance. And with the right insights, you will be able to create a successful Instagram social media strategy.

Falcon
Falcon is known for monitoring and social listening. They have helped marketers with brand reputation challenges. With a collaborative UI, they can deliver personalized brand experiences across most digital touchpoints.
Falcon provides valuable features for marketers from monitoring to publishing to engagement. Falcon can help you keep track of online communities with ease. 
Key Benefits

Monitor Reputation and Brand Reach: Social listening is one of their best features as it allows marketers to discover audience conversations and develop new business opportunities. 
One Profile, All Data: Anyone who has interacted with your brand on social, whether it’s a message, comment or mentions, you will automatically get a profile card based on that data.

Hootsuite
Hootsuite started off as a tweet scheduler, but over the years Hootsuite’s social media services have diversified. They are known for their freemium service.
The tool provides features from scheduling and content creation to monitoring. Hootsuite support channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, YouTube, and even Google My Business through the Hootsuite app directory. 
Key Benefits

Scheduling: The scheduling feature allows marketers to manage all content in one dashboard. Marketers can organize multiple posts and automate it in a timely manner. They can even schedule content while surfing the web. 
Community Care: Hootsuite’s community management makes it easy for small teams to monitor social channels. It includes features from delivering more responsive social customer care to manageable team workflows. 

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Meltwater 
Meltwater’s media intelligence focuses on PR and analyzes brands globally through PR relations and marketing. Their speciality combines a listening platform with publishing and engagement tools.
Meltwater can capture most mentions on social media sites, and scheduling posts on Facebook and Twitter has never been so easy. It’s also a great tool for archiving and managing your influencer marketing efforts.
Key Benefits

Global Map: A really cool feature that allows marketers to access a global map that can identify different conversations within a city. Being able to understand your audience by their demographics and location is always an advantage. 
Social Engagement: Meltwater marketers can respond to public conversations or private messages through the platform. They can speed up efficiency and respond to high volumes of inquiries.

Khoros 
If you need to strengthen your social customer care, Khoros can do the job for you. Khoros is built on top of a customer care foundation, and their advocacy for quality customer service comes from collaborations.
After merging with Spredfast and Lithium Technologies, Khoros was able to help marketers with digital community care, and branded communities. 
Key Benefits

Customer Satisfaction: Khoros helps marketers uncover important social conversations from their audience. Marketers can connect with customers to resolve their needs quickly and in an organized fashion.  
Advanced Listening and Monitoring: With a customizable widget dashboard, Khoros’ powerful monitoring tools can help marketers uncover distinct conversations that can be valuable for future campaigns.

Sprout Social
Sprout Social helps a wide range of businesses with complex social media business solutions from audience reach analysis to streamline social media monitoring and community engagement.
This social media tool offers a practical customer care experience for marketers to plan social media strategies fast and efficiently. 
Key Benefits

Social Listening Strategy: In cooperation with Simply Measured, Sprout Social gives marketers deep social listening features and analytics to expand and strengthen social campaigns. 
Paid Performance Reporting: Marketers are able to evaluate and report on the success of paid social campaigns executed through Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter.

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Talkwalker 
Talkwalker is one of the leading social media solutions when it comes to social listening. Talkwalker’s social listening and monitoring tool goes beyond just social – it connects with new sites, blogs, forums, offline databases, traditional print, and even television.
Talkwalker can provide real-time insights on current trends and conversations from all social channels and online media. And if a social crisis hits, Talkwalker has your back. 
Key Benefits

Share of Voice: Marketers can see how much their audience is talking about your brand compared to competitors. 
Logo Recognition: With over 50,000 logos in its high-accuracy database, Talkwalker gives marketers the opportunity to track brands by using image and video recognition from social media platforms, blogs, and new sites.

Agorapulse
Agorapulse has helped various marketers from mid-sized businesses and agencies throughout recent years. This platform has been known for solid publishing and a social CRM.
If your business has a narrow focus and specific target audience, Agorapulse can monitor your brand and keywords on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. With clear reports and easy-to-use dashboard, Agorapulse can boost your social campaigns and increase your engagement.
Key Benefits

One-Click Reports: Marketers can discover ROI of content strategy and engagement with downloadable reports. 
Automated Inbox System: Agorapulse’s inbox systems work similarly to other solutions. Marketers can tag, flag, hide, or assign content, but what’s unique is that you can eliminate spam and actually assign incoming content automatically.

Sprinklr
Sprinklr is a unified front office management platform more than a stand-alone social media management solution, and they do it with a cloud-based customer experience management solution for social media, content marketing, paid advertising, and websites. 
Key Benefits

Advertising: Sprinklr allows omni-channel planning for other non-social campaigns across a comprehensive timeline. Marketers can plan campaigns and access real-time data on all campaigns.
Smart Response: Marketers can use an intuitive system to generate replies while conversing with audiences and save time.

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Planable
Planable is a fun social media planning tool that caters to marketing teams, agencies, freelancers, and influencers. It offers features such as content previews, Giphy integrations, post scheduling, feedback reviewing, and many more.
This is a great tool if you have a small marketing team or you’re just getting started on expanding your social media presence.
Key Benefits

Gridview on Instagram: If you’re a content creator, this feature will be one of the most useful features. Having the right brand image and consistency on your Instagram grid is just as important as individual posts. Planable enables you to plan your content in an organized fashion. 
Content Creation: Marketers can create content for multiple pages and take advantage of the drag and drop feature for all posts. Marketers can plan all their content in an organized calendar.

Dash Hudson
For brands, Dash Hudson is a visual marketing software with a focus on visual content for Instagram and Pinterest. Marketers can publish all their content through the platform to gain the right engagement.
This tool allows businesses to analyze their traffic and the overall success of their Instagram and Pinterest accounts. 
Key Benefits

Ecommerce Suite: Dash Hudson helps businesses sell products through Instagram posts by providing ecommerce analytics. This makes it easy for audiences to shop directly on Instagram profiles. 
Vision: It’s a creative insight feature that analyzes all owned content from organic to paid. Vision can identify the best images, trends, and recommendations.

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