Info Sharing Blog

Friday, June 5, 2020

Cloud Enthusiast? Free Promotions from Coursera on selected courses.

June 05, 2020 Posted by jaacostan
Coursera is offering free promotions on selected Cloud technology courses. The offer is valid through 7/31/2020. Valid for one enrollment per person. So select the best one from the offerings.


Select the course and enroll. The discount will be automatically applied. Happy learning

Monday, June 1, 2020

Kerala BevQ app : Improvements and Suggestions on Social Commitments

June 01, 2020 Posted by jaacostan
Release of the BevQ app might be a relief to many. Though the selling of Alcohol contributes huge revenue to the Government, there is always a social commitment to the citizens that they need to follow as well. Make availability of alcohol to those who are needy but at the same time, do measures to reduce the negative effects of alcohol in the society as well such as crime, over drinking, alcohol related nuisances/abuses etc. Below are some of my suggestions to improve the app for a social cause as well. No need to collect additional data. Instead use the existing data to get the statistics and help to provide awareness.
  1. Provide a noticeable link in the app, to know about the harmful effects of alcohol.
  2. Keep the statistics with the cost, accessible for both government and the consumer user (private), so that the user can view themselves and analyze how much they drink and how much money they spend on alcohol.Show the report with enticing example.For example, a user spent 10000 INR a month on alcohol, then show a message saying if you saved this money, you could have bought a Mobile phone or Grocery for a month etc. This might help them to think about spending more money on alcohol.
  3.  If any of the users exceeds the threshold level of buying alcohol, notify them with a push message in the app. Give awareness or contact details to control their drinking or to seek help. Make sure this is not for harassing/pestering a user, but to think and for awareness.
  4. Technology and Infrastructure to keep the collected data secure.
  5. If any of the users are repeatedly involved in alcohol related crimes or abuse, these statistics might help the government to prepare some plan to reduce such crimes by developing some measure.
Suggestions on App improvements.
  1. It would be better if the app could be developed with a search option, so that the user can select the product which he wants and also the information on the stock availability, price, alcohol content etc. 
  2. Provide online payment options, so that the user can show/scan the QR code for easy purchasing.
  3. Integrate with Aadhaar so that the age can be verified.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

VMware Learning Zone premium subscription for free

May 28, 2020 Posted by jaacostan
VMware Learning Zone providing six months of premium  learning subscription for FREE.The premium subscription includes advanced troubleshooting, configuration, and solution-oriented best practice videos as well as 12 certification exam preps.


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Project Management Certifications from PMI & MSI for free.

May 20, 2020 Posted by jaacostan
Project Management Certifications from PMI & MSI for free.

Project Management for Beginners is an introductory course which provides the foundational knowledge necessary to join a project team and can serve as the first step on your path to a project management career.

Agile in the Program Management Office

Business Continuity

Six Sigma White Belt Certified (LSSWB)™ Training Material & Certification Test

Project Management Essentials Certification from MSI, designed exclusively for the Management and Strategy Institute, will provide you with a basic understanding of Project Management principles.


ServiceNow Certified System Administrator Training and Certification for Free.

May 20, 2020 Posted by jaacostan

The ServiceNow Certified System Administrator self paced training including a certification voucher for the exam is free until June.Normally priced at $2400.

ServiceNow Certification exams are computer‑based, multiple‑choice exams delivered by ServiceNow testing partner Kryterion, in a proctored environment. Online proctoring is also available.

ICSI Certified Network Security Specialist Course for free.

May 20, 2020 Posted by jaacostan , , ,
The International Cybersecurity Institute (ICSI) is offering their Certified Network Security Specialist Course for free.Use coupon code #StaySafeHome during checkout to claim your free access.
This course is actually priced at 500GBP and due to COVID-19 lock-down, ICSI is providing the course for free (after applying the coupon code). Labs+Exams are not included as part of this offer but if you wish to do the labs and exam, then you can purchase it for 75GBP. Offer is valid till 31/05/2020.
This course is gives an excellent overview on Network security basics and is perfect to those who are new to the network security domain.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Bat script to change Network Adapter IP Address

May 16, 2020 Posted by jaacostan , ,
A network engineer often changes the IP of their laptop multiple times during an activity. Typing the IP each time from the network adapter setting is a boring task. Use the following batch script to easily change the IP address. Copy the script in a text editor, edit the details as per your need, save as <name>.bat format. Run it.
<------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
Below section is to put administrative privilege to the bat file.
However this is optional
<------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
@echo off
if _%1_==_payload_  goto :payload

:getadmin
    echo %~nx0: elevating self
    set vbs=%temp%\getadmin.vbs
    echo Set UAC = CreateObject^("Shell.Application"^) >> "%vbs%"
    echo UAC.ShellExecute "%~s0", "payload %~sdp0 %*", "", "runas", 1 >> "%vbs%"
    "%temp%\getadmin.vbs"
    del "%temp%\getadmin.vbs"
goto :eof

<------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
Below is the code and you have to edit as per your need. You get the name details from the network connections page or from CMD.
<------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
network connections


:payload
@echo off
netsh interface IPv4 set Address name="Ethernet" static 192.168.0.10 255.255.255.0 192.168.0.1
@echo off
netsh interface IPv4 set dns name="Ethernet" static 8.8.8.8

<------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
Finally if you want to revert to DHCP
<------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->
@echo off
netsh interface IPv4 set address name="Ethernet" source=dhcp
@echo off
netsh interface IPv4 set dns name="Ethernet" source=dhcp

Contact Tracing Apps. How it works? Privacy Concerns with ArogyaSetu.

May 16, 2020 Posted by jaacostan ,
Contact Tracing apps alerts others (as well as the Government) that they may have been in contact with people carrying/infected with the Virus. Many Countries has released official apps for contact tracing. Lets see how it works and what are the security and privacy concerns with it. In this post, i specifically compares India's Arogya Setu contact tracing app with other Nation's contact tracing applications.
How it works?
The app can be download from the App/Play store. User has to manually install this.All these contact tracing app uses a set of permissions such as Bluetooth, storage, network access etc. However it primarily make use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol for contact tracing. It tries to measures how far you are from the other person( Usually 1.5 meters). The application checks and connect with other mobile phones installed with the application over Bluetooth. This data will be stored on the phones. This depends and differs on applications. for example UK's NHS stores the data for 28 days, the data will be stored and after that it will be deleted.
If you came in proximity of the affected person with in 21 days (normally), you will get notified. This notification process can be automated and manually. For example, Singapore does this manually whereas in Australia it is automated. No personal details are involved in the notification. Means It will not alert with whom(name) you came in contact with. Personal details remains anonymous.It will just sent a notification urging them to isolate or to contact the health officials.

What information usually the app collects?
While installing the application, it collects some details and verify the user as well. The details differs from apps to apps. Some common details collected are,
1) Mobile number
2) Full Name
3) Gender
4) Age
5) Postcode
6) GPS location access permission. (*controversial and exceptions, explained below)

Some Specifics
Most countries has considered the following specifics on contact tracing application.
  • Conduct Privacy Assessments related to the application and data collection.
  • Made the Source code is public, so that any vulnerabilities in that can be found and fixed ASAP, thereby making the app more secure.
  • Importance and need fort he application has communicated to their citizens.
  • Clarify data collection.
  • Seek active consent from the user on the application and data collection/usage.
  • Finally OPT-IN, Not MANDATORY.  
Now lets analyze Arogya Setu.
  • In India, at many places and organizations/departments, the installation  of Arogya Setu app has been made as compulsory. NOIDA city even went extreme with up to six months jail term if you don't install this Arogya Setu contact tracing application. Mostly all countries made their contact tracing as an opt-in option where as in India, the authorities are forcing the people to install it.
  • Now regarding to the use of GPS location services. This is the most controversial things with Arogya Setu Application. Mostly all other counties relies on the Bluetooth information and don't use or collect the GPS Location details. Because accessing the location services invades and might compromise a person's privacy. While installing Arogya Setu, you cant register or proceed further without giving access to the GPS Location services, and that also set as "Always". Means the location can be tracked via GPS continuously and it is indeed a surveillance. The retired Supreme Court judge, who heads the expert panel on data protection laws, said pushing the App would cause “more concern to citizens than benefit”. Accessing location data and any compromise to that can lead to huge privacy crisis.  Already a french hacker was able to illustrate and explain how these location details can be misused.
  • Make the code open source and develop the application based on open-source architecture. However the Government mulls open-source architecture for app.
In my personal opinion, if the intention is to control the COVID-19 spread and help people, then the Government can do things differently and much better. Take considering the privacy of citizens as a primary factor, use open-source architecture and thereby secure the application and use the funda of least privilege/need to know. Collect only what you need to achieve the objective. Other countries such as Singapore, Australia has done tremendous success with their contact tracing applications by considering their citizen's privacy.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Compilation vs Interpretation Explained

May 03, 2020 Posted by jaacostan
After writing a program, it needs to render into machine language so that it can be executed to provide the desired result. There are two different ways of transforming a program from a high-level programming language into machine language:
Compilation - The source program is translated once (repeated each time you modify the source code) by getting a file (e.g., an .exe file in a windows environment) containing the machine code and you can distribute the file to others. The program that performs this translation is called a compiler or translator.If the compiler finds an error, it finishes its work immediately. The only result in this case is an error message.
Interpretation - You can translate the source program each time it has to be run; the program performing this kind of transformation is called an interpreter, as it interprets the code every time it is intended to be executed; it also means that you cannot just distribute the source code as-is, because the end-user also needs the interpreter to execute it.Interpreter go through the code line by line. Each line is usually executed separately, so the trio "read-check-execute" can be repeated many times - more times than the actual number of lines in the source file, as some parts of the code may be executed more than once

Python is an example for Interpreted language whereas C, C++ are the examples of compiler languages
Jaacostan: Compilation vs Interpretation