Steps to take to protect your company from the Heartbleed bug

Ideal Integrations is the "Outsourced CIO" columnist for TEQ magazine.

Ideal Integrations is the “Outsourced CIO” columnist for TEQ magazine.

By Ideal Integrations, Outsourced CIO, TEQ magazine

The Heartbleed Bug is certainly causing some security concerns in the technology world this week.  We want to give you a few thoughts on what to do about the Heartbleed bug.

What The Heartbleed Bug Is:

The Heartbleed bug is a vulnerability in the OpenSSL cryptographic library that allows stealing of information normally protected by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet.  OpenSSL is open-source software that is widely used to encrypt web communications.  SSL/TLS is what normally provides secure and private communication over the Internet via websites, email, IM, and VPNs.  According to CNET, an attacker can exploit Heartbleed to essentially “get copies of a server’s digital keys then use that to impersonate servers or to decrypt communications from the past or potentially the future, too.”  Heartbleed is being taken so seriously because OpenSSL is widely used.

What Steps Your Organization Should Take:

Numerous technology providers have already provided a signature to prevent the bug, so check your environment to verify it is active and current on all subscriptions.  We also highly recommend you take steps to fix the issue by changing your certifications and resetting passwords to ensure you are protected.

Once all components of your infrastructure have been patched, we strongly suggest that you reset the passwords associated with those accounts.  All of these steps together will help to protect your environment from any threats from the Heartbleed bug.

What Steps You Personally Should Take:

We suggest that you also protect yourself personally as over half of all websites are potentially susceptible to this problem.  Be on the lookout for spammers  trying to take advantage of this situation and luring you to fake password reset websites.  Always go directly to the website in question and change your password there.

Click here for another great article on the matter of changing passwords and protection.

Should you need any further assistance or have additional concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at

Dan Proch Talks About Netronome

netronomeTEQ: So Dan, tell us about Netronome and what is your role in the company?

Proch: I am the Sr. Director of Product Management for Netronome. We are a fabless semiconductor company based in Cranberry Twp. building high-speed computer processors, accelerated network interface cards for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers, and reference hardware platforms based on our flow processors. Very interesting to have a computer processor company in Pittsburgh!

TEQ: We’d say it’s cool! So how did Netronome get its start?

Proch: TEQ readers might remember the Pittsburgh technology success story that was FORE Systems, a pioneer in high-speed computer networking products. After FORE Systems was acquired in 1999, some of the company visionaries moved on and founded other technology companies in the area.  Netronome was one of these startups, founded by several key members of the senior management and engineering teams at FORE Systems. One of Netronome’s founders, Niel Viljoen, was the Chief Technology Officer at FORE, and our other founders were key members of the company in the technology strategy and software engineering. Netronome was started in Pittsburgh in 2005 with funding from two of the founders of FORE Systems, one of whom remains our Chairman of the Board, venture capital, and with help from the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

TEQ: What was the vision of the founders at the time?

Proch: Netronome was founded on the promise of flow-based processing of traffic, open networks and virtualized networking functions in accelerated commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers, all of which are fundamental to new technology areas that are catching on today, including software-defined networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). These new technology areas and the more overarching move of computing and storage resources from private enterprises into the “cloud” is causing a tectonic shift in network architectures and networking devices. As happened in the generalized computer market, Netronome’s vision is that networking and security devices are transitioning away from incredibly complex and expensive customized hardware and software—as was the norm for networking devices—toward more general, commoditized platforms and open operating systems. Netronome realized, though,  that standardized COTS server platforms were not powerful enough to keep up the incredible growth in bandwidth and numbers of flows that we are experiencing in networks today, and that specialized processors are required to deal with these networking and security computing workloads.

TEQ: Tell us a little bit more about what’s happening in computer networks and how that affects your company vision?

Proch: The increasingly “networked” nature of everything in our daily lives has created a situation where it is no longer sufficient for devices in computing infrastructure to simply forward packets blindly. Rather, our communications network needs to be capable of intelligently and securely processing every piece of data to ascertain its nature rather than just its destination. At the same time as we need the ability to process traffic more intelligently, the bandwidth in our networks is growing like mad. Estimates say that in 2015, we will have a zetabyte of data traversing our networks… that’s a 1 with 21 zeroes. This incredible growth is fueled by your PCs, streaming movie downloads, tablets, gaming, and mobile computing as examples.

Just like there are computer processors that power our everyday tools like laptops and mobile phones, there are also very powerful processors that power and secure the networks that run our large data centers, the cloud networks, and even the Internet. To realize our vision, at Netronome, we build high-speed computing processors specifically designed for networking and security workloads. These processors are used to make networks faster and more secure at a time when more users and devices are coming on-line, causing networking speeds and overall throughput to explode.

TEQ: Where are these processors used?

Proch: While the processors that we use every day in our personal computers have one to two brains, or “cores” as they are called, Netronome’s processors are very different. Netronome’s processors pack up to 216 processing cores on a single chip. That means that Netronome’s processors can process more than 200 billion bits of data per second while offering the capability to not only forward traffic based on its destination, but also look at all of the traffic intelligently and securely to understand its content, rather than only its destination.

These processors are used primarily in extremely high-speed networks like the hyperscale cloud data centers, carrier infrastructure, and enterprise Fortune 500 companies. Netronome’s solutions include flow processors, accelerated network interface cards (NICs) for COTS server platforms, and reference hardware platforms that scale to 400 Gbps. Along with these hardware offerings, Netronome has a variety of flow processing software that makes integrating Netronome’s processors into any solution a seamless process.

Target applications for Netronome’s technology are in cyber security, network analytics, test and measurement equipment, and intelligent switching applications: any type of high-speed networking and security applications where data need to be deeply analyzed at very high throughputs.

TEQ: How big is Netronome and do you have other locations?

Proch: In total the company is 210 employees with 90 in Pittsburgh, and we are growing like crazy. We also have locations in the heart of Silicon Valley in Santa Clara, Calif., as well as Boxborough, Mass.

TEQ: Are you guys hiring in the area?

Proch: We sure are! Netronome is truly a Pittsburgh success story. The company has recently opened a state-of-the-art site in the Cranberry Twp. area and currently has 15 openings in Pittsburgh, mainly in hardware engineering, software engineering, and manufacturing. SEND US RESUMES!

TEQ: What else is going on in this market in the Pittsburgh area?

Proch: Two of Netronome’s major customers are opening
sites in the area so that they can be in close proximity to our technology.  It’s a guarantee, that without Netronome’s presence in the area, that these top-tier, global, cyber security vendors would not have a presence here—and that’s good for Pittsburgh. But now, Netronome needs to fight these companies for recruits.

Read the entire issue of TEQ online.

Interactive Technologies in Pittsburgh

Interactive technologies are becoming more and more a part of our culture. Simply put, interactive technology allows the user to experience technology in deeper, more engaging ways. Devices and software can respond to actions put forth by the user, allowing for a give and take between device and human. Pittsburgh interactive technology in particular is making major contributions to the field.

How Pittsburgh is Getting in on the Game

Focused on helping the world interact with and respond to technology, Disney Research in Pittsburgh is one of six labs throughout its network, encouraging exploration of the playful side of technology. The goal is to make the environment around us become living and active, according to scientists at Disney Research speaking to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Interaction Group as part of this project aims to enhance the physical world through the use of interactive technology, adding rich layers to the environment.

Up and Coming Innovations

Ishin-Den-Shin is one such innovation, using the human body as the interface. Users speak into a microphone, creating a high-voltage, low-current electrostatic field around the body. Then that electrostatic field transmits the message to whatever the user rubs. A chain of people can even transmit a signal through their bodies by holding hands with the last person making the message audible by touching another’s ear. The idea of creating sound by touching someone’s ear was unthinkable just a few years ago.

What about being able to feel 3D images on a touchscreen? That’s possible, too, thanks to another technology that boasts an algorithm allowing you to “feel” virtual bumps through the use of electrovibration. Another invention, called AIREAL, allows the user to feel objects against the skin without even having to touch anything or wear special equipment. Through different applications, you can feel a butterfly’s wings on your skin, or deflect a soccer ball with your palms through a video game. Not everything is super high tech, though, as evidenced by what the scientists call the paper generator, something that people can even make at home, comprised of conductive layers and electrical currents to produce interactive print materials.

The Goal of New Interactive Technology

Although the applications may be different, the end goal is always the same when it comes to interactive technology: to create an interactive, mutable environment that people can manipulate and respond to intuitively. These technologies can enhance experience and provide more meaningful interactions with technology and the world around us. As a center of technology and robotics, Pittsburgh interactive technology still has a lot to contribute to the field.

In Bloom: Bloomboard Chooses Pittsburgh for East Coast Office

Tony Bellino is charged with growing Bloomboard's Pittsburgh office.

Tony Bellino is charged with growing Bloomboard’s Pittsburgh office.

This past summer, Silicon Valley-based Bloomboard announced it was opening a Pittsburgh office to lead its penetration into school districts across the East Coast and Mid Atlantic.

This winter, construction is already under way for Bloomboard’s new offices on Walnut Street in Shadyside, and a grand opening is planned for the spring. In the meantime, no effort is being lost building new business and hiring key staff to fully ramp up the business.

“We’re excited to be setting up our east coast operations in Pittsburgh because the city is a truly unique blend of top-level talent through CMU and Pitt, a strong innovation hub for edtech / medtech companies, and a fairly low cost of living.  We were also recently awarded the contract to be the teacher observation / growth platform for Pittsburgh Public Schools, so being local is also an amazing opportunity to be close to a flagship customer that has demonstrated incredibly strong thought-leadership in our space,” said Jason Lange, Bloomboard CEO.

Leading the Pittsburgh office and head of Business
Development, Tony Bellino explained that Bloomboard is an individualized marketplace of educator professional development. It provides districts and states with free observation and evaluation tools in order to implement federally mandated teacher and principal observations.

He went on to explain that Bloomboard then uses the data collected to build individualized learning plans for teachers aligned to an open marketplace of professional development providers, resources, and workshops.

“It’s going to be nice to have everyone in one place,” says Bellino. “Pittsburgh’s great. There’s such a commitment to education here.”

A Pittsburgh native, Bellino met Lange while attending Yale. When Lange was looking to expand Bloomboard’s national footprint, he looked to Bellino for help. He knew Pittsburgh was centrally located, had access to talent and technology, and provided a direct connection to a trusted friend in Bellino.

At the time, Bellino was doing private equity work for Jones Day, and couldn’t turn down the opportunity to help establish a fast-growing tech company in his hometown.

“Bloomboard is doing important work,” said Bellino. “I wouldn’t have left for some random startup!”

Bellino said Bloomboard is off to a strong start. He is really excited to fully integrate Bloomboard into Pittsburgh’s tech sector.

With office space to spare, Bellino intends to host hackathons, meetups and other events. He even intends to allow startups to use the offices as home base and shadow Bloomboard as a way of mentoring.

“We want to give back to Pittsburgh’s startup world,” said Bellino.

Look for announcements soon for Bloomboard’s official office opening. Learn more at

Read the entire issue of TEQ online.

Advantech US Builds Success Selling to Global Markets

Whit Little leads up Advantech as its CEO.

Whit Little leads up Advantech US as its CEO.

Advantech US, Inc. has become a recognized leader in technology for the manufacture of microelectronic devices—and its success is hinged on accessing worldwide markets.

Advantech US pioneered and introduced a printed electronics technology for the microelectronic industry to additively manufacture electronic sensors, devices, and circuits with fine features down to 5 µm in size (one micrometer or µm is one-thousandth of a millimeter, a standard sheet of paper is about 25 µm thick). Like building blocks, this additive process deposits bulk materials, like metals, layer-by-layer to build components such as capacitors, resistors, and transistors.

Features and devices below 5 µm are typically the realm of Chips/VLSI. Features above 30 µm are the realm of traditional printed circuit and device technologies. The manufacturing processes of these two worlds have rarely intersected. Advantech US has developed an electronics printing process that now allows these worlds to merge.

This process has shown significant application potential for the fabrication of backplanes for ePaper and OLED displays, chip packaging, microelectronic devices and electronic circuitry, according to Whit Little, Advantech US CEO. He said accessing global markets has been crucial to Advantech US’s success to date.

“We’ve developed innovative technologies resulting in over 30 patents worldwide,” said Little. “And, we are finding new product applications for this technology all of the time, ranging from military to medical.”

This technology is generating commercial interest around the world, and Advantech US uses the TechExport Program as a key resource to make its international business efforts more informed, efficient and cost-effective.

The TechExport Program is a joint effort of Pennsylvania’s Center for Trade Development (CTD), the Pittsburgh Technology Council and the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, with the primary objective of raising awareness of international business opportunities among technology business and assisting them in launching or increasing their export sales.

For example, Advantech US used the TechExport Program to obtain grants to offset the cost of attending international tradeshows, as well as using the program’s overseas reps to assist in setting up meetings with potential customers in Asian and European markets.

Also, Advantech US established new business interests with the likes of LG and Samsung as a result of working with TechExport. “I would not want to do this without the TechExport Program,” said Little. “Resources from experts like TechExport are crucial to our success. R and D companies like us, entering commercialization, have focused resources on product development. TechExport brings a new and necessary set of skills and resources to our table.”

Based in Pittsburgh with nearly 20 employees, the company’s history goes back more than 40 years through its founder Dr. Peter Brody, who developed the Active Matrix backplane in 1970. Advantech US was formally launched in 2004 to take this technology and develop displays for HP/Compaq PDAs. Little took on the role of CEO in 2009, with a sharp focus on growing the Advantech US marketplace worldwide.

Read the entire issue of TEQ online.