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Terracotta, terra cotta or terra-cotta , a type of earthenware, is a clay-based unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the fired body is porous. Its uses include vessels , water and waste water pipes, bricks, and surface embellishment in building construction, along with sculpture such as the Terracotta Army and Greek terracotta figurines. The term is also used to refer to items made out of this material and to its natural, brownish orange color, which varies considerably. In archaeology and art history, "terracotta" is often used to describe objects such as figurines, not made on a potter's wheel. Objects made on a wheel from the same material, are called pottery; the choice of term depends on the type of object rather than the material. Wikipedia.

Various embodiments may relate to a recycling constant-temperature ceramic floor integrated system, including a floor tile. A plurality of grooves is formed in a bottom surface of the floor tile. The bottom surface of the floor tile is connected to a base plate. A support assembly is laid between each groove and the base plate. The support assembly includes a heat conducting piece and a locating support mounted in up-and-down lapping mode. A reflecting film is disposed between the heat conducting piece and the locating support. The base plate uses a net-structure plate piece, and buckle grooves and buckle blocks are disposed at the periphery of the base plate.

News Article | August 4, 2015
Site: www.zdnet.com

Hacking groups are utilizing a commercial VPN service to mask cyberattacks originating from China. On Tuesday at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, RSA Research unveiled research relating to a commercial VPN service offered in China. Dubbed Terracotta by the researchers, the VPN service comprises of over 1500 virtual private network (VPN) nodes obtained mainly through exploiting vulnerable Windows-based servers used by legitimate organizations. New victim slave nodes are constantly added to Terracotta without the knowledge or permission of legitimate companies operating the servers. The service itself -- offered under a variety of different brand names -- is commercial and marketed as a way for individuals to circumvent the Great Firewall of China censorship program. In addition, Terracotta can help mask online users, which can be invaluable to individuals in a country where activists do not prove popular with the ruling party. See also: China's 'Great Cannon': Taking censorship across country borders RSA says node hijacking is likely to be a way to cut costs as Terracotta is offered for approximately $3 a month to Chinese consumers. While there is no evidence to suggest the commercial service is connected to threat actors in a darker sense, the team have discovered a number of advanced persistent threat (APT) groups using the VPN for their own illegal ends. "Often cybersecurity practitioners in large organizations (likely APT targets) will restrict or block known IP addresses of commercial VPN networks. The APT actors utilizing the Terracotta network have effectively overcome this line of defense, because Terracotta's practices are fundamentally different from legitimate commercial VPN networks," RSA notes. "To a potential APT victim, traffic emanating from the Terracotta node could appear as legitimate traffic from a legitimate domestic organization, when in fact that organization is a Terracotta victim with an infected server." Victims include a Fortune 500 hotel chain, universities in Japan, Taiwan and the US, tech firms, Windows enterprise app developers and a law firm. Compromised nodes are located in countries including the United States, South Korea, Hong Kong, Russia and Canada. Groups including Deep Panda are using the service to mask their activities. Discovered in July last year, the threat actors are believed to have broken into US government systems in order to make off with lists of federal employees who have applied for top-level security clearances. The operations' sophistication and complexity indicated such an attack could be state-sponsored, although Chinese officials dismissed such claims. As both legitimate and APT traffic is flowing through the VPN's networks, ascertaining what is legitimate and what is not is difficult -- and plays into APT group hands as a result. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Certainly this idiom from Ben Franklin applies to efforts to defend against this class of threats (not particularly sophisticated, opportunistic, but potentially very costly). RSA Research assesses that had the Windows firewall been turned on, and the default 'Administrator' account been renamed in each of the victim systems examined, the systems would not have been compromised with the methods employed by Terracotta." It is not just establishing basic firewall and user protection on corporate networks which must be monitored to prevent firms becoming victims of such operations. RSA also says others in the business supply chain did not establish enough protection from digital threats, and, therefore, become a peripheral risk to larger companies. Business is now a networked game, and so entities which are connected in today's corporate realm have to start communicating more effectively and collaborating on cybersecurity. One weak link is all it takes.

News Article | August 4, 2015
Site: threatpost.com

Building a business can be expensive and time-consuming, and owners will look for ways to save money wherever they can. Researchers from RSA Security have found a VPN provider in China that is taking this to an unusual extreme: hacking Windows servers around the world for use as VPN nodes on a network that is used as cover by some APT groups. The VPN provider, which RSA’s researchers refer to as Terracotta, sells a commercial service under several different brands in China. It has some legitimate nodes on its VPN network, but much of the network comprises hacked Windows servers, mainly in small businesses and organizations that don’t have their own IT or security staffs. The hacked servers are located in China, South Korea, the United States, and some countries in Eastern Europe. The VPN network is used by consumers in China, but RSA officials say that some APT groups, including a crew known as Deep Panda, which has been responsible for many cyberespionage campaigns. The Deep Panda crew has been tied to an attack on the United States Department of Labor in 2013 and other intrusions. RSA’s researchers discovered the Terracotta network, which it will discuss in more detail at Black Hat this week, while researching Deep Panda’s activities. “We’ve seen a considerable amount of APT traffic on this network. They appear to use it for anonymization purposes and obfuscation,” said Peter Beardmore, senior consultant for threat intelligence at RSA. RSA’s researchers say there is nothing to indicate that the operators of the Terracotta VPN are actually affiliated with Deep Panda or any of the APT groups that use it. Most of the nodes on the network are servers in legitimate organizations that have been hacked. In a typical operation, an attacker will find a target Windows server, use a brute-force attack to crack an administrator’s password to access the server and then disable the Windows firewall. The attacker will then disable any antimalware running on the server and install a remote access Trojan. With that done, he creates a new account on the box and installs the Windows VPN services. The hacked server is then part of the Terracotta VPN network. The researchers have discovered hacked servers at a variety of organizations, including law firms, a large engineering company, some high-tech companies, schools and universities, and government agencies.

RESTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Software AG (Frankfurt TecDAX: SOW) announced that the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), America’s second largest public pension fund and a Software AG customer for more than 20 years, expanded their relationship with the implementation of Software AG’s zIIP Enabler for Natural. CaISTRS’ START system, which uses Software AG’s Adabas-Natural high performance database, manages teachers’ retirement programs so that disability, retirement and survivor benefits can be provided to 868,000 public school educators and their families. Overall, it has processed close to a billion records. Mohammad Asghar, Adabas DBA, Business Solutions, CaISTRS, noted: “With minimal effort, we installed zIIP Enabler for Natural to increase our processing capacity, while at the same time reducing cost. zIIP Enabler for Natural requires no changes to the Natural code, saving time on testing and validation – enabling our team to realize savings faster. We recouped our investment faster than planned, realizing ROI in the first five months instead of the expected year. In just eight months, we saved $623,000 in both batch processing and online processing costs.” zIIP Enabler for Natural is a Low Risk and Low Cost Solution zIIP Enabler for Natural, a Software AG Transaction Platform, takes advantage of IBM’s specialty processors to lower the total cost of ownership of operating a mainframe. By moving batch workload of Natural from IBM General Purpose Processors (GPPs) to less expensive IBM zIIP processors for execution, zIIP Enabler for Natural provides a low-cost alternative to increasing capacity on existing GPPs. Most recently, Software AG introduced streaming analytics to help organizations monitor, track and act upon abnormal behavior in their business operations processed by their Adabas-Natural database. This new functionality brings an extra level of security and protection. Joe Gentry, senior vice president and general manager, Mainframe Business Unit, Software AG, said: “Adabas-Natural continues to be a stalwart ‘workhorse’ platform for organizations requiring high quality database management. Most importantly, with continuous innovations and development, Adabas-Natural is as relevant and critical to IT organizations today as it was when it first arrived on the market. Our long-term partnership with CalSTRS has been a great example of how our technology continues to evolve to meet our customers’ needs.” The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, with a portfolio valued at $190.8 billion as of February 28, 2015, is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world. CalSTRS administers a hybrid retirement system, consisting of traditional defined benefit, cash balance and voluntary defined contribution plans. CalSTRS also provides disability and survivor benefits. CalSTRS serves California's 879,000 public school educators and their families from the state’s 1,700 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts. Follow us on Twitter @CalSTRS. Software AG (Frankfurt TecDAX: SOW) helps organizations achieve their business objectives faster. The company's big data, integration and business process technologies enable customers to drive operational efficiency, modernize their systems and optimize processes for smarter decisions and better service. Building on over 40 years of customer-centric innovation, the company is ranked as a leader in 14 market categories, fueled by core product families Adabas-Natural, ARIS, Alfabet, Apama, Terracotta and webMethods. Software AG has more than 4,400 employees in 70 countries and had revenues of €858 million in 2014. Learn more at www.softwareag.com. Detailed press information about Software AG including a picture and multimedia database is available under: www.softwareag.com/press

RESTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Software AG (Frankfurt TecDAX: SOW) today announced that Forrester Research Inc., a leading industry analyst firm, has named Software AG a ‘Leader’ in The Forrester Wave™: Strategic Planning For The BT Agenda, Q1, 2015 (published on March 13, 2015)1 for its Alfabet solution. The Forrester report states that “It is essential that strategic planners are able to collaboratively investigate and evaluate the various options to hit their goals and objectives, based on value, capacity-to-change, and time-to-realize,” and states that Software AG is an example of a vendor with “extensive and configurable scenario planning capabilities that can provide real-time results to changes in portfolio options.” In the report, Alfabet is the only vendor to receive the highest achievable score for deployment options in all three segments of the evaluation. The Forrester report lists Software AG among vendors that “serve the senior technology management community with tools for more effective investment planning for the business agenda.” Alfabet Brings Stability In Times Of Change And Digitization Dr. Wolfram Jost, Chief Technology Officer and member of the Board, Software AG, said: “We believe this new Forrester Wave illustrates the comprehensive insights and support customers can expect from Alfabet to help them with their strategic IT planning needs. We are constantly faced with change and this means we need a platform that connects all stakeholders together in a collaborative, streamlined and governed process for executing the digitization of their enterprise.” Strategists and planners in global companies worldwide use Alfabet to overcome the challenges they face when translating strategy into roadmaps. Alfabet combines best practice IT planning and portfolio management with cloud technology underscoring the company’s goal of ensuring the possibility to do strategic planning effectively and successfully, regardless of deployment choice. Software AG’s Alfabet IT Planning and Portfolio Management is a collaborative, Cloud or on-premises platform used by business and IT leaders to better understand their IT landscape, stay up-to-date on any changes, and expose any dependencies and impacts between different IT portfolios. This enables Business Technology Strategists, Enterprise Architects and Portfolio Managers – the three user segments identified in the report – to execute a well-governed strategy planning and execution process incorporating investment planning and guaranteeing involvement of all relevant stakeholders. Alfabet – as part of Software AG’s Digital Business Platform – provides the means to align an enterprise along a strategic roadmap to achieve business and IT digitization; it also ensures effective and efficient execution of a digitization plan through strategic portfolio management capabilities. The complete report is available at www.softwareag.com/recognition. Software AG (Frankfurt TecDAX: SOW) helps organizations achieve their business objectives faster. The company's big data, integration and business process technologies enable customers to drive operational efficiency, modernize their systems and optimize processes for smarter decisions and better service. Building on over 40 years of customer-centric innovation, the company is ranked as a leader in 14 market categories, fueled by core product families Adabas-Natural, ARIS, Alfabet, Apama, Terracotta and webMethods. Software AG has more than 4,400 employees in 70 countries and had revenues of €858 million in 2014. Learn more at www.softwareag.com Detailed press information about Software AG, including a picture and multimedia database, is available under: www.softwareag.com/press 1 The Forrester Wave™: Strategic Planning For The BT Agenda, Q1, 2015; The Top 11 Vendors In The Emerging Strategic Planning Market by Gordon Barnett and Margo Visitacion with Alex Cullen and Abigail Komlenic

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