Software

Last week, Google revealed that it would be experimenting with post-quantum cryptography in its browser, Google Chrome. The experiment will allow for a small proportion of connections between Google’s servers and Chrome on the desktop to use a post-quantum key-exchange algorithm as well as the elliptic-curve key-exchange algorithm that is already in wide use.

qcThe fundamental concept driving the experiment is that large quantum computers, which threaten to encompass a total revolution in computing history, may be able to break currently used security algorithms. The tech mogul’s philosophy is to be ready for these hacking attempts before quantum computers are built or propagated widely.

Google’s experiment utilizes an algorithm called New Hope. Google considers it the post-quantum key-exchange with the most potential after having investigated a variety of options over the past year. Google hopes to allow for its best engineers to gain real-world experience with the larger data structures that will likely be required given that post-quantum algorithms become more widespread.

According to Google, the company’s decision to layer the post-quantum algorithm over the existing algorithm will allow for the company to conduct its experiment without affecting its users’ security. The company also pledged that it would stop its experiment after collecting information for two years as it does not intend to make its post-quantum algorithm the standard.

“Google’s investigating the quantum computing resistance of New Hope for a robust key exchange algorithm,” explained VP of product at Rubicon Labs Rod Schultz. While the company’s announcement “doesn’t herald anything new,” “it goes further to confirm that quantum computing-resistant algorithms will provide significant competitive advantage for anyone who has the IP for them.”

“You can view this investigation as [one] in Google’s core competency,” Schultz continued,” and also as a hedge and insurance policy around the catastrophic impact to encryption that quantum computing is predicted to have.”

Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, as usual chimed in on the phenomenon:

“I doubt that we can develop a defense that works before we actually have quantum computers, because there’s no way to actually test something against a platform that doesn’t exist… Still, this approach could be better than existing methods, making it worthwhile to attempt.”

Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research, stated that “Cybercriminals and government-sponsored organizations are looking at this technology too.”

“No one in the industry believes that any software solution is unbreakable,” he concluded.

titanPost-quantum cryptography has been of interest to cryptographers for years. In fact, the seventh annual international conference for post-quantum cryptography took place in Fukuoka, Japan just a few months ago. The United States’ NSA has published information on the subject, and the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology published a report on post-quantum cryptography just last spring. Along with the report, the agency stated that it would be in open collaboration with the public to develop and vet post-quantum crypto algorithms.

“Gaining access to powerful computing resources is not difficult anymore,” stated Schultz. “The bigger challenge will be in updating the current technology that’s prolific today with QC-resistant technology. It will only take a single quantum computer in the hands of the wrong person to destroy the foundation of encryption today.”

Apple Inc. may currently stand among the most powerful tech moguls of Silicon Valley, but that they’re not the only big dog on block. Plenty their competitors have been barking up the right trees for years and they rightly have a bone to pick with Steve Jobs’ brainchild.

apple3Nothing is a clearer indicator of Apple’s vulnerable status at the precipice of failure than the company’s decision to put out a second generation of the operating system run on Apple Watch. The Apple Watch ranks among the dumbest accessories ever made for health-conscious 30-year-olds, on par with the little harnesses on your arm that make it possible to run with an iPod. Some industry analysts have alleged that Steve Jobs may be haunting Tim Cook, perhaps forcing him to move forward with an idea stolen from Star Trek.

The Apple Watch is useless for a variety of reasons. The first and perhaps most important reason is that it cannot be used without the help of a better device that does all of the same things but on a larger and more accessible screen. The Apple Watch also is made to be worn on a part of your body that gets wet every time you wash your hands, a “big no-no for computers” as described by industry expert Jackie Robinson. Finally, the Apple Watch pretends like you can send texts on it but it’s basically a beeper and can only be written on or used with a stylus, which has the sex appeal of wearing transition glasses, even in tech circles. The end product is an overly small computer that shames all of the previous personal computers that came before it. 

Industry futurist Jake Guarino has suggested that Apple may be creating more wearable tech for only people with Eagle eyes to read off of:

apple4“I wouldn’t be surprised to see a patent filed for an Apple ring, or perhaps even an Apple naval stud that can also act as a flashlight,” offered Guarino over a cup of yerba matte. “Whether the naval stud will have a flashlight app is up for debate.”

Apple also recently embarrassed itself when CEO Tim Cook publically refused to cooperate with the federal government, seeming to play the hero by taking a firm stance regarding his clients’ privacy. Unfortunately for Cook, the government simply side stepped his efforts to secure Apple encryption and proved that it could hack into iPhones whenever it wanted. Cook’s argument was boiled down to an effort to sanctify his brand at the end of the day, and no one cares about what was once an uproar.

Apple recently suffered its first down quarter since 2001 and has been the loser of a variety of patent cases in China in the past year or so. It’s unlikely that Apple will be able to sell its iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S models in Beijing now that a recent ruling has been made regarding the phone’s illegal similarity to an existing company’s product. Will there be a downfall for this tech king, and if so when? Who’s to know, but much will likely become clear when the tech bubble bursts.

Lawyers often get a bad reputation. In fact they probably have the worst reputations of any working profession on Earth. They are seen as slimy and conniving. This next development is not going to help their case in this regard. The ROSS system has neither the quality of being slimy nor conniving because it is an artificial intelligence. However, the implementation of it to be used in real law cases is a scary president because the thing that we are going for which is justice, a human convention and quality is not being cooped by a system that does not seek justice or what is right, rather it has one goal, win the case at all costs. This is not to say that lawyers were not following this same line of reasoning forever, but it was a little more subtle before hand. For instance this thing has the ability to look up an obscure court ruling from 13 years ago, and ROSS will not only search for the case in an instants without contest or complaint, it will also look up and offer in plain language what the ruling meant and how it can me used. This is bothersome because what was once seen as quality that was relieve to humans and their context or time is now a very objective black and white en devour that that has taken the soul from what we hold most dear in our society. Computing has penetrated nearly every corner of the market today. Image result for ai

The ROSS system takes advantage of the super computer powered by IBM that is called Watson to go though huge batches of data and over time it can learn how to best serve its users.

“Judges decisions are written in everyday language and not issued in columns and rows, which is what current computer systems digest best,” Andre Agular.

the real test is going to be building ROSS and finding a way to make it as intuitive as an actual colleague. The way people take about this is troubling and it raises the questions of what should be the role of humans in the 22 century. It is quickly becoming the case that we are outsourcing so many of the jobs help by people such as truck driving and factory automation to be done by computers and machines. True they can do it cheaper and  more efficient but can they do it better? quality the aim of all human en devours that separates us and uniquely defines us is now something of little importance in our society today given this infatuation. 

We need to consider what it will look like when intellectual en devours are now taken over by artificial intelligence and whether or not we want that. I am of the mind that I honestly cannot see any benefit to such an effort, and that when we take the people out of everything that is desirably human, whats left? We treat this as an inevitably but we don’t have to, why not resist and put forth good legislation for the rights of man before it is too late.

 

Like quantum computing, the IoT (Internet of Things) is drastically changing the way that people view and interact with computers. But what is it?

“The Internet of Things” became a tech buzzphrase when Kevin Ashton (cofounder of MIT’s Auto ID Center) first mentioned it in a presentation he made to Procter & Gamble, way the heck back in 1999. One decade later, Ashton elaborates on the concept in an article he wrote for the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Journal:

IoT“Today’s computers- and, therefore, the internet- are almost wholly dependent on human beings for information. Nearly all of the roughly 50 petabytes of data available on the Internet were first captured and created by human beings- by typing, pressing a record button, taking a digital picture of scanning a bar code. Conventional diagrams of the Internet include servers and routers and so on, but they leave out the most numerous and important routers of all: people. The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy- all of which mean they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world.”

“If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things- using data they gathered without any help from us- we could be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost,” he continued. “We need to empower computers with their own means of gathering information, so they can see, hear and smell the world for themselves, in all its random glory. RFID and sensor technology enable computers to observe, identify, and understand the world- without the limitations of human-entered data.”

Let’s back up for a second. For the record, a member of the Internet of Things can be a lot of different kinds of “things;” a person, an animal, a vehicle, man-made things, non-man-made things, anything that has been assigned an IP address and anything provided with the ability to transfer data over a network.

IoT2The Fitbit is an excellent example. Among other things, the Fitbit is a pedometer that tracks the amount of steps taken by wearers. That information is then  sent to the user’s Fitbit account, so that the user is enabled to track the changes of his or her daily movement. The Fitbit therefore occupies a space in the Internet of Things, chiefly because it transfers data, over a network, to be accessed by other devices.

Ashton believes that products like the Fitbit scrape only the tip of the Internet of Things iceberg: “It’s not just a ‘bar code on steroids’ or a way to speed up toll roads, and we must never allow our vision to shrink to that scale. The Internet of Things has the potential to change the world, just as the Internet did. Maybe even more so.”

That said, the Internet of Things has already come a long way from its humble beginnings as a 1980s coke machine at Carnegie Mellon University. 

Anyone with the latest iPhone or Android knows that fingerprint scanning has officially hit the mainstream. But how does that process work, and how accurate can it really be? Here’s a closer look at fingerprint scanning and how it works.

fingerprint scannerFingerprint scanning falls under the umbrella of biometrics, the measure of your physical form and/or behavioral habits, generally for the sake of identifying you before you are granted privileged access to something. Other examples of biometrics include handwriting, voiceprints, facial recognition, and hand structure scanning.

It’s said that humans have tiny ridges and valleys all along the inside surface of their hands for the sake of friction; our fingerprints are meant to act as treads that allow for us to climb and enjoy an improved grip on the things we carry. Who really knows though. Regardless, we have fingerprints, and they happen to be different for each of us due to both genetic and environmental factors.

That’s extremely useful for security and law enforcement in general. With a fingerprint scanner, you can know if anyone whose fingerprints are on record touched a particular object. Finger print scanners can get an image of someone’s finger in many ways, but the two most common methods are optical scanning and capacitance scanning.

Optical scanners use a charged coupled device (CCD), which is the same light sensor system commonly found in digital cameras and camcorders. A CCD is just a collection of light-sensitive diodes called photosites that receive light photons and generate an electrical signal in response. When you place your finger on the glass plate of a fingerprint scanner, the scanner’s light source illuminates the ridges of your finger and the CCD generates an inverted picture of your fingerprint in which the ridges are lighter and the valleys are darker. So long as the image is sufficiently bright and crisp, the scanner will then proceed to compare the print to other prints on file.

capcitive fingerprint scanningCapacitive fingerprint scanners function slightly differently but create the same output. They use electrical current to sense the print instead of light, so they’re built with one or more semiconductor chips containing and array of cells which are each made up of two conductor plates covered with an insulating layer. A capacitor is formed out of these plates, plus the surface of the finger acts as the third capacitor plate. Basically, the scanner reads how the voltage outputs coming from the finger are different due to the difference in distance from the valleys and ridges to the capacitors and generates from this an image of a fingerprint. These systems are apparently harder to trick and can be built to be more compact.

Once the fingerprint registers, it must be analyzed to see if it matches with any other prints recorded in the system. This occurs by comparing specific features of fingerprints referred to as the minutiae. These points are generally areas where ridge lines end or where one ridge splits into two. To get a match, the scanner system simply has to find a sufficient number of minute patterns that the two prints have in common.

 

Information is wealth! Stored on computer systems, processed data is at times at the receiving end on account of faults, damages, failures and corrupt media, causing data loss, which is considered a regular phenomenon despite the popularity of storage devices. It is here that the data recovery software comes into play to salvage lost data from storage devices, which could not be accessed normally.

data1Causes of data loss

Internal and external storage devices like hard disks, solid state drive, CDs, USBs and DVDs are the areas from which data can be retrieved using data recovery software. Damage in the form of a physical fault or logical damage to the file system calls for recovery of the data. Damage occurs in the form of preventing the storage media from being mounted by the operating system. The general causes of data loss are attributed to electronic malfunctions relating to hardware or software failures, power cuts and also software breakdowns (including computer viruses). At times, it can also be the result of manual errors.

It is beneficial to learn that data saved to a storage device is always recoverable. On the contrary, in the absence of data not being stored on any device, it is humanly impossible to retrieve such lost data.

The function of data recovery software

A file on the computer once deleted first accommodates itself in the recycle bin. However, emptying the recycle bin does not actually remove the file. It only makes it less accessible. Data recovery software steps in to make matters easy by scanning through piles of files to locate the deleted file. Deleted files which are inaccessible are prone to be overwritten. Professional and time tested data recover tools are designed to scan through the entire drive to trace any recoverable data. Having found such recoverable data, the tools engage themselves in arranging in the required format that is readable to the user.

Technical Advancements in Data Recovery Software

Apart from recovering lost and deleted data, the advanced data recovery tools provide additional benefits like previewing recovered files, filtering and searchable results combined with easy file restoration facilities.

Data recovery software is designed to locate and restore emails, executables and compressed files.

File recovery programs are best suited to maintain the folder arrangement of files, in addition to retrieving all types of files, irrespective of their type or size. Files containing pictures, music and videos to documents and excel spreadsheets can be easily retrieved. Some of the noted file recovery software are even capable of recovering a complete partition or storage drive.

data2While most data recovery needs involve file recovery programs on the hard disk or the USB drive, advanced software programs can also help retrieve files from external storage devices like CDs, DVDs, camera cards and MP3 players. Hence the widely patronized file recovery software with its broad scope is well position to recover files from all types of storage media. All this can happen irrespective of their connections to the computer or the nature of file structures that are in use.

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