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Noisy Quantum Computers Could Be Good for Chemistry Problems …

Scientists and researchers have long extolled the extraordinary potential capabilities of universal quantum computers, like simulating physical and natural processes or breaking cryptographic codes in practical time frames. Yet important developments in the technologythe ability to fabricate the necessary number of high-quality qubits (the basic units of quantum information) and gates (elementary operations between qubits)is most likely still decades away.

However, there is a class of quantum devicesones that currently existthat could address otherwise intractable problems much sooner than that. These near-term quantum devices, coined Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) by Caltech professor John Preskill, are single-purpose, highly imperfect, and modestly sized.

Dr. Anton Toutov is the cofounder and chief science officer of Fuzionaire and holds a PhD in organic chemistry from Caltech. You can follow him at @AntonToutov.

Dr. Prineha Narang is an assistant professor of computational materials science at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. You can follow her @NarangLab.

As the name implies, NISQ devices are noisy, meaning that the results of calculations have errors, which in some cases can overwhelm any useful signal.

Why is a noisy, single-purpose, 50- to few-hundred-qubit quantum device exciting, and what can we do with it in the next five to 10 years? NISQs provide the near-term possibility of simulating systems that are so mathematically complex that conventional computers cannot practically be used. And chemical systems definitely fit that bill. In fact, chemistry could be a perfect fit for NISQ computation, especially because errors in molecular simulations may translate into physical features.

To understand this, its valuable to consider what noise is and how it occurs. Noise arises because physical and natural systems do not exist in isolationthey are part of a larger environment, which has many particles, each of which are moving in different (and unknown) directions. This randomness, when discussing chemical reactions and materials, creates thermal fluctuations. When dealing with measurement and computing, this is referred to as noise, which manifests itself as errors in calculations. NISQ devices themselves are very sensitive to their external environment, and noise is already naturally present in qubit operations. For many applications of quantum devices, such as cryptography, this noise can be a tremendous limitation and lead to unacceptable levels of error.

However, for chemistry simulations, the noise would be representative of the physical environment in which both the chemical system (e.g., a molecule) and the quantum device exist. This means that NISQ simulation of a molecule will be noisy, but this noise actually tells you something valuable about how the molecule is behaving in its natural environment.

With errors as features, we may not need to wait until qubits are hyperprecise in order to start simulating chemistry with quantum devices.

Perhaps the most immediate application for near-term quantum computers is the discovery of new materials for electronics. In practice, however, this research is often done with little or no computer-based optimization and design. This is because it is too hard to simulate these materials using classical computers (except in very idealized scenarios, such as when there is only a single electron moving in the whole material). The difficulty comes from the fact that the electrical properties of materials are governed by the laws of quantum physics, which contain equations that are extremely hard to solve. A quantum computer doesnt have this problemby definition the qubits already know how to follow the laws of quantum physicsand the application of NISQs to the discovery of electronic materials is an important research direction in the Narang lab.

What is special about electronic materials is that they are usually crystalline, meaning that atoms are laid out in an organized, repeating pattern. Because the material looks the same everywhere, we dont need to keep track of all atoms, but only of a few representative ones. This means that even a computer with a modest number of qubits may be able to simulate some of these systems, opening up opportunities for highly efficient solar panels, faster computers, and more sensitive thermal cameras.

Chemical research has been going on for centuries, yet new chemistry is most typically discovered by intuition and experimentation. An application of quantum devices in which we are particularly interested at Fuzionaire is the simulation of chemical processes and catalysts, which are substances that accelerate chemical reactions in remarkable ways. Catalysts are at the heart of the entire chemical industry and are relied on each day in the production of medicines, materials, cosmetics, fragrances, fuels, and other products. Significant challenges exist, but this area is a very important opportunity for NISQ devices in the next five to 10 years.

For example, the Haber-Bosch synthesis (HB) is an industrial chemical process that turns hydrogen (H2) and nitrogen (N2) into ammonia (NH3). HB makes it possible to produce enough ammonia-based fertilizer to feed the world, but the process is energy-intensive, consuming approximately 1 to 2 percent of global energy and generating about 3 percent of total global CO2 emissions.

At the heart of the entire process is a catalyst based on iron, which is only active at high temperatures and without which the process fails. Scientists have been trying to discover new catalysts for HB that would make the chemistry more efficient, less energy-intensive, and less environmentally damaging. However, the catalyst discovery and testing process is challenging, painstaking, and costly. Despite many decades of tremendous effort by chemists and engineers, the iron catalyst discovered over 100 years ago remains the industrial state-of-the-art.

Near-term NISQ systems would be used to give chemists unprecedented insights into the inner workings of the current iron catalyst in its physical environment and would be applied to simulate novel, viable catalyst architectures, including those based on elements other than iron.

Biological systems are extraordinarily complex, which makes modeling and simulation very challenging. Prediction of biological molecules and biochemical interactions with conventional computers, especially in biologically relevant environments, becomes difficult or impossible. This forces even basic, earliest-stage biomedical research to be done by working with chemicals, cells, and animals in a lab and hoping for reproducible conditions between experiments and organisms. This is why drug discovery, a vital area of biomedical innovation that encompasses both chemistry and biology, is such a tantalizing opportunity for NISQ intervention.

Developing new medicines for cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, viruses, diabetes, and heart disease is one of the most important activities within the entire chemistry enterprise. However, the current reality is that bringing a new drug to market continues to be slow and costly, to the tune of about 10 to 15 years and more than $2 billion, by some estimates.

A central challenge within the drug discovery process is to identify a biological target that has relevance to human disease and to design molecules that could inhibit that target with the hope that this would treat the disease. Quantum devices could be used to simulate common biological targets such as kinases, G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), and nuclear receptors in their dynamic environments and in complex with inhibitor molecules. These simulations would enable drug discovery scientists to identify potentially active molecules early in the process and discard non-actives from consideration. The most promising drug candidate molecules would then be synthesized and promoted to biological studies (e.g., pharmacology, toxicology) in the laboratory.

While there are great opportunities for near-term quantum devices and much hope for improved systems in the future, we must not get carried away. Research will need to solve significant challenges, including creating systems with many more qubits, improving qubit performance, and developing coding languages for quantum computers, among others.

Nevertheless, there are great reasons to be optimistic as we look forward to the next five to 10 years. Significant resources are being committed by large companies like IBM, Google, and Microsoft to quantum computing efforts; healthy investment is flowing into quantum hardware startup companies like Rigetti, D-Wave, IonQ, and others; and important academic results are being reported using current or near-term quantum devices, including solving lattice protein folding problems, predicting the optical response of exotic materials, investigating the mechanism of nitrogen fixation by nitrogenase, and many others.

As a professional chemist and physicist, were excited about the current capabilities and optimistic about the utility of near-term quantum devices. Were hopeful that these systems will provide to the scientific community new insights that will accelerate discovery and help us solve problems to improve the human condition.

WIRED Opinion publishes pieces written by outside contributors and represents a wide range of viewpoints. Read more opinions here. Submit an op-ed

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What Is a Quantum Computer? | JSTOR Daily

For decades, we have been hearing about the incredible potential of quantum computers. Now, researchers claim to have turned back time inside a quantum machine. These devices, which currently exist only as prototypes, have the potential to be much faster than any current computer. But what is a quantum computer?

Rather than microchips and circuits, quantum computing relies on the principles of quantum mechanics. In particular it relies on so-called quantum entanglement, or the ability of one subatomic particle to influence a different subatomic particle some distance away. The influence is virtually instantaneous, hence the potential for computing speed.

Robert F. Service writes in Science thatquantum computers, just like regular computers, store information as 0s and 1s, known as bits. A principle of quantum mechanics, however, is that subatomic particles exist in all possible conditions, or states, simultaneously. The particle only settles on a state once it is observed. Since the particles transmitting the information have multiple states at once, quantum bits (qubits) can be both partially 0 and partially 1 simultaneously. These weird hybrid bits can basically take on any percentage value between 0 and 1 at any time. Effectively, a quantum computer calculates all possible outcomes of a calculation at once. With such power, it wont take many bits for a quantum computer to be able to calculate just about anything.

A few problems remain. For one thing, the multiple states and entanglement between particles are fragile, so the qubits can easily fall apart in a process called decoherence. To guard against decoherence, extra qubits are needed as a backup. According to science reporterCharles Q. Choi in ASEE Prism, the physics of quantum computing are well understood. The issue is actually building a machine that can manipulate not just qubits but multiple qubits connected by networks of circuits called quantum logic gates. Engineers have tried a few different approaches, including using lasers, ionized particles trapped by magnetic fields, and superconductors. Despite years of trying, however, nobody has built a quantum computer where qubits have lasted longer than a second or two. Stringing qubits together or connecting them to a regular computer that can process the information into a useable output have also proven difficult.

Despite the engineering challenges, some are confident that a working quantum computer will indeed be reality. Given the high cost and energy requirements, however, it is unlikely that quantum computers are coming soon to a desktop near you.

JSTOR is a digital library for scholars, researchers, and students. JSTOR Daily readers can access the original research behind our articles for free on JSTOR.

By: Robert F. Service

Science, New Series, Vol. 292, No. 5526 (Jun. 29, 2001), pp. 2412-2413

American Association for the Advancement of Science

By: Charles Q. Choi

ASEE Prism, Vol. 26, No. 5 (January 2017), pp. 22-28

American Society for Engineering Education

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What is a Quantum Computer? – Definition from Techopedia

One of the basic characteristics of quantum computing relates to the units used for data manipulation. In a conventional computer, these units are bits, which are binary values. In quantum computing and quantum computer models, the basic units are qubits, which can have a zero or a one value, or one of several additional values. The problem of representing these qubits in a data storage space is one of the essential barriers to practical quantum computer design.

Another characteristic of quantum computers relates to command structures. A traditional and linear computer has only one command for a given state; this command is described as deterministic. Models like the nondeterministic Turing machine (NTM) provide more than one possible command response to a given state. This is a fundamental aspect of quantum computer design.

In general, quantum computers use concepts like entanglement, or other ideas that enhance the structure of basic models, from qubits to larger nondeterministic concepts or ideas about how quantum mechanics can be applied to a computing model.

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Measuring Quantum Computer Power With IBM Quantum Volume …

If you cant measure it, you cant improve it. IBM created the Quantum Volume metric to measure the power of quantum computers.Quantum Computers have the potential to be vastly more powerful than regular computers.IBM created a Quantum Volume Metric to integrate all of the factors that effect the processing capability of quantum computers.IBM recently updated its Quantum Volume metric from an earlier definition.The single-number metric, quantum volume, can be measured using a concrete protocol on near-term quantum computers of modest size (less than 50 qubits) and measure it on several state-of-the-art transmon devices, finding values as high as 8. The quantum volume is linked to system error rates, and is empirically reduced by uncontrolled interactions within the system. It quantifies the largest random circuit of equal width and depth that the computer successfully implements. Quantum computing systems with high-fidelity operations, high connectivity, large calibrated gate sets, and circuit rewriting toolchains are expected to have higher quantum volumes. The quantum volume is a pragmatic way to measure and compare progress toward improved system-wide gate error rates for near-term quantum computation and error-correction experiments.Quantum volume is architecture independent, and can be applied to any system that is capable of running quantum circuits. We implement this metric on several IBM Q devices, and find a quantum volume as high as 8. We conjecture that systems with higher connectivity will have higher quantum volume given otherwise similar performance parameters.From numerical simulations for a given connectivity, IBM found that there are two possible paths for increasing the quantum volume. Although all operations must improve to increase the quantum volume, the first path is to prioritize improving the gate fidelity above other operations, such as measurement and initialization. This sets the roadmap for device performance to focus on the errors that limit gate performance, such as coherence and calibration errors. The second path stems from the observation that, for these devices and this metric, circuitoptimization is becoming important. They implemented various circuit optimization passes (far from optimal) and showed a measurable change in the experimental performance. IBM introduced an approximate method for NISQ devices, and used it to show experimental improvements.IBM has determined that their quantum devices are close to being fundamentally limited by coherence times, which for IBM Q System One averages 73 microseconds.SOURCES- IBM Research, Arxiv Validating quantum computers using randomized model circuitsWritten By Brian Wang

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Best cloud computing services of 2019 | TechRadar

Best cloud computing services

The advent of cloud computing has spawned a huge number of companies offering a slice of their data centres processing power for a fee. This is a huge step forward for small business owners: while previously organizations had to buy and maintain their own physical servers, cloud computing now means that you can get started far more quickly and inexpensively. Processing data in the cloud also means that as your business grows, you can keep up with increased traffic to your server.

In this guide, youll discover some of the very best cloud computing providers on the market today.

Big cloud platform with a personal touch

Public and private cloud platforms

Excellent customer support

Little documentation

Rackspace Cloud is a set of cloud-computing products from the US company Rackspace. Rackspace was founded in 2006. The solution offers web application hosting, platform as a services and cloud services amongst others.

Racksapce allows you to choose a cloud provider with which you can then interact via Rackspaces platform. The service has partnered with major cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and WMware. The advantage of this system is that you have the scalability of some of the biggest cloud providers around but with the customer support of a smaller company.

Rackspace offers a wide range of cloud services. These include public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud. When it comes to their IaaS solution, Rackspace now builds entirely on open source system. This is because it uses the cloud operating system OpenStack.

The public cloud option provides quick and easy access to the IT resources you need. This reduces the cost of datacentre management. This multi-tenant service offers pay as you go scalability which is ideal for users that have heavy or unpredictable traffic.

The private cloud option offers the option of a single tenant environment. This means that servers can run faster due to eliminating the noisy neighbor effect. Private cloud offers dedicated servers for maximum security in and out of your data center. With a private server, the user has greater control. These can be hosted on-site or at a service providers data center.

Rackspace has also created a hybrid cloud which gives access to a combination of both the private and public clouds.

You can sign up to Rackspace for free which includes a technical account manager, security guidance and free server monitoring and reporting. Rackspace has an in-depth guide into their prices. This way you can pick the package that best suits your needs.

Users have mentioned issues with documentation but this is balanced out by excellent service support.

Reasonably priced cloud services from one of the tech masters

Pre-configured tools

Fully customizable

Some loading issues

IBM Cloud is a set of cloud computing services offered by the eponymous tech giant IBM. The solution offers platform as a service, software as a service and infrastructure as a service.

IBM Cloud offers a wide range of services. Not all of them are cloud based: it covers both virtual and hardware based servers, composed of public, private and management networks.

As hardware and virtual-based servers are combined into one on demand cloud-platform, you have complete infrastructure control. IBM refer to their hardware servers as bare metal. These provide clients with sole access to their entire server. This reduces the noisy neighbor effect and greatly improves performance.

IBM Cloud is integrated and managed by a single system that can be controlled via web portal, API (Application Programming Interface) or mobile apps.

IBM Clouds Bluemix developing solution has a wide range of cloud SaaS management tools.

IBM Cloud also offers full server customization. This means that everything that is included in the server is handpicked by you. This way you do not have to pay for features that you might never use.

IBM also offer a Lite tier. This has no time limit, will not ask for credit card details and includes 256MB of Cloud Foundry Memory. After this you have the option of the Pay as you Go Tier where you only pay for what you use. The website has a calculator which you can use to estimate costs. If neither of these are suitable, you can contact IBM for a subscription package tailored to suit your needs.

Users have noted a slight delay when loading pages.

Creative cloud computing from one of the big names

Highly customizable

Free trial

Some customer support issues

AWS was founded in 2006. It provides on demand cloud computing to individuals and organizations.

Amazon Web Services is a cloud-based program for building business solutions using integrated web services. AWS offers an extensive range of IaaS and PaaS services. These include Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2), Elastic Beanstalk, Simple Storage Service (S3) and Relational Database Service (RDS)

AWS offers extensive admin controls available via their secure Web client. Users can access a number of features from here including encryption key creation and auditing.

Aws lets you customize infrastructure requirements. This costs far less than if you were set up in your own premises.

Users can also access EC2 we services. This permits you to run and acquire servers as necessary.

AWS has three different pricing models; Pay as you Go, Save when you reserve and Pay less using more. For more information about these, users must contact sale directly.

AWS also offers a free 12-month tier. Once your trial period has expired, you must either choose a paid plan or cancel your AWS subscription.

Some online commenters have complained about difficulties with contacting customer support.

A wide array of services from a tech giant

Windows and Linux compatible

12-months free


Microsoft Azure was released nearly a decade ago, in 2010. Users can run any service on the cloud or combine it with any existing applications, data centre or infrastructure.

Microsoft Azure provides a wide array of solutions suitable for all types of industry. All your business needs will be taken into consideration. This results in a package better suited for needs.

Azure means there is no need to have physical servers on site. This reduces the usual costs, such as an onsite server support team.

The Azure Migration Centre makes cloud transfers faster and easier. The solution is also compatible with Linux.

Microsoft Azure offers a 12-month free tier which includes access to all popular services, $200 (153.74) credit and over 25 Always Free services. All of Microsoft Azures prices and plans are laid out in great detail on their site. The page includes a cost calculator and a Pay as you go service. Each plan can be tailored to your specific needs.

Some users have noted that the price can be quite high relative to other services.

Elastic and inexpensive cloud computing from the genii of Google

User friendly

12-month free trial

Setup can be tricky

Google Cloud Platform is Googles cloud service provider. The platform enables users to create business solutions using Google-provided, modular web services. It offers a wide array of services including IaaS and PaaS solutions.

With Google Clouds multi layered secure infrastructure, users can rest assured that anything you build, create, code or store will be protected. This is done through a commitment to transparency and a highly trained team of engineers.

Google Cloud has a variety of tools to ensure consistent performance and management. These include Compute Engine, App Engine, Container Engine, Cloud Storage and Big Query. Google also offers smooth migration to virtual machines with flexible pricing.

There is a free 12-month trial, which includes $300 (230.62) towards all services and products offered by Google Cloud Platform.

Some online commenters have mentioned that setup can be difficult for beginners.

(Image: Pixabay)

We’ve covered the biggest names in cloud computing services, not least AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Cloud and of course Rackspace Cloud which works with each of them. However, there are a number of other major cloud computing providers worth considering, which we’ll highlight here.

Oracle Cloud is another of the biggest names in cloud computing, delivering a wide range of hosted IT services, all of which provide an empowering base to develop a cloud presence without investing in hardware you may not need. The service list is comprehensive, with Oracle Cloud providing Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Oracle also offers 3,500 hours of free use so you can try before you buy.

Alibaba Cloud is another significant player in the market and one everyone overlooks. However, Alibaba boasts a truly comprehensive range of services via its elastic computing, database services, networking, and CDN solutions. It also offers a free trial covering 16 products, while advertising another 20 or more as “always free”. In addition to that, the company also gives you a $300 (230) credit for trying out its services.

Digital Realty runs one of the world’s biggest independent data center networks, which makes it ideally placed as a cloud provider. More than this, its Service Exchange can deliver hybrid cloud solutions which means you can integrate features from AWS, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle into a single portal. This enables you to get the best of all worlds in a simplified way that’s easier to self-manage.

Equinix Cloud follows a similar model, in which a major data center operator is able to leverage its global network to provide flexible access to a range of hybrid cloud options. Because you’re directly connecting with the data center, you can bypass normal internet security risks, providing for more secure operations.

Cloud Linux isn’t so much a cloud computing provider, but rather a cloud platform you can build across your own servers. This means that if you’d prefer to have tight control over your cloud network rather than going with third-parties, you can host it yourself. While this presents a different set of challenges, it also offers a range of benefits, especially for those companies already heavily invested in their own IT infrastructure.

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Email encryption – Wikipedia

Email encryption is encryption of email messages to protect the content from being read by entities other than the intended recipients. Email encryption may also include authentication.

Email is prone to disclosure of information. Most emails are currently transmitted in the clear (not encrypted) form. By means of some available tools, persons other than the designated recipients can read the email contents.[1]

Email encryption can rely on public-key cryptography, in which users can each publish a public key that others can use to encrypt messages to them, while keeping secret a private key they can use to decrypt such messages or to digitally encrypt and sign messages they send.

With the original design of email protocol, the communication between email servers was plain text, which posed a huge security risk. Over the years, various mechanisms have been proposed to encrypt the communication between email servers. Encryption may occur at the transport level (aka “hop by hop”) or end-to-end. Transport layer encryption is often easier to set up and use; end-to-end encryption provides stronger defenses, but can be more difficult to set up and use.

One of the most commonly used email encryption extensions is STARTTLS . It is a TLS (SSL) layer over the plaintext communication, allowing email servers to upgrade their plaintext communication to encrypted communication. Assuming that the email servers on both the sender and the recipient side support encrypted communication, an eavesdropper snooping on the communication between the mail servers cannot use a sniffer to see the email contents. Similar STARTTLS extensions exist for the communication between an email client and the email server (see IMAP4 and POP3, as stated by RFC 2595). STARTTLS may be used regardless of whether the email’s contents are encrypted using another protocol.

The encrypted message is revealed to, and can be altered by, intermediate email relays. In other words, the encryption takes place between individual SMTP relays, not between the sender and the recipient. This has both good and bad consequences. A key positive trait of transport layer encryption is that users do not need to do or change anything; the encryption automatically occurs when they send email. In addition, since receiving organizations can decrypt the email without cooperation of the end user, receiving organizations can run virus scanners and spam filters before delivering the email to the recipient. However, it also means that the receiving organization and anyone who breaks into that organization’s email system (unless further steps are taken) can easily read or modify the email. If the receiving organization is considered a threat, then end-to-end encryption is necessary.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation encourages the use of STARTTLS, and has launched the ‘STARTTLS Everywhere’ initiative to “make it simple and easy for everyone to help ensure their communications (over email) arent vulnerable to mass surveillance.”[2] Support for STARTTLS has become quite common; Google reports that on GMail 90% of incoming email and 90% of outgoing email was encrypted using STARTTLS by 2018-07-24.[3]

Mandatory certificate verification is historically not viable for Internet mail delivery without additional information, because many certificates are not verifiable and few want email delivery to fail in that case.[4] As a result, most email that is delivered over TLS uses only opportunistic encryption. DANE is a proposed standard that makes an incremental transition to verified encryption for Internet mail delivery possible.[5] The STARTTLS Everywhere project uses an alternative approach: they support a preload list of email servers that have promised to support STARTTLS, which can help detect and prevent downgrade attacks.

In end-to-end encryption, the data is encrypted and decrypted only at the end points. In other words, an email sent with end-to-end encryption would be encrypted at the source, unreadable to service providers like Gmail in transit, and then decrypted at its endpoint. Crucially, the email would only be decrypted for the end user on their computer and would remain in encrypted, unreadable form to an email service like Gmail, which wouldn’t have the keys available to decrypt it.[6] Some email services integrate end-to-end encryption automatically.

Notable protocols for end-to-end email encryption include:

OpenPGP is a data encryption standard that allows end-users to encrypt the email contents. There are various software and email-client plugins that allow users to encrypt the message using the recipient’s public key before sending it. At its core, OpenPGP uses a Public Key Cryptography scheme where each email address is associated with a public/private key pair.

OpenPGP provides a way for the end users to encrypt the email without any support from the server and be sure that only the intended recipient can read it. However, there are usability issues with OpenPGP it requires users to set up public/private key pairs and make the public keys available widely. Also, it protects only the content of the email, and not metadata an untrusted party can still observe who sent an email to whom. A general downside of end to end encryption schemeswhere the server does not have decryption keysis that it makes server side search almost impossible, thus impacting usability.

The Signed and Encrypted Email Over The Internet demonstration has shown that organizations can collaborate effectively using secure email. Previous barriers to adoption were overcome, including the use of a PKI bridge to provide a scalable public key infrastructure (PKI) and the use of network security guards checking encrypted content passing in and out of corporate network boundaries to avoid encryption being used to hide malware introduction and information leakage.

Transport layer encryption using STARTTLS must be set up by the receiving organization. This is typically straightforward; a valid certificate must be obtained and STARTTLS must be enabled on the receiving organization’s email server. To prevent downgrade attacks organizations can send their domain to the ‘STARTTLS Policy List'[7]

Most full-featured email clients provide native support for S/MIME secure email (digital signing and message encryption using certificates). Other encryption options include PGP and GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG). Free and commercial software (desktop application, webmail and add-ons) are available as well.[8]

While PGP can protect messages, it can also be hard to use in the correct way. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University published a paper in 1999 showing that most people couldn’t figure out how to sign and encrypt messages using the current version of PGP.[9] Eight years later, another group of Carnegie Mellon researchers published a follow-up paper saying that, although a newer version of PGP made it easy to decrypt messages, most people still struggled with encrypting and signing messages, finding and verifying other people’s public encryption keys, and sharing their own keys.[10]

Because encryption can be difficult for users, security and compliance managers at companies and government agencies automate the process for employees and executives by using encryption appliances and services that automate encryption. Instead of relying on voluntary co-operation, automated encryption, based on defined policies, takes the decision and the process out of the users’ hands. Emails are routed through a gateway appliance that has been configured to ensure compliance with regulatory and security policies. Emails that require it are automatically encrypted and sent.[11]

If the recipient works at an organization that uses the same encryption gateway appliance, emails are automatically decrypted, making the process transparent to the user. Recipients who are not behind an encryption gateway then need to take an extra step, either procuring the public key, or logging into an online portal to retrieve the message.[11][12]

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How to trade cryptocurrency in the UK –

No matter where you are based in the world, learning how to trade cryptocurrency can be a daunting task for any newcomer this anxiety is exacerbated by the notorious volatility of the crypto markets.

Before you begin trading cryptocurrency in the UK, you should always do your research. Without prior knowledge, you are liable to make countless mistakes.

In this guide, we discuss how to trade cryptocurrency in the UK.

UK residents have more options when it comes to trading cryptocurrency than US residents.

This is because the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the USA has been fighting hard for regulation, prompting many exchanges to ban US residents from their services.

Famously, crypto analyst Tone Vays had his BitMEX account terminated on the suspicion that he was a US citizen. UK residents, however, can freely trade on BitMEX at their leisure.

The first point to note about crypto trading is that unlike traditional stock markets, the crypto market is open 24/7.

You must then decide which type of trading you believe will suit you best and which exchange platform is right for you.

Which exchange you choose will largely depend on what type of trading you wish to conduct. You can find our definitive guide to cryptocurrency exchanges here, which includes a list of some of the most popular exchanges and what to look out for.

Spot trading and margin trading are the two most common types of trading, with the exception of over-the-counter (OTC) trading.

Spot trading involves buying or selling an asset with the aim of turning an instant profit.

This might involve selling a certain amount of an asset you already own and then trading with two other assets. The trading will be done on speculation, so you might choose to split your funds equally or go all in on one you feel most confident about.

It is then your hope that you will turn a profit on these assets before selling them and re-buying your original asset, thereby having more of the original asset than you began with.

Margin trading is different because you can trade with leverage. Leverage is borrowed money from an exchange. The amount of leverage on offer to you will differ depending on the platform you are using.

Using leverage means you can generate higher profits because you are staking more funds. If your trade is successful, the exchange will then reclaim the leverage and leave you with the profits.

If the market moves against you, you will be liquidated. This means your original deposit is lost however, you will not have to pay the leverage back. You can learn more about the risks of spot and margin trading here.

OTC trading involves buying or selling an asset directly with no middleman. Fundamentally, this can be as simple as a friend selling you 20 worth of Bitcoin.

OTC trading offers benefits that exchanges do not in that you do not need to provide as much personal information. However, it does come with its own inherent risks, as does any method of crypto trading. You can read our guide on OTC trading here. is a popular peer-to-peer (P2P) OTC marketplace where users can facilitate trades with one another.

Once you have identified the type of trading most suitable to you, it is time to learn when to enter the market. Learning about key terms, trade patterns, and previous market cycles will help you make the most informed decision about when you should buy in.

The most important thing to remember is that trading is done on speculation nobody has a concrete idea of how the market will move.

Firstly, you will need to know if you want to go long or short. Going long is when you believe an assets price will rise, while going short is when you believe an assets price will drop.

Of course, you could also just buy some crypto when prices are low and hold on to it for as long as you want before selling when prices are higher.

Learning about support, resistance, and moving averages will help you understand key levels for when to enter or exit the market.

The same is true for studying graphs showing an assets trading history if you notice a pattern re-emerging, then you might be on to something.

You can also do a quick Google search for trading patterns that will bring up illustrations of patterns which also give an indication of what might happen next in the market, such as a falling wedge or Bart Simpson pattern.

Story continues

When picking an exchange, it is best to read the terms and conditions. While this might seem tedious, you can never be too careful when it comes to crypto trading, even in the UK.

The crypto market is notoriously volatile and can go in any direction at any given point. On this basis, it is wise to conduct your own research because we do not recommend any crypto, exchange, or service in particular, and ultimately you are responsible for any decisions you undertake.

Hopefully this guide has helped you understand how to start trading cryptocurrency in the UK.

You can discover more about the top five tools to master crypto trading, CFD trading, and arbitrage with our guides.

Interested in reading more trading-related guides? Discover more about bid, ask, and bid/ask spread prices with our guide.

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Cryptocurrency Prices, Charts, and Market Cap Data – UNHASHED

Cryptocurrency Prices, Charts, and Market Cap Data – UNHASHED # NAME PRICE MARKET CAP VOLUME (24H) CHANGE (24H) CHANGE (7D) PRICE GRAPH (7D) 1 Bitcoin $4,099.70 $72,233,327,854 $9,183,441,376 +0.21% +1.85% 2 Ethereum $141.24 $14,895,148,854 $4,708,168,534 -0.98% +2.65% 3 XRP $0.30865 $12,872,688,408 $808,043,456 -0.79% -0.78% 4 EOS $4.11 $3,726,548,653 $1,872,987,217 -2.81% +12.30% 5 Litecoin $60.40 $3,691,942,471 $1,672,631,260 -0.59% -0.52% 6 Bitcoin Cash $167.87 $2,971,535,613 $561,726,828 -0.81% +1.49% 7 Binance Coin $17.03 $2,404,639,611 $185,315,030 +4.68% +12.81% 8 Stellar $0.10697 $2,057,962,756 $304,874,897 +0.18% -0.79% 9 Tether $1.00 $2,032,457,816 $8,533,764,084 +0.39% -0.59% 10 Cardano $0.07064 $1,831,547,730 $82,043,746 +0.82% +12.93% 11 TRON $0.02328 $1,552,137,614 $216,952,467 +0.83% -3.29% 12 Bitcoin SV $64.80 $1,145,113,035 $72,088,549 -0.54% -2.96% 13 Monero $53.23 $898,885,155 $87,072,550 -0.40% -1.15% 14 Dash $102.12 $890,319,871 $265,026,483 +5.25% +10.69% 15 IOTA $0.30658 $852,136,948 $9,927,368 -0.44% -1.37% 16 Maker $711.36 $711,358,097 $1,516,656 -1.71% -3.24% 17 Tezos $0.96696 $641,949,040 $4,534,124 +9.93% +36.32% 18 NEO $9.70 $630,649,733 $314,388,505 -1.28% +4.40% 19 Ontology $1.27 $630,211,508 $67,704,600 -0.42% +2.48% 20 Ethereum Classic $4.77 $521,920,235 $155,120,196 -1.17% -1.53% 21 NEM $0.05357 $482,113,800 $13,351,682 -1.59% +4.54% 22 Zcash $57.20 $355,306,031 $137,647,311 +1.76% -0.44% 23 Basic Attention Token $0.27638 $344,955,889 $27,037,830 +3.32% +34.33% 24 VeChain $0.00598 $331,474,034 $13,639,405 +3.03% +2.04% 25 Waves $2.77 $277,434,398 $11,166,896 -1.03% -0.35% 26 OmiseGO $1.87 $262,519,486 $86,513,345 -0.45% +4.75% 27 Qtum $2.76 $247,010,052 $130,443,492 +2.37% +5.14% 28 Dogecoin $0.00208 $246,681,026 $18,489,711 -0.30% +0.51% 29 USD Coin $1.00 $246,239,299 $25,445,566 +0.29% -0.89% 30 Bitcoin Gold $12.94 $225,389,020 $10,177,027 -0.61% -1.45% 31 Maximine Coin $0.13568 $223,736,317 $20,186,503 +0.86% +88.19% 32 Chain $0.04645 $204,034,047 $397,500 +1.24% -29.88% 33 Lisk $1.73 $200,787,171 $7,155,424 +3.43% +14.47% 34 TrueUSD $1.01 $200,406,801 $25,109,209 +0.37% -0.66% 35 Ravencoin $0.06029 $194,043,981 $18,817,284 -1.09% +5.75% 36 Decred $19.38 $185,055,516 $1,636,535 -0.43% +2.77% 37 0x $0.31065 $182,526,070 $16,599,711 -0.41% +15.45% 38 Chainlink $0.49553 $173,434,129 $3,235,797 +0.55% +7.95% 39 Zilliqa $0.01947 $169,619,057 $12,127,502 +1.38% -3.28% 40 Augur $15.16 $166,813,183 $11,207,048 -7.68% -2.64% 41 BitShares $0.05913 $159,906,427 $6,623,773 -3.33% +11.28% 42 ICON $0.33206 $157,200,809 $12,786,766 -0.55% +2.41% 43 Holo $0.00115 $153,542,161 $5,381,956 +0.03% -1.66% 44 KuCoin Shares $1.71 $153,372,491 $4,295,401 +1.26% +52.39% 45 DigiByte $0.01226 $142,346,067 $3,040,819 +0.10% -16.00% 46 Steem $0.44752 $138,451,922 $1,608,217 +2.57% -4.41% 47 Nano $1.03 $136,937,932 $2,140,129 +0.09% +3.65% 48 Bytecoin $0.00073 $134,609,294 $181,619 -1.26% -4.00% 49 Bitcoin Diamond $0.85257 $131,089,033 $1,375,431 +0.04% -0.09% 50 Aeternity $0.50738 $130,035,744 $50,649,521 +4.26% +5.07% 51 BitTorrent $0.00076 $129,504,569 $14,379,020 +0.29% -5.20% 52 Huobi Token $2.50 $124,931,673 $76,815,429 +1.14% +3.33% 53 Komodo $1.10 $123,176,290 $2,298,904 +1.99% +4.06% 54 Paxos Standard Token $1.00 $118,294,972 $56,982,162 +0.40% -0.92% 55 IOST $0.00959 $115,211,734 $19,562,339 -1.79% +9.35% 56 Verge $0.00717 $113,296,088 $5,321,498 +0.78% -4.65% 57 Enjin Coin $0.14660 $112,441,545 $9,848,898 -1.19% -19.88% 58 Pundi X $0.00063 $110,515,970 $1,318,337 +0.93% +2.32% 59 Bytom $0.11020 $110,475,066 $3,504,159 -2.53% -3.30% 60 Siacoin $0.00271 $108,751,912 $1,257,292 +0.07% -0.62% 61 Stratis $0.95971 $95,270,439 $1,432,815 -0.82% +5.56% 62 THETA $0.10720 $93,318,133 $2,985,659 -2.20% -9.57% 63 Dai $0.97698 $86,403,061 $28,012,803 +0.85% -0.96% 64 Status $0.02471 $85,764,098 $13,133,396 -2.84% +7.48% 65 Aurora $0.01298 $84,910,079 $2,150,195 -1.97% -16.94% 66 Golem $0.08809 $84,886,145 $1,628,236 -1.66% +12.37% 67 Project Pai $0.05751 $83,496,840 $5,453,586 +5.81% -1.45% 68 Populous $1.50 $80,067,011 $3,653,964 +0.85% +4.25% 69 Ardor $0.07968 $79,599,177 $1,220,063 +3.35% +13.18% 70 Insight Chain $0.22171 $77,577,521 $3,184,122 +0.30% -0.04% 71 ABBC Coin $0.16339 $74,749,828 $39,855,411 -9.88% -10.89% 72 Ark $0.67898 $74,217,265 $1,416,578 +3.49% +8.35% 73 Mixin $153.18 $67,141,374 $806,644 -3.15% +5.41% 74 Factom $7.09 $66,760,102 $98,563 +1.96% +14.40% 75 GXChain $1.11 $66,749,758 $12,058,516 -1.82% +3.29% 76 Cryptonex $1.17 $65,013,347 $7,912,463 -0.33% +1.97% 77 Waltonchain $1.58 $64,965,219 $7,073,561 +7.03% +25.44% 78 REPO $0.58978 $64,851,042 $28,158 +35.29% -3.93% 79 Digitex Futures $0.08640 $63,717,461 $821,882 +3.42% +20.71% 80 Revain $0.12962 $62,793,770 $789,208 +0.28% -7.88% 81 Gemini Dollar $1.00 $60,891,403 $4,336,988 +0.08% -0.67% 82 Bibox Token $0.54213 $60,143,078 $17,730,676 +67.98% +85.78% 83 HyperCash $1.37 $59,526,351 $1,025,818 -1.71% -6.35% 84 Decentraland $0.05619 $59,008,316 $17,468,568 -0.48% +10.31% 85 MaidSafeCoin $0.12499 $56,563,569 $139,933 -0.37% -2.84% 86 WAX $0.05908 $55,692,870 $276,628 -1.69% -3.56% 87 Loopring $0.06686 $55,423,002 $3,733,724 +3.26% +7.30% 88 $3.48 $54,947,010 $4,004,264 +0.65% +7.65% 89 NULS $0.78710 $54,697,441 $15,022,671 +4.50% +22.08% 90 PIVX $0.95530 $54,243,145 $3,607,818 +6.92% +13.65% 91 Elastos $3.57 $53,770,878 $8,227,987 +19.35% +32.16% 92 Loom Network $0.06963 $53,171,812 $1,738,632 -1.20% -3.90% 93 Electroneum $0.00578 $53,118,036 $282,997 -1.26% -8.30% 94 ThoreCoin $596.40 $51,699,323 $113,679 +0.47% +8.04% 95 Zcoin $7.21 $51,255,775 $1,244,348 +1.03% +6.11% 96 Aelf $0.18056 $50,555,407 $6,545,973 -1.48% +4.87% 97 QASH $0.14262 $49,916,928 $114,715 +1.46% -7.70% 98 Aion $0.16573 $48,371,228 $3,184,534 +6.72% +14.20% 99 WaykiChain $0.25213 $47,651,744 $3,620,969 +0.22% +24.03% 100 Qubitica $16.85 $47,188,787 $79,710 -0.33% -4.99% Scroll Up

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What is Encryption, and Why Are People Afraid of It?

With recent acts of terrorism in Paris and Lebanon, news media and government have been using the word encryption as if its somehow to blame. Nonsense. Encryption is easy to understand, and if youre not using it, you should be.

Like many technologies, encryption has the potential to be misused, but that does not make it dangerous. And it doesnt mean that people who use it are dangerous or bad. But since its so commonly misunderstood and currently a media boogeyman, a few minutes with How-To Geek will help get you caught up.

While computer scientists, developers, and cryptographers have created far smarter and complex methods for doing so, at its heart, encryption is simplytaking some information that makes sense and scrambling it so it become gibberish. Turning it back into real informationvideo files, images, or simple messagescan only be done by decrypting it back from gibberish using a method called a cipher, usually relying onimportant piece of information called a key.

Already there area lot of unusual words being thrown around. If youve ever written in a secret code when you were a child, youve encrypted a sentence.A cipher can be as simple as moving a letter down in the alphabet. For example, if we take the following sentence:

This is really geeky

With this simple encryption, A becomes B, and so on. This becomes:

Uijt jt sfbmmz hfflz

If you want to make it more difficult to understand, you can easily represent letters as numbers, when A is represented by a 1, and Z by 26. With our cipher, we simply add one to our number:

208919 919 1851121225 7551125

And then when we move our letters position with our A-becomes-B-method, our encrypted message now looks like this:

2191020 1020 1962131326 8661226

In our example, our method, or cipher, is to change letters to certain numbers and add to that number to encrypt. If we wanted to, we could call ourkeythe actual information that A = 2, Y = 26, and Z = 1.

With a code this simple, sharing keys isnt necessary as any codebreaker could decipher ourcode and figure out themessage. Thankfully, comparing modern encryption methods to this is like comparingan abacus to an iPad. Intheorythere are alot of similarities, but the methods used haveyears of study and genius applied to making them richer and more challenging to decrypt without the proper keysthat is, by the users who are doing the encrypting. Its almost impossible to decrypt using brute force methods or by reassembling data back into something that looks useful, so hackers and bad guys look to humans for the weak link in encryption, not the encryption methods themselves.

Its no secret that plenty of governments get the willies when they think aboutstrong encryption. Modern computers can encrypt text messaging, images, data files, even whole partitions on hard drives and the operating systems that run them, effectively locking out anyone with the keys needed to decrypt the information on them. These could contain anything, and when it could theoretically beanything, imaginations tend to run wild. They contain stolen nuclear codes, child pornography, all kinds of stolen government secrets or, more likely, your tax documents, bank transactions, kids pictures, and other personal information you dont want others to have access to.

A lot of attention was recently drawn to the ISIL-associated terrorism suspects using encrypted methods of communication with the popular messaging service WhatsApp. The boogeyman here is strong encryption allows spooky people to communicate about who-knows-what and many prominent government and intelligence officials are taking advantage of the situation, shaping narrative to say encryption is for bad people, terrorists, and hackers. Never waste a good crisis, as the saying goes.

Many government powers have approached the Googles and Apples of the world, asking them to create encryption with secret backdoor decryption methodsclosed-source methods of encryption that hide somethingnefariousor have master keys to cipher and decrypt anything using thatparticular method.

The current CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, was quoted as saying You cant have a backdoor thats only for the good guys. Because, basically, an intentionally engineered flaw like a backdoor encryption method totally weakens the integrity of a technology we use in many aspects of our lives. Theres absolutely no guarantee that simply because something isdesigned for the good guys to use, that bad guys wont figure out how to use it. It goes without saying once this happens, all data using these methods is no longer secure.

Without putting on our tinfoil hats and getting super political, historically, governments have a tendency of being afraid of their people, and do whatever they think they can get away with to maintain control. So, unsurprisingly, the idea of these little informational black boxes created by strong encryption makes them nervous.

Its probablypretty clear to you faster than you can say the terrorists have won putting a backdoor in an infrastructure as basic as encryption would make life for us much worse, since strong encryption standards are used in web browsers, email, banking, credit card transactions, and password storage. Making those less secure for all of us just isnt a good idea.

Encryption, thankfully, is becoming the default. If youve ever noticed that little lock icon in your web browsercongratulations! Youre using encryption to send and receive data from that website. You dontfeel like a bad guy, doyou?

Basically, by establishing a secure connection, your computer uses a public key to send scrambled information to the remote system, which it then decodes using a private key (since the public key can be downloaded by anyone, but only decrypted using the private key). Since it can be difficult to ensure that nobody can intercept your messages, emails, or banking data, but encryption can turn your information into gibberish that they cant use, so your transactions remain safe. Chances are, youre already doing lots of encrypted message and data transmission and you didnt even realize it.

Nearly everyone in tech is awareit needs to simply be standard and is pushing the idea of encryption by default. Simply because you dont have anything to hide doesnt mean you shouldnt value your privacy, particularly in these days when preventing cybercrime, data theft, and hacking scandals isbecoming more and more critical to our safety and financial well-being.

Speaking simply, computers and the Internet have allowed us to open ourselves up and become more vulnerable than ever before to these privacy concerns, and encryption is one of the only methods of keeping yourself safe. Many years ago, if you were speaking to someone face to face and saw nobody around, you could feel reasonably secure that nobody was eavesdropping on you. Now, without encryption, theres basically no privacy in any kind of communication, at all, ever.

When should a normal user incorporate encryption into their digital life? Certainly, if any of your messaging services or accounts offer HTTPS (HTTP over SSL, an encryption standard) you should opt-in. In this day and age, you shouldnt even have to opt-in; it should be on by default! If a service does not allow for encrypted connections and it allows you to send any kind of sensitive data (credit card numbers, family members names, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, etc.) simply opt not to usethat website. But realistically, any modern website with a login will most likely create a secure, encrypted connection.

Should you keep thepictures, documents and other important files on your PC in an encrypted container or disk? Perhaps. You can do thisby using encrypted file containers or by lockingwhole disks using software. Some years back,popular cross-platform encryption software TrueCrypt suddenly and mysteriously asked users to stop using their software, insisting their product was insecure, and shutdown all development.In a final message to their users,TrueCrypturged them to migrate their data tothe Microsoft product, Bitlocker,now part of some versions of Windows. TrueCrypt was a standard tool for whole disk encryption, along with other software like bcrypt or Filevault. Whole disk encryption is also possible using BitLocker, or, if you prefer open-source methods, by using LUKS onLinux systems, or the successor to TrueCrypt, VeraCrypt.

You very likely do not need to encrypt the files that are actually onyour PC to stop hackers and data thieves from taking them. It is not a bad idea to do so to keep important files in a crypt to keep them out of the hands of other people who may get a chance to use your computer. Encryption doesnt need to be spooky or dangerous; it can simply be thought of as a digital privacy fence, and a way to keep honest people honest. Simply because you like your neighbors doesnt mean you always want them to be able to watch you!

The same can be said for all digital messaging services, whether theyre on your phone, tablet, or on your PC. If youre not using encryption, you have little to no guarantee that your messages arent being intercepted by others, nefarious or not. If this matters to youand perhaps it should matter to all of usyou have an increasing number of options. It is worth noting that some services like iMessage from Apple send encrypted messages by default, but communicate through Apple servers, and they could conceivably be read and stored there.

Hopefully weve helped to dispel some of the misinformation surrounding this misunderstood technology. Simply because someone chooses to keep their information private doesnt mean that they are doing somethingsinister. Allowing the conversation about encryption to be entirely about terrorism and not about basic privacy and prevention of identity theft is fundamentally bad for all of us. Its not a thing to be feared or misunderstood, but rather a tool that all of us should use as we see fit, without the stigma of being used only for evil purposes.

If youre interested in learning more about encryption methods, here are some How-To Geek classics, as well as some software that we recommend to start incorporating encryption into your digital life.

How to Set Up BitLocker Encryption on Windows

3 Alternatives to the Now-Defunct TrueCrypt for Your Encryption Needs

HTG Explains: When Should You Use Encryption?

Image Credits:Christiaan Colen,Mark Fischer,Intel Free Press,Sarah(Flickr),Valery Marchive,Walt Jabsco.

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What is Encryption, and Why Are People Afraid of It?

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