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Data encryption | cryptology | Britannica.com

Data encryption, also called encryption or encipherment, the process of disguising information as ciphertext, or data unintelligible to an unauthorized person. Conversely, decryption, or decipherment, is the process of converting ciphertext back into its original format. Manual encryption has been used since Roman times, but the term has become associated with the disguising of information via electronic computers. Encryption is a process basic to cryptology.

Computers encrypt data by applying an algorithmi.e., a set of procedures or instructions for performing a specified taskto a block of data. A personal encryption key, or name, known only to the transmitter of the message and its intended receiver, is used to control the algorithms encryption of the data, thus yielding unique ciphertext that can be decrypted only by using the key.

Since the late 1970s, two types of encryption have emerged. Conventional symmetric encryption requires the same key for both encryption and decryption. A common symmetric encryption system is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), an extremely complex algorithm approved as a standard by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. Asymmetric encryption, or public-key cryptography, requires a pair of keys; one for encryption and one for decryption. It allows disguised data to be transferred between allied parties at different locations without also having to transfer the (not encrypted) key. A common asymmetric encryption standard is the RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman) algorithm.

Encryption keys selected at random and of sufficient length are considered almost impregnable. A key 10 characters long selected from the 256 available ASCII characters could take roughly 40 billion centuries to decode, assuming that the perpetrator was attempting 10,000 different keys per second.

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Data encryption | cryptology | Britannica.com

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What is Quantum Computing ? Top 18 Quantum Computing …

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What is Quantum Computing ? Top 18 Quantum Computing …

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Blow To Bitcoin As World’s Largest Cryptocurrency IPO Is Iced

Bitcoin, trapped in a more than year-long bear market, has lost some 80% in value over the last 15 months and caused many of those in the nascent industry to change or postpone their bitcoin and cryptocurrency plans.

The bitcoin price, after rocketing to an eye-watering near $20,000, fell back to around $4,000 late last yearwhere it has remained since the beginning of 2019.

Now, the long-awaited blockbuster initial public offering (IPO) of major bitcoin and cryptocurrency miner Bitmain Technologies appears to have been put on ice, causing consternationamongst the burgeoning cryptocurrencyindustry.

Bitcoin’s rapid rise and subsequent price collapse resulted in some companies having to rethink their short-term strategies.

China’s bitcoin mining giant Bitmain Technologies this week appeared to abandon its IPOambitions after it allowed its Hong Kong stock market proposal listing to lapsesome six months after Bitmain filed an IPO prospectus.

Bitmain did, however, say it plans to reapply at an appropriate time in the future.

“We do recognize that despite the huge potential of the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, it remains a relatively young industry which is proving its value,” Bitmain said on its website. “We will restart the listing application work at an appropriate time in the future.”

Bitmain, which designs hardware and microchips for artificial intelligence as well as cryptocurrency mining, was aiming to raise some $3 billion in its IPO, according to a Reuters report, citing unnamed sources.

Bitmain posted a net loss of $395 million in for the second quarter of 2018, while there were reports the company spent $500 million on failed chips over the past 18 months.

The bitcoin price epic 2017 bull run triggered a surge of investment that evaporated as the bitcoin price collapsed.

Though the bitcoin price has been trading flat for a number of months now, bold bitcoin bulls have continued to talk up bitcoin and cryptocurrency prospects, with the founder and chief executive of crypto asset manager Galaxy DigitalMike Novogratz saying the next move bitcoin makes will be “higher.”

Novogratz adds his voice to other bitcoin and crypto wealthy, including billionaireBinance chief executive Changpeng Zhao,EOS co-founder and BlockOne CEO Brendan Blumer, andthe billionaire Winklevoss twins of Facebook-founding fame, who went on to create the U.S. Gemini crypto exchange, who have said they still have strong faith in bitcoin and crypto despite the downturnand are betting prices will move higher.

The bitcoin sector is currently trapped in a long-running bear market, with some$400 billion in value wiped from the world’s cryptocurrencies over the past 14 months.

Bitcoin’s epic 2017 bull run was largely put down to expectations institutional investment and big bank support for bitcoin would soon arrive. As 2018 dragged on and that investment failed to appear many investors and traders got cold feet,bailing out of their bitcoin and cryptocurrency positions.

Many bitcoin investors and traders are however looking toward things likethe highly-anticipated Bakkt bitcoin platformand a U.S. bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) to boost the price, though those expectations have been somewhat dampened lately as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissionfrets over potential price manipulation.

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Blow To Bitcoin As World’s Largest Cryptocurrency IPO Is Iced

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What Is Cloud Storage? – Lifewire

There are multiple reasons to use cloud storage services. Maybe your local hard drives are running low on disk space, in which case you can use the cloud as extra storage. If you want to be able to stream your music collection from anywhere, access your work files at home, easily share vacation videos, etc., you can upload your files online to a cloud storage service. Another reason to use cloud storage is if you want to keep important files secure behind a password and encryption.

In short, cloud storage is helpful not only when it comes to backup but also for security and the ability to easily share files with others or access them yourself from anywhere: your phone, tablet, or another computer.

When you upload a file to the internet and that file is there for an extended period of time, it’s considered cloud storage. The simplest type of cloud storage is uploading something to a server and having the ability to retrieve it again should you want to.

A reputable cloud storage service protects the files behind encryption and requires you to enter a password in order to be able to access the files. Most of the time, the cloud storage account can be protected behind two-factor authentication, too, so that anyone wanting access to your files has to know not only the password but another code sent to your phone upon the login request.

Most cloud storage services let you upload all types of files: videos, pictures, documents, music, or anything else. However, some are limited to accepting only certain kinds of files, such as only images or music. Cloud storage services are usually fairly clear about what’s allowed and what isn’t.

Different cloud storage services let you upload files to your online account through different methods. Some support in-browser uploads only, meaning that you have to log in to the cloud storage service’s website to upload your data, but most have desktop applications that make uploading files easier by a simple drag-and-drop into the service’s dedicated folder. Most also support uploading images and videos from your phone.

Less common are torrent cloud storage services that are online torrent clients that not only let you download torrents from your browser but also store your files in your online account to stream or download later.

Once your files are stored online, depending on how the service works, the features you get might include the ability to stream videos and music, access the files from your mobile device, easily share the files with others through a special share link, download the files back to your computer, delete them to free up space in your account, encrypt them so that not even the service can see them, and more.

Cloud storage and cloud backup are easily confused. Both work similarly and have a similar end result: the files are stored online. But there are two completely different reasons to use these services, and knowing how they differ is important so that you know which one to choose for your own situation.

Cloud storage is a selective backup procedure where you choose which files to store online, and then you send them to your online account. When you delete a file on your computer that you backed up online, the file is still in your cloud storage account because it isn’t actually tied to your computer anymore; it’s just a single file that you uploaded online.

Cloud backup is when you install a program on your computer and tell it to keep specific files backed up online. Going a step further than cloud storage, a backup service will also upload any changes you make to the file so that the current version is always stored online. In other words, if you delete a file from your computer, it might also get deleted from your online backup account, and if you change a file on your computer, the online version changes too.

A backup service is great if you want to always keep a huge number of files backed up online. In the event your computer suddenly stops working, you can restore all of those files on a new computer or a different hard drive, and you’ll get the same copies you had the last time the backup program stored those files online.

A cloud storage service is less practical as an always-on backup solution and more helpful as a way to back up specific files that you want to have access to from anywhere or share with others. The file versions in the cloud storage account are the same as the versions you uploaded, regardless if you changed them on your computer. Like online backup, you can still download the files again should you need to, like if your computer crashes.

Numerous cloud storage providers out there would like your business, so it can be confusing knowing which to choose. Consider several factors before picking any online cloud backup service.

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What Is Cloud Storage? – Lifewire

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30 Best Free Cloud Storage Providers (2019) – [Useful Tool at …

– Last Updated: March 27, 2019

Not willing to spend a single dime on cloud storage? We will share the full list (30 and growing) so you can use free cloud storage at no cost at all.

Remember the days when you would often get close to running out of room for your email?

Maybe you had to choose which beloved correspondence to keep and which one to trash.

Well, it looks like those times are even farther behind us, especially if you use Gmail or other Google services.

When I opened a Gmail account a few years ago, I learned one of the great advantages of cloud storage your stuff is available from anywhere.

This may not seem like much of a perk at first, but as time goes on, you realize it really helps.

Now it is possible to store all sorts of things online without paying a cent.

Is this a good way to go?

I decided to delve and do some research into the free cloud storage services.

I was surprised to see that there are more of them out there than you could ever imagine.

Some are better than others and even allow you to share your files with others which can be very good if they are too large to send as attachments through e-mail.

The same goes for cloud storage as there are two sides of the same coin.

You are looking for services that are free while the cloud storage provider is trying to make a profit out from you.

Trying to strike a balance between these two, we must acknowledge our priority and decide which act in the best interest for us as a real day to day user.

Size or capacity isnt everything, other factors like security & privacy, compatibility, file size limit, speed, ease of use and etc should be considered as well.

But we will not discuss all of that here; our main purpose here is to give you the most comprehensive free cloud storage list that is available now.

If you happen to come across free cloud storage, do let us know. We would love to include them in the list as well.

Dont see your favorite free cloud storage? Suggest it here.

Grow the list together.

Now lets get to the list, shall we?

SIDENOTE. The placing and numbering below is based on my own discretion, impression, popularity and trust ability towards each of them. You can sort out the result based on your own preferences by using this spreadsheet here.

Free Space: 10GBCountry of Origin: SwitzerlandSince: 2013

Founded in 2013, pCloud aim to become the most easiest to use cloud storage for end user without sacrificing the complexity and importance of security.

Check out myreview about pCloud on how they manage to earn the trust of over 8 million users and are growing rapidly.

NEXT STEP

Free Space: 15GBCountry of Origin: United StatesSince: 2012

Google is no stranger for all of us. They collaborate all their services such as Docs, Sheets, Slides and many more and sync all of those into Google Drive.

The convenience in working within their Eco-system make it one of the favorite for user.

NEXT STEP

Free Space: 2GBCountry of Origin: United StatesSince: 2007

Another seed accelerator from Y Combinator, Dropbox is one of the earliest market players for cloud storage industry back in 2007. Their innovation and creative energy is what keep them going and becoming one of the leading cloud player.

They had more than 500 million users spread across 180 countries as of now. Check out their latest Dropbox Smart Sync feature here.

And if you are looking for Dropbox alternatives, heres your list. Or pCloud vs Dropbox.

NEXT STEP

Free Space: 5GBCountry of Origin: United StatesSince: 2011

Amazon strike and delivers on durability and stability. Amazon cloud drive store all your photos, videos, files and etc in one place. If you are a Prime member, you get unlimited storage for all your photos.

Do not forget that your free 5GB will be expiring in 12 months time though.

NEXT STEP

Free Space: 5GBCountry of Origin: United StatesSince: 2007

OneDrive Basic is a Microsoft free product for personal online storage purposes. It basically helps to store all your files and data on their server and nothing else for the free version.

Do check out on the differences of the OneDrive storage plans to get an overview of what are you missing out compare with a paid plan.

NEXT STEP

Free Space: 5GBCountry of Origin: United StatesSince: 2007

IDrive personal cloud storage service ranging from 5GB (free) up to 5TB (paid). IDrive is a private company based in Calabasas, CA since 2007.

They have 3 core services which include IDrive, IBackup and RemotePC.

NEXT STEP

Free Space: 5GBCountry of Origin: CanadaSince: 2011

They started as web hosting provider in 2011 and launched the cloud services in 2013.

Back dated 5 years ago, Syncs cloud service already equipped with end to end encryption for better security and privacy in the cloud. To-date, they had over 400,000 individuals and businesses users in combine.

Check out our latest review about Sync.com here.

NEXT STEP

Free Space: 5GBCountry of Origin: United StatesSince: 2011

A cloud storage and cloud computing product from Apple Inc. Started in 2011, they had gained over 700 million users through Apple products such as Iphone and Macbook. It basically built into every Apple product.

NEXT STEP

Free Space: 10GBCountry of Origin: United StatesSince: 2005

Based in Redwood City and is listed in NYSE. Instead of storage, Box is focusing in solving content management problem by creating a platform for easy sharing and accessing files to their users.

More than 41 million users trusted Box to manage their content in the cloud today.

NEXT STEP

Free Space: 50GBCountry of Origin: New ZealandSince: 2013

Mega is renowned for their security feature that encrypts files on client side even before they uploaded it. However they had encountered various issues during the early stage of the launching during 2013. 50GB is more like a marketing gimmick than practical.

15GB free storage is the actual permanent storage that user will be enjoying as a free user, while the additional 35GB will expired after one month of signup.

NEXT STEP

Free Space: 2GBCountry of Origin: PakistanSince: 2011

Jumpshare started by doing thing differently. You can upload and share any files to Jumpshare without registering or logging into your account during the early stage in 2012.

Signing up was made mandatory now of course.

NEXT STEP

Free Space: 10GBCountry of Origin: RussiaSince: 2012

Yandex.Disk is created by Yandex, a giant search engine from Russia.

It all started in 2012. The free storage can goes up to 42GB, given that you enable your device auto-uploads using the Android or iOS app.

NEXT STEP

Free Space: 20GBCountry of Origin: United StatesSince: 2011

Its a Western Digital (WD) brand now. If you had not heard of them, WD is a Hard Disk manufacturer from San Jose. They are the largest hard drive manufacturer in the world.

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30 Best Free Cloud Storage Providers (2019) – [Useful Tool at …

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How to Enable Full-Disk Encryption on Windows 10

Windows 10 sometimes uses encryption by default, and sometimes doesntits complicated. Heres how to check if your Windows 10 PCs storage is encrypted and how to encrypt it if it isnt.Encryption isnt just about stopping the NSAits about protecting your sensitivedata in case you ever lose your PC, which is something everyoneneeds.

Unlike all other modern consumer operating systemsmacOS, Chrome OS, iOS, and AndroidWindows 10 still doesnt offer integrated encryption tools to everyone. You may have to pay for the Professional edition of Windows 10 or use a third-party encryption solution.

RELATED: Windows 8.1 Will Start Encrypting Hard Drives By Default: Everything You Need to Know

Many new PCs that ship with Windows 10 will automatically have Device Encryption enabled.This feature was first introduced in Windows 8.1, andthere are specific hardware requirements for this. Not every PC will have this feature, but some will.

Theres another limitation, tooit only actually encrypts your driveif you sign into Windowswitha Microsoft account. Your recovery key is then uploaded to Microsofts servers. This will help you recover your files if you ever cant log into your PC. (This is also why the FBIlikely isnt too worried about this feature, but were just recommendingencryption as a means to protect your data fromlaptop thieves here. If youre worried about the NSA, you may want to use a different encryption solution.)

Device Encryption will also be enabled if you sign into an organizations domain. For example, you might sign into a domain owned by your employer or school. Your recovery key would then be uploaded to your organizations domain servers. However, this doesnt apply to the average persons PConly PCs joined to domains.

To check if Device Encryption is enabled, open the Settings app, navigate to System > About, and look for a Device encryption setting at the bottom of the About pane. If you dont see anything about Device Encryption here, your PC doesnt support Device Encryption and its not enabled. If Device Encryption is enabledor if you can enable it by signing in with a Microsoft accountyoull see a message saying so here.

RELATED: Should You Upgrade to the Professional Edition of Windows 10?

If Device Encryption isnt enabledor if you want a more powerful encryption solution that can also encrypt removable USB drives, for exampleyoull want to use BitLocker. Microsofts BitLocker encryption tool has been part of Windows for several versions now, and its generally well regarded. However, Microsoft still restricts BitLocker to Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 10.

BitLocker is most secure on a computer that contains Trusted Platform Module (TPM) hardware, which most modern PCs do. You can quickly check whether your PC has TPM hardware from within Windows, or check with your computers manufacturer if youre not sure.If you built your own PC, you may able to add a TPM chip to it. Search for a TPM chip thats sold as an add-on module. Youll need one that supports the exact motherboard inside your PC.

RELATED: How to Use BitLocker Without a Trusted Platform Module (TPM)

Windows normally says BitLocker requires a TPM, but theres a hidden option that allows you to enable BitLocker without a TPM. Youll have to use a USB flash drive as a startup key that must be present every boot if you enable this option.

If you already have a Professional edition of Windows 10 installed on your PC, you can search for BitLocker in the Start menu and use the BitLocker control panel to enable it. If you upgraded for free from Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8.1 Professional, you should have Windows 10 Professional.

If you dont have a Professional edition of Windows 10, you can pay $99 to upgrade your Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Professional. Just open the Settings app, navigate to Update & security > Activation, and click the Go to Store button.Youll gain access to BitLocker and the other features that Windows 10 Professional includes.

Security expert Bruce Schneier also likes a proprietary full-disk encryption tool for Windows named BestCrypt. Its fully functional on Windows 10 with modern hardware. However, this tool costs $99the same price as an upgrade to Windows 10 Professionalso upgrading Windows to take advantage of BitLocker may be a better choice.

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

Spending another $99 just to encrypt your hard drive for some additional security can be a tough sell when modern Windows PCs often only cost a few hundred bucks in the first place. You dont have to pay the extra money for encryption, because BitLocker isnt the only option. BitLocker is the most integrated, well-supported optionbut there are other encryption tools you can use.

The venerable TrueCrypt, an open-source full-disk encryption tool that is no longer being developed, has some issues with Windows 10 PCs. It cant encrypt GPT system partitions and boot them using UEFI, a configuration most Windows 10 PCs use. However, VeraCryptan open-source full-disk encryption tool based on the TrueCrypt source codedoes support EFI system partition encryption as of versions 1.18a and 1.19.

In other words, VeraCrypt should allow you to encrypt your Windows 10 PCs system partition for free.

RELATED: How to Secure Sensitive Files on Your PC with VeraCrypt

TrueCrypts developers did famously shut down development and declare TrueCrypt vulnerable and unsafe to use, but the jury is still out on whether this is true.Much of the discussion around this centers on whether the NSA and other security agencies have a way to crack this open-source encryption. If youre just encrypting your hard drive so thieves cant access your personal files if they steal your laptop, you dont have to worry about this. TrueCrypt should be more than secure enough. The VeraCrypt project has also made security improvements, and should potentially be more secure than TrueCrypt. Whether youre encrypting just a few files or your entire system partition, its what we recommend.

Wed like to see Microsoft give more Windows 10 users access to BitLockeror at least extend Device Encryption so it can be enabled on more PCs. Modern Windows computers should have built-in encryption tools, just like all other modern consumer operating systems do. Windows 10 users shouldnt have to pay extra or hunt down third-party software to protect their important data if their laptops are ever misplaced or stolen.

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Hackers Backdoor Cloud Servers to Attack Future Customers

A newvulnerability dubbed Cloudborne can allow attackers to implant backdoor implants in the firmware or BMC of bare metal servers that survive client reassignment in bare metal and general cloud services, leading to a variety of attack scenarios.

Organizations deploying critical high-value apps on bare metal servers through Infrastructureas a Service (IaaS) offerings consider it the best alternative to buying their own hardware because this allows for easy and quick scaling of cloud-based applications without the need ofsharing the hardware with otherusers.

While this generally means that an organization’s critical apps are always running on dedicated servers, the fact that those servers are reclaimed and re-assigned once the client no longer needs them exposes them to firmware weaknesses and vulnerabilities that can persist between customer assignments.

As discovered by theEclypsium Research Team, attackers canimplant malicious backdoors within the firmware of cloud services’ shared infrastructure, with these implants being able to survive after the cloud service provider distributes the server to another customer.

[..] even though the hardware is dedicated to a single customer at a given point in time, they could easily be using2nd, 3rd, or nth hand hardware. [..] In a bare-metal cloud service offering, the underlying hardware could easily pass through dozens of “owners” with direct access and control over that hardware.

More exactly, bare metal servers can be compromised by potential attackers which could add malicious backdoors and code in the firmware of a server or in its baseboard management controller (BMC) with minimal skills.

“The Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) is a third-party component designed to enable remote management of a server for initial provisioning, operating system reinstall and troubleshooting,” says IBM.

Once this type of backdoor implant is successfully dropped on a bare metal server, it will survive between client switches performed by the provider.

As detailed by Eclypsium, “Truly removing a malicious implant could require the service provider to physically connect to chips to reflash the firmware, which is highly impractical at scale.”

By exploiting this vulnerability, dubbed Cloudborne, would-be attackerscan go through a number of attack scenarios:

It’s important to mention that, while a Cloudborneattack scenario was tested againstIBMs SoftLayer cloud services, the issue of backdoor implants surviving the reclamation process found by Eclypsiumis also present in the infrastructure of all other cloud providers.

IBM published details about the vulnerabilityon February 25stating that:

On some system models offered by IBM Cloud and other cloud providers, a maliciousattacker with access to the provisioned systemcould overwrite thefirmware of the BMC.The system could then be returned to the hardware pool, where the compromised BMC firmware could then be used to attack the next user of the system.

The BMC has limited processing power and memory, which makes these types of attacks difficult. IBM has found no indication that this vulnerability has been exploited for malicious purposes.In addition,all clients of IBM Cloud receive a private network for their BMCs,separate from the private networks containing other clients BMCs and unprovisioned BMCs.

As potential fixes or remediation for this security issue which got assigned a low severity by the vendor, IBM said that it forced “all BMCs, including those that are already reporting up-to-date firmware, to be reflashed with factory firmware before they are re-provisioned to other customers. All logs in the BMC firmware are erased and all passwords to the BMC firmware are regenerated.”

However, after IBM’s post describing the vulnerability and the remediation measures it took against it, “an Eclypsium researcher was able to quickly confirm that he received the same system back that he worked on before (at 16th of Feb) and there was no indication that password or firmware had been changed from the last time he used it. The researcher is conducting more testing.”

Following IBM’s publication of the vulnerability residing in theirCloud Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) Firmware,Eclypsiumalso argues that the low severity is not appropriate stating that they would “classify it as 9.3 (Critical) Severity with the following details:CVSS:3.0/AV:L/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:C/C:H/I:H/A:H” given its capability forhigh security-critical impact.

In addition, Eclypsiumexplains that:

While the hardware specifications of BMC hardware are low as compared with the host server, the capability for security-critical impact is high. By design, the BMC is intended for managing the host system, and as such, it is more privileged than the host. The BMC has continual access to files, memory (using DMA), keyboard/video, and firmware of the host (which is required because it needs the ability to reinstall/reconfigure it).

Even though IBM and Eclypsiumare already engaged in talks regarding the severity level of this vulnerability, other cloud vendors have yet to chime in into a discussion that could be going for a while considering the implications of such security issues on the long term and the apparently extremely hard to implement fixes.

Eclypsium’sresearch team concluded: “Since firmware underlies even the host operating system and the virtualization layers of a server, any implants would naturally be able to subvert any controls and security measuresrunning at these higher layers. [..] Given the nature and data hosted on bare metal offerings, this opens up the possibility for high-impact attack scenarios.”

Seeing that the BMC can also communicate with and send data to external networks, having the potential to also reconfigure the host’s network interface, would-be attackers are provided with all the tools they need to surreptitiously control a compromised system using one of the attack scenarios detailed by Eclypsium.

While bare metal cloud offeringsare very convenient for organizations which do not want to invest in their own hardware, security concerns such as the one the Eclypsiumresearch team unearthed might convince them to switch to hardware that they own and manage on-site to avoid having sensitive data accessed or modified, as well as critical apps disabled.

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The promise of quantum computing – businessinsider.com

About ten years ago, Todd Holmdahl, corporate vice president of Microsoft Quantum, was working on Kinect, the groundbreaking motion-sensing accessory for the Xbox 360.

It was the first time in his career that he used artificial intelligence and machine learning. It excited him enough that he would tell his own children that AI would be the most in-demand field in the tech industry.

“I told my kids that you should do what you’re passionate about, but if you want a job, you can always get a job in machine learning and AI,” Holmdahl told Business Insider in a recent conversation.

Today, he would have different advice for his kids, or any other kids who needed career advice.

“I really think today where people are in quantum computing, it is going to happen,” says Holmdahl. “I would tell them today to get into quantum computing.”

Quantum computers have special properties that allow them to process exponentially more information than a regular, also called “classical,” computer. With a classical computer, data is represented as a binary string of 1’s and 0’s. Quantum computers, however, can represent data as 0, 1, or both at the same time, which for complicated mathematical reasons means that they can process a lot more data at once.

Potentially, quantum computers could be used for predicting the stock market, finding more efficient shipping routes, food production, chemistry, drug discovery, cryptography and more.

“Quantum computing is the opportunity to take a classic problem like health care and climate change and to be able to solve them in hours or seconds on a quantum computer,” Holmdahl said. “The way a quantum computer works is that it can look at a multitude of different dimensions.”

At the same time, experts have told Business Insider that we’re still 5 to 10 years away from the point at which quantum computers will surpass their classical brethern at most tasks.

Read more:Quantum computing could change everything, and IBM is racing with Microsoft, Intel, and Google to conquer it. Here’s what you need to know

In 2018, less than 1% of organizations budgeted for quantum computing projects, but analyst firm Gartner estimates that by 2023, this will rise to 20%. And according to the analysts at Forrester, VCs invested $85 million into quantum computing in 2015. Two years later, that had skyrocketed to $400 million.

Krysta Svore, general manager of quantum software at Microsoft Microsoft

“We’re really at a moment when many businesses are starting to think about the promise of quantum information sciences and the promise of quantum computing for solving the world’s most challenging problems,” Krysta Svore, general manager of quantum software at Microsoft, told Business Insider.

Currently at Microsoft, Holmdahl is leading the team in building a topological qubit, which fragments electrons to store information in multiple places at the same time. This is a different way of thinking about it than the approach other companies are taking: Intel, IBM and Google are using superconducting circuits to build quantum computers, similar to the basic ways classical computers are made today.

Although analysts say Microsoft’s approach is a major risk, if it works, it could put Microsoft ahead of its competitors with a much more powerful quantum computer. Holmdahl says Microsoft is aiming to finish its qubit by the end of this year.

Quantum computers are still in their early stages, but Holmdahl expects more jobs to open up for people to conduct research and to build quantum computing hardware and software. In fact, Microsoft just helped launch a summit to bring more talent itoquantum computing, and started a quantum programming course for undergraduates.

“Microsoft’s focus is producing a scalable quantum computer and bringing that forward for our customers and for our future,” Svore said. “To do that, we need to be able to accelerate the progress in quantum computing. We need to be able to educate a whole world of quantum developers.”

Microsoft quantum computing project in Copenhagen, Denmark Microsoft

It may be too late for Holmdahl to tell his kids to get into quantum computing a decade early, but he says that there’s still a lot of opportunity there for anybody who wants to get in on the ground floor.

“It’s a field that’s going to grow,” Holmdahl said. “We need a number of people to sustain and staff it and you can see Microsoft is putting a bunch of efforts to invest in the quantum workforce. This will be the biggest thing in our generation. This is going to be able to do amazing things in the future.”

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After Paris, Encryption Will Be a Key Issue in the 2016 Race

When the Democratic presidential contenders gathered on the debate stage in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, just hours after a series of terrorist attacks in Paris left at least 129 people dead, the candidates spent the early portion of their time on stage examining issues related to national security. They spoke of boots on the ground, regime changes, what role the United States ought to play in the fight against ISIS, and whether or not they use the term radical Islam.

But curiously, throughout the lengthy discussion, the one issue that was never mentionednot oncewas encryption. Thats lucky, at least for the candidates. As the world continues to reel from the Paris attacks, the debate over whether tech companies like Apple and Google are allowed to fully encrypt users communications will, no doubt, become one of the central dramas of the national security conversation going into the 2016 presidential race. It may also be among the toughest issues for the candidates, especially Democrats, to navigate.

Encryption may be among the toughest issues for the candidates, especially Democrats, to navigate.

Just yesterday, CIA director John Brennan said that he hoped the Paris attacks would serve as a wakeup call to those who oppose government surveillance in favor of personal privacy.

There are a lot of technological capabilities that are available right now that make it exceptionally difficult both technically as well as legally for intelligence security services to have insight that they need to uncover it,” he said, adding that terrorists have gone to school to figure out ways to evade intelligence officials.

Brennan attributed that fact, in part, to Edward Snowdens disclosures of the National Security Agencys bulk data collection programs, saying they tipped would-be terrorists off to surveillance tactics. In the past several years, because of a number of unauthorized disclosures and a lot of hand-wringing over the governments role in the effort to try to uncover these terrorists, he said, there have been some policy and legal and other actions that make our ability, collectively, internationally, to find these terrorists much more challenging.

This, of course, is not the first time weve heard these concerns from government officials. Just a day before the Paris attacks, the NSAs former general counsel, Matt Olsen, told an audience gathered in Des Moines that after Snowden came forward, the agency lost track of terrorists. Meanwhile, FBI director James Comey has been an outspoken critic of encryption, arguing that it enables criminals to go dark.

Whether encryption is really the security risk the government makes it out to be, of course, is still up for debate. We at WIRED have debated it plenty. Now it’s time for the presidential candidates to do the same.

Until now, the Democratic candidates in particular have been light on detail about where they stand on encryption and surveillance. This reticence stands to reason. By aligning themselves too closely with Washington’s intelligence community, they could alienate their Silicon Valley base, which is increasingly powerful in politics. But if they cater too much to the interests of tech companies such as Apple and Google, they could lose favor among voters who increasingly see national security as the country’s most pressing issue.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has walked an uneasy line on the subject of surveillance in the past. On one hand, she was a supporter of the controversial PATRIOT Act as a senator back in 2001, a decision that’s been widely criticized by Bernie Sanders’ camp. This summer, she also said that cybersecurity legislation such as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, which is already highly unpopular among privacy advocates, doesn’t go far enough in encouraging tech companies to share information with the US government. And during the first debate, she said Snowden “stole very important information that has unfortunately fallen into a lot of the wrong hands,” and that he shouldn’t return home “without facing the music.”

‘I think there are really strong, legitimate arguments on both sides.’

Hillary Clinton

At the same time, however, she has endorsed the USA Freedom Act, which would end the NSA’s bulk data collection program, calling it “a good step forward in ongoing efforts to protect our security and civil liberties.” And at a conference earlier this year, Clinton told Re/Code’s Kara Swisher that encryption is “a classic hard choice,” but she hedged before offering up her plan for what to do about it. “I would be the first to say I don’t have the answer,” she said. “I think there are really strong, legitimate arguments on both sides.”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, has been far more outspoken in his opposition of government surveillance. He received a round of applause at the first Democratic debate for voting against the PATRIOT Act and has said that, as president, he would shut down the NSA’s surveillance program altogether.

But national security is considered Sanders’ major weak spot. Even those who support his stance on inequality sometimes question his ability as commander-in-chief. The more fearful Americans become of the threat ISIS poses, the weaker Sanders’ stance on surveillance may appear to the electorate beyond Sanders’ base. After all, a recent poll showed that 56 percent of voters said they would give the government access to some personal data if it meant protecting the country from a terrorist attack.

On the other side of the aisle, candidates like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, and Chris Christie have all spoken out against encryption and the need for government surveillance. The one notable exception, of course, is Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who said at a conference last week that he believes governments should require warrants to access people’s communications. Still, that policy doesn’t apply to companies like Apple, which promises users that their data is encrypted so that it can’t be accessed even with a warrant.

The battle over how to balance security and privacy, of course, is nothing new in politics. Just last month, the Obama administration backed away from legislation that would have forced tech companies to decrypt messages for law enforcement. The move was seen as a win for technologists and privacy advocates alike.

Those same advocates are now hoping that fear won’t cause politicians to resume the fight against encryption. “The Paris attacks are absolutely tragic, but the response must not be to undermine cybersecurity for digital services on which many millions of people depend,” said Harley Geiger, senior counsel and advocacy director for the Center for Democracy & Technology. “Weakening encryption will also not prevent organized groups from using strong encryption. Difficult-to-crack encryption and apps will continue to be available on the Internet, even if governments seek to ban them.”

And yet, as calls for stronger national security spread post-Paris, candidates that support encryption may face added pressures from both the public and their Republican opponents to reevaluateor at the least, delineatewhere they stand on encryption. And when they do, they may find it’s not so easy to keep both sides happy.

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Does Encryption Really Help ISIS? Heres What You Need to …

There’s the war on terrorism, and then there’s the war on how to fight the war on terrorism.

With recent attacks in Paris, Beirut and Mali, some in governments and law-enforcement agencies are renewing their calls to expand electronic surveillance to thwart potential attacks. Communications that cant be tapped or unscrambled pose aseriousnational-security risk, authorities argue, because they can be used by terrorists tohidetheir activitiesand planning. Technology companies and cybersecurity experts generally takeadifferent view: If encrypted communications can be accessed by the government or a company — or anyone other than the sender and intended recipient — they inherently are vulnerable to bad actors and prying eyes.

Why is this such a complex and often heated debatewith noapparentresolution in sight? For starters, encryption is really complicated. Here’s what you need to know to understand the issues:

Encryption, sometimes called crypto by techies, is a fancy word for a type of code. Encryption schemes transform words into seeming gibberish. Heresa mereportionofencrypted textthat,if printed in full,would translate to”happyholidays:”

hQIMA2dX93ZaYL95AQ//ZSZ/n0VSK7ZZ9kkRk3X8nn+m2YLzHj5L4zrsrCesPOKw ZQG5FXuHz9/02Be3tyXelAiFpGdCh+Tdnx0r1wLOChitSPaydW0hcReG6cp9Nplk QZL5sYRr0NYWjx2EkwFO0j6lNcGMNo3qAoxMNe3rfENPjxpv1UCRl6nHfEmSk1BO swjBOUXrsWxbbphdJqSZtdWoPLlOnFftRjgqLe9hC9rmWF/Q7/RIkZ5TEYmSfJkI aGB3Vrf/XEwXOHuss+HgE9z/XalJtaNLCZeCgNgO/Lk26nVyS0R5XfNz9VtFszhT pjk2rpxMecOlCs4a62oSYykI63E04G0OZkZaPrUlir4GoSV4OVivFgbFDNtIq5Lk hX1TF3y/PsuVb8bF7XhvqCt/q9HF0n0LY9v+tJfMOT885c6uNX9Rm6ZUUFR++jgv X4EfNYSmX6HjmYTflqQyivWeTpGl13tQP7b+UppJr0v9vH7Wd0PmRdvLDhKHqCiq

Only a user or machine with the so-called encryption key can unscramblethe message to get its meaning. So the same phrase — “Happy Holidays” — would be encrypted differentlydepending on the software used and the people involved.

Once the province of spies, encryption is widely used on the Internet. The little padlock next to a Web address indicates the connection is encrypted. Wi-Fi routers, Gmail, Yahoo mail, Snapchats, tweets and 4G cellular phones all use some form of encryption,to protect personal information, such as passwords, location coordinates, bank-account and credit-card numbers and sometimes — depending on the type of encryption used — the text of messages and other content.

In addition to those receiving the data who need to decipher it, the companies that employ this technology typically hold keys, sothey canget to the information if they need to. Among other things, this letscustomers reset passwords, etc.It also allows companies to decrypt messages for the authorities when faced with lawful requests for customer records or the contents of communications.

In the past few years, several tech companies have adopted encryption schemes for which they say they dont hold the keys. Most notably, Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.s Google in 2014 released smartphone operating systems that, by default, they said precluded them from unlocking phones for law enforcement, even with a warrant.That’s because the companies said they would no longer maintain a key to unlock their devices’ encryption. Those keys would only be on the devices themselves and could only be unlockedwith users’ passwords.Before the switch, companies could comply with court orders to unlock phones, and usually did.

Here is FBI Director James Comey — who has called these actions an assault on law enforcement –testifying before Congress on the issue:

But tech and telecommunications companieswerecriticized after documents leaked byEdwardSnowden showedsomefirms cooperating with governmentsto allow access to some of their users’ communications. Companies also said the government was overstepping its monitoring activities without their knowledge, compromising user confidence in the privacy of their information. A lot of trust between the two sides was broken. Companies say that thenew encryption protocolswill make their products safer, because thieves and spies would have a harder time seeingand stealingtheir contents or communications.

Here’s Apple CEO Tim Cook, making this point at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJDLive tech conference in October:

The debate has widened as U.S. and European officialsalsostarted criticizing makers of apps designed to encrypt messages, such as Wickr, Signal and Telegram.Makers of theseapps have not changedtheir systemssince the Paris attacks.ButTelegram, which features both private chat and a Twitter-like public bulletin feature, saidrecently thatit had deactivated some public channels linked to the Islamic State. The shift, if small, was notable given Telegram founder Pavel Durov’s previous statements that his company “shouldn’t feel guilty” for reports that the app has been used by terrorists.

There is no evidence it played a role in the shootings and bombings in Paris. To the contrary, French media have reported some of the attackers coordinated using ordinary SMS text messages, which usually are easy for law enforcement to tap. However, Islamic State members have documented that they use some messaging apps that rely on strong encryption. Some U.S. officials have said this is a problem if the goal is to prevent another Islamic State attack. Here’s a tutorial used by the Islamic State to rate the relative strength of various communication apps:

Several reasons. One, technology companies in general chafe at the idea of the government telling them how to make products. When the Clinton administration in the 1990s proposed a system where the government would maintain the ability to decipher commercial communications through a so-called “Clipper chip,” the proposal was beat back due to civil liberties concerns. One alternative would have technology companies maintain all or part of the so-called master key, which they would only use if faced with a court order. Technology companies don’t like this solution because they fear it makes the key a target for hackers. In short, if someone steals the digital key,everything is potentially lost.It’s also unclear how such a system would work in practice.

Privately,some government officials say technology companies are overstating the risks of creating such a system. But technology companies counter the risks are real. The catch is that a lot of the risks are assumed and hypothetical. Building extra keys and loopholes into secure systems could, for example, introduce weaknesses from bugs, but it’s hard to know what those bugs are ahead of time. “The complexity of todays Internet environment, with millions of apps and globally connected services, means that new law enforcement requirements are likely to introduce unanticipated, hard to detect security flaws,” wrote 15 cryptographers in a paper published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this summer. There is some precedent though for this concern. Washington once required American firms sell foreign customers only weaker, more easily cracked encryption to help U.S. spies keep tabs on overseas targets. Even though that requirement was dropped in the 1990s, the weakened encryption can still be found on computers and can now be exploited by other hackers. Lobbyists for tech firms such as Apple argue these problems would only be worse now. Because companies do more business overseas, they would likely have to replicate any deal they make with the United States. For instance, Apple sells a lot of iPhones in China. What if overseas governments demand the same types of keys?

In that case, all bets could be off. For instance, if an iPhone user uses iCloud backups for the content on their phone, Apple is able to hand over the latest backup if faced with a court order, the company says.Some cloud providers automatically erase such data after a period of time, but policies and procedures vary.

In January, Mr. Obama said, If we find evidence of a terrorist plot and despite having a phone number, despite having a social media address or email address, we cant penetrate that, thats a problem. The president and Mr. Comey have said they believe Silicon Valley should be able to come up with a solution. Congress also is examining the issue. On the other hand, former NSA Director Mike McConnell and other retired national security officials have publicly said that finding a way to maintain access to encrypted communications could be bad for security. The Obama administration has indicated that, for now, it doesnt want to issue orders to tech firms or push Congress for new laws.

Here’s Adm. Michael Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, at the WSJDLive conference urging government and the tech industry to bridge the gaps:

In 1999, a federal appeals court more or less ended the first “Crypto wars” when it ruled computer code, including encryption schemes, is protected speech under the First Amendment. Apple is fighting the Justice Department in a New York federal court over whether it should be forced to figure out a way to unlock an encrypted iPhone.

White House and congressional staffers have reached out to some Silicon Valley executives, asking them to come to Washington, D.C., for another round of encryption talks. Some lawmakers are seeking a so-called “Blue Ribbon” committee that would include experts from both sides of the debate. Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) has pledged to conduct hearings on the matter and pursue legislation. The British parliament meantime is exploring a new spy powers measure that could give authorities more power to force companies to be able to unscramble customer data.

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