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Quantum computing – news.microsoft.com

A full stackWith Mundies backing, Freedman set up a lab in Santa Barbara, California, and began recruiting some of the worlds pre-eminent condensed-matter and theoretical physicists, materials scientists, mathematicians and computer scientists to work on building the topological qubit. That team now boasts many leading quantum experts who have joined Microsoft as employees in the past year, including Leo Kouwenhoven, Charles Marcus, David Reilly and Matthias Troyer.

To create the infrastructure for a full computing platform, Microsoft has simultaneously worked on building hardware, software and programming languages for topological quantum computing.

At Ignite on Monday, Microsoft announced the latest milestone in its effort to build a full stack: A new programming language that is designed for developers to create apps to debug on quantum simulators today and run on an actual topological quantum computer in the future.

The same code that youre running today in simulation you can run tomorrow on our quantum computer, Svore said.

Svore said the new tools are designed for developers who are interested in being on the cutting-edge of computer advances the same type of people who were early adopters of machine learning and other artificial intelligence advances.

You dont have to be a quantum physicist to use them. The new programming language is deeply integrated into Visual Studio, and it includes the kinds of tools that developers rely on for classical computing, such as debugging and auto complete.

It shouldnt look too different from the things theyre already doing, Svore said.

The system, which will be available as a free preview by the end of the year, also includes libraries and tutorials so developers can familiarize themselves with quantum computing. Its designed to work at a higher level of abstraction, so that developers without quantum expertise can actually call quantum subroutines, or write sequences of programming instructions, working up to writing a complete quantum program. Developers can sign up to participate today.

The system is designed so that individual users can simulate problems that require up to 30 logical qubits of power on their own personal computers, and select enterprise customers, using Azure, can simulate more than 40 qubits of computational power.

In quantum computing, the power grows exponentially with the number of logical qubits. A logical qubit is the qubit at the level of the algorithm. At that hardware level, each logical qubit is represented in hardware by a number of physical qubits to enable protection of the logical information. Microsofts approach takes fewer topological qubits to develop one logical qubit, making it far easier to scale.

Svore said one key advantage to having a programming language that works in a simulation environment is that it will help people interested in using quantum computers to solve problems get a better sense of how to harness quantum power for different types of problems. That will accelerate their ability to take advantage of quantum computing when its available.

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Cisco and Google Find Mutual Interest in Cloud Computing …

Cisco has also faced stiffening competition from rivals like the software maker VMware, which announced a partnership with Amazon last year.

Cisco and Google executives vowed to offer something different. They said companies have been struggling with the fact that they need separate tools to manage software on their own premises and those running in the cloud, a situation that sometimes causes security problems. By combining Google programming technology and Cisco networking and security software, they said, tech managers can create and manage software that can run securely in or outside their companies data centers.

The idea, said Urs Hlzle, Googles senior vice president for technical infrastructure, is to close those security gaps.

Cloud computing has been roiling the strategies of older tech companies for much of the past decade. The concept, besides letting customers sidestep the costs of buying hardware and software, can let companies deploy computing resources more quickly and flexibly.

Amazon Web Services pioneered the concept. Synergy Research Group, a market research firm, said in July that A.W.S. accounted for 34 percent of the roughly $11 billion spent on such cloud services in the second quarter, compared with 11 percent for Microsoft, 8 percent for IBM and 5 percent for Google. Amazon and Microsoft are expected to highlight progress in their cloud businesses when they report quarterly earnings on Thursday.

Google has moved aggressively to catch up. In late 2015, the company gave the job of running its cloud business to Diane Greene, a widely respected Silicon Valley entrepreneur who helped make VMwares technology a mainstay at many corporations.

She made a series of organizational changes, recruited new talent and introduced new technology features. In one important move, Google in September 2016 bought the start-up Apigee Corporation for $625 million, adding capabilities to help customers connect their operations with online services operated by others.

More mature technology companies have taken different tacks to try to hold on to customers. Some, like IBM and Oracle, offer their own cloud services. Others, like Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell Technologies, have shied away from engaging in a spending war in data centers against deep-pocketed internet giants.

So has Cisco. The company, based in San Jose, Calif., promoted a concept called intercloud that amounted to coordinating a federation of cloud services operated by partners.

But Cisco dropped that approach last year, choosing instead to help customers manage hybrid cloud arrangements industry parlance for using a blend of operations in a companys own data centers and those operated by a growing number of cloud services.

We think we are one of the few companies that can navigate this multi-cloud world, said David Goeckeler, executive vice president and general manager of Ciscos networking and security business.

The company has broadly signaled plans to rely more on software and services than on sales of networking hardware, aided frequently by acquisitions. On Monday, for example, Cisco said it would pay $1.9 billion for BroadSoft, which sells online communications services.

Other companies also have embraced the hybrid cloud concept. Microsoft, for example, has longtime ties with corporate software buyers and has come up with ways to run new cloud applications in its data centers or on customers premises, said Al Gillen, an analyst at the research firm IDC.

We see other vendors doing things to compete since what we have is so strong and so unique, said Julia White, a corporate vice president with Microsofts Azure cloud business.

VMware, a subsidiary of Dell, was first known for software technology called virtualization that allows more efficient use of servers but now competes with Cisco with networking software. Russ Currie, a vice president of enterprise strategy at the network monitoring specialist NetScout Systems, said VMware was effectively using its cloud alliance with A.W.S. to court customers. Pat Gelsinger, VMwares chief executive, called the announcement from Google and Cisco a validation of his own companys vision.

Cisco also cooperates in various ways with A.W.S. and Microsoft in cloud computing. But Mr. Goeckeler said that the Google relationship was particularly potent because of the technological specialties of each company.

We are both users of each others products, said Mr. Hlzle of Google. But in this case, this is about working together to give their customers the technology they want, he said.

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How to Invest in Cloud Computing — The Motley Fool

Thereare several angles you can take if you want to add a few cloud computing stocks to your portfolio. But if you want to bet on the leaders in the business, you should start with Amazon.com, Microsoft, and Alphabet.

Research firm Gartner predicts that the public cloud services market will be worth $383.3 billion by 2020, a massive opportunity that makes it crystal clear why these three key players are in the middle of a fierce battle for dominance. There are plenty of smaller players in this segment, all offering varying types of services, but let’s focus on the giants and how they plan to compete in this space.

Company

Market Cap

% of Public Cloud Market

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN)

$474 billion

40%

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

$598 billion

11%

$687 billion

6%

Data source: Yahoo Finance and Business Insider.

Don’t feel bad if you’re not exactly sure what cloud computing is. The term can actually refer to several different types of cloud services, including software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

Microsoft’s Office 365 is one of the best examples of SaaS, while PaaS includes things like Google’s App Engine tools, which allow developers to build their own products and services. Meanwhile, IaaS involves things like networking features, virtual machines, andactual data storage — which Amazon, Microsoft, and Google all offer.

In this article, we’ll use the general “cloud computing” term to refer to a combination of all of these services, because each of the big three players offers SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the clear leader right now with 40% of the public cloud computing market, according to Synergy Research Group.So investors accustomed to thinking about it as an e-commerce play should look closer. Sure, sales from the company’s retail platform in North America accounted for nearly 59% of Amazon’s revenue in the second quarter, but AWS generates far more of the profit. Amazon’s North American e-commerce sales brought in $436 million in operating income in the second quarter of this year, while AWS hit $916 million.

AWS is the real breadwinner because of its hefty 25% margins and its stellar growth. Its revenue jumped by 70% in 2015 and 55% in 2016.

Amazon isn’t a pure play in the segment, but it’s already proved that it can do both e-commerce and cloud computing very well — and at the same time. AWS revenuegrew by 58% year over year in Q2, and it’s likely to continue growing as a key contributor to the company’s top and bottom lines.

Image source: Getty Images.

Microsoft may be known for its software prowess, but its Azure Cloud Services unit currently holds the No. 2 spot in public cloud computing with an 11% market share.

The cloud computing segment brought in $18.9 billion in fiscal 2017 — a 56% year-over-year increase — and it’s on track to hit $20 billion annually by the end of fiscal 2018.It’s worth pointing out that Microsoft lumps all of its cloud computing revenue (including Office 365 software) into one segment, which pushes its cloud revenue higher than Amazon’s.

Image source: Getty Images.

Azure is important to Microsoft because it helps lock the company’s enterprise customers into its other services like Windows Server. Without Azure, Microsoft could easily lose Windows Server clients and forfeit significant yearly sales. For example, Microsoft said in its fiscal fourth quarter that server products and cloud services revenue jumped by 15%, which was “driven by Azure revenue growth.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said back in 2014 that the company would take a “mobile first, cloud first” approach, and so far it has implemented the last part of that strategy quite well. Microsoft may trail Amazon, but it’s still far ahead of its next closest competitor, Alphabet. And the company’s long enterprise experience should help keep it solidly in that No. 2 spot.

It’s a bit unusual to have occasion to describe Alphabet as anything other than a leader, but in cloud computing, it’s still a relatively small player. Google started selling its first cloud services back in 2008, and currently, holds about 6% of the market.

But just because it’s the smallest player on this list doesn’t mean it should be counted out. In typical Google fashion, it’s building out its cloud presence by offering software like its TensorFlow machine learning algorithms for free to developers.

TensorFlow is the magic behind the Google Photos function that automatically categorizes images for you, for example, and its machine learning makes the results of your Google searches more relevant. The company started giving TensorFlow away to developers a couple of years ago as part of its efforts to woo them to the company’s cloud platform.

A recentMIT Technology Review article said that TensorFlow is “becoming the clear leader among programmers building new things with machine learning” and that “the software’s popularity is helping Google fight for a bigger share” of the cloud market because it’s easier to use on Google’s cloud than AWS or Azure.

That strategy may seem like an odd way to build a cloud business, but TensorFlow has made Amazon and Microsoft nervous enough that they’ve teamed up to release a competing machine learning software product.

The head of Google Cloud, Urs Holzle, has said that he wants revenue from Google Cloud services to overtake the company’s advertising sales by 2020. Considering that the tech giant earns nearly 90%of its top line from advertising, that timeline sounds optimistic, to say the least.

Google doesn’t break out its cloud platform revenue (nor any other segment’s sales, for that matter) but that doesn’t mean investors should overlook the potential for Alphabet here. It became a key cloud services player in a short period of time, and now offers important software that developers find very useful. And Microsoft and Amazon appear to be a little worried about Google Cloud’s rapid rise, which by itself should make it clear that it’s shaping up to be a formidable player in the space.

The cloud computing sector is like any other when it comes to investing: You need to have a long-term perspective when buying shares in any of these companies. None of these tech giants are cloud computing pure plays, which means that many other factors — like Amazon’s retail sales, Google’s advertising dollars, and Microsoft’s software sales — will affect their share prices.

But investors should keep in mind that we’re not that far into our cloud computing journey, and the gains these companies could make from these technologies the coming years could be far greater. So be patient, consider the other businesses these companies are in when building your investment thesis, and then sit back and wait for this market to mature.

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What is Cryptocurrency – earnlite.com

Everything You Need To Know about What is Cryptocurrency [Ultimate Guide]

Cryptocurrency has now become one of the most crucial digital terms.

It wont be wrong to state that all the financial institutes such as banks, central authorities, and accounting firms have conducted an extensive research on the working Cryptocurrency and how it aims to provide benefits to the parties involved in the money transaction process.

You must be thinking that what is Cryptocurrency and why financial institutes are so concerned about its working?

Cryptocurrency is a virtually encrypted currency which is backed by the security of cryptography.

The basic purpose of Cryptocurrency is to facilitate the easy transaction of money from one party to another and to keep a keen eye on the generation of currency units.

Cryptocurrency is one of those financial terms which aims to reduce the involvement of financial institutes in the transaction process.

You all must be aware of the fact that banks and financial intermediaries charge a huge amount of money before conducting any sort of monetary transaction. Cryptocurrency was introduced to solve the very similar problem.

It wont be wrong to state that originators of Cryptocurrency are still widely unknown however, some sources believe that foundations of cryptocurrency were established by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008.

Now if we talk about the need of Cryptocurrency and how it aims to facilitate its users then, it is quite interesting to see that origin of cryptocurrency is directly connected with the digital cash system.

Since many years, a number of banks were trying to introduce the facility like cryptocurrency however, they failed to do so because of the system limitations and keys encryption process.

It is interesting to see that initially Satoshi and his group also focused on the centralized digital cash system and because of the very same reason they failed to establish the appropriate foundations of the digital cash system.

Soon after his first try, he realized that a viable digital cash system cannot be operated under the centralized system. Though it is true that decentralization of the digital cash system decreases its overall security, however, this problem is relatively solve-able in nature and can be corrected with the proper encryption of public and private keys.

As online money has become one of the most things, therefore, it was highly crucial to introduce a technology which is capable of storing and transferring the money digitally in a secure manner.

Though it is true that many banks still facilitate the online payment process, however, the steep fees charged by banks are capable of eating up the entire share.

Cryptocurrency was launched with the vision of providing less expensive yet highly secure transaction platform to those individuals who are interested in the working of digital currency and its attached units.

As cryptocurrency is the digital currency system, therefore, it does not consist of any sort of physical money. All the transactions of cryptocurrency are done on the basis of coins, which are transferred and even stored in the virtual wallets.

The worth of cryptocurrency units is determined with the help of baseline. Normally, the US dollar is treated as the baseline and is used to compare the value of the other currencies.

Once the accurate value of the currency is identified then, next step is all about the creation of cryptocurrency units during the transaction process which is further backed by cryptography.

It is highly important to understand that the word cryptocurrency itself is a huge phenomenon, which is further divided into different units.

For getting information about some of the key concepts of cryptocurrency, continue to read on.

In literal terms, cryptography is basically the way of writing computer based codes, however, when it comes to the contextual meaning then, cryptography refers to the process of key encryption (public and private) which is used to monitor the procedure of coin creation and their transaction verification of cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency ledgers is basically a database, which is also called as transaction block chains in the language of Bitcoin are used to update and store the identities of those people who are making the confirmed unit transactions.

It is important to understand that the records of the transaction makers are properly encrypted, however, the records of the transactions are publicly shared with all the users for the proper verification process. The basic purpose of cryptocurrency ledgers is to keep a check on the balance of the digital wallets and identify a number of coins that can be spent.

Moreover, these public ledgers are also used to avoid the chances of any sort of scam because they tend to keep a check on the new transaction and the units of coins involved, in respective with the digital wallets.

Transaction process can be called as the initiator of exchange, which facilitates the transfer of coins in between the digital wallets.

Before the confirmation of transfer, the data is posted on the public ledgers to perform the basic tasks such as verification of accounts, and a number of coins requested.

It is interesting to see that all the data posted on public ledgers can be reviewed with the help of hex editor (the binary file reader) however, if you are interested in viewing all the technical data such as transaction history, acceptance procedure and monitoring of the current rate through a more viable source then, it is recommended to use blockchain browser.

Once all the data is properly stored in the public ledgers then, next step is all about waiting for the confirmation. During the confirmation process, the digital wallets start the encryption process with the help of cryptography, which consists of the mathematical signatures of the transaction maker.

The purpose of encryption or mathematical signatures is to ensure that transaction is made by the valid owner and they consist a spend-able amount of coins in their digital wallets.

Once the encryption process is done (normally takes 10-15 mints) then, next step is linked with the mining of public ledgers.

It is important to note that there is a huge difference between the transaction process and confirmation of the transaction.

When any coin owner starts the transaction then, public ledgers are used to perform the work of scrutiny and once its done then, next step leads to the confirmation and extraction of coins from the digital wallets.

If you are thinking that mining process is similar or confirmation process is all about just accepting the transaction requests then, you are wrong.

When an owner requests the transfer of coins or posting on the digital wallets then, certain mathematical algorithms are needed to be solved by the miner.

It is interesting to see that mathematical algorithms are highly complex in nature and their complexity tends to increase in a rapid speed. These algorithms are basically the strong mathematical computations and are designed to increase the security of the coins.

As mining is open for everyone, therefore, the algorithms are used to ensure that not every miner is capable of adding the blocks in the blockchain for the confirmation process. Moreover, this process also aims to ensure the fact that not all coins belong to the one miner.

Once the miner successfully solves the puzzle then, next step is all about the updating of the ledger.

If miner become successful in updating the ledger and transferring the blocks then, small amount of is provided to the miner, which is further backed by the subsidy (on the creation of new coins)

It is important to understand that mining is not an easy task because its basic purpose is to minimize the chances of double spending and to keep an eye on those users who are trying to double use the invested coins.

Mining is one of the most crucial parts of cryptocurrency because this process is actually responsible for giving value to the generated coins. The entire mining process is backed by the proof of the work.

The two major players of proof of work system are known as blocks header and the target. If you become successful in dragging the value to the target or even lower the header then, peer network will start accepting the transactions.

However, the working of proof of system is not easy as it seems because this entire processing is revolving around the concept of probability and if you are interested in hitting the right number then, you are no doubt supposed to play around a hundred of times for the desired results.

You must be thinking that whats the right away of understanding the difficulty level of mining and how it impacts the rate of block creation.

Well, cryptocurrency is all about using your brain and then, following the past trends for predicting the future.

If you are interested in gaining information about the difficulty level then, you need to look for the past transactions in the public ledger. For instance, you can identify the difficulty level after 2016 blocks had been placed.

According to the cryptocurrency researchers, the giants players like Bitcoin tend to change the difficulty level after 2016 blocks and it can be measured by applying the formula on the hash value and the target to be achieved.

The target which is needed to be achieved is usually based on the 256-bit numbers, however, this number is dependent on the joining of miners. For instance, if more miners are trying to perform the mining for the same transaction then, block generation rate will eventually go up thus making it difficult for individuals to hit the target.

It is important to understand that the calculated value of difficulty might not be very accurate in nature however, it can be used for generating the rough idea about the upcoming requirements of the blockchain.

If you are worried about the miners with malicious intents then, you need to understand the fact that working of cryptocurrency is backed by the proper network.

When one miner with malicious intents try to hit the difficulty and become successful then, all of his efforts are rejected by the peer network thus making the process zero. This system makes it pretty evident that each and every miner is supposed to full fill the requirements before starting the mining process.

Before Starting the discussion about the reward, I would like to highlight the fact that there are basically two parties involved in the process of the blockchain.

The first person is the one who is responsible for identifying the block in the blockchain. That person is called as the discoverer.

However, the person who is mining the block is different from the discoverer and his rewards are also different.

As discussed above, the miner is rewarded with the subsidy for solving the puzzle and the processing fees.

However, it is interesting to note that the fees of miners are dependent on the number of blocks they launch. For instance, if they become successful in mining more blocks then, their fee will automatically go up.

On the other hand, if the block is successfully discovered by the discoverer then, a certain amount of coins are provided to the discoverer on their success. The current amount of coins are provided are 12.5 bitcoins, however, it is important to note that this number might also vary with the change in difficulty level.

You must be thinking that whats the reason behind rewarding the discoverer when the complex task is being performed by the miner?

Well, here is the logic.

Discoverers are those people who are actually responsible for identifying the blocks based on the transactions. You must understand this concept like, if there are no blocks then, miners basically have no work to perform.

Discovery is the pre-requisite of mining and it should be performed with sheer perfection.

It is important to understand that cryptocurrency is basically a system which works on the principles of scarcity.

For instance, miners are responsible for generating the coins in the system and their scarcity is responsible for changing their value. This theory can easily be understood with a demand for gold in the realistic market.

For example, when golden prices are low in the market then, people start investing their money on it. Due to the low prices, the demand for gold increases which eventually causes the decrease the supply of the material.

Now when demand is boiled up then, producers start charging high amount thus leading to the change in the overall value of gold. It is important to understand that change in the value is not introduced by a single producer, however, the entire market participants in the decision-making and then, change the value of the gold.

Same happens in the market of cryptocurrency, however, instead of physical buying and selling procedure the transactions are made online and posted on the public ledger which is further approved by the entire network of the miners.

In simpler terms, the market of cryptocurrency is just like the foreign exchange and works in a similar manner. The extra units generated are always the reward for those people who are investing their money and expertise in the overall prediction process.

We do understand the fact that initially, it is difficult for people to digest the working process of cryptocurrency, however, once you start learning the basics of the system and start practicing it then, it gets easier with the passage of time.

Now, I would like to talk about some of the mining terms and how they tend to impact the entire mining process.

If you are interested in the working of cryptocurrency work system then, you must have heard about the cryptocurrency hashes and their working mechanism.

Well, if you are still confused about its working then, read on!

Cryptocurrency hashes are basically the computerized mathematical algorithms that aim to extract the data of a certain size as input which is further processed with the help of valid operations and then, a fixed output is generated for the meaningful use.

It is important to understand that the major function of cryptocurrency hashes is to gain information about the passwords and store them accordingly. Because of the very same concept, the working of cryptocurrency hash is not just limited to mathematical algorithms however, it also aims to impact the security of the stored data.

Now if we link the concept of mining with cryptocurrency hashes then, this function is used to determine the overall mining power based on seconds. It is important to understand that every time a miner become successful in solving the block then, new hashes are generated which are further processed for the generation of fixed length output.

This phenomenon is easy for coders to understand because coding is all about breaking or solving a number of hashes for the sake of data extraction. Same sort of formula is used in cryptocurrency hashes and is used by the miners for solving the algorithms for a successful transaction.

However, the transactions or algorithms which are being solved by the miners arenot confirmed in nature. Moreover, some people believe that small change in theoverall value of the hash wont impact its entire output, however, it is important tounderstand that a small change is no doubt capable of altering the proof of workthus resulting in the failure.

If you are interested in less failure attempt backed by the probabilitythen, you should also keep a keen eye on the working of hashes and how they areprocessing the input into fixed output.

Scrypt and SHA are both the valid components of hash function however, theydiffer from each other based on the level of difficulty involved.

As discussed above the entire working of cryptocurrency is dependent on thealgorithms which are responsible for the solving of blocks. Since mining is an opensource task, therefore, the high difficulty level is required to avoid the chances ofany fraud.

According to the cryptocurrency experts, SHA which is also abbreviated as SecureHash Algorithms with series 2, is backed by the highly secure encrypted keysknown as cryptographic functions.

It is important to understand that SHA-2 is designed by the National securityagency and they are operated on the digital data.

This function not only helps in solving of the complex security algorithms,however, it also aims to make the user aware of any changes made in thedownloaded files. For instance, if someone has tried to alter the algorithm filesduring their solving process then, the factor can easily be identified with SHA-2.

Moreover, SHA-S is said to be one of the securest systems because of its inputprocessing system. For instance, only one value is assigned to the single inputwhich is further responsible for the generation of unique hash.

In this way, it is relatively impossible for any person to malicious change thehashes associated with the block codes and use them for causing corruption.

On the other hand, if we talk about Scrypt then, this hash function is not used bythe majority of cryptocurrency however, it is still pretty famous amongst the usersof cryptocurrency.

The working of the Scrypt is basically backed by the password-based system andaccording to a number of researchers, the system of scrypt not highly secure innature, however, it is still capable of consuming a lot of time with money.

It is interesting to see that before the advent of SHA-2, many software companiesused to work on the principles of scrypt because they had no option. However,when SHA-2 was introduced in the market then, companies got the chance ofusing a less expensive coding system and they took the full benefit of theopportunity.

If we look at the entire workability of scrypt then, it is clear that scrypt isnt a badcoding system however, it is important to understand that during the algorithmsolving process, a number of computer intensive programs are running in thebackground and they need the right operations.

When software companies used scrypt, at that time, they faced the difficulty ofmanaging the background programs however, SHA-2 was introduced to solve thevery similar problem and now it is used by a number of cryptocurrencies.

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Cryptojacking Lets Strangers Mine Cryptocurrency With Your …

Theres something new to add to your fun mental list of invisible internet dangers. Joining classic favorites like adware and spyware comes a new, tricky threat called cryptojacking, which secretly uses your laptop or mobile device to mine cryptocurrency when you visit an infected site.

Malicious miners arent new in themselves, but cryptojacking has exploded in popularity over the past few weeks, because it offers a clever twist. Bad guys dont need to sneak software onto your computer to get it going, which can be a resource-intensive attack. Instead, the latest technique uses Javascript to start working instantly when you load a compromised web page. There’s no immediate way to tell that the page has a hidden mining component, and you may not even notice any impact on performance, but someone has hijacked your devicesand electric billfor digital profit.

The idea for cryptojacking coalesced in mid-September, when a company called Coinhive debuted a script that could start mining the cryptocurrency Monero when a webpage loaded. The Pirate Bay torrenting site quickly incorporated it to raise funds, and within weeks Coinhive copycats started cropping up. Hackers have even found ways to inject the scripts into websites like Politifact.com and Showtime, unbeknownst to the proprietors, mining money for themselves off of another sites traffic.

‘Theres no opt-in option or opt-out. Weve observed it putting a real strain on system resources.’

Adam Kujawa, Malwarebytes Labs

So far these types of attacks have been discovered in compromised sites’ source code by usersincluding security researcher Troy Murschwho notice their processor load spiking dramatically after navigating to cryptojacked pages. To protect yourself from cryptojacking, you can add sites you’re worried about, or ones that you know practice in-browser mining, to your browser’s ad blocking tool. There’s also a Chrome extension called No Coin, created by developer Rafael Keramidas, that blocks Coinhive mining and is adding protection against other miners, too.

“Weve seen malicious websites use embedded scripting to deliver malware, force ads, and force browsing to specific websites,” says Karl Sigler, threat intelligence research manager at SpiderLabs, which does malware research for the scanner Trustwave. “Weve also seen malware that focuses on either stealing cryptocurrency wallets or mining in the background. Combine the two together and you have a match made in hell.”

What complicates the cryptojacking wave, experts argue, is that with the right protections in place it could actually be a constructive tool. Coinhive has always maintained that it intends its product as a new revenue stream for websites. Some sites already use a similar approach to raise funds for charitable causes like disaster relief. And observers particularly see in-browser miners as a potential supplement or alternative to digital ads, which notoriously have security issues of their own.

Early adopters like the Pirate Bay have made a pitch to their users that the technology is worth tolerating. “Do you want ads or do you want to give away a few of your CPU cycles every time you visit the site?” Pirate Bay asked its users in mid-September. Most commenters on the feedback request supported in-browser mining if it reduced ads, but one noted that if multiple sites adopt the technique, having multiple tabs open while browsing the web could eat up processing resources.

The concerns run deeper among audiences unaware that their devices are being used without their knowledge or consent. In fact, malware scanners have already begun blocking these mining programs, citing their intrusiveness and opacity. Coinhive, and the rash of alternatives that have cropped up, need to take good-faith steps, like incorporating hard-coded authentication protections and adding caps on how much user processing power they draw, before malware scanners will stop blocking them.

Everything is kind of crazy right now because this just came out, says Adam Kujawa, the director of Malwarebytes Labs, which does research for the scanning service Malwarebytes and started blocking Coinhive and other cryptojacking scripts this week. But I actually think the whole concept of a script-based miner is a good idea. It could be a viable replacement for something like advertising revenue. But were blocking it now just because theres no opt-in option or opt-out. Weve observed it putting a real strain on system resources. The scripts could degrade hardware.

To that end, Coinhive introduced a new version of its product this week, called AuthedMine, which would require user permission to turn their browser into a Monero-generator. “AuthedMine enforces an explicit opt-in from the end user to run the miner,” Coinhive said in a statement on Monday. “We have gone through great lengths to ensure that our implementation of the opt-in cannot be circumvented and we pledge that it will stay this way. The AuthedMine miner will never start without the user’s consent.”

This course-correction is a positive step, but numerous cryptojacking scriptsincluding Coinhive’s originalare already out there for hackers to use, and can’t be recalled now. Experts also see other potential problems with the technique, even if the mining process is totally transparent. “An opt-in option…doesnt eliminate the problems of potential instability introduced by this,” Trustwave’s Sigler says. “When dozens of machines get locked up at a company, or when important work is lost due to a mining glitch, this can have a serious effect on a organizations network.”

And with more malware scanners on the alert, hackers will start to evolve the technology to make it subtler and more difficult to find. As with other types of malware, attackers can bounce victims around to malicious websites using redirect tactics, or incorporate Javascript obfuscation techniques to keep scanners from finding their script-based miners.

Still, the positive potential of in-browser miners seems worth the complications to some. “Im hoping that within a year well see even more evolution of this technology to the point where it cannot be abused by website owners who want to trick people into running these miners,” Malwarebytes’ Kujawa says. “But if it’s only associated with malicious activities, then it might take awhile for the technology to evolve to a place thats more secure, and for anyone to trust using it.”

Like so many web tools, cryptojacking has plenty of promise as an innovationand plenty of people happy to exploit it.

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Avast Internet Security Download – softpedia.com

Avast Internet Security is the most complete suite that the company issues. It bundles an antivirus module, a two-way firewall, antispam and antispyware modules that combine their power to provide an unbreakable wall against all kinds of threats.

Avast! Internet Security uses the same antivirus engine as the companys Pro Antivirus. It provides real-time protection and various scan modes for both your computer and for removable devices as well. A special type of scan is the Boot-Time mode, which scans the operating system right before startup, making sure to clean any infected files (it doesn’t even take long).

In addition to that, the Firewall module builds a shield against hackers and protects your identity against theft. Your efforts are reduced to selecting your network type (work, home or public). An expert mode is available for advanced users (includes user-defined network and packet rules).

Moreover, Avasts Internet Security also provides protection for your email via the Antispam module, a feature that prevents phishing attempts and blocks untrusted senders for Outlook and POP3/IMAP servers.

Maximum safety for your working environment is achieved via the virtualization feature. It goes by the name of Sandbox and its a place that you can use to open applications or webpages that you dont trust.

To top it all off, youve got the SafeZone module that you quickly grow fond of, because it acts as an isolated space for online shopping and e-banking. Your transactions are protected and your activity is not in danger of being tracked.

In conclusion, Avast! Internet Security is a complex protection suite. You can rest assured that it has the ability to protect your computer and your online and social activity in real time.

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Cloud Storage Topics – SearchCloudStorage

The Cloud Backup and Recovery topic section offers resources and best practices for data storage professionals who are mapping a disaster recovery strategy using cloud storage and cloud services. Get the latest news and tips on cloud disaster recovery, and find out how cloud storage impacts restore times, business continuity and the organization of sensitive data. Cloud-based disaster recovery can bring benefits to your IT shop, but should be considered in the larger context of a long-term DR plan. More about Cloud Disaster Recovery

The Cloud Storage Backup and Recovery topic section offers resources and best practices for data storage professionals who are mapping a disaster recovery strategy using cloud storage and cloud services. Get the latest news and tips on cloud disaster recovery, and find out how cloud storage impacts restore times, business continuity and the organization of sensitive data. Cloud-based disaster recovery can bring benefits to your IT shop, but should be considered in the larger context of a long-term DR plan. More about Cloud Storage Backup

The Cloud Storage Management and Standards topic section offers comprehensive resources for data storage professionals looking for information on cloud storage management and cloud standards. Find out how to properly manage your data in the cloud and read our expert advice and guidance on cloud management. Get the latest news and tips on cloud storage strategies and what steps to take for better data management in the cloud. Read our essential guides, special reports and tutorials to keep up with the latest trends in cloud storage management, and see what tips and improvements you can apply to your own management strategy. More about Cloud Management

The Hybrid Cloud Storage topic section offers comprehensive resources for data storage professionals looking for information on hybrid storage clouds. Learn about the pros and cons of hybrid cloud storage and read our expert advice and guidance on hybrid clouds. Get the latest news and tips on using a hybrid cloud model in your environment and what types of environments are suited for hybrid storage clouds. Read our essential guides, special reports and tutorials to catch up on the most recent developments and advances in the hybrid cloud arena, and see what tips and improvements you can apply to your own hybrid cloud. More about Hybrid Cloud

The Private Cloud Storage topic section offers comprehensive resources for data storage professionals looking for information on private clouds. Learn about the pros and cons of private cloud storage and read our expert advice and guidance on private cloud infrastructure. Get the latest news and tips on private cloud providers, private cloud services, plus implementation tips, costs and private cloud management advice. Read our essential guides, special reports and tutorials to catch up on the most recent developments in the private cloud storage space, and see what tips and improvements you can apply to your own private cloud environment. More about Private Cloud

The Public Cloud Storage topic section offers comprehensive resources for data storage professionals looking for information on public clouds. Learn about the pros and cons of public cloud storage and read our expert advice and guidance on public clouds. Get the latest news and tips on public cloud services, public cloud providers, plus costs, implementation tips and common problems storage managers run into when using public clouds. Learn about the best practices regarding public clouds. Read our essential guides, special reports and tutorials to catch up on the most recent developments in the public cloud storage space, and see what tips and improvements you can apply to your own public cloud. More about Public Cloud

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Cloud Storage – 2017 News, Articles and Trends – Tom’s IT Pro

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January 30, 2017 in Best Picks

Before settling on a cloud backup option for your business, check out our buying advice and top picks, which include Amazon S3, Code 42 CrashPlan, OpenDrive, Microsoft Azure and more. Read More

October 13, 2016 in News

PDF signing, sharing through iMessage, viewing files without unlocking are all new business features of Dropbox for iOS. Find out what else is news. Read More

September 2, 2015 in Reviews

eFolders Anchor is a unique EFSS option targeted at MSPs and VARs that offers customers the choice between cloud and on-premises storage, flexible security options and a customizable user interface. Read More

August 11, 2015 in Reviews

Egnyte is one of the few enterprise file sync and share vendors that has a true hybrid cloud strategy bolstered by veteran thought leadership, flexible UI options and a strong focus on security, encryption, as well as auditing and reporting capabilities. Read More

June 25, 2015 in News

Red Hat announced the updated Red Hat Ceph Storage 1.3 and Red Hat Gluster Storage 3.1 software-defined storage solutions. The new versions offer improved performance and data integrity for petabyte scale deployments. Read More

June 18, 2015 in Reviews

Box Enterprise is more than just a simple cloud file sync and share tool. With a strong focus on security, integration and consistent cross-platform usability, Box has a lot to offer business customers and more to come in the near future. Read More

June 4, 2015 in Reviews

Citrix’s ShareFile is a strong enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) solution that offers plenty of security controls and can leverage both cloud and on-premises storage. It’s especially an attractive option for current Citrix customers. Read More

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Cloud Storage – 2017 News, Articles and Trends – Tom’s IT Pro

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Cloud Storage Pricing Comparison: AWS, Azure, Google, and B2

So why do some vendors make it so hard to get information about how much youre storing and how much youre being charged?

Cloud storage is fast becoming the central repository for mission critical information, irreplaceable memories, and in some cases entire corporate and personal histories. Given this responsibility, we believe cloud storage vendors have an obligation to be transparent as possible in how they interact with their customers.

In that light we decided to challenge four cloud storage vendors and ask two simple questions:

The detailed results are below, but if you wish to skip the details and the screen captures (TL;DR), weve summarized the results in the table below.

Our challenge was to upload 1 terabyte of data, store it for one month, and then downloadit.

Cloud Storage Test Details

For our tests, we choose Backblaze B2, Microsofts Azure, Amazons S3, and Google Cloud Storage. Our idea was simple: Upload 1 TB of data to the comparable service for each vendor, store it for 1 month, download that 1 TB, then document and share the results.

Lets start with most obvious observation, the cost charged by each vendor for the test:

Later in this post, well see if we can determine the different cost components (storage, downloading, transactions, etc.) for each vendor, but our first step is to see if we can determine how much data we stored. In some cases, the answer is not as obvious as it would seem.

At the core, a provider of a service ought to be able to tell a customer how much of the service he or she is using. In this case, one might assume that providers of Cloud Storage would be able to tell customers how much data is being stored at any given moment. It turns out, its not that simple.

Backblaze B2

Logging into a Backblaze B2 account, one is presented with a summary screen that displays all buckets. Each bucket displays key summary information, including data currently stored.

Clicking into a given bucket, one can browse individual files. Each file displays its size, and multiple files can be selected to create a size summary.

Summary: Accurate, intuitive display of storage information.

Microsoft Azure

Moving on to Microsofts Azure, things get a little more exciting. There was no area that we could find where one can determine the total amount of data, in GB, stored with Azure.

Theres an area entitled usage, but that wasnt helpful.

We then moved on to Overview, but had a couple challenges.The first issue was that we were presented with KiB (kibibyte) as a unit of measure. One GB (the unit of measure used in Azures pricing table) equates to roughly 976,563 KiB. It struck us as odd that things would be summarized by a unit of measure different from the billing unit of measure.

Summary: Storage is being measured in KiB, but is billed by the GB. Even with a calculator, it is unclear how much storage we are using.

Amazon S3

Next we checked on the data we were storing in S3. We again ran into problems.

In the bucket overview, we were able to identify our buckets. However, we could not tell how much data was being stored.

Drilling into a bucket, the detail view does tell us file size. However, there was no method for summarizing the data stored within that bucket or for multiple files.

Summary: Incomplete. From the file browsing user interface, while summaries of folders can be found, there is no reasonable way to understand how much data is being globally stored.

Google Cloud Storage (GCS)

GCS proved to have its own quirks, as well.

One can easily find the bucket summary, however, it does not provide information on data stored.

Clicking into the bucket, one can see files and the size of an individual file. However, no ability to see data total is provided.

Summary: Incomplete. From the file browsing user interface, there is no reasonable way to understand how much data is being stored.

Test 1 Conclusions

We knew how much storage we were uploading and, in many cases, the user will have some sense of the amount of data they are uploading. However, it strikes us as odd that many vendors wont tell you how much data you have stored. Even stranger are the vendors that provide reporting in a unit of measure that is different from the units in their pricing table.

The cloud storage industry has done itself no favors with its tiered pricing that requires a calculator to figure out whats going on. Setting that aside for a moment, one would presume that bills would be created in clear, auditable ways.

Backblaze

Inside of the Backblaze user interface, one finds a navigation link entitled Billing. Clicking on that, the user is presented with line items for previous bills, payments, and an estimate for the upcoming charges.

One can expand any given row to see the the line item transactions composing each bill.

Heres more detail.

Summary: Available on demand, and the site clearly defines what has and will be charged for.

Azure

Trying to understand the Azure billing proved to be a bit tricky.

On August 6th, we logged into the billing console and were presented with this screen.

As you can see, on Aug 6th, billing for the period of May-June was not available for download. For the period ending June 26th, we were charged nearly a month later, on July 24th. Clicking into that row item does display line item information.

Summary: Available, but difficult to find. The nearly 30 day lag in billing creates business and accounting challenges.

Amazon S3

Amazon presents a clean billing summary and enables users to drill down into line items.

Going to the billing area of AWS, one can survey various monthly bills and is presented with a clean summary of billing charges.

Expanding into the billing detail, Amazon articulates each line item charge. Within each line item, charges are broken out into sub-line items for the different tiers of pricing.

Summary: Available on demand. While there are some line items that seem unnecessary for our test, the bill is generally straight-forward to understand.

Google Cloud Storage (GCS)

This was an area where the GCS User Interface, which was otherwise relatively intuitive, became confusing.

Going to the Billing Overview page did not offer much in the way of an overview on charges.

However, moving down to the Transactions section did provide line item detail on all the charges incurred. However, similar to Azure introducing the concept of KiB, Google introduces the concept of the equally confusing Gibibyte (GiB). While all of Googles pricing tables are listed in terms of GB, the line items reference GiB. 1 GiB is 1.07374 GBs.

Summary: Available, but provides descriptions in units that are not on the pricing table nor commonly used.

Test 2 Conclusions

Clearly, some vendors do a better job than others in making their pricing available and understandable. From a transparency standpoint, its difficult to justify why a vendor would have their pricing table in units of X, but then put units of Y in the user interface.

Transparency: The Backblaze Way

Transparency isnt easy. At Backblaze, we believe in investing time and energy into presenting the most intuitive user interfaces that we can create. We take pride in our heritage in the consumer backup space servicing consumers has taught us how to make things understandable and usable. We do our best to apply those lessons to everything we do.

This philosophy reflects our desire to make our products usable, but its also part of a larger ethos of being transparent with our customers. We are being trusted with precious data. We want to repay that trust with, among other things, transparency.

Its that spirit that was behind the decision to publish our hard drive performance stats, to open source the infrastructure that is behind us having the lowest cost of storage in the industry, and also to open source our erasure coding (the math that drives a significant portion of our redundancy for your data).

Why? We believe its not just about good user interface, its about the relationship we want to build with our customers.

Ahin enjoys writing in the third person, cookies (digital or baked), and the new Chris Stapleton album.

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Cloud Storage Pricing Comparison: AWS, Azure, Google, and B2

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