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Archive for the ‘encryption’ category

Aug 1, 2018

Futurists in Ethiopia are betting on artificial intelligence to drive development

Posted by in categories: encryption, government, internet, mobile phones, robotics/AI, surveillance

“We should not start from steam and railways, or the old technologies—that is already done,” Assefa argues.

That makes sense to academics like Singh — though he also cautions that political forces are often slow to see the bigger picture. There is definitely an opportunity for developing countries, he says. “But any time we have a technological revolution, the political institutions have to catch up.”

A 2017 report (pdf) by the World Wide Web Foundation suggested that Ethiopian “intelligence services are using machine intelligence techniques to break encryption and find patterns in social media posts that can be used to identify dissidents.” And while mobile phone and internet penetration in Ethiopia is comparatively poor—a situation made worst amid widespread anti-government protests, which prompted an internet crackdown in February — the report added that government surveillance and oppression could increase as the use of smartphones expands.

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Jul 23, 2018

Ytterbium: The quantum memory of tomorrow

Posted by in categories: encryption, internet, quantum physics, security

Quantum communication and cryptography are the future of high-security communication. But many challenges lie ahead before a worldwide quantum network can be set up, including propagating the quantum signal over long distances. One of the major challenges is to create memories with the capacity to store quantum information carried by light. Researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, in partnership with CNRS, France, have discovered a new material in which an element, ytterbium, can store and protect the fragile quantum information even while operating at high frequencies. This makes ytterbium an ideal candidate for future quantum networks, where the aim is to propagate the signal over long distances by acting as repeaters. These results are published in the journal Nature Materials.

Quantum cryptography today uses optical fibre over several hundred kilometres and is marked by its high degree of security: it is impossible to copy or intercept information without making it disappear.

However, the fact that it is impossible to copy the signal also prevents scientists from amplifying it to diffuse it over long distances, as is the case with the Wi-Fi network.

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Jul 21, 2018

How cryptography enables online shopping, cloud tech, and the blockchain

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, encryption

What do the Gallic Wars and online shopping have in common? The answer, believe it or not, is cryptography. Cryptography is the cement of the digital world, but it also has a long history that predates the digital era.

Most people do not realize that cryptography is a foundational element to our modern society. At it’s heart cryptography is about access to data, and controlling who can see and use it.

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Jul 7, 2018

Synthetic Diamonds Lead Princeton Team to Quantum Computing Breakthrough

Posted by in categories: computing, encryption, quantum physics

Electrical engineers at Princeton, working with UK manufacturer Element Six, created synthetic diamonds capable of storing and transmitting quantum information, as published in the journal ‘Science’ on Thursday. The research is a major advance for the creation of quantum-encrypted communications.

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Jun 14, 2018

Why a DNA data breach is much worse than a credit card leak

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cybercrime/malcode, encryption, genetics, health, neuroscience

As the Equifax hack last year showed, there’s a lack of legislation governing what happens to data from a breach. And ultimately, a breach of genetic data is much more serious than most credit breaches. Genetic information is immutable: Vigna points out that it’s possible to change credit card numbers or even addresses, but genetic information cannot be changed. And genetic information is often shared involuntarily. “Even if I don’t use 23andMe, I have cousins who did, so effectively I may be genetically searchable,” says Ram. In one case, an identical twin having her genetic data sequenced created a tricky situation for her sister.


This week, DNA testing service MyHeritage revealed that hackers had breached 92 million of its accounts. Though the hackers only accessed encrypted emails and passwords — so they never reached the actual genetic data — there’s no question that this type of hack will happen more frequently as consumer genetic testing becomes more and more popular. So why would hackers want DNA information specifically? And what are the implications of a big DNA breach?

One simple reason is that hackers might want to sell DNA data back for ransom, says Giovanni Vigna, a professor of computer science at UC Santa Barbara and co-founder of cybersecurity company Lastline. Hackers could threaten to revoke access or post the sensitive information online if not given money; one Indiana hospital paid $55,000 to hackers for this very reason. But there are reasons genetic data specifically could be lucrative. “This data could be sold on the down-low or monetized to insurance companies,” Vigna adds. “You can imagine the consequences: One day, I might apply for a long-term loan and get rejected because deep in the corporate system, there is data that I am very likely to get Alzheimer’s and die before I would repay the loan.”

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Jun 12, 2018

Britain’s first ‘unhackable’ internet network may solve quantum computing threat

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, encryption, finance, internet, quantum physics

S cientists have created the UK’s first ever “unhackable” fibre network in anticipation of the dawn of quantum computers, a technology that could render current security systems completely useless and leave critical infrastructure, banking and healthcare networks open to hackers.

The network, constructed by researchers from BT, the University of York and the University of Cambridge over the past two years, is secured by the laws of quantum physics which dictate how light and matter behave at a fundamental level. Using this, it is able to block anyone attempting to crack into the fibre link.

This could be a game changer for the healthcare and financial sector, when it is feared existing encryption…

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Jun 8, 2018

Edward Snowden: ‘The people are still powerless, but now they’re aware’

Posted by in categories: encryption, privacy, security

Developers at major technology companies, outraged by the Snowden disclosures, started pushing back. Some, such as those at WhatsApp, which was bought by Facebook a year after the story broke, implemented their own encryption. Others, such as Yahoo’s Alex Stamos, quit rather than support further eavesdropping. (Stamos is now the head of security at Facebook.)


Five years after historic NSA leaks, whistleblower tells the Guardian he has no regrets.

Mon 4 Jun 2018 13.00 EDT Last modified on Tue 5 Jun 2018 04.46 EDT.

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Jun 6, 2018

Quantum Computing: Is it the end of blockchain?

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cybercrime/malcode, encryption, internet, quantum physics

E xperts are suggesting quantum computing may render blockchain obsolete. As the tech giants such as Google and IBM are showing interest in Quantum computing the danger is evident. According to MIT Technology Review, this type of computing can hack the cryptography hash that universally secures the blockchain and in general the internet. This would suggest quantum computers may complete fraudulent transactions and steal coins. With its exponential power, quantum computers threaten blockchain’s future security.

Blockchain consists of encrypted nodes connected on a chain, which currently makes it almost impossible to hack. The order of entries adheres to the blockchain protocol, which makes it counterfeit-resistant.

To successfully hack a blockchain, you would need to alter both the targeted block and all of the blocks connected. Blockchains are synced throughout a peer-to-peer network. In this type of system, there is no central point of failure for hackers to penetrate. For a hacker to have a chance of penetrating the network, they would need to simultaneously alter at least 51% of the blockchain.

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May 20, 2018

Terrorists Are Going to Use Artificial Intelligence

Posted by in categories: encryption, robotics/AI, terrorism

Machine-learning technology is growing ever more accessible. Let’s not have a 9/11-style ‘failure of imagination’ about it.

There is a general tendency among counterterrorism analysts to understate rather than hyperbolize terrorists’ technological adaptations. In 2011 and 2012, most believed that the “Arab Spring” revolutions would marginalize jihadist movements. But within four years, jihadists had attracted a record number of foreign fighters to the Syrian battlefield, in part by using the same social media mobilization techniques that protesters had employed to challenge dictators like Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Hosni Mubarak, and Muammar Qaddafi.

Militant groups later combined easy accessibility to operatives via social media with new advances in encryption to create the “virtual planner” model of terrorism. This model allows online operatives to provide the same offerings that were once the domain of physical networks, including recruitment, coordinating the target and timing of attacks, and even providing technical assistance on topics like bomb-making.

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May 1, 2018

If quantum computers threaten blockchains, quantum blockchains could be the defense

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, business, computing, encryption, quantum physics

Business Impact

If quantum computers threaten blockchains, quantum blockchains could be the defense.

Quantum computers could break the cryptography that conventional blockchains rely on. Now physicists say a way of entangling the present with the past could foil this type of attack.

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