Daily Tech Digest - August 22, 2017

How Google is speeding up the Internet

BBR is not the first effort to speed up TCP. Researchers at North Carolina State University are credited with developing one of the most popular loss-based congestion control algorithms used in TCP today, named binary increase congestion control (BIC) and subsequently, CUBIC. At a high level, these also record measurements to estimate the optimal speed at which to send data when congestion is detected. Another congestion control algorithm that has become popular is named Reno. These all use packet loss to determine congestion, though Jacobson, the Google engineer who developed BBR, says that to his knowledge BBR is the only TCP algorithm that actually estimates the speed of traffic to determine the best way to send it, regardless of whether packets have been lost.


Artificial intelligence will let us outsource tedious tasks to our phones

This week marks the debut of Essential’s first gadget. The Essential Phone is an anomaly: a sleek, premium smartphone not designed by Apple, Samsung or a discount Chinese brand. It has a mirrored ceramic back, titanium edges, a display that covers most the phone’s front and a magnetic connector for a new world of accessories and hardware upgrades that he says will let people hang onto their phones longer. Rubin recognizes that Essential confronts formidable competition, especially from Apple and Samsung. But while he applauds the former’s brand power and the latter’s vertical integration, he said “every saturated market needs a disruption. When there’s a duopoly, that’s the time to do it.”


Doing things right: Cloud and SecOps adoption

The goal of SecOps is to help companies deliver software more efficiently and more securely, while reducing risk for the organization over time. The reality is that due to the new operating model in cloud environments security and operations teams must work together as the security team identifies risks and then works with operations to remediate them. “No matter what resources you do or do not have at hand, including personnel, budget, or tools, SecOps is both critical and achievable,” he believes. But one thing crucial to its implementation is leadership buy-in – the people in charge must realize that security is on equal footing with availability and performance. “If the e-retail boom taught suppliers that they must invest in site availability like they would to ensure their brick-and-mortar has its lights on, they must also invest in security like they would to ensure that the alarms work and doors lock.”


New York University Abu Dhabi researchers develop 'unhackable' computer chip

The chip has a secret key that makes it virtually impossible to access and would only function for authorised users. “Without the secret key, the chips cannot be made functional,” he said.  “The functionality of chip - what it does, how it does it - can only be known if the secret key is known.” A patent application has been filed at the US Patent Office. The researchers are creating a web-based platform to make information about the chip available to the public.  An extensive research paper by NYUAD’s Design for Excellence team will be presented in November at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in the US. “These are all theoretically proven points and we will present this at a top cyber security conference, but we need to test our claims practically as well," said Mr Sinanoglu.


Calls for UK boards to be better educated on cyber threats

One of the most worrying aspects is the lack of understanding of the serious nature that ignorance brings, said Simmonds. This ignorance has led to a lack of basic cyber hygiene, with companies typically lacking basic security controls and processes, and failing to train employees at all levels from the board down on how to deal with cyber threats. “This has been a consistent theme of Verizon’s annual Data breach investigations report over the past 10 years,” said Laurance Dine, managing principal of investigative response at Verizon. “We’ve seen that the majority of data breaches could so easily have been prevented if basic measures and protocols had been in place. For example, we often see that around two-thirds of breaches are traced back to weak, stolen or lost passwords, which could easily be prevented using two-factor authentication.


How To Choose The Right Enterprise Mobility Management Tool

A key to choosing the best EMM solution is aligning the features and capabilities of the platform to your organization’s requirements. This includes such factors as what types of business apps users typically work with, what security and regulatory compliance requirements the company has, what sort of network and service management features it needs, which mobile operating systems are in use, what level of reporting capabilities is needed, and so on. Selecting the right platform isn’t just a matter of getting the most features, but acquiring the features that best meet the organization's requirements. “Organizational needs relating to mobility differ considerably, as do the infrastructure environments into which mobility solutions will be implemented,” Holtby says.


Are you ready for state-sponsored zombie malware attacks?

Zombie malware combines the most deadly aspects of malware and zombie computers into one horrible mess. Typically malware gets into a compute device via phishing or email attachment which limits the scale of the attack. In contrast, zombie malware autonomously hunts for vulnerable systems across LAN, WiFi and VPN connections. Once zombie malware finds a system to infect, it utilizes the new host to scan for other systems which can be anywhere on the globe. Another key aspect of zombie malware is the lack of a control channel to manage its destructive path (unlike zombie computers used in DDoS attack). Subsequently zombie malware just destroys anything it can connect to. For example, the NotPetya started on Ukraine government systems but then quickly spread around the globe.


How to get Android 8.0 Oreo on your Pixel or Nexus right now

While Google's own Pixel and Nexus devices are almost always first in line for a fresh Android rollout, this year's dessert-themed delight isn't actually quite ready to be served to everyone just yet. Google says it's in the midst of "carrier testing" with the Pixel, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P Oreo builds and expects to start sending updates out to those devices soon. ... Realistically, the wait for Pixel and Nexus owners to get Oreo as an official over-the-air update likely won't be long. But we tech enthusiasts are a notoriously impatient bunch, and when something new is available, gosh darn it, we must have it. Well, not to fear, my fellow shiny-new-software fanatics: If you own a Pixel, Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P, you can actually get Android 8.0 Oreo on your phone this very minute — with the help of a handy little hack.


The cloud could drive open source out of the enterprise

First of all, open source’s no-cost attribute means less in the cloud. Public cloud providers will charge you for the time you use their cloud to access open source software—or any software. Thus, it doesn’t really matter if you AWS Linux, Red Hat Linux, or closed-source platforms from Microsoft, because they are all “free” yet cost the same in cloud time charges for access. The same is true with the databases; there’s not much different in your monthly cloud bill if you use open source databases versus closed source, or those that are native to a specific cloud such AWS Red Shift. If there is not a dramatic cost advantage, most enterprises won’t care about the platforms that they use in the long run, and that takes away one of open source’s historic strengths.


How to set up an all open-source IT infrastructure from scratch

Not choosing Microsoft Windows is the first obvious decision here. The cost is to high (both in terms of up-front monetary investment and recurring costs associated with securing a closed platform). MacOS is, for the same reason, off the table.  What specific platform I chose, at that point, comes down to what my specific needs are within the organization. Chance are I would select a Linux-based platform (either a free Linux distribution – Debian, openSUSE, Fedora, etc. – or a similar system with paid support). Support is the main reason to consider a paid, closed system anyway, so might as well get all the benefits with none of the drawbacks of a system like Windows. Save money, increase security. No brainer.  For applications, I’d also standardize around LibreOffice for the office suite and one of the several open-source web browsers (such as Firefox).



Quote for the day:


"Knowledge Management is the art of creating value from intangible assets." -- Karl-Erik Sveiby