Category: General IT

Nobel Prize of Computing

The ACM A.M. Turing Award is an annual prize given by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) to “an individual selected for contributions of a technical nature made to the computing community”. It is stipulated that the contributions “should be of lasting and major technical importance to the computer field”.

According to the Nobel Foundation: “The Nobel Prizes, as designated in the Will of Alfred Nobel, are in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. so, there was no Nobel for Computer Science.

The Turing Award is generally recognized as the highest distinction in computer science and the “Nobel Prize of computing“.

ACMThe award is named after Alan Turing, a British mathematician and reader in mathematics at the University of Manchester. Turing is often credited as being the key founder of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

From 2007 to 2013, the award was accompanied by a prize of US $250,000, with financial support provided by Intel and Google.

Since 2014, the award has been accompanied by a prize of US $1 million, with financial support provided by Google Inc.

The first recipient, in 1966, was Alan Perlis, of Carnegie Mellon University.

The first female recipient was Frances E. Allen of IBM in 2006.

Dabbala Rajagopal “Raj” Reddy is an Indian-American computer scientist is the first person of Asian origin to receive the Turing Award, in 1994, for his work in the field of Artificial Intelligence.

Turing Award 2016 winner:

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the Web

ACM named Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Oxford, the recipient of the 2016 ACM A.M. Turing Award.

TimBerners-Lee was cited for inventing the World Wide Web, the first web browser, and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the Web to scale. Considered one of the most influential computing innovations in history, the World Wide Web is the primary tool used by billions of people every day to communicate, access information, engage in commerce, and perform many other important activities.

“The idea of a web of knowledge originated in a brilliant 1945 essay by Vannevar Bush. Over the next decades, several pieces of the puzzle came together: hypertext, the Internet, personal computing. But the explosive growth of the Web started when Tim Berners-Lee proposed a unified user interface to all types of information supported by a new transport protocol. This was a significant inflection point, setting the stage for everyone in the world, from high schoolers to corporations, to independently build their Web presences and collectively create the wonderful World Wide Web.”

Berners-Lee invented several integrated tools that would underpin the World Wide Web, including:

  • Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) that would serve to allow any object (such as a document or image) on the Internet to be named, and thus identified
  • Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that allows for the exchange, retrieval, or transfer of an object over the Internet
  • Web browser, a software application that retrieves and renders resources on the World Wide Web along with clickable links to other resources, and, in the original version, allowed users to modify web pages and make new links
  • Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that allows web browsers to translate documents or other resources and render them as multimedia web pages.

Berners-Lee launched the world’s first website, http://info.cern.ch, on August 6, 1991. which can still be visited today even after more than two decades of its creation.

In short, the Web is what it is today because of Sir Tim’s brilliant design, based on his synthesis of several key ideas and his technical leadership. The ACM recognizes Sir Tim with the Turing Award for this enduring contribution to the computing community.

ACM will present the 2016 A.M. Turing Award at its annual Awards Banquet on June 24 in San Francisco, California.

Complete listing of A.M. Turing Award Laureates.

Source: Wikipedia,  amturing.acm, network world, the hackernews

Robert Taylor: Computer & Internet pioneer

Robert William Taylor, known as Bob Taylor a computer scientist who was instrumental in the creation of the internet and modern computer, has died on Thursday, April 13, 2017, He was 85.

Robert Taylor

Biographical Synthesis:

Robert William Taylor was born on February 10, 1932, in Dallas (Texas) and was adopted by Rev. Reymond Taylor, a Methodist minister, and his wife Audrey.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in experimental psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. It was there while working on his master’s thesis in experimental psychology, Taylor was dismayed to find that computers of the day were focused on arithmetic and business data processing. They were not interactive; they were clumsy to use and were severely limited in their application. He soon chose to dedicate his career to re-defining computing with a focus on interactive communication, networking, and search technology.

Computer related contributions:
  • Project Manager for NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) in 1961. He directed funding to Douglas Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute, later called SRI International, who helped develop the modern computer mouse.
  • Director of ARPA‘s (Advanced Research Projects Agency)Information Processing Techniques Office from 1965 through 1969. At that time, ARPA funded most of the nation’s computer systems research. Taylor’s ARPA work is best known for his initiation of the ARPAnet, for sponsoring the continued development of interactive computing, and for funding the research base that was necessary to the creation of the nation’s first Ph.D. granting computer science departments. 
  • In 1968 Mr. Taylor and Dr.Licklider wrote a paper together, “The Computer as a Communications Device“, which drew the broad outlines of how computer networks might transform society.
  • Founder and manager of Xerox PARC‘s (Palo Alto Research Center) Computer Science Laboratory (CSL) from 1970 through 1983. CSL researchers became known worldwide for a number of important innovations necessary to the creation of the Internet. CSL invented and built Ethernet, the laser printer, and the PUP (PARC Universal Packet) protocol. PUP was introduced seven years in advance of the implementation of the Internet protocol, TCP/IP. Within Xerox, all of these technologies enabled the construction of the first internet.

    CSL also designed and built the Alto, the first networked personal computer. It was the first to support a graphical user interface, complete with mouse and a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) word processor and which was the antecedent of Microsoft Word. The Alto also contained an early page description language, the antecedent of Adobe’s Postscript. 

    In the 1970s, a number of companies essential to the building of the Internet outside Xerox did not exist: Adobe, Apple, Cisco, Microsoft, Sun, and 3Com were among them. In the 1980s, the early products from all these new companies were based primarily on software and technology created in CSL. All of this work occurred during the period of 1970 to 1983 when Taylor led CSL.

  • Founder and manager of Digital Equipment Corporation’s Systems Research Center (SRC) until 1996. SRC also became a world-class research center. It was best known for advancing distributed personal computing, high-performance/high-reliability local area networks, and search engine technology. The Alta Vista search engine created two years before Google. Taylor retired in 1996
Honors and awards:
  • National Academy of Engineering Draper Prize (2004)
  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation (1999)
  • ACM Software Systems Award (1984)
Quotes:

“The Internet is not about technology; it’s about communication. The Internet connects people who have shared interests, ideas, and needs, regardless of geography.”

Mr. Taylor died of complications of Parkinson’s disease, on Thursday, April 13, 2017

Source: computerhope, computerhistory, wikipedia, ecured, nytimes, theguardian, seattletimes

AIR-GAPPED Computers

AIR-GAPPED Computers

HOW DO YOU remotely hack a computer that is not connected to the internet? Most of the time you can’t, which is why so-called air-gapped computers are considered more secure than others.

Air-gap refers to computers or networks that are not connected directly to the internet or to any other computers that are connected to the internet.

The name arises from the technique of creating a network that is physically separated (with a conceptual air gap) from all other networks.

Air gaps generally are implemented where the system or network requires extra security, such as classified military networks, the payment networks that process credit and debit card transactions for retailers, or industrial control systems that operate critical infrastructure. To maintain security, payment and industrial control systems should only be on internal networks that are not connected to the company’s business network, thus preventing intruders from entering the corporate network through the internet and working their way to sensitive systems.

A true air gap means the machine or network is physically isolated from the internet, and data can only pass to it via a USB flash drive, other removable media, or a firewire connecting two computers directly. But many companies insist that a network or system is sufficiently air-gapped even if it is only separated from other computers or networks by a software firewall. Such firewalls, however, can be breached if the code has security holes or if the firewalls are configured insecurely.

Although air-gapped systems were believed to be more secure in the past, since they required an attacker to have physical access to breach them, recent attacks involving malware that spread via infected USB flash drives have shown the lie to this belief. One of the most famous cases involving the infection of an air-gapped system is Stuxnet, the virus/worm designed to sabotage centrifuges used at a uranium enrichment plant in Iran. Computer systems controlling the centrifuges were air-gapped, so the attackers designed Stuxnet to spread surreptitiously via USB flash drives. Outside contractors responsible for programming the systems in Iran were infected first and then became unwitting carriers for the malware when they brought their laptops into the plant and transferred data to the air-gapped systems with a flash drive.

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The techniques of hacking air gap computers include:

  • AirHopper that turns a computer’s video card into an FM transmitter to capture keystrokes;
  • BitWhisper that relies on heat exchange between two computer systems to stealthily siphon passwords or security keys;

 

 

Researchers in Israel showed how they could siphon data from an air-gapped machine using radio frequency signals and a nearby mobile phone. The proof-of-concept hack involves radio signals generated and transmitted by an infected machine’s video card, which are used to send passwords and other data over the air to the FM radio receiver in a mobile phone.

The method is more than just a concept, however, to the NSA. The spy agency has reportedly been using a more sophisticated version of this technique for years to siphon data from air-gapped machines in Iran and elsewhere. Using an NSA hardware implant called the Cottonmouth-I, which comes with a tiny embedded transceiver, the spy agency can extract data from targeted systems via RF signals and transmit it to a briefcase-sized NSA relay station up to eight miles away.

  • Stealing the secret cryptographic key from an air-gapped computer placed in another room using a Side-Channel Attack.This is the first time when such attack have successfully targeted computer running Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC).

Elliptic Curve Cryptography is a robust key exchange algorithm that is most widely used in everything from securing websites to messages with Transport Layer Security (TLS).

Source: thehackernews, spectrum.ieeewired.com

Interesting Facts About Bitcoin and Blockchain

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, but the blockchain protocol behind it can be used for a variety of non-currency purposes. people are using the blockchain to develop everything from ride-sharingservices to voting applications to cloud storage. Let’s take a closer look at how the blockchain protocol works and how it’s being used.

The most exciting thing about Bitcoin is not Bitcoin at all.People at who is hosting this have created an interesting infographic regarding Blockchain and Bitcoin in general.

blockchain

Source: securityzapwhoishostingthis

How to Remove Password from PDF Files

We receive password protected bank statements, credit card statements, mobile bills and salary slips every month. It’s quite OK to have passwords for PDF files that we rarely use but the situation changes as we use the file more frequently. It can be monotonous and tiresome to type the password each time you need to open the PDF file. Even sometimes we need to share these PDF files, in such cases, we can remove the password protection from a PDF file by decrypting it. PDF decryption is very easy but requires specialized software to do that. In this tutorial, we will see how to remove password from PDF file in a distinct method. The easiest and recommended way to remove password is using the Google Chrome browser.

  1. Drag and drop password protected PDF file into Google Chrome browser.
  2. Google Chrome will now prompt you to enter the password of the file. Enter the password and hit Enter to open the file.
  3. Now go to the File menu in Google Chrome and choose Print (or press Ctrl+P on Windows or Cmd+P on Mac). Choose the destination printer as “Save as PDF” and click the Save

Google Chrome will now save the PDF to your PC but without the password protection. If you re-open this PDF , it will open without  prompting password.

source: sandeep singh, Codegena

You cannot modify the Hosts file or the Lmhosts file in Windows 7 and Windows 10

When you try to change the Hosts file or the Lmhosts file in Microsoft Windows 10, or Windows 7, you may receive an error message that resembles either of the following.

Error message 1

Access to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\ hosts was denied

Error message 2

Cannot create the C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts file.
Make sure that the path and file name are correct.

This issue occurs even though you log on by using an account that has administrative credentials.

WORKAROUND

 

To work around this issue, follow these steps:

  • Click Start 1, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Notepad, and then click Run as administrator.

2If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the    password, or click Allow or Yes.

  • Open the Hosts file or the Lmhosts file, make the necessary changes, and then click Save on the Edit  If using Windows 7, you will need to click Save on the File menu.

source: Microsoft

Li-Fi

Li-Fi stands for Light Fidelity. Li-Fi is a new wireless technology that transmits high-speed data using light (i.e. Visible Light Communication or VLC) rather than radio bands. LiFi is high-speed, bidirectional, networked and mobile wireless communications using light (as opposed to traditional radio frequencies). The term was coined by Prof. Harald Haas and is recognized by the IEEE standardization committee for Optical Wireless Communications.

LTE-WiFi-LiFi-House-Illustration

The term “Li-Fi” (Light Fidelity) is the brainchild of German physicist Harald Haas, who first presented the idea in July 2011 during a TED Talk. Mr. Haas, who is a professor of mobile communications at the University of Edinburgh, founded the company pureLiFi a year after his TED Talk, bringing together groups of researchers who had been researching Li-Fi technology since 2008. The company already has two products, and has recently secured a deal with a French industrial-lighting company Lucibel to utilize Li-Fi in its industrial products from Q3 2016 onward.

Mr. Haas revealed at the Ted Talk that every LED light bulb could be converted into a wireless router with the addition of a small microchip. This is important because aside from transmitting data, Li-Fi proves to be a smart lighting solution, particularly in industrial settings. Illumination and data transmission can all be achieved through what Mr.Haas calls a “cleaner, greener” solution. He claims that in the future, each one of the billions of light bulbs could help transmit Li-Fi in various settings.

With LiFi technology, data travels in the visible light spectrum through LEDs.  This makes it possible to provide wireless internet access at speeds of over 100 Gbps, although this is still in the Lab.

Unlike Wi-Fi network signals, Li-Fi is based on light and can’t penetrate through walls, which makes it more secure from external sniffing. Meanwhile, it also means there is less interference from other devices.

How does VLC work?

When a constant current is applied to an LED light bulb a constant stream of photons are emitted from the bulb which is observed as visible light. If the current is varied slowly the output intensity of the light dims up and down. Because LED bulbs are semi-conductor devices, the current, and hence the optical output, can be modulated at extremely high speeds which can be detected by a photo-detector device and converted back to electrical current. The intensity modulation is imperceptible to the human eye, and thus communication is just as seamless ad RF. Using this technique, high speed information can be transmitted from an LED light bulb.

How_VLC_works

Radio frequency communication requires radio circuits, antennas and complex receivers, whereas Li-Fi is much simpler and uses direct modulation methods similar to those used in low-cost infra-red communications devices such as remote control units. Infra-red communication is limited in power due to eye safety requirements, whereas LED light bulbs have high intensities and can achieve very large data rates.

Li-Fi allows users to roam between lamps and still have connectivity as well as multiple users connecting to the same light and still getting different data streams.

Li-Fi is different from VLC in:

  • Roaming– allows users to move freely between lights and maintain a Skype Video Call.
  • Multiple Access– a single light can let different people browse the internet at the same time.

Benefits of Li-Fi

 LiFi technology provides many benefits for users including speed, energy efficiency and security.

  • Speed

In our tests, LiFi has produced speed of over 100 Gbps (in a controlled environment).  These speeds can be achieved due to low interference (compared to radio frequencies), and high bandwidth due to the visible light spectrum which is 10,000 times more than the RF spectrum and allows for optimal users coverage no matter the number of users.

  • Security

Wi-Fi signals penetrate walls and ceilings, LiFi signals can only be received in the area lit, yet allows for roaming between lights. LiFi is confined to the illuminated area, providing a very controllable environment. The signals cannot travel through walls and are fully secure – essentially eliminating the threat of data being hacked remotely. There is therefore no risk for remote piracy through the LiFi system. This solution is of great interest to sensitive operations such as R&D, defence, banks, security systems, etc.

  • Energy Efficiency

Energy consumption is minimised via the use of LED illumination, with the transmission of data requiring negligible additional power.

  • Safety – an alternative to radio waves, with potentially harmful effects

Visible light wavelengths are harmless to humans, even beneficial at specific wavelengths. LiFi comes as an alternative to radio waves which is a key characteristic to sensitive environments such as hospitals, medical centres, schools, some industrial installations…

  • Data Density

The area covered by one Wi-Fi access point has 10s or 100s of lights. Each LiFi light can deliver the same speed or greater than a Wi-Fi access point. Therefore, in the same area, LiFi can provide 10x or 100x or 1000x greater wireless capacity. That is Mbps per square meter.

  • Localization

The dense location of lights can be used for positioning and location based services (LBS) to deliver robust positioning and reliable connectivity.

LiFi_vs_WiFi

Li-Fi does not interfere with radio signals and can hence be used in areas where interference is an issue, such as during a flight. Li-Fi also operates on the visible light spectrum, which is 10,000 times larger than the more restricted spectrum for radio waves. With a rising number of spectrums being used for Wi-Fi, the technology is soon expected to run out of spectrums to accommodate users. This could lead to data traffic congestion, which is already an issue many will have experienced in the form of low Wi-Fi speeds in crowded areas.

Source: purelifibidnessetcthehackernews