Category Archives: Cloud

U.S. Pumps $400 million to fund next-gen wireless research 

The U.S. National Science Foundation will spend more than US$400 million over the next seven years to fund next-generation wireless research in an effort to bring super-fast mobile service to the country.

U.S. officials hope the investments, announced Friday, will speed up the county’s move to next-generation 5G mobile service, potentially offering speeds of 10Gbps, and allow for a rapid expansion of the internet of things. 

The next-generation mobile services will enable self-driving cars, an “always on” IoT, smart cities, new virtual reality offerings, and video to aid police, firefighters, and emergency medical responders, said John Holdren assistant to President Barack Obama for science and technology.

“Time and again, history has shown us that when we make sustained federal investments in fundamental academic research and in public-private partnerships … we as a nation reap the benefits,” Holdren said at an NSF event in Washinton, D.C., Friday.

The NSF funding, part of a new White House Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, includes $50 million as part of a partnership with more than 20 mobile companies and trade groups to roll out advanced wireless testing sites in four U.S. cities. The testing will include deployment of small cells to boost signals of high-band, millimeter wave spectrum.

Friday’s announcement piggybacks on a Federal Communications Commission vote Thursday to open up nearly 11 gigahertz of high-band spectrum to 5G and IoT services.

The NSF expects to spend $350 million over the next seven years on fundamental research and testing of next-generation wireless technologies, the agency said.

The FCC and other agencies want to focus on making spectrum available so that wireless companies can experiment with the best ways to deliver new services, said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Some countries have pushed to set 5G standards before moving forward, but not the U.S., he said.

To read more and the original story follow this link to Network World. 

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The Best Cloud Storage

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Access your files anytime, anywhere, and from any device.

I’m a huge fan of using cloud storage and heavily depend on these services to store my files while keeping them secure and easily accessible at any time. I have used just about every different cloud provider that allows users a free account with free storage, which is basically all the major players in the cloud storage field.

I am sharing this information that was gained through research conducted on the best storage providers by Reviews.com. Find the article here.

According to the research, 45 different options (including 26 different apps) for cloud storage services were tested to find the pros and cons and to determine the best all around services.

The best cloud storage providers:

Dropbox

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Dropbox

Best For:       Lightweight Users

Free Storage Space:     2GB

Cheapest Premium Option:     $9.99 for 1TB

File-Size Limit:     Varies

Server Location:    United States

iOS App User Rating:      3.5

Android App User Rating:     4.4

Windows App User Rating:     3.5

Google Drive

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Google Drive

Best For:       Teams and Collaboration

Free Storage Space:      15GB

Cheapest Premium Option:       $1.99 for 100GB

File-Size Limit:         5TB

Server Location:       Worldwide

iOS App User Rating:       4.5

Android App User Rating:        4.3

Windows App User Rating:      3.9

OneDrive

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OneDrive

Best For:       Devoted Windows Users

Free Storage Space:       15GB

Cheapest Premium Option:       $1.99 for 100GB

File-Size Limit:         10GB

Server Location:         Worldwide

iOS App User Rating:         4

Android App User Rating:        4.4

Windows App User Rating:     4.2

Box

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Box

Best For:         Enterprise Solutions

Free Storage Space:        10GB

Cheapest Premium Option:       $10 for 100GB

File-Size Limit:       Varies

Server Location:         Worldwide

iOS App User Rating:        4

Android App User Rating:        4.2

Windows App User Rating:      4.4

The following is from the research done by Reviews.com

How We Found the Best Cloud Storage

We started by compiling a list of 45 different cloud-based software solutions and then we hit the books (well, the internet, that is). We read reviews from the top technology blogs, dissected user guides, toyed with a bunch of settings, and narrowed our list down to our top four recommendations using these five criteria:

1. We removed services that are focused primarily on media- and OS-level backups.

17 disqualified

Of the active users we surveyed, 53 percent primarily use cloud storage for media and file sharing, so our best picks had to be well-rounded, and not focused on automated, system-level backups.

2. We removed services that are just for business and have no personal option.

21 disqualified

Enterprise cloud solutions are technical, and include a plethora of features that most people either don’t need, or would find confusing, such as task management and user comments.

3. We cut all services without extensive support for OS X, Windows, Android, and iOS.

24 disqualified

A huge benefit of cloud storage is that it bridges the gap between operating systems. We only passed services that support all of the most common desktop and mobile operating systems.

4. We cut any cloud storage services that did not offer a freemium version.

33 disqualified

Offering a freemium version is obviously a great way for companies to win new users, but it’s also part of being the best cloud storage service. Not everyone is a power user, after all. And why pay when you don’t have to?

5. We cut any contenders that didn’t have an average of 3.5 stars or higher from the App Store, Google Play Store, and Windows Store.

41 disqualified

If there’s one thing that should be indicative of cloud storage, it’s mobility. Filtering out low-rated mobile apps was a great way to find out which companies really catered to their users. Of course, app scores change with every update and release, but as of our latest update all of our top contenders had high marks.

For more information and the full breakdown of the research conducted by Reviews.com please follow the link below.

Research provided by Reviews.com

90 Percent of All SSL VPN Use Insecure or Outdated Encryption

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Information security firm High-Tech Bridge has conducted a study of SSL VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and discovered that nine out of ten such servers don’t provide the security they should be offering, mainly because they are using insecure or outdated encryption.

An SSL VPN is different from a classic IPSec VPN because it can be used inside a standard Web browser without needing to install specific software on the client-side.

SSL VPNs are installed on servers, and clients connect to the VPN via their browsers alone. This connection between the user’s browser and the VPN server is encrypted with the SSL or TLS protocol.

Three-quarters of all SSL VPNs use untrusted certificates

Researchers from High-Tech Bridge say they analyzed 10,436 randomly selected SSL VPN servers and they found that most of them are extremely insecure.

They claim that 77% of all SSL VPNs use SSLv3 or SSLv2 to encrypt traffic. Both of these two versions of the SSL protocol are considered insecure today. These protocols are so insecure that international and national security standards, such as the PCI DSS and NIST SP 800-52 guidelines, have even gone as far as to prohibit their usage.

Regardless of their SSL version, 76% of all SSL VPN servers also used untrusted SSL certificates. These are SSL certificates that the server has not confirmed, and that attackers can mimic and thus launch MitM (Man-in-the-Middle) attacks on unsuspecting users.

High-Tech Bridge experts say that most of these untrusted certificates are because many SSL VPNs come with default pre-installed certificates that are rarely updated.

Some VPNs still use MD5 to sign certificates

Additionally, researchers also note that 74% of certificates are signed with SHA-1 signatures, and 5% with MD5 hashes, both considered outdated.

41% of all SSL VPNs also used insecure 1024 key lengths for their RSA certificates, even if, for the past years, any RSA key length below 2048 was considered to be highly insecure.

Even worse, one in ten SSL VPNs is still vulnerable to the two-year-old Heartbleed vulnerability, despite patches being available.

Out of all the tested SSL VPNs, researchers say that only 3% followed PCI DSS requirements. None managed to comply with NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) guidelines.

High-Tech Bridge is also providing a free tool that can tell users if their SSL VPN or HTTPS website is actually doing a good job of protecting them.

For the original story follow this link to Softpedia for more information.

Americans are wary about IoT privacy

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Americans are in an “it depends” state when it comes to disclosing personal information over internet-connected devices, according to a new Pew Research Center study. The study proposed different scenarios to which 461 Americans expressed whether they believed being monitored by a device was acceptable, not acceptable, or depended on the situation. Pew Research Center found that some scenarios were acceptable to the majority of Americans, but the answers often came with caveats. For example, most consumers find a security camera in the office acceptable, but with restrictions; one person said, “It depends on whether I would be watched and filmed every minute of the day during everything I do.”

Here are the responses to the IoT-related scenarios the study presented:

• Office surveillance cameras: More than half (54%) of Americans believe that it’s acceptable for a surveillance camera in the workplace, making it the most acceptable of the six proposed scenarios. Another 21% answered “it depends,” while 24% said it would not be acceptable.

• Sharing health information with your doctor: 52% of Americans believe it’s acceptable for their doctor to utilize a website to manage patient records and schedule appointments, 20% answered “it depends,” and 26% thought it was not acceptable. This correlates with iTriage survey, which indicated that 76% of consumers feel comfortable transferring wearable health data to their practitioner. 

• Usage-based auto insurance: 37% of respondents answered it was acceptable for auto insurance companies to collect information via a UBI dongle, such as Progressive’s Snapshot, and offer discounts for safe driving. 45% said it was not acceptable, while 16% said “it depends.”

• Smart thermostat: 27% of respondents said it was acceptable for a smart thermostat in the house to track where the occupant is and share that data. More than half of respondents (55%) said it was not acceptable, and 17% answered “it depends.”

Through focus groups and open-ended answers, Pew narrowed down the top reasons consumers believe sharing information is unacceptable: Through focus groups and open-ended answers, Pew narrowed down the top reasons consumers believe sharing information is unacceptable:

1) The threat of scammers and hackers;
2) Being repeatedly marketed from companies collecting data;
3) They do not want to share their location;
4) They think it’s “creepy”;
5) The companies collecting the data have ulterior motives to use it.

Data privacy will continue to be a big trend as the Internet of Things market matures. Device makers should be transparent about the data being collected and what it’s used for. Further, they should ensure the devices and their associated data storage bases are secure.

To read more of this article and the original story follow this link to Business Insider.

Microsoft offering users 100 GB free OneDrive Storage

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Microsoft is offering OneDrive users 100 GB of free storage, according to an email I received recently. You don’t just get the free storage for being a user, rather you have to sign up for Bing Rewards and from there use Bing as your search engine while being signed in to your Bing account to earn points to receive the free storage.

A screen shot of the email is above but it reads:

To celebrate the launch of OneDrive, we’ve partnered with Bing to bring you a special offer. Simply join Bing Rewards by signing into Bing once and, after just a week of searching, you can earn enough credits to get 100 GB of additional OneDrive storage for a year. It has never been easier to get free storage. Act now. This limited time offer ends soon.

Cloud Based Music Services

Cloud based music services are a great idea, it’s a great way for people to be able to download music and have somewhere to store their data and reinstall/re-download when they need to. It is very convenient to have the options to use cloud based services for data like music, it’s easily accessible and is easy to use to store your data.

Amazon has officially announced the Amazon Cloud Drive and Cloud Player music services. This is almost directly competing with Apple now that Apple has been said to be working on a similar service. So we will see how this plays out and who will have the better overall cloud based music service once we see Amazon and Apple and whoever else may come out with a similar product.

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