IBM’s New Osprey Processor Advances Quantum Computing

IBM has achieved a new milestone in chips developed for quantum computing with the newly debuted 433-qubit Osprey chip. That’s more than three times the qubits of the 127-qubit Eagle chip IBM introduced last year. The company has its sights set on a more than 4,000-qubit system that it plans to unveil in 2025. Quantum computers solve problems faster and more accurately than classical computers and can find exact solutions to problems that today’s top computers can only guess at, known as the “quantum advantage.” Eventually, quantum computers are expected to contain millions of qubits. Continue reading IBM’s New Osprey Processor Advances Quantum Computing

Big Tech Ramps Up Digital Security with Passkey Deployment

Now that Apple, Google and Microsoft have updated their operating systems to support the open standard passkey protocol stewarded by the FIDO Alliance, consumers will soon be liberated from the tyranny of passwords and their attendant security threats. PayPal has become the latest to embrace the passkey approach, announcing U.S. users will soon be able to log in using FIDO-compliant passkeys. It joins Best Buy, CardPointers, eBay, Kayak and WordPress among those with digital portals offering a passkey option. Passkeys will permit consumers to login seamlessly across devices, making online purchases easier and eliminating friction from app access. Continue reading Big Tech Ramps Up Digital Security with Passkey Deployment

Apple Passkey Implementation Begins This Month via iOS 16

The world is preparing for a passwordless future, which Apple provides with the September 12 launch of iOS 16 and macOS Ventura next month. Known as passkeys, the password replacement will work across iPhones, iPads, and Macs, letting users log in to apps and websites and create new accounts without having to store a password. Made from a cryptographic key pair, the passkey is synced across iCloud’s Keychain. Google, Microsoft, Meta Platforms and Amazon are also in various stages of developing passkeys using standards created by the FIDO Alliance, which means they’ll all likely be interoperable. Continue reading Apple Passkey Implementation Begins This Month via iOS 16

Espresso Raises $32M in Its Bid to Advance Blockchain Tech

Cryptography experts from Stanford University are brewing up Espresso, a new Layer-1 system that aims to crack the so-called ‘blockchain trilemma’ of balancing decentralization, security and scalability. Described as a privacy-focused blockchain geared to those who find the public-facing aspect of most platforms unsuitable for their sensitive data, Espresso Systems is building “solutions that will unlock new possibilities for Web3 applications and usher in the next generation of users.” The company stepped out of the lab this week to introduce itself with $32 million in funding, led by Electric Capital and Greylock Partners. Continue reading Espresso Raises $32M in Its Bid to Advance Blockchain Tech

Google Announces Plans to Bring Electronic IDs to Android

On the final day of its annual I/O developer conference in Mountain View last week, Google announced plans to bring Electronic IDs like driver’s licenses and club memberships to Android, and that all new Android Q devices would be required to encrypt user data. These developments could move users one step closer to using digital wallets as valid identification for in-person transactions. As part of the announcement, Google indicated that it’s looking into adding Electronic ID support so developers can build mobile apps for secure ID use.

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Quantum Computing Era Approaches as Moore’s Law Ends

Quantum computing is coming and it’s safe to say that only a handful of people know what it is. At NAB 2019, USC Viterbi School of Engineering Ph.D. candidate Bibek Pokharel did an excellent job of breaking down the basics. First, according to quantum computer scientists, all the computers we have used thus far are “classical computers.” Although IBM, Intel, Google, Microsoft, Rigetti and D-Wave have built quantum computers, the task is so incredibly complex that you won’t be able to purchase one at Best Buy. Continue reading Quantum Computing Era Approaches as Moore’s Law Ends

Google, Yubico Security Keys May Lead to End of Passwords

Swedish-based Yubico, in business for 10 years, debuted its latest online security product, YubiKey 5, a device that plugs into a computer to authenticate the user with a “handshake” that is more secure than a password or authentication code. Google has come out with a similar device, the Titan Key. Both devices can also be used with some smartphones, by plugging into a port or via a wireless communication. These keys are the first arrivals in an Internet security strategy that might displace the password. Continue reading Google, Yubico Security Keys May Lead to End of Passwords

Microsoft Is Developing Cost-Effective Security for IoT Devices

IoT security researchers at Microsoft Research are focused on the near future when microcontrollers, which are small, low-power computers on a single chip, gain connectivity. Microcontrollers are already installed in billions of gadgets, so their eventual connectivity will explode the number of Internet of Things devices, all of which will require greater security. Microsoft Research’s Project Sopris aims to provide cost-effective security for microcontrollers, which currently don’t have enough compute power to offer security. Continue reading Microsoft Is Developing Cost-Effective Security for IoT Devices

ARM Proposes Security Framework Standard for IoT Devices

Consumer confidence in the Internet of Things can be easily rattled by reports of compromised privacy, such as when researchers found that some baby monitors had been turned into surveillance devices. The SoftBank Group-owned U.K. chip manufacturer ARM, however, has introduced a potential solution: a security framework for IoT devices from home appliances and children’s toys to vehicles and streetlights. Up until now, the many IoT manufacturers haven’t agreed on a single security standard, something ARM hopes to remedy. Continue reading ARM Proposes Security Framework Standard for IoT Devices

Harvard Scientists Store Motion Picture Clip on DNA Strand

Storing information, including film, on DNA sounds like science fiction, but Harvard Medical School researchers just encoded Eadweard Muybridge’s 1878 film of a galloping horse onto a strand of DNA in a living cell, from which it can be retrieved and multiplied indefinitely. This is a first, but other researchers previously recorded all of Shakespeare’s sonnets on DNA, and Harvard geneticist George Church, one of the new study’s researchers, did the same with his book “Regenesis” and made 90 billion copies of it. Continue reading Harvard Scientists Store Motion Picture Clip on DNA Strand

Microsoft Encourages Testing of New IoT Security Paradigm

Security is a top concern for the Internet of Things, in particular when large numbers of IoT devices are deployed in an organization. There’s been a rise in attacks on such devices, via botnets, and a search engine, Shodan, is dedicated to finding unsecured IoT hardware endpoints. In that context, Microsoft, which is updating its Azure IoT toolset, is also testing a new approach to securing and managing such devices. Dubbed Project Sopris, Microsoft Research hopes to mix secure hardware and a secure communications channel. Continue reading Microsoft Encourages Testing of New IoT Security Paradigm

Signal App Update Adds Ability to Make Encrypted Video Calls

The Signal app from non-profit Open Whisper Systems provides end-to-end encrypted messaging, voice calling, and now video chatting. The new feature, along with improved voice calling functionality, comes as part of a beta update for the app’s Android and iOS versions. Signal is a popular choice for activists and journalists who need a private communications platform, but it is still struggling to find a foothold in the mainstream because it sacrifices some popular features for security.  Continue reading Signal App Update Adds Ability to Make Encrypted Video Calls

Newly Published Google Overview Spells Out Security Details

In a recently published Infrastructure Security Design Overview, Google explains its six layers of security for the cloud it uses for its own operations and its public cloud services. The company also revealed that it designs custom chips, “including a hardware security chip that is currently being deployed on both servers and peripherals,” that allow it to “securely identify and authenticate legitimate Google devices at the hardware level.” The chip works with cryptographic signatures validated during each boot or update. Continue reading Newly Published Google Overview Spells Out Security Details

Google Key Transparency Project to Boost Messaging Security

To improve encryption, Google has launched an open source project, Key Transparency, a follow-up to its Certificate Transparency, both of which focus on the need to verify the authenticity of the person or server the user believes he is connecting to. Keybase, a collection of verified users and their “cryptographic credentials” is one solution, but Google now wants to ascertain that the contacts are verified systematically and are privacy-protected, by having the address “double-check” itself. Continue reading Google Key Transparency Project to Boost Messaging Security

Harder to Trace Than Bitcoin, Zcash Virtual Currency Debuts

Zcash is the latest in virtual currency, designed by academics with advanced cryptography to be untraceable. After only a few days on the market, Zcash is soaring in popularity, with investors paying over $1,000 for a single unit. The company, led by developer Zooko Wilcox, has already received $3 million from several Silicon Valley venture capitalists as well as the support of computer scientists at Johns Hopkins University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and privacy advocates. Continue reading Harder to Trace Than Bitcoin, Zcash Virtual Currency Debuts