"crypto" entries

Four short links: 4 April 2016

Four short links: 4 April 2016

Verilog to DNA, Crypto Sequencing, How-To Network, and Quantified Baby

  1. Cello CAD — Verilog-like compiler that emits DNA sequences. Github repo has more, and Science paper forthcoming.
  2. Privacy-Preserving Read Mapping Using Locality Sensitive Hashing and Secure Kmer Voting — crypographically preserved privacy when using cloud servers for read alignment as part of genome sequencing.
  3. How to Network in Five Easy Steps (Courtney Johnston) — aimed at arts audience, but just as relevant to early-career tech folks.
  4. Quantified BabyThe idea of self-tracking for children raises thorny questions of control and consent, Nafus said. Among hard-core practitioners, the idea has not really taken off, even as related products have started hitting the market.
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Four short links: 31 March 2016

Four short links: 31 March 2016

Accountable Machines, Forbidden Gaming, Make Things, and Crypto Monoculture

  1. Accountable MachinesSome of the proposals discussed at our workshop included having machine learning processes verify the outcomes of algorithmic decisions and provide transparency, and that systems should be designed to permit auditing as well as to audit other related systems. To me this appeared as an especially accountable version of bureaucracy, where results from each system’s accounting dynamically report up through an iterative (but still accountable) chain of command. This is not bureaucratic in the sense of inventing process for its own sake, but it is bureaucratic in the sense that it establishes many processes of accountability that are the responsibility of entities who report to one another through a structure where trust is related to the capacity to validate decisions.
  2. Russia Bans Queue — banned the Polish board game that recreates the experience of life under Communism. Games that are simulations are effective educational experiences, too effective for Russia.
  3. Tech Economies Must Still Make Things (Vaclav Smil) — Bill Gates’s favorite scientist/policy analyst weighs in on the next economy. Take away manufacturing and you’re left with…selfies.
  4. On the Impending Crypto Monoculture (Peter Gutmann) — A number of IETF standards groups are currently in the process of applying the second-system effect to redesigning their crypto protocols. A major feature of these changes includes the dropping of traditional encryption algorithms and mechanisms like RSA, DH, ECDH/ECDSA, SHA-2, and AES, for a completely different set of mechanisms, including Curve25519 (designed by Dan Bernstein et al), EdDSA (Bernstein and colleagues), Poly1305 (Bernstein again) and ChaCha20 (by, you guessed it, Bernstein). What’s more, the reference implementations of these algorithms also come from Dan Bernstein (again with help from others), leading to a never-before-seen crypto monoculture in which it’s possible that the entire algorithm suite used by a security protocol, and the entire implementation of that suite, all originate from one person. How on earth did it come to this?
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Four short links: 11 February 2016

Four short links: 11 February 2016

Surviving Crashes, Thumbs-Up Thumbs-Down Learning, Faster Homomorphic Encryption, and Nerdy V-Day Cards

  1. All File Systems are Not Created Equal: On the Complexity of Crafting Crash Consistent Applications (Paper a Day) — an important subject for me. BOB, the Block Order Breaker, is used to find out what behaviours are exhibited by a number of modern file systems that are relevant to building crash consistent applications. ALICE, the Application Level Intelligent Crash Explorer, is then used to explore the crash recovery behaviour of a number of applications on top of these file systems.
  2. BinaryNet: Training Deep Neural Networks with Weights and Activations Constrained to +1 or -1 (Arxiv) — instead of complex positive/negative floating-point weights, this uses +1 and -1 (which I can’t help but think of as “thumbs up”, “thumbs down”) to get nearly state-of-the-art results because a run-time, BinaryNet drastically reduces memory usage and replaces most multiplications by 1-bit exclusive-not-or (XNOR) operations, which might have a big impact on both general-purpose and dedicated Deep Learning hardware. GPLv2 code available.
  3. Microsoft Speeds Up Homomorphic Encryption (The Register) — homomorphic encryption lets databases crunch data without needing keys to decode it.
  4. Nerdy Valentine Cards (Evil Mad Scientist) — for a nerd in your life. (via Cory Doctorow)
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Four short links: 10 February 2016

Four short links: 10 February 2016

Bitcoin Textbook, Brain Books, Post-Quantum Crypto, and Amazon's Game Engine

  1. Princeton Bitcoin Book (PDF) — The Coursera course accompanying this book had 30,000 students in its first version, and it was a success based on engagement and end-of-course feedback. Large introduction to Bitcoin from Princeton. (via Cory Doctorow)
  2. A Quartet of Complementary Brain Books (Vaughan Bell) — The books have been chosen to complement each other and the idea is that if you read all four, you should have a solid grounding in modern cognitive neuroscience and beyond.
  3. NIST Report on Post-Quantum Cryptography (PDF) — in case you missed it, “post-quantum crypto” is “existing crypto relies on how hard it is to find the prime factors of large numbers, of which we suspect quantum computers may make a mockery. Wut to do?” The goal of post-quantum cryptography (also called quantum-resistant cryptography) is to develop cryptographic systems that are secure against both quantum and classical computers, and can interoperate with existing communications protocols and networks.
  4. Amazon Lumberyarda free, cross-platform, 3D game engine for you to create the highest-quality games, connect your games to the vast compute and storage of the AWS Cloud, and engage fans on Twitch. From Amazon.
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Four short links: 5 February 2016

Four short links: 5 February 2016

Signed Filesystem, Smart Mirror, Deep Learning Tuts, and CLI: Miami

  1. Introducing the Keybase Filesystem — love that crypto is making its way into the filesystem.
  2. DIY Smart Bathroom Mirror — finally, someone is building this science-fiction future! (via BoingBoing)
  3. tensorflow tutorials — for budding deep learners.
  4. clmystery — a command-line murder mystery.
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Four short links: 21 January 2016

Four short links: 21 January 2016

Hidden Networks, Dissolving Sensors, Spies Spy, and Redirected Walking

  1. Big Bang Data: Networks of London (YouTube) — guide to the easy-to-miss networks (fibre, CCTV, etc.) around Somerset House, where an amazing exhibition is about to launch. The network guide is the work of the deeply talented Ingrid Burrington.
  2. Sensors Slip into the Brain and then Dissolve When Done (IEEE Spectrum) — pressure and temperature monitors, intended to be implanted in the brain, that completely dissolve within a few weeks. The news, published as a research letter in the journal Nature, described a demonstration of the devices in rats, using soluble wires to transmit the signals, as well as the demonstration of a wireless version, though the data transmission circuit, at this point, is not completely resorbable. The research was published as a letter to Nature.
  3. GCHQ Proposes Surveillable Voice Call Encryption (The Register) — unsurprising, but should reiterate AGAIN that state security services would like us to live in the panopticon. Therefore, don’t let the buggers anywhere near the reins of our communication systems.
  4. These Tricks Make Virtual Reality Feel RealScientists are exploiting the natural inaccuracies in people’s own proprioception, via a technique called “redirected walking,” to create the perception of space where none exists. With redirected walking, […] users can sense they are exploring the twisting byways of a virtual city when in reality they are simply walking in circles inside a lab. Original Redirect Walking paper.

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Four short links: 15 December 2015

Four short links: 15 December 2015

Barbie Broken, JSON Database, Lightbulb DRM, and Graph Database

  1. Crypto is Hard says Hello BarbieWe discovered several issues with the Hello Barbie app including: it utilizes an authentication credential that can be re-used by attackers; it connects a mobile device to any unsecured Wi-Fi network if it has “Barbie” in the name; it shipped with unused code that serves no function but increases the overall attack surface. On the server side, we also discovered: client certificate authentication credentials can be used outside of the app by attackers to probe any of the Hello Barbie cloud servers; the ToyTalk server domain was on a cloud infrastructure susceptible to the POODLE attack. (via Ars Technica)
  2. Kinto — Mozilla’s open source lightweight JSON storage service with synchronisation and sharing abilities. It is meant to be easy to use and easy to self-host.
  3. Philips Blocks 3rd Party Lightbulbs — DRM for light fixtures. cf @internetofsh*t
  4. gaffer — GCHQ-released open source graph database. …a framework that makes it easy to store large-scale graphs in which the nodes and edges have statistics such as counts, histograms, and sketches. These statistics summarise the properties of the nodes and edges over time windows, and they can be dynamically updated over time. Gaffer is a graph database, rather than a graph processing system. It is optimised for retrieving data on nodes of interest. IHNJH,IJLTS “nodes of interest.”
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Four short links: 8 December 2015

Four short links: 8 December 2015

Open Source ZeroDB, HTTP Statuses, Project Activity, and Database Readings

  1. ZeroDB is Open Source — end-to-end encrypted database goes open source (AGPL, *ptui*).
  2. Choosing an HTTP Status Code — or “an alternative to engineers duelling.”
  3. Open Source Monthly — views of open source projects through their GitHub activity.
  4. Readings in Database Science (5ed) — HTML and PDF versions of the papers.
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Four short links: 4 December 2015

Four short links: 4 December 2015

Bacterial Research, Open Source Swift, Deep Forger, and Prudent Crypto Engineering

  1. New Antibiotics Research Direction — most people don’t know that we can’t cultivate and isolate most of the microbes we know about.
  2. Swift now Open Source — Apache v2-licensed. An Apple exec is talking about it and its roadmap.
  3. Deep Forger User Guideclever Twitter bot converting your photos into paintings in the style of famous artists, using deep learning tech.
  4. Prudent Engineering Practice for Cryptographic Protocols (PDF) — paper from the ’90s that is still useful today. Those principles are good for API design too. (via Adrian Colyer)
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Four short links: 18 November 2015

Four short links: 18 November 2015

Crypto Comms, Science Funding, Geo DB, and AI Ambitions

  1. If The Paris Hackers Weren’t Using Crypto, The Next Ones Will (Cory Doctorow) — But the reality is that criminals will be using crypto soon, if they aren’t already, for the same reason they’re using computers. Using crypto is the best way to communicate.
  2. Google $50M Heart Disease Effort — instead of taking bids for $250K chunks of the money, they will fund one team for five years. Applications close Feb 14.
  3. Pyro (Usenix) — This paper presents Pyro, a spatial-temporal big data storage system tailored for high-resolution geometry queries and dynamic hotspots. Pyro understands geometries internally, which allows range scans of a geometry query to be aggregately optimized. Moreover, Pyro employs a novel replica placement policy in the DFS layer that allows Pyro to split a region without losing data locality benefits.
  4. Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Bold Plan for Facebook (FastCompany) — “One of our goals for the next five to 10 years,” Zuckerberg tells me, “is to basically get better than human level at all of the primary human senses: vision, hearing, language, general cognition.”
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