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The future of encryption: Getting ready for the quantum computer attack

PQShield, a spin-out from the UK’s Oxford University, is developing advanced cryptographic solutions for hardware, software and communications to protect businesses’ data from the quantum threat.

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PQShield, a spin-out from the UK’s Oxford University, is developing advanced cryptographic solutions for hardware, software and communications to protect businesses’ data from the quantum threat.

The development of quantum computers poses a cybersecurity problem such as the IT industry has never seen before. All stored data currently deemed secure by modern standards – whether that’s health records, financial data, customer databases and even critical government infrastructure – could, in theory, be cracked by quantum computers, which are capable of effectively short circuiting the encryption we’ve used to protect that data until now.

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Efforts to protect our data from the quantum threat are underway, though whether the issue is being looked at with the urgency it deserves is up for debate. PQShield, a post-quantum cryptography startup spun out of Oxford University, perceives a disconnect between the scale of the threat and the current cyber-readiness of most businesses in 2020, which it is now trying to address.

SEE:  Quantum computing: Myths v. Realities  (TechRepublic) 

“The scale of the quantum attack is just too big to imagine,” Dr. Ali Kaafarani, research fellow at Oxford’s Mathematical Institute and founder of PQShield, tells TechRepublic.

“The most important part of what we’re doing is to educate the market.”

Kaafarani is a former engineer at Hewlett-Packard Labs and leads a team of 10 full-time quantum cryptographers, from what he estimates to be a worldwide pool of just a hundred or so. The company is busy working on the development of quantum-secure cryptography – encryption solutions for hardware, software and communications that will secure information from future risk, yet can be implemented using today’s technology.

This comprises a system on chip (SoC) and software development kit that allow companies to create secure messaging applications, protected by a “post-quantum” variant of the Signal cryptographic protocol. Central to PQShield’s technology is that it is designed to work with both legacy systems as well as those expected in the years to come, meaning it could offer protection for everything from keyless cars and other connected devices, to data moving to and from cloud servers.

This, Kaafarani explains, is important owing to the fact that post-quantum cryptography cannot be retrospectively implemented – meanwhile data encrypted by modern standards remains open to post-quantum threats. “What we’re using right now as end-to-end encryption…is secure now, but people can intercept them and steal encrypted data,” he says.

“Once they have access to a quantum computer, they can decrypt them, so confidentiality is threatened in retrospect, because whatever is considered confidential now can be decrypted later on.”

Kaafarani also perceives an issue with the current attitudes to remediating cyberattacks, which he likens to applying a band-aid to a repeating problem. 

SEE: SSL Certificate Best Practices Policy (TechRepublic Premium)

“That’s why we started PQShield – to fill in this gap, to lead the way to a smooth and secure transition to the quantum era. There is a real opportunity here to get things right from the beginning.”

The startup recently completed a £5.5m funding round led by VC Firm Kindred Capital and has now secured German engineering company Bosch as its first OEM customer. While the exact details of the deal are still under wraps, Kaafarani says the deal is indicative of the threats businesses are beginning to identify as the age of quantum computing approaches.

“Their hardware may be built to last, but right now, their security isn’t,” he says.

“If you’re designing a car that’s going to go on the roads in the next three years, if you’re doing security by design, you should be thinking of the next security standards: not the standards that are valid now, but the standards that will be valid in the next five, 10, 15 years,” he says.

“Future-proofing is an imperative, just as it is for the banks and agencies that hold so much of our sensitive data.” 

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Source: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/the-future-of-encryption-getting-ready-for-the-quantum-computer-attack/#ftag=RSS56d97e7

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President Trump’s campaign website hacked by cryptocurrency scammers

President Trump’s campaign website – www.donaldjtrump.com – was hacked by cryptocurrency scammers. The hackers took over the site at around 1920ET and replaced the landing page with the following threat. In an ironic piece of timing, the hacking took place shortly after […]

The post President Trump’s campaign website hacked by cryptocurrency scammers appeared first on Tech News | Startups News.

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President Trump’s campaign website – www.donaldjtrump.com – was hacked by cryptocurrency scammers. The hackers took over the site at around 1920ET and replaced the landing page with the following threat. In an ironic piece of timing, the hacking took place shortly after US officials issues a warning about a hacking group from North Korea.

The hackers behind the stunt claimed to have compromised multiple of the president’s devices, which gave them “full access” to Trump and his relatives, along with access to confidential information. “Strictly classified information is exposed proving that the Trump gov is involved in the origin of the coronavirus.”

“We have evidence that completely discredits mr trump as a president, proving his criminal involvement and cooperation with foreign actors manipulating the 2020 elections. the US citizens have no choice.”

We have blurred the crypto addresses (which were Monero, a private cryptocurrency) where readers were supposed to send contributions to unlock the mysterious information that would discredit the president.

While we will be accused of racism, we are sure, we strongly suspect this attackers were foreign given the typos and grammar: “the world has had enough of the fake-news spreaded by president donald j trump.”

Shortly after the site was taken down, presumably by Trump campaign officials, but the usual 404-page was not present…


Source: https://techstartups.com/2020/10/27/president-trumps-campaign-website-hacked-cryptocurrency-scammers/

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New CDC data shows that hospitals counted heart attacks as COVID-19 deaths; CDC counts over 51,0000 patients actually died from heart attacks instead of COVID-19

Back in August, we wrote about the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after the agency reported its updated provisional death counts for the reporting period 2/1/2020 through 8/22/2020.  According to the stats, CDC said that only 6% of the […]

The post New CDC data shows that hospitals counted heart attacks as COVID-19 deaths; CDC counts over 51,0000 patients actually died from heart attacks instead of COVID-19 appeared first on Tech News | Startups News.

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Back in August, we wrote about the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after the agency reported its updated provisional death counts for the reporting period 2/1/2020 through 8/22/2020.  According to the stats, CDC said that only 6% of the 153,504 US deaths are related to COVID-19 only.

The other 94% had, on average, 2+ pre-existing conditions or causes per death. In other words, 94% of Americans who died from COVID-19 had other “types of health conditions and contributing causes” in addition to the virus, CDC said in the new report. Nearly 60% of all deaths were over 75 years of age.

To date, the U.S. has recorded 226,524 COVID-19 deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. However, that number may not tell the whole story. According to the new CDC data collected from hospitals across the country for the period ending October 21, CDC found that over 51,0000 patients actually died from heart attacks instead of COVID-19. CDC data reveals that hospitals have been counting patients who died from serious preexisting conditions as COVID-19 deaths.

The overreporting by the hospitals may be due in part to incentives the hospitals receive for treating COVID-19 patients. Medicare is paying a 20 percent add-on to its regular hospital payments for the treatment of COVID-19 victims. For example, If a patient has coronavirus in their diagnosis, whether they were hospitalized for COVID-19 or not, the reporting hospital receives a reimbursement of $13,000 — and an extra $39,000 if the patient is put on a ventilator.

According to the latest CDC data, about 10,000 patients actually died of COVID-19 as the sole cause of their deaths.

Below is a video analysis of the CDC data, courtesy of OANN.


Source: https://techstartups.com/2020/10/27/new-cdc-data-shows-hospitals-counted-heart-attacks-covid-19-deaths-cdc-counts-510000-patients-actually-died-heart-attacks-instead-covid-19-deaths/

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New data shows that Influenza (flu) cases drop by 98 percent worldwide from the same time in 2019. Are flu cases being labeled or misreported as COVID-19 or are patients being misdiagnosed?

Last week, we wrote a piece about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data which showed that the number of influenza (flu) cases has dropped by 95 percent from the same time last year. We later asked whether there was […]

The post New data shows that Influenza (flu) cases drop by 98 percent worldwide from the same time in 2019. Are flu cases being labeled or misreported as COVID-19 or are patients being misdiagnosed? appeared first on Tech News | Startups News.

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Last week, we wrote a piece about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data which showed that the number of influenza (flu) cases has dropped by 95 percent from the same time last year. We later asked whether there was a correlation between the recent rise in the number of coronavirus cases and the sudden plunge in the number of flu cases from the same time a year ago.

According to the CDC official data, seasonal influenza (flu) activity in the United States remains low, CDC said in its Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report. The data shows that there were 1251 flu cases reported to the CDC during weeks 40-41 in 2019. The number is about average when compared to previous years. However, in 2020, CDC only reported a total of 60 flu cases during the same period in 2012.

CDC went on to explain that the sudden drop in the number of flu cases this year could be due to behavioral changes during the COVID-19 pandemic such as the practice of good hygiene like washing of hands and social distancing. Here is exactly how the CDC explained it:

“Healthcare seeking behaviors have changed dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. While outpatient ILI activity remains low, many people are accessing the healthcare system in alternative settings.”

However, other research by Public Health England may provide a better clue. Globally, it is estimated that rates of flu may have plunged by 98 percent compared with the same time last year, the agency said. Influenza’s surveillance’ data collected by the World Health Organisation (WHO), further shows how swiftly the flu rates have plummeted in 2020.

In the Southern Hemisphere, where the flu season happens during our summer months, the WHO data suggests it never took off at all. In Australia, just 14 positive flu cases were recorded in April, compared with 367 during the same month in 2019 – a 96 percent drop. By June, usually the peak of its flu season, there were none. In fact, Australia has not reported a positive case to the WHO since July. In Chile, just 12 cases of flu were detected between April and October. There were nearly 7,000 during the same period in 2019.

So, the question many experts are asking is: Where does flu go? Has Covid killed off the flu? So, we may find some clues in this report from England. According to a report from the UK, “patients aren’t routinely tested for flu, even if it’s suspected, but a number of sentinel general practices (GP) surgeries and hospitals do carry out diagnostic screening on those who have symptoms, and this data gives us the most accurate picture of how much flu is in circulation.”

So where has the flu gone? And what does it mean for our winter? There are intriguing theories – some more outlandish than others. There are those who claim flu cases haven’t vanished at all, but are instead being recorded as Covid-19. Skeptics say Covid tests are unable to distinguish between coronavirus and flu, but this is simply untrue.

Public Health England studied samples taken from about 20,000 people during the first four months of this year, as coronavirus took hold, and found those who had flu were 58 percent less likely to also have coronavirus. Scientists said this may be more to do with behavior when you have a virus – staying in bed, or not going out – which means you’re less likely to come into contact with another virus, Prof James Stewart,  Chair of Molecular Virology Infection Biology at the University of Liverpool, explained.

Yet the study also theorized ‘possible pathogenic competition’ between the two, because co-infection – people with flu and Covid-19 at the same time – was strikingly rare.

A Chinese study on two previous coronavirus outbreaks, SARS and MERS, has also shown the same effect. Infection with another virus, such as flu, protects to some degree against a coronavirus infection.

But what isn’t clear, and hasn’t been tested, is what happens the other way around. Can a coronavirus infection, with or without symptoms, kill the flu? Dr. Groppelli says: ‘The only thing we can say is that, right now, before winter hits, is it’s a bit too early to tell.’

Most scientists agree there was not enough COVID-19 in circulation in March to explain the dramatic drop in flu cases. And the same holds true as we approach winter. A new study from a team of Chinese researchers found that “modifications to the structure of human cells caused by a flu bug can make it easier for the coronavirus to invade them.” In other words, co-infection with influenza can speed up the replication of pathogen that causes Covid-19.

“Co-infection with influenza caused up to a 10,000-fold increase of coronavirus replication in human cells in a laboratory test, according to a new study by Chinese scientists.”


Source: https://techstartups.com/2020/10/27/new-data-shows-influenza-flu-cases-drop-98-percent-worldwide-time-2019-flu-cases-labeled-misreported-covid-19-patients-misdiagnosed-c/

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