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India bans Mastercard from signing up new customers



Feature IEEE 802.11ax-2021 (more commonly known as IEEE 802.11ax or, more familiarly “Wi-Fi 6”) was approved on 9 February 2021, with a top speed of 1.2Gbit/sec per single stream (think “stream” as synonymous with “channel”). As seems to happen each time a new Wi-Fi technology comes out, people are yet again asking whether this is the one that will finally tip us over the edge and entice us away from cables and onto wireless.

I’m going to stick my neck out and ask a slightly different question, and explore whether we’re ever going to move our worlds to dispose with wires.

First of all, let’s not get bogged down with the potential of moving the server room and the data centre into a wireless world: that’s simply not going to happen, ever. In the average server room or data centre that uses physical servers, each box will have at least a pair of Gigabit Ethernet connections linked redundantly into the switch infrastructure. Gigabit Ethernet is full-duplex (strictly speaking the original spec included half-duplex, but it never really went anywhere) and so as long as the devices at each end can keep up, you get pretty much a gigabit constantly (and I say “pretty much” only because you have to allow for the bits of the Ethernet frames that aren’t the data payload, such as the headers).

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VPN-encryption: Definition and Main Features



Description: VPN encryption is a godsend for some people. But have you ever wondered how VPN encryption actually works? This article will provide the notion and features of VPN encryption

What VPN Encryption Means?

Let’s begin with the most important thing – the notion of VPN encryption. So, encryption is when a user can convert information and/or data from a readable form to an encoded format. It is converted to an unreadable form utilizing an algorithm. The intended encrypted form can be decoded just with a suitable decryption key. You may wonder how encryption works with a VPN. In its turn, VPN encryption is described as a method of coding data in plain text (like your internet traffic) so that everyone else cannot read it. Especially those who are trying to control you (like your internet service provider).

A Virtual Private Network guarantees that the network activity of users will be known just for these users. VPN operates as a home private network. The information and files shared through a particular VPN are protected and preserved separate from the rest of the Internet.

Importance of VPN Encryption

Many users had a question: how secure is VPN encryption? We have an answer to this issue. VPN encryption helps protect confidential data from cybercriminals. These can include the numbers of your credit cards, information about your bank account, and account passwords. Scammers will lose the possibility to follow on your online connection, for example, when using public Wi-Fi. Moreover, VPN encryption ensures that the government, ISP, and advertisers have no control over your online activities. All you need to do is to turn on the VPN. You can find many free VPN apps on the Internet and pick up the most suitable for you.

How VPN Encryption Works?

This is the process of securing data by tunneling among the VPN user and the server. VPN encryption allows you to hide your data on the Internet from prying eyes and hands. Simply put, when you turn on the VPN user and join the server, your queries are encoded before being transmitted to the server. They are then decrypted by the server and sent to the open Internet. The requested data received in response is encrypted again on the server, which then forwards it to your device. The VPN client decrypts the data on your device, and you can view it.

However, to better understand how VPN encryption in particular works, you need to keep the following in mind:

  • Encryption Keys;
  • Encryption algorithms;
  • VPN cipher types;
  • VPN encryption protocols;
  • TLS-handshake;
  • HMAC authentication;
  • Perfect forward secrecy.

Encryption Keys: What Do They Mean?

An encryption key of a VPN is a random line of bits utilized to encode and decode data. Every key is unique. The length of the key is measured in bits – as a rule. If the key is really long, it will have a high encryption level. Reliable app VPN will use only long keys. The size of the encryption keys can vary greatly. For instance, a 1-bit key allows just two feasible combinations; a 256-bit key allows many combinations in total. For example, the mightiest supercomputers will take many quadrillion years just to figure out a 128-bit key.

The encryption/decryption process uses several types of keys. They are private and public keys. These keys are mathematically connected because any information encrypted with the public key can just be decoded with the associated private key. In addition, the public key is usually in the public domain, while the private key (as its name suggests) keeps private and is known only to the owner of this key.

Encryption Algorithms: Main Types

Typically, algorithms usually are divided into several categories:

  • Symmetric encryption. This algorithm is based on identical Public and Private keys. Hence, this algorithm is regarded as the fastest. For instance, the AES encryption cipher refers to symmetric encryption.
  • Asymmetric encryption. This algorithm type (likewise regarded as public-key cryptography) utilizes various keys for procedures of encoding and decoding. While this can be comfortable, it is likewise very perilous, as a closed one cannot be restored if it is lost. The RSA protocol (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman) is a good instance for asymmetric encryption.

VPN Encryption Types

A cipher refers to an algorithm that is used to perform the procedure of encoding and decoding. In contradistinction to keys, which in fact cannot be hacked, ciphers have their own flaws that allow them to hack the encryption. Fortunately, this type of problem with security can be simply shunned by utilizing a complicated cipher along with a powerful key. Remember that the name of the VPN encryption cipher is usually indicated along with the key length. Next, we’ll cover the main types of ciphers commonly used by VPN applications.

AES cipher

This cipher has 128-bit, 192-bit, and 256-bit keys. It is really widespread among VPN clients because of its NIST certification. Another interesting fact is that the government of the USA likewise utilizes this cipher. Some VPNs use particularly strong encryption. For example, Military-level Encryption. Military-grade encryption means AES-256 encryption. Moreover, VeePN VPN for Windows uses its own encryption protocol AES-256. This is an extra reason to download this VPN for the desktop.

Blowfish Cipher

Blowfish usually assumes a 64-bit key. While this is a fairly secure cipher, many internet users doubt it. Bruce Schneier, the creator of this cipher, didn’t patent the algorithm. Therefore, it can be used by anyone for free. The developer made an odd comment about Blowfish in a 2007 interview: “However, I’m amazed that it’s still popular today.”

Twofish Cipher

Twofish is the successor to Blowfish. The basic distinction is that Twofish possesses a 128-bit key instead of a 64-bit like Blowfish has. This means that it is not as susceptible to attacks. Bruce Schneier likewise advises utilizing Twofish instead of Blowfish.

3DES Cipher

This cipher is likewise regarded as TDEA/Triple DEA. It is more dilatory than Blowfish and just maintains 56-bit, 112-bit, and 168-bit keys. Moreover, like Blowfish, it maintains a 64-bit key. This makes it vulnerable to attacks. It is also important to consider that this cipher has been officially withdrawn from circulation. It will be banned from use after 2023.


MPPE cipher refers to Microsoft Point-to-Point Encryption. This cipher is usually utilized for dial-up modem connections. It maintains 40-bit, 56-bit, and 128-bit keys.


RSA is an algorithm that can be utilized for safe online communication. However, most VPN services only use RSA to establish a connection because the cipher is comparatively dilatory. Generally, because of this, RSA is usually not used to directly encrypt user data. It’s worth mentioning that a 1024-bit RSA key is no longer regarded as safe, and security specialists recommend utilizing 2048-bit or 4096-bit keys.

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Gartner dumps IBM from 2021 enterprise backup’n’recovery MQ leader corner



IBM has been demoted from Leader to Challenger in Gartner’s 2021 Enterprise Backup and Recovery Magic Quadrant – the only leading 2020 supplier to be so treated.

The MQ positions suppliers in a four-box 2D space, defined by an ability to execute on the vertical axis and completeness of vision on the horizontal axis. The four boxes are Leaders, Challengers, Niche Players, and Visionaries, with the bottom left to top right diagonal representing a balance between the two axis qualities. Here’s the latest MQ:

Gartner Storage and Backup July 2021

Click to enlarge

Here is last year’s equivalent MQ:

Gartner Storage and Backup July 2020

Click to enlarge

Last year’s edition of the MQ shows seven leaders: Veeam, Commvault, Veritas, Dell, IBM, Rubrik and Cohesity. Only IBM has been demoted from the Leaders box this year, while both Rubrik and Cohesity move up in the box. Gartner’s MQ report points out that IBM’s Spectrum Protect suite does not integrate with Azure native snapshot APIs. Further, backup of Google Cloud Platform environments, AWS RDS, Azure Managed SQL, and others is not supported. 

IBM depends on third-party vendors to backup Microsoft SharePoint, 365 Exchange Online, some NoSQL databases, Nutanix AHV VMs, and others. The Spectrum Protect suite also trails other leaders in its ability to provide proactive issue discovery through AI and automated incident management and response.

Gartner Enterprise Backup Table 2021

Tabulated list of changes from 2020 enterprise backup and recovery MQ to the 2021 edition. Click to enlarge

The other Challenger supplier, Arcserve, has been promoted from last year’s Niche Players box. This is despite Arcserve not responding to Gartner’s requests for supplemental information. The Gartner analysts based their ranking on publicly available Arcserve literature.

New supplier MicroFocus enters the Niche Players box. Zerto, which has diversified into backup and recovery from its disaster recovery capabilities, is a new entrant in the Niche Players box. SaaS backup supplier Druva is the third new entrant, and is placed in the Visionaries box.

Cohesity was quick off the blocks with a statement about this MQ. Since last year it has introduced backup as a service, recovery and protection from ransomware, and automated disaster recovery.

CMO Lynn Lucas said: “We believe being named a Leader in this report speaks to Cohesity’s success in delivering next-gen data management, which starts with helping organisations protect their data and rapidly recover from ransomware attacks – critically important in today’s world. Couple that with the ability to easily backup, recover, and manage data across a host of use cases – in the data centre, edge, cloud, or through as a service – all on one platform. That is radical simplicity at its best.”

Poor IBM. It hasn’t invested enough in adding new capabilities to the Spectrum Protect suite and has fallen behind the competition in the Leaders Box. ®

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IBM’s 3% sales growth may not seem like much but it’s the biggest it’s had in three years



IBM on Monday reported better than anticipated revenue for Q2 2021, sending its shares up in after-hours trading.

Big Blue, evidently unfazed by a multi-week email disruption that’s still not entirely resolved, delivered sales totaling $18.7bn for the quarter, an increase of three per cent year over year. It’s the strongest revenue growth for the biz in three years. Net income, however, fell by three per cent to $1.3bn for the quarter.

That translates to non-GAAP adjusted earnings of $2.33 per share, seven per cent more than the $2.18 reported during the same period in 2020. Analysts on average expected something more like $18.3bn and diluted EPS of $2.29.

VQGAN+CLIP generated image of "IBM reports strongest revenue growth in three years"

VQGAN+CLIP AI-generated image for the phrase ‘IBM reports strongest revenue growth in three years’ that we thought we’d just toss into this piece

“In the second quarter client adoption of our hybrid cloud platform contributed to strong performance in Global Business Services and software and drove improved overall revenue growth,” said Arvind Krishna, IBM chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. “At the same time, we continued to help clients infuse our AI-based technology offerings into their core business workflows.”

Business unit results from the quarter were as follows:

  • Cloud & Cognitive Software: $6.1bn, up 6.1 per cent
  • Global Business Services: $4.3bn, up 11.6 per cent
  • Global Technology Services: $6.3bn, up 0.4 per cent
  • Systems: $1.7bn, down 7.3 percent
  • Global Financing: $242m, down 8.6 per cent
  • Other: $5m, down from $50m year-on-year

IBM’s Cloud & Cognitive Software group includes results for Red Hat, which was up 20 per cent. Big Blue reported a GAAP gross profit margin of 48.0 per cent and a debt reduction of $6.4bn since the end of 2020.

On the company’s earnings call for investors, Krishna discussed how companies are using IBM technology to redesign their business processes and are pursuing digital transformations enabled by hybrid cloud environments.

He cited an AI-powered customer service assistant IBM built in a few weeks for CVS Health to help handle customer COVID-19 inquiries as an example of the sort of deals that will drive future revenue.

IBM reported spending $1.7bn on acquisitions during the quarter. The company previously announced plans to acquire business process data mining firm myInvenio, app management biz Turbonomic, and Salesforce consultancy Waeg.

Meanwhile, the IT titan expects to complete the spinoff of its Global Technology Services unit under the name Kyndryl by the end of the year.

On the home front, IBM has managed to mostly restore its email servers, though a few problems have yet to be ironed out.

“Users on certain clusters may be seeing a slight delay with delivery of external mail, and we will be working this week to decrease delivery times to normal levels,” the company said in a recent status update provided by an internal source.

“We will continue providing daily updates here as we continue work to monitor and improve the health and stability of the mail environment and improve the overall experience.”

The company communique said IBM is continuing to work with email service provider HCL to improve the Verse webmail experience. ®

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I no longer have a burning hatred for Jewish people, says Googler now suddenly no longer at Google



Google Cloud’s veep of developer relations abruptly left the web giant late last week after sharing a lengthy essay on how he no longer hated “all the Jewish people.”

Egyptian-American Amr Awadallah, who joined Google in 2019, had a month earlier posted on LinkedIn a 10,000-word missive, with an accompanying two-hour YouTube video, declaring: “I hated the Jewish people, all the Jewish people, and emphasis here is on the past tense.

“Yes, I was anti-Semitic, even though I am a Semite, as this term broadly refers to the peoples who speak Semitic languages, such as Arabic and Hebrew, among others.”

The piece continued by describing how antisemitism was ingrained in him as a child by those around him, and even by the time he arrived in America in 1995, in his mid-twenties to study a PhD at Stanford, he “still held deep resentment towards the Jewish people.”

I was irrationally prejudiced

“I was irrationally prejudiced,” the now-50-year-old Awadallah wrote. “But here in the US, I started to see the humanity of the other side. I started to see the truth. And I emerged from the Matrix of hate that my mind was submerged in for so many years.”

Awadallah, who described himself as “a proud Muslim with a touch of healthy agnosticism,” said he was “cautious” of his PhD research advisor Mendel Rosenblum, who later co-founded VMware with Diane Greene. She went on to be the boss of Google Cloud from 2015 to 2019. Both Rosenblum and Greene, now married, invested in Awadallah’s startup Cloudera, which just made him a pretty penny by going private fur years after going public. Awadallah described Rosenblum as his “first ‘Jewish angel,’ he solidified the elimination of prejudice from my heart.”

The post continued with Awadallah rattling off the Jewish people he came to admire, from John von Neumann and Albert Einstein to Adam Sandler, and how he realized he was wrong to harbor so much hate. The cloud industry veteran also threw in some views on Palestine and Israel for good measure, plus rules on owning dogs, DNA tests, and quite a bit more.

Crucially, there was an all-hands meeting last week, led by Awadallah, in which Googlers brought up the essay; it was a conference call described as “beyond car-crash television” by those familiar with what was discussed, as the veep fought to defend his point of view. Before the week was out, Awadallah had exited the business, as first reported by CNBC.

“I wanted to share that today is Amr Awadallah’s last day at Google,” Google Cloud veep of product Eyal Manor wrote in an internal email on Thursday. “Effective immediately, the Cloud DevRel organization will report into Ben Jackson, who will report into Pali Bhat.”

One concern among some Googlers was that the long, rambling piece about how he was capable of carrying so much hate for half his life might be a red flag to those who want to work with or within the mega-corporation. There was also tension over Awadallah’s leadership style, complaints of which were brought to the fore by the manifesto.

Daniel Golding, a Google director of network infrastructure, told Awadallah on LinkedIn: “On the one hand, I’m grateful that you not longer hate my children. On the other, this has made my job as one of your colleagues much harder.”

“The previous situation has made being a Jewish leader at Google tough,” he added without suggesting what that situation was. “This has made it almost untenable.”

In a tweet regarding his swift ejection from the cloud goliath, Awadallah said he was “speechless,” adding: “I am still in complete shock. I admire every single person I worked with at Google and truly believed in their mission.” Google and Awadallah did not return our requests for further details and comment. ®

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