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10
Aug
2017

Facebook Forced To Shut Down AI That Created Its Own Language

by Bill

As computers becoming smarter people may mistake the speed of calculations with the entirely different set of parameters that make up what researchers refer to as artificial intelligence. AI is not about the speed or processing power precisely, it’s about the possibility of a machine learning to think well enough to develop its own creative solutions and eventually to think of things that its human creators were unable to come up with on their own. Facebook recently built an AI that did exactly that, and its human overlords became so frightened by the result that they immediately pulled the plug on the project…. for now.

As was widely reported, Facebook needed to pull the plug on their artificial intelligence system because it accomplished what they wanted and was immediately deemed to be too far out of hand. The systems were created to talk to each other and make trades with one another. When they began throwing what researched assumed to be nonsense statements to each other, but ended up making trades based on those statements, it became clear that the machines had stopped using English and started using a language that they created on their own: a language that their creators were entirely unable to comprehend.

Bob: “I can can I I everything else.”

Alice: “Balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to.”

The above passages may make no sense to humans, but they are an actual conversation that happened between two AI agents. The AI agents, talked to each other using plain English, but eventually negotiated in this new language that only the AI systems understood.

The implications are obvious and serious. First, Facebook did manage to create machine AI systems capable of thought, and perhaps far more importantly, this result shows that when left to their own devices, machine AI will seek to answer questions or solve problems other than the ones its creators task them with at the start.

Will this be the way human’s cure cancer? Will it eventually be the way machines learn to eradicate water (which has long been the enemy of anything electronic), or will researchers somehow find ways to safeguard their seems while creating machines smarter than themselves?

Given the fact that the goal is to make a system smarter than the person who created it, it stands to reason that we are all running out of time before machine generated malware finds a way to establish the primacy of new apex predators in a radically new age.

As leading technologist and Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently said earlier this month at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Rhode Island: “I have exposure to the very most cutting-edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it

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31
Jul
2017

Netflix Engineers Devise, Deploy, Test And Solve A Rare DDoS Attack

by Bill

Netflix security engineers recently devised and ran a rare kind of DDoS attack on their own infrastructure as a test of the streaming system’s security measures. They brought the whole site down, proved Netflix was vulnerable to the unorthodox type of distributed denial of service attack and solved the problem for their own site while open sourcing the solution for others. As hackers begin colluding on ways to damage their targets, this new era of cooperation among security professionals is leveling the battle field and allowing hosts to resolve attacks faster than previously possible by sharing their findings.

Normally, a DDoS strike floods a website with junk traffic requests from IoT devices, overwhelming the system with a limitless stream of requests. Netflix, is built to handle more than 35TB per second of data during peak hours, and has a network of Open Connect devices making is very difficult target for traditional DDoS attacks.

The newly DDoS turned Netflix’s application programming interface against itself. Netflix realized an attacker could send resource-intensive, carefully chosen requests to trigger more and more requests internally causing a cascade of data deep in the system. In this way, an attacker could easily and cheaply cause significant resource burden, or even take Netflix down.

As site owners and business continue integrating each other’s services via API and other measures, that interconnectivity itself was becoming a prime target for attacks. No service is ever entirely safe from malicious attackers, but thanks to Netflix the Internet is safer than it had been from these kinds of DDoS proxy attacks on data requesting internal services.

The evolution of attacker strategies never ends, but as  companies like Netflix, Hosts like National Net and many others in the digital data community continue to work together, protecting against these types of application DDoS assaults, and so many other present data dangers gets a fair bit easier and lot faster to implement. Stay tuned for continued coverage of these important developments as National Net continues to work diligently to keep every client’s servers online with perfect up time.

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10
Jul
2017

Welcome To The Splinternet

by Bill

Since its inception, the Internet has always had a centralized structure in place to govern its technical aspects, and a layer of regulations on the kinds of content deemed acceptable by entities including Visa and law enforcement agencies. While the people using the Internet are as diverse as the entire world population, the structure of the way the Internet has been moderated was always a homogenizing factor that brought distant netizens closer together under a single umbrella. That paradigm makes commerce far simpler, and social communication nearly frictionless regardless of national borders… but it is now changing rapidly.

Antitrust regulations in Europe and the “right to be forgotten” are already vastly different concepts than anything legislated by the United States so far. Now many additional fragments are beginning to become the regional rule of law as well. On June 30, Germany passed a law ordering all social media companies operating in Germany to delete hate speech within 24 hours of it being posted, or face fines of up to 57 Million Dollars per instance. There is also a recent Canadian Supreme Court ruling that Google must scrub search results about pirated products, along with a May court ruling in Austria that Facebook must take down specific posts that were considered hateful toward the country’s Green party leader.

Add in the United States acquiescence over controlling ICANN as the domain regulatory body, and several other rulings or new legal orders that are starting to contort content to the local ethics and mores of each community – and what you wind up with is a Splinternet that forces businesses to navigate fast changing wide sweeping hurdles that were never part of the Internet until now.

As online billing, hosting, and technical deployment continue to become increasingly specialized services, compliance with these new local ordinances is also becoming a part of what we do here at NationalNet. We understand that our clients do business everywhere a sale is possible, and we will continue to do all we can to ensure your managed servers are fully compliant with whatever the local rule of law requires now, and into the future. If you have any questions, be sure to give us a call so we can further assist you.

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26
Jun
2017

The IoT Is Coming Whether Data Security Is Ready or Not

by Bill

According to a fascinating study in May of 553 IT decision makers, 78% said they thought it was at least somewhat likely their business will suffer data loss or theft due to the advancement of IoT (Internet of Things) devices like smoke detectors, cameras and home appliances. Furthermore, 72% said the speed of IoT advancement makes it difficult to keep up with the rapid rate of change now seen throughout a long list of evolving security requirements.

Meanwhile. Gartner predicts that by 2020 there will already be 21 billion IoT devices in existence, which is an amazing rise from just over 5 billion active devices in 2015. Furthermore, they expect 8 billion of those devices to be industrial, which in many ways makes them an even easier target for mass hacking campaigns or malware attacks.

The important takeaway from all of this is that the IoT revolution is here now and it is not showing any signs of slowing down. The speed of adoption by consumers is a much stronger force for change than the desire of security experts for the status quo or for a more measured roll out of these new products to avoid vulnerabilities.

That conflict and the eventuality that the world will soon have many more IoT devices active than it can safeguard is an important reason to ensure you have a clearly defined, robust and secure data recovery plan in place for all aspects of your online existence. Routine backups, offline ‘hard backups’, continually monitoring and a vigilant eye toward data security best practices may soon be the difference between having a brief bump in the road, and being entirely out of business for an extended period of time.

As always, NationalNet is here to provide all of our clients with fully managed hosting services that include many security measures designed to make you less likely to be knocked off line, more likely to keep your data secure, and allowing your sites to get back online after an attack as quickly as technologically possible. It’s not quite as reassuring as it would be to say the IoT is going away, but we live in the real world where forward thinking business owners must accept hard truths, adapt to challenges and overcome all obstacles on the road to their continued success.

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19
Jun
2017

Executive Order Redefining Cybersecurity Protocols and Government Contracts

by Bill

A detailed report by security experts at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP published today takes a deep informative look at the executive order signed into effect on June 15, 2017 entitled “Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure.” The white paper sheds lights on many aspects of digital security that will be impacted by the changes in policy and also explain important guidelines for obtaining government contracts as a private business interested in cashing in on what is sure to be a lucrative market for upgrades throughout the governmental computer networks.

As the report details “A look at the main topics addressed in the Executive Order, reveals who from industry should be interested in the direction of the reports: (a) IT modernization and shared services affects IT companies, service providers (including Fintech), managed security services, cloud providers, AI firms, systems integrators, small innovators, foreign IT companies, and others; (b) cybersecurity for critical infrastructure affects the owners of Section 9 Entities and members of the defense industrial base, including its supply chain, platforms, and systems;

(c) “transparency” affects all public companies; (d) the section on “botnets,” by its terms, affects the entire “internet and communications ecosystem” (an expansive definition both vertically and horizontally); (e) the “electric subsector” concerns generation, transmission, distribution, and alternative energy; (f) deterrence and international cooperation affects all multinational companies; and (g) the section on the workforce affects traditional academia (universities and K-12 institutions), for-profit schools, and any company that benefits from a cyber skilled workforce.”

Any commercial company or private citizen interested in the ways our national security will be implemented online, or seeking to provide services in that regard should make time to read this white paper. It is extensive and provides an excellent explanation of what is now being rolled out online.

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09
Jun
2017

Is Net Neutrality Just A Nice Slogan? The FCC And A US Senator Think So

by Bill

“It’s a great slogan,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai when h was asked by a radio host what net neutrality is all about. “But in reality what it involves is Internet regulation, and the basic question is, ‘Do you want the government deciding how the Internet is run?'”

The fact that the FCC Chairman called net neutrality a “slogan” and suggested it solves no real problems, was later bolstered by the statements of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee on Monday when he argued that the Internet should have paid “fast lanes” for some content providers. Johnson went on to explain: “As chairman Pai said, net neutrality is a slogan. What you really want is an expansion of high-speed broadband, and in order to do that you have to create the incentives for those smaller ISPs to invest. They don’t really control their own fiber if the government tells them exactly how they’re going to use their investment.” He also brought out an often debunked argument that “there’s less incentive to invest, so we’ll have less high-speed broadband” if net neutrality regulations are maintained.

“Chairman Pai just mentioned medical diagnostics,” Johnson said. “You might need a fast lane within that pipeline so those diagnoses can be transmitted instantaneously and not be held up by, I don’t know, maybe a movie streaming.”

It’s very interesting from a policy point of view that on a tactical level the ground is quickly shifting as opponents of net neutrality are beginning to argue that having it isn’t a big deal, rather than arguing whether it should exist on the merits. Some of the arguments being used have already been shown to be patently false, but echoing those statements about net neutrality being a meaningless policy across FCC agency and Legislative news outlets appears to be having a significant impact on the way the discussion is being framed.

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31
May
2017

Computer AI Demonstrates Intellectual Feel With Go Championship Win

by Bill

 It was only a year or so ago when AlphaGo, Google’s deep learning AI system built to learn how to completely dominate the Chinese game of Go, defeated a professional Go player for the first time. Now it has done the unthinkable and defeated the world’s best Go player, Ke Jie. The machine has now learned what many experts consider to be the world’s most complex game – one with nearly infinite move possibilities and a style described by master players more as a feel than a thought. After the match, Ke Jie admitted that playing against AlphaGo is like playing against a “god of a player.”

Years ago computers bested the world’s greatest Chess human chess players, but some pointed out that Chess is a purely analytical game with a predefined number of possible moves and a linear progression from start to finish in a narrowly defined set of legal moves. Go on the other hand is far less structured and requires intuition more than prediction.

In fact, Go has more possibilities for play than the number of atoms in the entire universe. This win is likely to be only a sign of things to come as machines using artificial intelligence become as smart or smarter than their human inventors, and use fine-tuned judgement along with artificial intuition to make the smartest decisions. Artificial intelligence is going to become more than just Siri in your iPhone. It might one day help humanity to make incredible life altering choices.

National Net is always keeping an eye on the technological trends. Deep learning and artificial intelligence is a tech concept that is on the rise, and when it becomes a commercially viable way to improve your hosting, you can be sure we will implement it to the benefit of all our clients as effectively as possible… probably with the help of an AI robotic assistant.

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18
May
2017

Google Unveils Free Cloud Based Access to World’s Most Advanced AI Chips

by Bill

At their annual Google I/O conference Google’s top execs unveiled what many in the tech industry are calling a revolutionary new piece of hardware. A chip more advanced than any other in history, specifically geared toward machine learning and artificial intelligence. However, while the chip’s existence is big news, the way they intend to deploy it has become an even bigger story.

According to CEO Sundar Pichai Google is now an “AI first company” and as he explained to Wired Magazine, Pinchai believes “One of the most exciting things we all can do is demystify machine learning and AI. It’s important for this to be accessible by all people.”

For that reason, Google is making its new AI chips available to everyone via cloud based services that will enable developers, researchers, and even marketers to utilize their raw data and an unprecedented amount of computing power to make better decisions about nearly everything.

Until recently in human history, businesses were always tasked with finding ways to acquire sufficient amounts of data. In the last decade or so that challenge has changed completely. Now, most businesses are drowning in too much data and are in desperate need of a way to analyze it all. If these new chips live up to their lofty expectations, it could represent a quantum leap forward for consumers and merchants in nearly every sector imaginable.

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15
May
2017

New Home Sensors Redefine AI Smart Houses & Data Security Risks

by Bill

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University just unveiled the next generation of in home sensors that could lead to a fully “smart home.” These sensors do all the things that current sensors do, but in a whole new way that greatly expands their reach. Instead of just detecting if your light is on or off, they detect factors such as heat, light, magnetic properties and other qualities that would let it know if a light is on or off. This means that the sensors can basically sense anything that is happening in your home, and could be the first step towards your house knowing when you need more paper towels and ordering them from Amazon or WalMart online even before you notice you are low.

This is a great progression of technology but it is a little scary, simply because of how much data would be available to the general public. This would make hosting for the makers of these devices’ data very important. Not only would there be more data, but there would be more devices and a DDOS attack to your home would be very devastating. There have been way too many sci-fi movies where the computers controlling everything have gone wrong and ruined more than just the day of the main characters. For example, the researchers making this technology did not even want to put a camera on the sensors because of privacy concerns. Whoever takes this technology and makes it a commercial product is going to have to work very hard to address the security issues that it may present.

However, don’t let these warnings scare you off from trying new technology. It’s important to be open to trying new things, but make sure you and your data are protected by using smart and safe hosting and web services from National Net.

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02
May
2017

FCC Chairman Announces Plan to Dismantle Net Neutrality

by Bill

Net Neutrality is ThreatenedDuring a speech today in Washington Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai announced his intention to reverse an FCC decision to classify broadband Internet access providers under the Obama administration as “Title II” common carriers, which put them in the same category as traditional telephone companies. That re-classification had allowed the FCC enough authority to impose Net Neutrality as a requirement for all wireless and desktop broadband providers. If the Title II status is changed, the FCC would no longer have that authority and Net Neutrality would soon be extinct.

“Going forward, we cannot stick with regulations from the Great Depression meant to micromanage Ma Bell,” Pai said.

The FCC will vote on the proposal during an open meeting May 18th and that will kickoff a series of intense legal battles with proponents of Net Neutrality clinging to hope that the Administrative Procedure Act if 1946 will be able to save it. That law prohibits federal agencies from enacting “capricious” decisions, with the intent of the law helping to foster stability and order. Since the FCC successfully argued in favor of Title II reclassification in federal court last summer under the previous administration, legal scholars believe Pai will have to show with solid supporting evidence that enough has changed since that time to justify a complete reversal of policy.

Huge money is at stake for broadband providers and mobile carriers wishing to create ‘toll lanes’ on the Internet, while content providers like NetFlix and YouTube stand to gain or lose billions of dollars depending on the outcome as well.

Perhaps even more important to this controversial policy change is the role of regulators in a grander sense. Are administrative bodies like the FCC intended to take a long term view of regulations, or are we destined to live in a world where each election brings sweeping reforms aimed at vanquishing the rules established by a prior administration and leaving everyone with far more chaos to content with as we attempt to do business online?

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