domingo, 29 de mayo de 2016

State of Connectivity 2015: A Report on Global Internet Access by Facebook via Internet.org

By INTERNET.ORG    Via Facebook    February 22, 2016 

State of Connectivity 2015: A Report on Global Internet Access, the second annual study by Facebook, takes a close look at the current state of global internet connectivity, how it has changed since 2014, and how we can use the data identified to generate new insights.

At the end of 2015, estimates showed that 3.2 billion people were online. This increase (up from 3 billion in 2014) is partly attributed to more affordable data and rising global incomes in 2014. Over the past 10 years, connectivity increased by approximately 200 to 300 million people per year.

While this is positive news in terms of growth, it also means that globally, 4.1 billion people were still not internet users in 2015.

  • The four key barriers to internet access include:
  • Availability: Proximity of the necessary infrastructure required for access.
  • Affordability: The cost of access relative to income.
  • Relevance: A reason for access, such as primary language content.
  • Readiness: The capacity to access, including skills, awareness and cultural acceptance.

In order to address the barriers to connectivity, corporations, governments, NGOs and non-profits need to work together to continue gathering more accurate data on the state of global connectivity, and develop global standards for collecting, reporting, and distributing this data.

As one example, Facebook is collaborating with the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University to produce detailed maps showing the population distribution of 20 countries. These maps were created using new machine learning techniques and show the most accurate estimates of population distribution and settlements available to date.

Read more about Data-Assisted Population Distribution Mapping here and here.

sábado, 28 de mayo de 2016

Bringing information to the masses via solar-powered Internet access via TV White Space by MICROSOFT


“Without the Internet, it’s like living in darkness,” says Benson Maina, who runs the town of Nanyuki’s Internet café out of a 20-foot shipping container.

“My main duty is to communicate to the community, in terms of the Internet, the advantages they can get from it,” he says.

Affable and outgoing, Maina, 35, is the perfect ambassador.
To say the container, sunshine yellow, with an electric blue roof, stands out along this quiet road in rural Kenya is understatement. If cheap access to the Internet wasn’t enough of a draw, its alien appearance in this African landscape would be.

The container is powered by local company Mawingu, which provides Internet access via underutilized broadcast bandwidth, called TV white spaces. It’s part of a broader effort, by Microsoft and partners, to connect rural communities in Kenya and beyond.

For the people who come to Maina’s café, having Internet access that’s reliable and affordable is opening doors and creating opportunities.

“Bringing the Internet connection to the community… People never knew the possibilities, but now they have the whole world in their hands,” Maina says. “The people who use the solar cyber are working-class people who need a place to work. They’re also village people who don’t have much Internet competence. We help them learn.”

Many of his patrons come every day. They’re students, studying or applying to universities; farmers checking forecasts and crop prices; and budding entrepreneurs, earning a living transcribing or posting to social sites on behalf of others. They stay anywhere from two to eight hours.

“We also have job seekers,” Maina says. “People around here believe they’re so behind. They think the people who live in cities will always be on top. Power comes from having information.”

domingo, 1 de mayo de 2016

A hacker told me how to make a super strong password I can actually remember

Kurt Muhl (right), an ethical hacker with RedTeam Security
By Paul Szoldra   Via  TECHINSIDER

"One of the easiest ways to give yourself a strong password would be using a full sentence," said Kurt Muhl of RedTeam Security. 

Based in St. Paul, Minn, the cybersecurity firm of ethical "white hat" hackers helps companies find security flaws before the bad guys do.

The full-sentence technique works like this: Think of an everyday phrase that you can remember, like "My #1 favorite thing in the world is my family," or as Muhl gives as an example, "I bought my house for $1."

Then you take that sentence and convert it to a password by grabbing the first letter of each word. "I bought my house for $1" then becomes Ibmhf$1.

"That's going to give your uppercase, lowercase, a number, and special characters in there," Muhl said. "It's something that's easy to remember. All you gotta do is remember that sentence."

It seems simple, yet many people still resort to weak passwords, which hackers can easily guess using free software tools like John the Ripper. A password that has a word found in a dictionary with a number thrown on the end is something that a tool like "John" could break in about an hour, Muhl explained.

Passwords like "123456" or "password" — consistently found on worst password lists — would only take seconds to crack.

"That is the first thing that we try to go after," Muhl said.

As Muhl explained, John works off dictionary lists — massive text files you can find on any number of hacker forums — that contain words, phrases, numbers, and other password possibilities. It basically keeps trying combinations of words and numbers until it gets it right, which wouldn't take long if the password is particularly weak.

But Muhl's technique makes a dictionary attack fairly impossible, since it's not a word at all. The password becomes even stronger if you have more characters, since the added length ups the number of possibilities.

"The longer your passwords could possibly be," Muhl said. "The more guesses it's gonna take for me to get it right."

martes, 26 de abril de 2016

¿Cómo sabe el GPS qué ruta recomendarnos?

¿Qué carretera es mejor para ir de Madrid a Ciudad Real?
Para viajar de Ciudad Real a Madrid, ¿es mejor la carretera de Toledo o la de Andalucía? Así toma la decisión tu GPS

By: Macario Polo Usaola  Via: EL PAÍS, TECNOLOGÍA

Vivo en Ciudad Real, pero tengo mucha familia en Madrid. Un tema recurrente, desde hace más de treinta y cinco años, cuando llegan o llegamos de viaje, es si hemos ido o venido por la carretera de Toledo o por la de Andalucía. A diferencia del GPS al que podríamos consultar para ver qué camino es mejor, nosotros tenemos mucha experiencia en este recorrido (y en la conversación consiguiente).

El inexperto aparato, sin embargo, recomienda uno u otro camino en función de la distancia, de las características de cada carretera, e incluso de las horas en que preveamos viajar: así, el sistema informático de enrutamiento puede mostrarnos una alternativa u otra. Lo que no hará, seguro, es recomendarnos pasar por Badajoz, o por Valencia, o por Cádiz, para llegar desde nuestro origen, en mitad de La Mancha, hasta la capital, en el centro de la Península Ibérica.

La determinación del camino mínimo desde un lugar de origen a uno de destino es un problema clásico en Informática, que cualquier estudiante universitario de esta disciplina debe saber resolver.

El problema responde a lo que se llama un recorrido en un grafo que, en Informática, es un colección de puntos (ciudades o edificios o direcciones postales, por ejemplo) con líneas que los conectan (carreteras, calles, caminos). A cada línea se le asigna lo que se llama un "peso", que normalmente es la distancia, pero que puede ser otro factor (como el número de carriles o la velocidad máxima permitida) o una conjunción de factores (la distancia y el número de carriles y la velocidad máxima y la existencia de obras en algún trecho).

¿Cómo determina un sistema informático la ruta óptima de manera automática? El cálculo del camino óptimo es lo que se llama un problema de orden n2, es decir, que su tiempo de cálculo depende del número de puntos en el mapa elevado al cuadrado. Pero son tantos los puntos en el mapa (sólo España tiene más de 8.000 municipios, cada uno con sus calles, cruces, monumentos, edificios públicos…) que la aplicación del llamado algoritmo de Dijkstra se torna imposible.

sábado, 23 de abril de 2016

1 Million people use Facebook over Tor

People who choose to communicate over Tor do so for a variety of reasons related to privacy, security and safety. As we've written previously it's important to us to provide methods for people to use our services securely – particularly if they lack reliable methods to do so. 

This is why in the last two years we built the Facebook onion site and onion-mobile site, helped standardise the “.onion” domain name, and implemented Tor connectivity for our Android mobile app by enabling connections through Orbot.

Over this period the number of people who access Facebook over Tor has increased. In June 2015, over a typical 30 day period, about 525,000 people would access Facebook over Tor e.g.: by using Tor Browser to access www.facebook.com or the Facebook Onion site, or by using Orbot on Android. This number has grown – roughly linearly – and this month, for the first time, we saw this “30 day” figure exceed 1 million people. 

This growth is a reflection of the choices that people make to use Facebook over Tor, and the value that it provides them. We hope they will continue to provide feedback and help us keep improving.

Alec Muffett is a Software Engineer for Security Infrastructure at Facebook in London