19. 05. 2016 Jiří Hanák 0
Maybe you know a person like this. He or she will adamantly claim that they have never been to any suspicious or dangerous websites, have never opened an email attachment as long as they live and have never downloaded anything.
And yet they have a computer haunted by malware.
However, the time has come for exactly this to be possible. Even people who try to surf the net responsibly and safely can have their computers infected by a nasty malware.
Because of ads that spew the malicious code around.
18. 05. 2016 Jiří Hanák 0
“What a lovely thing, that company network of yours, with all its servers and websites. It would be a shame if anything were to happen to it…”
Acting like old-school mafia, a group of hackers calling itself the Armada Collective started to extort money from companies.
They rattle their sabres and threaten companies with a massive DDoS attack, unless the firms in question pay a hefty sum in bitcoin.
Situations like these happen quite frequently. However, this particular case is unique – in the end, the Armada Collective doesn’t attack at all. All those threats turn out to be empty.
Even so, the “hackers” racked up a lot hundreds of thousands of dollars from many companies.
16. 05. 2016 Jiří Hanák 0
Experts on internet security had some suspicions, so they put them to the test. They thought that security cameras might be actually inviting hackers into networks of companies they tried to protect. But how many attackers would actually employ these when searching for a way in?
They did a practical test. Five routers, DVR systems and IP cameras were set up and connected to the internet. Every device was fully patched and ran on default settings.
How did they fare in the test?
12. 05. 2016 Jiří Hanák 0
Experts on quantum computing have broken through another barrier on the way to quantum computers we could actually use.
A team of scientists from Innsbruck university and MIT managed to build a functional quantum computer that is the first to successfully scale the famous Shor algorithm for quantum computers.
Their newest pride and joy is only five atoms large and needs to be rebuilt after every use. However, the scientists claim that it is easily scalable – so an effort to build a larger and more complex quantum computer is no longer a question of taming the physics, but of a budget.
The fastest computer on the old continent can look forward to getting a huge present.
The Piz Daint supercomputer at the Swiss National Supercomputing Center (better known under its Italian acronym CSCS) will get a proper upgrade.
What will the experts at CSCS change under the hood?
“We want a safer internet!” think lots of people all over the world.
And experts are working on just this day and night. However, results of their hard work are often so difficult to understand that only security experts themselves know what has been accomplished.
This is the case with SSL certificates. While IT experts know what SSL is, how it helps with securing the internet and all that jazz, most people have only partial – and often wrong – information. And although news outlets try, they only succeed in passing on very basic information – like “check if your browser says HTTPS and look for a lock icon, then you’re safe” kind of thing.
But there’s more to it than that.
Because SSL certificates are a complex and powerful system that makes the internet safer.
Fifty-one years ago to the day, the director of Fairchild Semiconductors’ R&D laboratories wrote an interesting paper.
He described the evolution of computer chips since the 1950s.
In a short text – mere three and a half pages long – he described his findings. He noticed that the transistor count of reasonably priced circuits is growing at a quick pace. The chart of transistor count growth for the last few years was practically a steady upwards line. The complexity of similarly priced circuits almost doubled every year.
As a proper scientist, the director thought ahead. What could this mean for the future? “Over the longer term, the rate of increase is a bit more uncertain, although there is no reason to believe it will not remain nearly constant for at least 10 years,” the thirty-six years old researcher wrote.
His name was Gordon Earle Moore and he just gave the world his “law” that dictated the pace of the whole IT industry for over half a century.
There’s a new way for hackers to get control over a computer and it’s surprisingly simple.
They can just take control of their target’s mouse.
Security experts found a fault that allows a hacker to hijack a computer through a wireless mouse of their victim with just a cheap USB dongle and few lines of code in Python.
They dubbed the attack MouseJack and consider it a real threat for individuals and companies alike.
This nickname and many like it have been quickly ascribed to a new kind of CPU that has been created by a group of scientists from three US universities.
Their research published by Nature came out unexpectedly. Even though it promises huge changes in the future development of processors.
What is it all about, then? It’s a CPU that uses both photons and electrons, amazingly fast when moving data around, and it’s been built the same way that current chips are.
24. 03. 2016 Jiří Hanák 0
Would you like to try out a virus?
You probably don't hear an offer like this a lot. But now it's time to seriously think about it - as a newly established Malware museum offers just that. It's a collection of old viruses, worms and other malicious software hailing from the long-passed ages of DOS and it allows visitors to experience their effect firsthand, right in the browser.
But there's no need to be afraid of potential data loss or system corruption. Every bit of malicious code has been cut out from the malware, so you can experience its behaviour without destructive consequences.
In the previous article of this series, we furnished a data center with network technologies. But now the tech and fancy double floor is just collecting dust. How can we breathe life into the data center, make it host our company apps and thus fulfilling its purpose?
This third and final part of the How to build a data center series will go through the tpics of virtualization, cloud and the mantra of high availability. Until now, we have invested a lot of money into building a data center, but there’s still one definitely large expense waiting for us – the disk array.
10. 3. 2016 Martin Žídek 0
This is a second part of our series about building your own data center. It picks up where we left off last time as we look at choosing the right hardware, ensuring high availability of all parts of the infrastructure and connecting all of the components into a modern computer network.
Last time we focused on choosing the right location for the data center and talked about basic power supply and cooling considerations, physical security and dual connectivity. We’re on the right track, but there’s still a long way to go till we reach a working infrastructure. Let’s go.
04. 03. 2016 Martin Žídek 0
This article is a first in a series about building and managing a modern data center. Have you decided to build a brand new data center to meet your company’s needs? Then you have surely though about what type of a data center you’re going to build, how much technology is going to be inside it and at what temperature will these machines operate. However before all that, an absolutely key factor is just choosing the right place. The companies that chose to put all their data in Karlin-Prague – a district of Prague devastated by 2002 flooding – would now surely agree.
29. 02. 2016 Jiří Hanák 0
They are a heart of every personal computer, server, tablet or a smartphone. Technological marvels that even most IT professionals understand only in a very general way.
Do you think that understanding the details of CPU architecture is a thing best left to the experts? Everyone can try to reach them now. It was never easier to get a glimpse into how exactly do CPUs really work.
A small group of volunteers calling themselves Visual6502 have built a virtual model of the old ARM1 CPU. The model is fully functional.
You can see how the tiniest parts of the CPU work and communicate together as they’re going through code right in your browser window. You get to see what exactly the CPU’s innards do when they run through low-level commands like CMP or MOV.
The ARM1 was chosen because it has a well-deserved place in the history of computing. It was the precursor of modern ARM architectures that are ruling the today’s mobile CPU landscape.
The virtual model of the CPU was also a birthday present for the ARM’s eponymous manufacturer. The ARM company has recently celebrated its 25th birthday.
25. 02. 2016 Michaela Rabasová 0
He is in charge of everyday operation of the data center, taking care of customers and always thinking of innovation. Petr Stepanek is the company CFO and the director of Master DC Prague and he’s been with us since the beginnings. Ten years on, he still enjoys working here. Read on to meet one of our important people.
22. 02. 2016 Jiří Hanák 0
Neogenia, a successful young company from Brno, Czech Republic, has been excelling in the field of marketing for five years. They’re innovators who try to push the boundaries of their industry through modern technologies. Recently, they have got a new private cloud by Master DC.
What do they like about it the most, how did the migration to private cloud go and what are their future plans? Here are their answers, courtesy of Neogenia’s CTO, Jan Simecky.
18. 02. 2016 Jiří Hanák 0
There are many open source projects in the IT world, and others are cropping up daily.
Just a few of them make it up to the level where even multinational corps and companies begin to respect them.
The obvious example is Linux. It grew up from a one-person’s project to be an operating system used by a huge number of experts, companies and laymen alike. Relatively recently, even the experts from a rival company Microsoft started using Linux for some specific tasks.
Now the story seems to be similar for OpenStack, a cloud platform that is used to run more and more computer clouds all over the world. Big companies the likes of Intel or PayPal have adopted it and other corporations follow suit. Some people are already referring to OpenStack as the “king of cloud”.
So what’s the hype all about? How does OpenStack work? And what are its benefits for companies who want to use the cloud?
15. 02. 2016 Jiří Hanák 0
The calm week of Adrian Newby, CTO, was about to change. His company provides internet-based software-as-a-service to its clients. One of those clients was now in trouble.
Their servers have started acting up.
They were receiving huge amounts of internet traffic they just could not cope with.
The symptoms were there. Newby knew that this were the beginning of a DDoS attack. A synchronized distributed effort trying to deny clients access to their services.
How did he face the challenge?
11. 01. 2016 Jiří Hanák 0
Walter Powell lost his job that day.
After years of being an IT manager for a company helping drug addicts in Baltimore, his boss sacked him.
Powell decided to go out with a bang.
He used his technical skills and remotely uploaded a keylogging software onto the computers of his former employer, Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems. This soon got him employee passwords – including the login information of the company director who was responsible for Powell’s sacking.
The following month was chock-full of interesting events for BSAS.
04. 01. 2016 Jiří Hanák 0
I wish I thought of that five minutes ago.
Everyone knows this feeling. The best questions and answers often come to us too late, even hours or days later than when we needed. Sometimes a neighbour has such a stupid question that a brief, coherent and concise answer is hard to come by. Other times you get so stressed by an unfriendly atmosphere and long lines at a local bank that you forget some of the questions you wanted to ask.
In everyday situations, it’s okay to not say or ask the right things. You can always explain your point to your neighbour later or call the bank for further information. When you are making important decisions however, it’s better to be prepared.
One of the most important decisions businesses can make these days is the one about adopting the cloud. When negotiating about this relatively new technology, it’s possible to talk about many factors. Here are nine important questions you should ask when choosing a cloud provider, so that you don’t get lost in the cloud.
Remember: it’s important to be ready.
28. 12. 2015 Jiří Hanák 0
Hacking is bad.
This idea is deeply rooted among a lot of people. And many journalists only seem to make this notion stronger.
But it is, in fact, false. Hacking – in and of itself – is not bad. And people using it are not all criminals. In this aspect, hacking is similar to lock picking – the ability itself is not harmful and in the hands of a locksmith or a firefighter saving people from fire in a locked apartment, it’s actually very helpful. Only in the wrong hands can this ability do harm.
Hacking is just a tool; a skill that can be used ethically. And there are hundreds of people in the world doing just that, every day. Thanks to hacking, they can reveal security holes and vulnerabilities of various applications, they document them thoroughly and then pass them on to the app’s developers. In short, they help to improve the world of cyber security. Almost every university in the world has its own team of such specialists.
21. 12. 2015 Jiří Hanák 0
The flood has gotten everywhere. Both the ground floor and the basement with the generators’ fuel were under water. It was a disaster. “We really didn’t expect the storm to have a significant effect on the data center,” Peer 1’s vice president Ryan Murphey recounted a year later. His company had not prepared for the hurricane Sandy that was about to hit New York. Only two employees were left in the data center at the time. He added: “At the worst, we thought the facility might lose utility power, and Jeff and Mike would need to switch to the building’s backup generators.”
Their servers, located in the building’s second floor, survived the storm intact.
However, the water flooded the underground, where fuel reserves were located. As well as pumps that were to carry that fuel up to the generators on the seventeenth floor. The storm disrupted not only the power coming from the grid, but also the datacenter’s backup system.
The generators were okay, but they were running out of fuel fast. Their fuel consumption was too high to be covered just by a small backup fuel tank on the generators’ floor.
The disaster created one of the most engaging data center stories of the recent past.
17. 12. 2015 Jiří Hanák 0
Be it work, sport or games, a lot of people have a competitive streak that drives them towards better results, again and again. Especially at work, there are many reasons to strive for success. Respect of bosses and co-workers, pay rise, promotion or a prospect of a better job, all those things drive us towards doing the best we can.
But what if there are artificial obstacles to productivity?
That’s exactly the problem many employees all over the world face daily. They strive for better results, effectivity or just user comfort, but are held back by company IT and their rules.
Even when employees feel that a particular application could make their job much easier, they can’t use it on company’s equipment. The installation is blocked by their limited user rights – which pushes a lot of people to trying to circumvent them. This is what experts call shadow IT.
14. 12. 2015 Jiří Hanák 0
The new way to store data called solid-state drive or SSD has a lot going for it. It’s faster, lighter and more resistant to elements. Is it more suitable for server use than regular HDDs, though? That is the question we are trying to settle in this two episode comparison series. This one will see us go through prices, energy requirements and future outlooks of both technologies. You can read the first part of this comparison here.
Disks with magnetic plates are done for. They are slow, they don’t take abuse well and their repair is half witchcraft, half alchemy – what other computer component can be fixed by baking it in the oven just as well as stashing it in the freezer? We should really get rid of them.
In all possible use scenarios, they are to be superseded by a new technology called solid state drive or SSD, that is much faster, newer, better.
But isn’t that just a marketing ploy to sell a new tech?
Read the first part of our comparison of pros and cons of SSDs and classic hard drives. In this post, we’ll introduce the new contender and look at two particular aspects – speed and capacity.
27. 11. 2015 Jiří Hanák 0
The internet gets a bit more dangerous every day, it seems.
Several unrelated investigations from different security companies all bring very similar results. Lately there has been an increase of distributed denial of service (also known as DDoS) attacks, through which culprits attack servers and make them inaccessible to regular users.
Servers and other network elements get overwhelmed by an incredible amount of requests that can slow them down or even push them over the edge and crash their network completely. And in the case of a distributed attack these requests come from all over the internet and have different information attached to them, making it very difficult to tell them apart from regular users’ requests. Though their requests might not even reach the servers – DDoS attacks can ‘block the pipes’.
Fighting against DDoS is not easy.
Criminals know this, and tend to use them ever more frequently these days.
24. 11. 2015 Jiří Hanák 0
We are all afraid of something.
We fear that something might happen to our loved ones or that we won’t have enough money, some people are afraid of clowns or even just darkness. Fear can be a helpful ally when dealing with everyday situations.
But we should not listen to fear when deciding the adoption of a new technology that could greatly boost our business.
A lot of people are still quite cautious of cloud computing. They hear others talk about it and praise it, see them use it. But they still don’t want to take the leap themselves. And maybe they’re right, the cloud might not be the optimal solution for every business. It depends on the circumstances. But for most companies the cloud can and will be helpful, it will increase their effectivity and save them time and money. However, it’s quite normal to be a bit wary of something new. If you are still somewhat unsure about the cloud, here is a list of five most common fears of the cloud and how to get over them.
18. 11. 2015 Jiří Hanák 0
“You will save money.”
This sentence seems to be said in every list of advantages of the cloud. The shift away from physical servers and into the cloud brings a lot to the table, but money saved is the most important aspect for a lot of people.
But how exactly does it save you money? It’s mainly thanks to one factor – elasticity. Let’s look at what it actually is and how can it help you save money.
18. 11. 2015 Jiří Hanák 0
The best things in life are free.
A lot of the important stuff, however, is not. And it’s all the more painful when we realize we’re paying for something we could have gotten for free.
The free cooling of data centers is practically free. And paying for a standard compressor-based cooling seems really unnecessary in comparison. But let’s take it from the top:
Cooling is key. Without it, IBM data centers in north Italy would be as hot as pizza ovens in the company cafeteria. But how can you keep the servers from burning and not bankrupt your company in the process? With a technology called free cooling.