Every year, we capture a little bit more of the future — and yet the future insists on staying ever out of reach.
Consider space travel. Humans have been traveling beyond the atmosphere for more than 50 years now — but aside from a few overnights on the moon four decades ago, we have yet to venture beyond low Earth orbit.
Or robots. They help build our cars and clean our kitchen floors, but no one would mistake a Kuka or a Roomba for the replicants in “Blade Runner.” Siri, Cortana and Alexa, meanwhile, are bringing some personality to the gadgets in our pockets and our houses. Still, that’s a long way from HAL or that lad David from the movie “A.I. Artificial Intelligence.”
Self-driving cars? Still in low gear, and carrying some bureaucratic baggage that prevents them from ditching certain technology of yesteryear, like steering wheels.
And even when these sci-fi things arrive, will we embrace them? A Pew study earlier this year found thatAmericans are decidedly undecided. Among the poll respondents, 48 percent said they would like to take a ride in a driverless car, but 50 percent would not. And only 3 percent said they would like to own one.
“Despite their general optimism about the long-term impact of technological change,” Aaron Smith of the Pew Research Center wrote in the report, “Americans express significant reservations about some of these potentially short-term developments” such as US airspace being opened to personal drones, robot caregivers for the elderly or wearable or implantable computing devices that would feed them information.
Let’s take a look at how much of the future we grasped in 2014 and what we could gain in 2015.
Michigan is for makers, makers who aren’t afraid of pushing the boundaries while they create.
At Michipreneur, we uncover many of these makers and their new products developed. Last year we covered hundreds of businesses, events large and small, and watched over 143 startups populate our growing Michigan Startup Directory.
All of this business growth excites and inspires us, and some businesses really stand out as innovating their industry. Sometimes innovation can be simple, the combination of unlikely ingredients to create a whole new product. Other times innovations lead an industry by inventing a whole new approach.
The following are the most innovative stories we witnessed in 2014. We hope they inspire you to keep pushing boundaries this year.
There are four key metrics for evaluating computer security solutions; TrustPipe provides greater than 10X improvements across all four:
These achievements are the direct result from a true breakthrough in data analysis, for which we received our core patent (here).
At a high level, it is a method for identifying the minimum set of markers that authoritatively define data as a member of a set.
It is easiest to think about this in terms of DNA analysis. For example, out of all the DNA in a mouse, only a tiny set of markers are necessary to identify it as a member of the mouse family. If another creature has those same markers, then it, too, must be a member of the mouse family; if it does not, then it is not a member.
TrustPipe understands network traffic at a similar level. We used our patented technology to analyze terabytes of network traffic that had been categorized by experts as being either bad (attacks, exploits, malware, botnets, viruses, and so forth) or good. Through this process, TrustPipe identified the markers that define traffic as bad. It also identified the markers that define good traffic.
As is the case with DNA, these markers are distinctive and authoritative. This means that, if a conversation between two computers has these markers, it must be bad and TrustPipe can confidently move to protect the target computer.
The markers TrustPipe looks for represent a tiny subset of the overall data flow. This means that TrustPipe is both compact and very efficient, because it doesn’t need to examine every bit and byte. As a result, TrustPipe is nearly undetectable in terms of overall system performance.
The bottom-line benefit is that TrustPipe overcomes the intrinsic flaws of both heuristic and signature-based security technologies.
Heuristic technologies deal in probabilities, rather than certainty, which means that while they are useful for drawing attention to a potential problem they are rarely sufficiently authoritative to actually take real-time action.
Signature-based approaches, on the other hand, are great when they work, because they are precise — when the system detects Signature A, it can confidently take action to block it.
The problem is, if the threat changes slightly, the system fails because there’s no longer an exact match. As a consequence, signature-based systems require constant updates, creating larger and larger sets of signatures that require growing compute resources — and they are always playing catch-up.
But what we discovered is that there are distinctive markers — similar to markers in DNA — that perfectly identify entire classes of threats.
As a result, our patented, marker-based approach is every bit as precise as the signature model, and dramatically superior by every other measure.
It detects and blocks all variants — past and future — of every threat class, without modification. For example, TrustPipe-protected systems were not vulnerable to the widely-publicized Heartbleed and Shellshock threats, because while those threats were new to signature-based systems, to us they were simply members of an existing class. No “urgent update” was required.
Moreover, the set of markers required to detect all classes of threat is remarkably compact. The entire TrustPipe dataset, spanning virtually every class of threat, is just 1.5MB — a sharp contrast to, for example, the nearly 400MB update for one well-known program that targets just antivirus. Our compact size translates directly into improved system performance and superior user experience.
Finally, TrustPipe is self-learning. In the rare case of a truly new threat class — an actual “zero-day”, which happens just once or twice each year — TrustPipe automatically discovers the new threat, protects the attacked computer in real time, and then shares its discovery with every other TrustPipe in the world, inoculating the entire TrustPipe ecosystem in minutes.
Together, this has obvious value in network security – an area in which founder Kanen Flowers has deep experience. In fact, it was his frustration with the failure of the vast panoply of security technologies to actually solve the network security problem that led to his discovery of this radical new approach.
Building TrustPipe involves three phases.
The Distillation phase, completed in 2012, started with data categorized by humans, which TrustPipe transformed into an entirely new and purely digital model that enables it to ascertain complex patterns well beyond the capabilities of humans to discern.
A key part of Distillation is the normalization of the data by processing entire bi-directional conversations between two or more devices, conversion of conversations to integer values, and elimination of extraneous elements. The Distillation process was understandably tremendously data- and compute-intensive, requiring multiple passes across terabytes of data to derive the “essence” of what binds the set together.
The result of Distillation was a “set of sets” of markers (which we call a MetaExpression) that fully define “acceptable” and “unacceptable” traffic, which TrustPipe then uses to evaluate and categorize random, real-time traffic.
Not only is this MetaExpression absolutely authoritative, it is also astonishingly compact: the version covering all network-based attacks – now and into the future – is less than 1.5MB.
TrustPipe is deployed as what is referred to as a “bump in the wire” – all traffic runs through it. On endpoint devices, this means it becomes part of the packet-processing flow of the operating system.
TrustPipe transforms each incoming conversation in the same way that occurs during Distillation. However, in sharp contrast to the Distillation phase, when TrustPipe is evaluating network traffic at runtime the process of examining a single conversation between two or more computers is remarkably lightweight, requiring trivial amounts of CPU and imposing a negligible penalty on throughput.
When TrustPipe encounters a segment of a network conversation that is unacceptable, it takes protective action, instructing the packet processor to either drop the offending segment or, in some cases, terminate the entire conversation.
Each TrustPipe checks in periodically with its TrustCloud™ – a cloud-resident system that ties all of its TrustPipes together into a “hive of protection”, keeping each TrustPipe up-to-date. The TrustCloud also enables device-by-device as well as group management and reporting. Typically, the TrustPipe-TrustCloud interactions involve one or two packets, so network impact is trivial.
Because TrustPipe operates at the set-binding level rather than, say, at the signature or behavioral level, it is immune to the obfuscation techniques that most technologies are forced to treat as “new” threat types.
On rare occasion, however, something truly new and unacceptable emerges. In those cases (there have been fewer than five between 2012 and 2014), TrustPipe will not detect the attack itself, but it will detect the effect of the attack.
When that happens, TrustPipe moves to protect the impacted device, and at the same time provides its TrustCloud with information about the attack. The TrustCloud, in turn, updates all of its TrustPipes to inoculate them against the attack – all of which happens within minutes, without human intervention.
This revolutionary capability is the subject of our second core patent (here).
Finally, TrustPipe is continuously learning by watching for new vectors. So, when it detects traffic that doesn’t fall into either the “bad” or “acceptable” buckets, it reports that to the TrustCloud as well. The TrustCloud synthesizes all these reports of suspicious traffic from TrustPipes around the world and, if a particular type of suspicious traffic is deemed to belong in the “bad” bucket it automatically pushes a tiny update to every TrustPipe.
This updating capability isn’t limited to new threat vectors: the entire TrustPipe engine can be updated on-the-fly when we release a bug-fix or add new functionality. This allows us to keep your computer secure, and you safe, long into the future.
We’ve been around long enough to know that no technology is perfect. So, while TrustPipe has performed remarkably well so far, we assume that there will be issues in the future.
At the same time, we are absolutely confident that when (not if) that happens, the essential simplicity and dynamic nature of the TrustPipe technology will enable us to respond quickly and effectively.
Microsoft is finally cracking down on scammers who offer to fix non-existent computer problems for hundreds of dollars. In a first strike, Microsoft sued several U.S. companies it said are involved in fake tech support scams.
For years, people have been receiving calls from companies pretending to be official Microsoft tech support staff, who try to convince the victim that their computer is infected with a virus. The scammers often offer to deal with it for a fee.
It’s definitive. North Korea was behind the cyberattack on Sony Pictures, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Friday.
“As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other US Government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions,” the FBI said Friday in a statement.
Ford today took the wraps off Sync 3, its next-generation, in-car technology package that is, as you’d expect, faster, sleeker and much improved over the old one. It’s also more intuitive and easier on the eyes, and integrates smartphone apps better. But the biggest change is under the hood: Sync 3 is powered by QNX instead of Microsoft Auto.
When Ford first launched the Sync prior to the recession, it was novel in the infotainment space. The platform announced today, several years after version 2.0, is Ford’s third go at infotainment, and from my limited experience with the Sync 3, it’s dramatically better than its predecess.
Keep trying—make lots of mistakes (the only way to learn)
Gigaom Kevin Fitchard Nov. 11, 2014 – 9:05 AM PST
Wireless startup Mimosa has been plugging Wi-Fi into a lot of networking products lately. It first injected Wi-Fi into transport networks by offering a backhaul radio to ISPs. It quickly turned to access networks, proffering up gear that replace the cable or copper line entering your home with a Wi-Fi link. Now it’s offering up its first consumer-facing product: A Wi-Fi router you actually install in your home.
Mimosa wouldn’t be Mimosa if it were just selling any off-the-shelf wireless router. Its C5i doesn’t have an ingress port connecting to your broadband modem. Instead, it pulls its internet connection directly from the airwaves. Specifically, it’s tapping outdoor Wi-Fi networks to deliver you an indoor Wi-Fi connection, sticking with its philosophy that Wi-Fi can be used to handle the broadband link from the network core all the way to the device.