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TECHNOLOGY Archives - ICOHS College

Find out what blockchain is and what it is used for.

Blockchain: The Future of Digital Networks

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What is blockchain?

You may have never heard this term and much less know what blockchain is, but it is only a matter of time before you find out, because it is a paradigm shift in our way of understanding the digital world that will eventually become integrated into our lives, or so experts say. In this article, we will explain what blockchain means and why it will be key in the future of digital networks.

It was born as a secondary actor in the bitcoin revolution since it is the technology or the information coding system that is behind the virtual currency and that supports its entire structure. People start realizing the potential it had for itself and the number of applications it allows in other areas beyond financial transactions, such as public administration or the Internet of things. (Fortney, 2019)

Blockchain and the end of data centralization

Blockchain is a technology that allows the transfer of digital data with very sophisticated coding and in a completely safe way. It would be like the book of accounting entries of a company where all entries and exits of money are recorded; In this case, we talk about a book of digital events.
But it also contributes with a tremendous novelty: this transfer does not require a centralized intermediary that identifies and certifies the information but is distributed in multiple independent nodes that register and validate it without the need for trust between them. Once entered, the information cannot be deleted, only new records can be added, and it will not be legitimized unless most of them agree to do so.
Next to the level of security that this system provides against hacking, we find another big advantage: although the network would fall, with only one of those computers or nodes not doing so, the information would never be lost or the service, depending on the case of the let’s talk, it would still work.
An example that illustrates the importance of the distributed network is social networks. With this system, blockchain would eliminate the centralization imposed by applications such as Facebook or Twitter when identifying or validating the origin of our messages, and their integrity would be guaranteed by the network of nodes. (Greenspan, 2016)

Who is who in the blockchain and how does it work?

Let’s try to decipher who participates in the blockchain and how its technology works. The blockchain, as the name implies, is a blockchain. Each of these blocks contains the encoded information of a transaction in the network. Before we made the analogy of the accounting book, where we noted, for example, that A came out and entered B. Well, blockchain behaves the same, but it will be the network of distributed nodes that certify these data are true. How do they do it?
Each block in the chain carries the transaction package and two codes, one that indicates which is the block that precedes it (except the origin block, of course), and another for the block that follows, that is, that they are interwoven or chained so they are called hash codes or pointers. The concept of mining carried out by the nodes, that is, the process of information validation comes into play. In this process of mining or checking, when there are two blocks that point to the same previous block, the first one to be decrypted by the majority of the nodes simply wins, that is, that most points in the network must agree to validate the information. Therefore, although blockchain generates multiple blockchains, the longest blockchain will always be legitimized. (Siddiqui, 2018)

What is the future of blockchain?

Experts compare the arrival of the blockchain with milestones such as the integration of computers in domestic use or the development of the Internet, that is, a system that will change the way we understand business and society.
One of its greatest potentials is in the so-called smart contracts or smart contracts, that is, with blockchain technology, agreements and transactions can be made in a confident manner without revealing confidential information between the two parties and without the need for “arbitrators”, such as payments to distributors or, for example, the rental of a car online.

But not only this, based on the same concept, blockchain will be essential for the Internet of things. Our electronic devices will be able to communicate with each other in a safe and transparent way, and soon we will see our refrigerator buying yogurts in the online supermarket as soon as it detects that they have finished.
The administration will have an incomparable asset with this cryptography system. Issues such as electronic voting that, despite attempts made with other technologies, have not resisted hacking, could now be a viable option for voters with the assurance that their identity will not be supplanted and the convenience of not having to travel to the polling station.
There are currently many projects that are being investigated to implement the blockchain as a structure that supports them, so we will soon see if it really becomes the technology of the future. (Forbes Technology Council, 2018)

Bibliography
Forbes Technology Council. (2018, September 6). Innovation. Retrieved from www.forbes.com: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/09/06/what-does-the-future-of-blockchain-hold-10-predictions-from-tech-experts/#f6be20d301ad
Fortney, L. (2019, November 26). Blockchain. Retrieved from www.investopedia.com: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/blockchain.asp
Greenspan, G. (2016, March 17). Developers. Retrieved from www.multichain.com: https://www.multichain.com/blog/2016/03/blockchains-vs-centralized-databases/
Siddiqui, I. (2018, April 24). Coinmonks. Retrieved from www.medium.coom: https://medium.com/coinmonks/what-the-hell-is-blockchain-and-how-does-it-works-simplified-b9372ecc26ef

wifi security, secure wifi

Can Your Wi-Fi Spy on You?

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Be aware of Wi-Fi security measures

As technology continues to dominate our lives, many people have begun to question some of the negatives that are associated with it. But, this isn’t modern anxiety at all. Even in the 1920s, Western culture was identifying these worries in different creative mediums. Films like Metropolis were concerned with the control that technology could pose in our everyday life, especially in the form of surveillance. And, there’s no arguing with the fact that in a hundred years we have taken many substantial technological leaps. But how concerned should we be?
Almost every home is now equipped with a Wi-Fi router, a necessary source for all of our internet habits. But many of us are unaware of how these types of machines truly work, and unfortunately, it’s common to hear a lot of misinformation. In this article, we hope to give you a clearer picture of the ways in which Wi-Fi can be much smarter than many of us thought and what the implications of these intelligent devices are in our daily life.

Detecting Language

Language is one of the most important tools we have to communicate with. We don’t only use it to convey the things we have done physically but also how we feel mentally and emotionally. The words spoken in our house have the potential to be extremely personal and intimate. How would you feel if a machine in your home had access to all these conversations? We promise this isn’t an episode of black mirror.
While a Wi-Fi device may not be able to hear audio, it’s possible that it can instead ‘see’ the movements of a human’s mouth. One study that attempted to show this was Guanhua Wang et al. in their essay “We Can Hear You with WiFi!” They found that Wi-Fi signals can be used to detect changes in the environment, and this includes mouth movements. In essence, the device can lip-read using Channel State Information (CSI), a ‘waveform-based human identification’. There’s even evidence to suggest that signal changes can be detected through walls, so this doesn’t only affect a single room but potentially the house.
 

Browser History 

Another way your Wi-Fi can access information about you is through your browser history. While you are connected to your Wi-Fi, your broadband provider is able to see every website you visit and how frequently you visit it. Not only this, but if you visit unencrypted websites, the network admin can even discover your personal data such as passwords, by using a packet sniffer. That’s why it is essential to use caution when connecting to public networks while you are inputting personal data.
Your browser history can provide a lot of details about your lifestyle, likes, dislikes, and personal data. Not many people find this level of intrusion acceptable. If you don’t feel comfortable with your provider being able to access this information, then you do have a few options. It’s not enough to delete your history, or even clear the cookies and cache, but you can choose to purchase a VPN.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, can protect your privacy on public networks by using both data encryption and IP address change. When you change your IP address, you are changing your virtual location, one which your network provider does that have access to. Therefore they won’t be able to obtain data information from your online activity. Another benefit is that by using a VPN, you may be able to access websites that your internet provider may have blocked or disallowed permission.
 

Physical Presence

How much time do you spend in the kitchen? What time of day do you get home? These may be only a few questions that your Wi-Fi could answer. Researchers tested the theory that a Wi-Fi device could accurately identify when someone walks into the room. Tong Xin et al., in their paper “FreeSense: Indoor Human Identification with WiFi Signals” found that when the system is trained to identify a particular body shape with FreeSense, that the system could identify this individual 95 percent of the time.
 
Similar systems have been introduced in other countries with even better results, believing in the future Wi-Fi should be able to detect one individual in a group of ten. The inspiration behind the project is safety; they think that it could potentially identify intruders and be a force for positive. But others are still skeptical about giving companies so much information about their daily schedule and habits.
Another system called WiKey has been built to identify what letter or symbols a person was pressing on a keyboard by using finger movement. The system worked almost flawlessly and had a 93.5% success rate at guessing the correct movement. Systems like this are surprisingly easy to create with an available router, meaning we could see even more built in the future.
 

Final Thoughts on How Your Wi-Fi Can Spy on You

How much of our intimate lives have been hijacked by the pervasive nature of technology? There is no doubt that surveillance has increased in our everyday life, but it’s still debatable if it will improve the efficiency of our daily routines. Perhaps it is entirely subjective.
At least for now, the information that our Wi-Fi’s collect shouldn’t be accessible to third-party companies. This opinion has been reiterated by Kamran Ali, one of the scientists behind WiKey. He wrote that “it is not a big privacy concern for now”. However, our dependence on technology will ultimately lead us to ask even more ethically questions about our privacy. Our Orwellian future still remains ambiguous.
If you are interested in achieving a tighter grasp on technology, a good option could be to study at a computer training school.
At ICOHS College, we offer a range of computer networking certifications, so if you need CompTIA training or what to learn how to get into cybersecurity, you can do so with us. With information technology courses such as IT Network Specialist and Computer Network Technician, you can gain the essential knowledge you need to launch into the IT job market. 85% of ICOHS students are getting certified and we offer both industry experience and job placement assistance.
If you want to learn more about the information technology courses we offer and how to apply, you can visit our website here.
Information Technology at ICOHS College

10 IT Buzzwords That You Need to Know in 2019

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2019’s IT Buzzwords You Need to Know

There is no denying it; our world is advancing, and rapidly as a matter of fact. Along with technological advancements comes an entire slew of new words, vocabulary, and terminology.

For those unfamiliar with the advancements that have been taking place, a lot of the viral words of 2019 may seem like jibberish. We are here to break down some popular information technology (IT) buzzwords into manageable pieces so that they are easier to understand and conceptualize.

IT does not need to be an overwhelming or challenging topic; deeper explanation with clear wording can help. The same goes for 2019’s IT buzzwords; once broken down into bite-sized, easy to understand bits, their meanings become evident.

Viral words of 2019

The pace of IT developments are progressing rapidly, so it can feel difficult to keep up with all of the new accomplishments and advances.  This shortlist runs you through the IT buzzwords of 2019 you should know to be up-to-date with some of the most recent tech evolutions.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Sometimes referred to as merely ‘AI’, artificial intelligence is a term that can be seen extensively amongst tech news and other scientific developments. In short, artificial intelligence represents any machinery or software that is capable of human-like results and functions.

Artificial intelligence machines and software are sometimes even capable of learning as they operate, through a system of what is called artificial neural networks. The function of these self-learning devices is termed machine learning and it continues to pop up more and more in modern technological set-ups. Machine learning and artificial neural networks can be utilized to produce highly accurate results in an absurdly fast manner, as well as recognizing threats and challenges that would have gone overlooked by other, less complex networks or by human eyes.

Artificial intelligence can also refer to robots that are capable of learning as they operate. For this reason, there are some individuals that actually fear the future capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI), but for the time being it seems the applications of these devices are especially beneficial and advantageous.

Present-day examples:

Personal assistant programs (Alexa, Siri, Echo)

Social media face recognition software (Facebook)

Ridesharing applications (Uber, Lyft)

Email spam filters

 

Blockchain

There is a highly likely chance you have heard of Bitcoin. This buzzy term has grown to become the world’s most successful, albeit fragile cryptocurrency that has either garnered extreme enthusiasm, a complete dislike of, or indifference towards.

With cryptos such as Bitcoin growing to such mass popularity and profitability, there had to be a standard set into place. This is where the term blockchain comes into play.

Blockchain is, for example, what keeps Bitcoin traders from getting ripped off, by monitoring every transaction and maintaining strict records of all exchanges of Bitcoin. Everyone can see this transaction history, which is open source and available to anyone who wishes to glance upon the comings and goings of this cryptocurrency. Additionally, blockchain is naturally encrypted, which gives users a further sense of security.

This unique and clever system prevents counterfeit Bitcoin from being traded, which increases the cryptocurrency’s reputability and trustworthiness, but blockchain is not only limited to Bitcoin. In fact, this system can be set into place for any cryptocurrency and is often the structure of choice opted for. This new database is even being considered for use in banking and medical storage. Blockchain allows successful Bitcoin traders and other crypto collectors to rejoice, so be it that their trades are going well.

 

Mobile-First

Mobile-first is not exactly a new concept, and not as much a buzzword as it is a business model and developmental concept. In a world where the internet was first designed for desktop and then laptop use, it was not until the last decade with the release of the iPhone, one of the world’s most popular smartphones, that mobile compatibility became a high priority.

What mobile-first refers to now is a business model in which websites, applications, and other programs are developed first for use on mobile devices, and then afterward produced for computer use.

Even if companies are not agreeing to mobile-first philosophies, they are at least almost always assenting to mobile inclusive developments, because those that choose not to include mobile visitors in their demographics are asking to go out of business in this modern world.

Present-day examples:

These mega-companies are only a few that have taken on the mobile-first mindset.

Lululemon

Walmart

Domino’s

bareMinerals

 

3D Alteration

Since the arrival of 3D printers, this practice, sometimes referred to as additive manufacturing, has taken a number of industries by storm. Items and objects are produced through the generation and build-up of one layer after another, leading to a multi-dimensional final result that is tangible, unlike the 2D nature of most printed copies.

A number of materials can be created through 3D alteration, from metal, plastic, food, and housing to even human tissue. Due to its wide range of applications, both wealthy companies and startups have turned towards this technology to produce their desired results.

Present-day examples:

Nike

Ford

Boeing

MakieLab

DIY Rockets

General Electric

 

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things, also known as IoT, is a web of connections between machines, computing devices, people, and even animals that interact amongst one another to produce specific functions. Unique identifiers are created (UIDs), which then make it possible for data to be transmitted across networks without the need for human interaction with other humans or with computers.

This interrelatedness between machines and man has expanded across a multitude of industries, from wearables and mobile devices to auto, home, and environmental applications.

Present-day examples:

Home security systems

Smart electronic appliances

Household and commercial lights and thermostats

Speaker systems

Vending machines

Cars

 

Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is a method of data analysis in which computers become more capable of solving complex problems through the utilization of quantum bits, known as qubits. Compared with classic electronic selections that use the two defined states of either 0 or 1 known as binary digits or bits, this alternative is much more versatile but it presently has its limits.

As technologies continue to advance into the future, it can be expected that further applications for quantum computing will become a reality. Companies such as NASA are already interested in quantum computing in order to map mass amounts of data, such as information they compile pertaining to the universe. It doesn’t get much more vast than that!

 

Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR)

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are closely related terms. Augmented Reality is, in some ways, a more simplified version of Virtual Reality, in which computer-generated aspects such as GPS data, various sounds, and videos are implemented alongside aspects of the real world. Probably the most accessible example of AR would be an application such as Pokemon Go. This game uses user location and positioning in order to create the map of the game, while applying its own computer graphics, such as when various Pokemon appear onto the screen.

Virtual Reality takes AR a step further by greater interacting with user senses. With Virtual Reality, you can essentially feel as if you have stepped into a completely different world, a digital yet highly real feeling version of whatever you would like to experience.

VR typically requires the consumer to wear sound-canceling headphones along with VR goggles. Sometimes arm toggles are also used to control the hand movements within the virtual world. The combination of these elements furthers the gamer experience by blocking them away from the outside world as much as possible.

In addition to providing an intriguing and realistic gaming experience, VR is also utilized for simulations in occupations that require expert training such as flying planes, surgery, and other complicated processes.

 

Immersive Experience

Related to VR and AR, these two aforementioned terms are actually considered a part of the immersive experience. An immersive experience is any type of circumstance that completely encompasses and engulfs the senses, as to take you away from reality for a moment and leave you feeling as if you actually exist within another world.

In truth, immersive experiences do not only need to relate to technology. Any event or undergoing that places you into what feels like an alternate universe for a moment of time is, by definition, an immersive experience. Attending an art show or concert, exercising, or focusing in a classroom can all fall under this category of being immersive.

 

Data Mining

Data mining is mostly how it sounds; this process is the discovery of the paradigms existent amongst mass amounts of data and information. Data mining alone does not involve the actual process by which data is mined, rather it is the overall concept. Instead, techniques used to mine data are described differently.

Some common techniques used in data mining include personalization, artificial intelligence (which we discussed earlier on), machine learning, and actionable analytics.

 

Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is not only a tech concept but is also tied in with political and governmental aspects. This term is the belief that all data and information available on the internet should be treated in the exact same manner, regardless of the government organization or the internet provider connected.

All tied into the idea of internet privacy, companies and government organizations can collect and track data to then pay money in order to prioritize their Internet traffic over another’s.

What this means, is that if an internet provider were to begin their own movie or music streaming company, the advertising and promotion of that service would then take priority over other established providers such as Netflix or Spotify, leading to a biased selection for potential customers.

Discussions about net neutrality are especially prominent currently in the United States, so those who reside in the US are encouraged to read more about the topic and gain a greater education on what it means to be net neutral.

Popular IT Buzzwords You Need to Know in 2019: Conclusion

Popular IT buzzwords of this year need not be overwhelming. In reality, for the average individual, these terms aren’t necessary to understand in great depth and detail but the general concepts can be valuable to grasp. Aside from this minute list of terms to know, with all of the tech advances happening each day it merely is not possible to keep up, but one can do their best and try to be as educated as possible.

Have you been looking for IT schools or career colleges in San Diego? ICOHS is a non-profit vocational school and affordable school for IT offering programs to become a computer network technician, IT network specialist, or IT systems administrator.

Do any of these career paths sound right up your alley? Our dedicated IT educators are passionate about assisting students in the fulfillment of their career goals. Reach out to us today and request more information.

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