A New Boost To Cyber Security – Truly Random Numbers

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It may not have made the evening news, but computer scientists all over the world are raising their glasses to celebrate a new breakthrough in cyber security. Computer science professor David Zuckerman has developed a way of creating truly random number sequences. In simple terms his method works by taking 2 weakly random sequences of numbers and turns them into a single sequence of numbers that are truly random. In the world of encryption and cybersecurity, this breakthrough could be the start of a whole new level of defence against cyber-attacks.

What Is A Random Number?

By definition, a random number is ‘a number generated by process, whose outcome is unpredictable and which cannot be subsequently reproduced’. At the moment there are 2 main ways of generating random numbers, both of which require a computer programme. In the first method a computer will select numbers from a pre-generated list of strings, which can be discovered with some clever hacking. The second involves using complex algorithms to automatically create a long series of numbers. The problem with these methods is that they both fall short of the ‘true randomness’ mark. Algorithms and pre-generated strings will eventually repeat sequences of numbers, making it easier to decipher, and because computers will follow their programming blindly it is difficult to change this. Zuckerman’s sequence is revolutionary because it starts with sequences of random numbers that are generated weakly, for example stock market prices sampled over time. These numbers in themselves are highly predictable, so won’t be any use for secure encryption. But by sequencing them together in his own way, Zuckerman has managed to create a way of generating truly random numbers that never repeat and aren’t tied to a pattern or computer generation.

Why are Random Numbers Important?

Random number generation is one of the fundamental pillars of encryption, the process that helps us to conceal messages and prevent people from accessing our confidential information. Without encryption we could not send highly sensitive or confidential information without it being available to read to everyone along the way, including criminals and hackers. One of the most common forms of encryption used today is the RSA algorithm. This method requires the factoring of large integers from 2 prime numbers to produce 3 mathematically linked keys, one public and one private. Both of these keys are needed in order to decrypt the message. The private key is always kept secret, and needs to be generated from a source of random numbers to keep the message safe and secure. The problem is that these algorithms can repeat themselves, making it easier for hackers to predict the patterns and decrypt the key. Zuckerman’s new method uses 2 sequences that are only weakly random that is not computationally demanding in order to discover a number that is almost perfectly random. This method is light years ahead of the current means of generating random numbers and could completely change the landscape of secure encryption.

While the breakthrough may have originated in Texas, the effect it will have on the UK market is staggering. Since this article on GoodUKNews was written about the need to keep the UK safe from cyber-attacks, 90% of UK organisations are still reporting security breaches, with online banking fraud increasing by 48% in a single year, and the cyber-attack rate on businesses rising by a staggering 114%. These increased attacks have had a huge impact on the UK business market and have created a need for more secure encryption protocols. If you want to read more about the effect cyber-attack have on UK companies, this whitepaper by Oxford Economics makes a great read. For more information about cyber security and how encryption could protect your business, just click here.

Article provided by Rose-Marie Littleford – Leapfrog Internet Marketing

NHS Questions

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Junior Doctors should look carefully at the result of their strike. The NHS did not fall into chaos and hospitals continued to function with the support from all other staff and the public because planned operations were cancelled and people turned away from requesting the NHS services.
Why did this happen and what could be the impact for the future?.

Has the NHS failed to control its workload?

If you can postpone 10,000 operations and appointments then surely you can schedule workload to match available staff.

Why did A&E attendances reduce during the Strike?

Accidents did continue to occur so it suggests that the reduction was caused by “unnecessary” A&E visits.

Now sharp thinking Hospital administrators and accountants will be working on how to take advantage of this information.

We have seen this in the past with many “industries” which enter into the labour strike mentality, the result has been management ask questions how they were able to cope during the strike and what was the impact. People start looking at reducing activity.

Lean thinking creeps in, procedures change, tasks change or are eliminated and maybe jobs eliminated.

Junior doctors may think they cannot be replaced, which is probable true in the short term, but the tasks they are currently asked to do can be changed or eliminated thereby reducing their workload.

This can be good for the NHS and the Junior Doctors, the only people who may be impacted will be the patients.

EU Referendum News

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Where do you go to get information about the EU referendum. There is so much conflicting information on the Referendum in the media so I thought I would try to provide a guide to useful sources. The campaigns are “Vote Leave” and “Britain Stronger In Europe“. Both of these sites post supporting statements of their campaign of course, but neither post opposing views to compare positions.

One site that attempts to provide a comparison of the statements made by supporters of each campaign is the BBC Referendum’s Reality Check site.

Open Europe is a site states it is a non-partisan and independent policy think tank. This site publishes its views and reports on some of the leading questions that the UK, whether we stay or exit the EU, need to understand. One such topic is the costs associated with the burden of EU regulation on the UK economy.

ITV News “Finding the facts” is another site that attempts to compare claims that have been made by each campaign and provide “the truth” behind the major statements.

The Economist also provides A Background Guide to Brexit from the EU providing some historical data.

All of the media,both TV and newspapers, publish daily information which should help you, but unfortunately headline grabbing statements often get the most visibility although may not contain much comparative fact that really help you in making a decision.

What I think you can say with some certainty is that there will be an economic impact if the UK votes to leave. How much of an impact and for how long it impossible to predict. The markets will definitely react, they always do, sometimes in an unpredictable way! There will be an extended period of negotiation whist the details of exit are finalised, this should be complete within 2 years to comply with Article 50 of the treaty, but of course there will be many other negotiations taking place which may not be directly Treaty related.

If you have found a good source of informed information that may help in making a decision, post your comments below.

Brexit decision time approaching

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Brexit decision time is approaching and I am still undecided. We need more Prime Time TV discussions on the issues with non political participants giving their opposing views to help us to make a decision. The main issues for me are Sovereignty,Security and The Economy.

Sovereignty

Clearly have our elected politians managing and generating our laws, is what I want. The EU with its questionable bureaucracy, Human Right laws etc causes me concern.
A good discussion on this subject can be found at The Question of Sovereignty in the EU Referendum BY MICHAEL JULIEN

Security

My general thoughts are that the EU does not improve our security position. Our border controls need to be maintained (and maybe strengthened) but our global strength comes from our military and security services and our links with the USA and NATO. See UK Security Would Benefit From Brexit BY BRUCE NEWSOME

Economy

The impact on the economy will be uncertain due to the negotiations that invariably will have to take place with all potential trading partners around the world and this delay could in the short term(2-5 years) cause a reduction in business activity. There are many areas that will need discussion and re-organising and this could take many years to fully recover. The basic process of exiting should be completed within 2 years. See http://www.lawyersforbritain.org/brexit-process.shtml .

However I have no long term concerns that the UK would not be a global player. I do believe that some short term laws may need to be introduced to prohibit international companies or institutions dumping UK businesses for short term gains.

Stop waving tax papers at each other

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The UK government, regardless of which political party has been in control, has produced the current tax system, Inheritance rules are clearly stated and allow Tax Havens etc to be used.
It appears to me that currently people are just trying to make political capital and are trying to remove Cameron from office.

I do believe the company tax system has problems and should be modified for example, to stop companies, and even UK councils, from exploiting the offshore rules! this should be a priority.
Modifying the tax system is not a simple task and cannot be done in isolation. The forthcoming EU Referendum could promote a tax change!
The most important thing with tax is that it should be paid by all who obtain wealth either through earnings or through capital appreciation.
Unfortunately governments of all sides try to provide incentives for people to use their wealth to generate growth/jobs by offering incentives which can be exploited as tax incentives.

I think parliaments priority should be focused on providing the UK population with the positives and negatives of belonging in the EU together with the potential positives and negatives of leaving the EU.
The time-scale of processes that would need to be followed should we leave and what issues would need further negotiation to enable exiting.

Stop waving tax papers at each other and get to work for the UK Future.

Customer pay more

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We hear this type of comment all the time, Customers must pay more!
Too much sugar in products customers must pay more.
Processed meat damages health customers should eat less.
Cigarettes damage health customers must pay more and we all pay more for NHS.
Employees not paid a realistic living wage so we all have to pay increased taxes to pay for support for them.
We drink too much alcohol make the customer pay more.

In all the above cases, the manufacturing and supplying companies make significant profits.
Why is it that the manufacturer or supplier of these “unsafe or toxic” practises are not directly penalised by attacking their profits as a way of incentivising change rather than the customer being made to pay more.

Why must change be initiated by the customer.

The result may be the same in that the customer paying an increased price but the provider will have an incentive to eliminate the toxic component from their manufacturing processes and produce different products or change processes.
What do you think?

Population shift and tackling migration

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The East to West, South to North migrant movement is out of control.
Reasons for that migration are varied from escaping a War Zone, Humanitarian to Economic.

We as a responsible and caring society must take our place by either providing resources to support(AID) and protect individuals or the acceptance of those who are in need into the UK who accept that
1.The UK rule of Law is paramount with Democracy and Christianity as its cornerstone.
2.The English language is the UK’s primary language for communicating with UK authorities.
3.People with a history of illegal activities or use illegal activities to enter the UK will not be accepted.

We are told there are 4 million people who have been driven out of Syria. If the EU were to accept all of those on an equal basis then each country should take about 143000 people.
In itself this does not seen an unacceptable number for a country the size and wealth of the UK. It would only add about 0.25% to the UK population.
Within the UK there are significant differences to where immigrants reside with the South East of England having the greater share and higher density with Scotland having relatively few based on density.

A future issue could be, I believe, once in the EU there is no controlling were they migrate to in the longer term.
We must have and maintain the ability to have some control over movement of people within the UK.

Major population movement around the world, like we are seeing today, has the potential for major unrest, disappointment of migrants when expectations are not met, clash of cultures, changes to the host community population as new cultures become apparent and shortage of services are experienced through over population.

Emergency action must be taken today to protect todays migrants, but that does not mean an open the door to uncontrolled population shift. It does mean save lives and provide adequate food and accommodation and Medical/Health services for those people as soon as possible.

Careful non emotional decision making is required by the leaders of EU countries to agree the long term solution.

The website Migration Observatory, http://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/, has all the data you might need to look at the numbers of immigrants in the EU, where they are located and the challenges faced by different countries.

Armed Force Day Flag ceremony in Guildford

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Guildford is hosting the National Armed Forces Day this year on the 27th June 2015.
The Armed Forces Day military parade will begin at 11.30am from the bottom of the High Street to Stoke Park, with hundreds of Armed Forces personnel, veterans and cadets taking part.
Schedule of the event

Video of the Chinook landing in Stoke Park Guildford bringing the Armed Forces Day Flag to Guildford.

VEDay70 Memories

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Southampton 1945 Manor Farm Road.
Add your memories .
VEday southampton

4 Days to change the UK

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Ok , have you made your mind up yet?
Are you confused with the statements and counter statements from the party leaders? I know I am.

What are the real influencers and risks to the UK’s future government?
Is it leaving or staying in the EU?
Is it the “Global Economy” recovering or falling?
Is it Scotland breaking up the UK or not?
Is it “The Market traders” gambling with the UK currency following an hung Parliament vote.
Is it the risk of “Global Big Business” flexing its muscles and moving business outside of the UK?
Is it the NHS consuming money at an ever increasing rate?
Will the parties make deals of some sort with each other and will they be able to negotiate their respective “Red Lines” without dropping them?
Will people vote on the basis of fear of the “other party” getting in or vote on the basis of Media predictions rather than believing in the party manifesto?
Will everybody vote and therefore get a result which will not be accepted and cause unrest?
Will the outcome of the Election change the UK forever?

I hope these summaries below help you in making your decision
The BBC has provided a useful Manifesto comparison chart here.
An alternative presentation of the Party Pledges can be found on The Kings Fund website.

None of the above risks are able to be predicted before the Election, therefore on May 7th I will vote on the basis of the parties manifesto intentions which in my opinion will provide a UK of which I will be proud to be a citizen of.

We must encourage everybody in the UK who has a vote to use it.