Cloudflare Turns 8 — here’s what we mean by a “better Internet”

Cloudflare Turns 8 — here's what we mean by a “better Internet”

Cloudflare Turns 8 — here's what we mean by a “better Internet”

I have always loved birthdays. It is a chance to get together with loved ones, a chance to have fun and a chance to reflect on anything you want to keep doing or change in the upcoming year. At Cloudflare, we’ve embraced celebrating our birthday as well.

This week, Cloudflare turns 8 years old. It feels like just yesterday that Matthew, Lee, Matthieu, Ian, Sri, Chris, Damon and I stepped on stage at Techcrunch Disrupt to launch Cloudflare to the world. Since then, we have celebrated our birthday every year by giving a gift back to our customers and the Internet. This year, we plan to celebrate each day with a new product benefiting our community. Or in other words, it is a weeklong birthday celebration. Like I said, I love birthdays!

Cloudflare Turns 8 — here's what we mean by a “better Internet”

The Cloudflare team when we launched the service at Techcrunch Disrupt during September 27 to 29, 2010 – Matthieu, Chris, Sri, Ian, Lee, Matthew, Michelle and Damon.

While I can’t share exactly what we’re releasing every day — after all who doesn’t like a surprise? — I wanted to share some thoughts on how we decide what to release birthday week.

Our mission at Cloudflare is to help build a better Internet. That is a big, broad mission that means many things. It means that we push to make Internet properties faster. It means respecting individual’s privacy. It means making it harder for malicious actors to do bad things. It means helping to make the Internet more reliable. It means supporting new Internet standards and protocols, and making sure they are accessible to everyone. It means democratizing technology and making sure the widest possible group has access to it. It means increasing value for our community, while decreasing their costs. Here is more color on each:

It means that we push to make the Internet faster

As more applications go online, users expect the interactions to be fast. It is hard to imagine a world where people want a slower Internet experience. It’s the exact opposite — and will only continue.

Speed means high bandwidth and low latency. As we move along these two axes, more applications emerge. Music on the Internet was unlocked at a certain level of bandwidth. Video required more. Videoconferencing has both bandwidth and latency requirements. These technologies are reshaping entire industries — and having a impact on societies globally.

What’s exciting to me is that there are a whole host of further applications that will be unlocked as we continue to increase the speed of the internet. One of the things that will enable this is edge computing — moving the cloud closer to the internet visitors. Cloudflare released Workers a year ago (on our 7th Birthday), and we are so excited by what developers around the world are doing with it. We know a whole new set of applications are being planted right now and will emerge over the next 18 months because of this gained speed.

It means respecting individual’s privacy

When we announced 1.1.1.1, our fast and private DNS service for consumers, we were blown away by the reception in the marketplace. People do care about their privacy and they are looking for solutions that understand that. When we build a product, we always ask ourselves how does this impact an individual’s privacy? We want to be a leader in terms of privacy.

It means making it harder for malicious actors to do bad things

The promise of Cloudflare has been to band businesses, people and organizations together to be stronger than the malicious actors. It’s the first time where the resources for the good guys have outweighed resources for the bad guys. Today, Cloudflare offers a broad security portfolio to its customers and we constantly work to make the services we have better, and to expand our scope. You will see our development in new areas on the security front this upcoming week.

It means helping to make the Internet more reliable

While speed matters in unlocking new applications, so does reliability. There are a whole host of applications that can only be unlocked if they can depend on the internet being there. Transportation is one example; health care is another. If the internet breaks for these applications, life threatening things can start to happen very quickly, just as they would be if power was lost to these applications. But it’s not just examples where lives can get lost — if you’ve been in an office when the wifi has gone out, you’ll know that more and more businesses depend on the internet just to get day to day operations done. Cloudflare is committed to being at the forefront of a more reliable internet.

It means supporting new standards and protocols

The original internet was designed as a decentralized network. One of the principles that enabled this to happen was to have a series of open standards that everyone agreed upon, as opposed to a series of balkanized networks that were all talking their own language. The original set of principles gave everyone a common language. This open set of standards let thousands of ideas bloom, and it is part of what has made the internet so great. We’re committed to that idea.

At the same time, the Internet is over 35 years old. Many smart, talented engineers around the world have come up with new protocols and standards that are faster and safer than the original protocols. But, getting these new protocols and standards distributed is difficult. We want to help distribute and drive adoption of new standards and protocols, and make access easier for our customers. We’ve done it with HTTPS, SPDY, HTTP2, DNSSEC and there are more to come.

It means making the internet more accessible to everyone

It is kind of crazy to think about the amount of timely information that we have access to today because of the Internet. And by and large, how it’s possible to communicate with any other person on the planet. But this only holds true if everyone is able to access the Internet. What do we mean by that? Well, it in turn breaks down into two further principles: democratization and affordability.

It means democratizing technology and making sure the widest possible group has access to it

It’s one thing to have an open standard. That, in theory, allows anyone who understands the standard to participate. But go back to the early days of the web, and you really had to be a “techie” to be able to participate.

We’ve come a long way since those days; in terms of user clients, we’ve gone from a command line interface to a supercomputer with touch screens in our pockets. But there’s more to democratizing technology than just making it easier from the perspective of a consumer. There are also all the small businesses that are now possible, that were not previously so, because these entrepreneurs can use the internet to directly reach customers. It’s enabled all sorts of products and services that were not previously possible.

Many of those businesses would not be able to start if the tools and infrastructure required to get going are beyond their technical grasp. One of the things that Cloudflare has been committed to from the start is taking complicated and technical solutions and making it easy enough for a non-technical person to use. We have wanted to expand the number of Internet properties who have access to these services. Millions of customers around the world fit this profile. We might have one of the fastest and most secure networks on the web fit for enterprises like New York Stock Exchange and IBM. But if you’re a one man shop just getting started, you shouldn’t need an IT team to be able to make your website fast and secure. With Cloudflare, you don’t have to.

It means increasing value for our community, while decreasing their costs

As the Internet grows, it becomes more valuable, and capabilities become lower cost. This is one of the powers of network effects. We have many examples of this at Cloudflare. We want more connections to other Internet providers around the world so that we can pass bandwidth savings along to our customers. Or, last year during our 7th Birthday, we pushed our DDoS mitigation technology to all of our plans, including the Free plan. This is technology that used to cost at least $10K/month. We are always looking to deliver more value to our customers. It is a daily topic around Cloudflare.

So, back to our Birthday Week. Every announcement this week ties back to helping to build a better Internet in some way. Here is a preview of this week’s releases:

  • On Monday, we are releasing something that will make the Internet more private and secure for every user.
  • On Tuesday, we are leading the way democratizing a new Internet standard, while also making the Internet faster.
  • On Wednesday, we are bringing together a coalition of partners to help our customers lower their infrastructure costs — dramatically.
  • On Thursday, our actual birthday, we are releasing a new service we hope you’ll love that provides something that every one of our customers needs, but now with the best security and lowest price.
  • On Friday, we are releasing a new product that pushes the power of the Internet forward by making it more programmable.

I often get asked what makes Cloudflare special? My answer always comes back to the people I work with and our partners who work passionately to delight our customers. The Cloudflare team comes to work every day to solve the tough challenges of the Internet to ultimately help build a better Internet going forward. This week, I am excited to share our work with all of you.

Every day, we will be posting a blog post at 1200 UTC with that day’s announcement. We will do a round up at the end of the week as well. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Cloudflare Turns 8 — here's what we mean by a “better Internet”

The three Cloudflare co-founders: Matthew Prince, Michelle Zatlyn and Lee Holloway

Cloudflare Turns 8 — here's what we mean by a “better Internet”

Launching Cloudflare at Techcrunch Disrupt in September 2010 to a panel of esteemed judges

Cloudflare Turns 8 — here's what we mean by a “better Internet”

Matthew Prince, our CEO, presenting Cloudflare to a group of entrepreneurs.

Cloudflare Turns 8 — here's what we mean by a “better Internet”

The three co-founders, Michelle Zatlyn, Lee Holloway and Matthew Prince, at one of our office openings early on

Source:: CloudFlare

AWS AppSync Launches a Guided API Builder for Mobile and Web Apps

Today, we’re launching a new guided API builder for AWS AppSync. Before today, knowing GraphQL was a pre-requisite for building an AWS AppSync API. This is because, AWS AppSync is powered by GraphQL, a powerful API query language that allows your backend and applications to perform complex data fetching in a single round trip for efficient network operations. The “no-code” GraphQL API builder, we release in July 2018, was a step in relaxing this requirement. With today’s launch, we are making it even easier to create a powerful, serverless API for your mobile and web apps without any prior knowledge of GraphQL.

Source:: Amazon AWS

Credit Freezes are Free: Let the Ice Age Begin

It is now free in every U.S. state to freeze and unfreeze your credit file and that of your dependents, a process that blocks identity thieves and others from looking at private details in your consumer credit history. If you’ve been holding out because you’re not particularly worried about ID theft, here’s another reason to reconsider: The credit bureaus profit from selling copies of your file to others, so freezing your file also lets you deny these dinosaurs a valuable revenue stream.

Enacted in May 2018, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act rolls back some of the restrictions placed on banks in the wake of the Great Recession of the last decade. But it also includes a silver lining. Previously, states could charge a confusing range of fees for placing, temporarily thawing or lifting a credit freeze. Today, those fees no longer exist.

A security freeze essentially blocks any potential creditors from being able to view or “pull” your credit file, unless you affirmatively unfreeze or thaw your file beforehand. With a freeze in place on your credit file, ID thieves can apply for credit in your name all they want, but they will not succeed in getting new lines of credit in your name because few if any creditors will extend that credit without first being able to gauge how risky it is to loan to you (i.e., view your credit file).

And because each credit inquiry caused by a creditor has the potential to lower your credit score, the freeze also helps protect your score, which is what most lenders use to decide whether to grant you credit when you truly do want it and apply for it.

To file a freeze, consumers must contact each of the three major credit bureaus online, by phone or by mail. Here’s the updated contact information for the big three:

Online: Equifax Freeze Page
By phone: 800-685-1111
By Mail: Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, Georgia 30348-5788

Online: Experian
By phone: 888-397-3742
By Mail: Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013

Online: TransUnion
By Phone: 888-909-8872
By Mail: TransUnion LLC
P.O. Box 2000 Chester, PA 19016

Spouses may request freezes for each other by phone as long as they pass authentication.

The new law also makes it free to place, thaw and lift freezes for dependents under the age of 16, or for incapacitated adult family members. However, this process is not currently available online or by phone, as it requires parents/guardians to submit written documentation (“sufficient proof of authority”), such as a copy of a birth certificate and copy of a Social Security card issued by the Social Security Administration, or — in the case of an incapacitated family member — proof of power of attorney.

In addition, the law requires the big three bureaus to offer free electronic credit monitoring services to all active duty military personnel. It also changes the rules for “fraud alerts,” which currently are free but only last for 90 days. With a fraud alert on your credit file, lenders or service providers should not grant credit in your name without first contacting you to obtain your approval — by phone or whatever other method you specify when you apply for the fraud alert.

Another important change: Fraud alerts now last for one year (previously they lasted just 90 days) but consumers can renew them each year. Bear in mind, however, that while lenders and service providers are supposed to seek and obtain your approval before granting credit in your name if you have a fraud alert on your file, they’re not legally required to do this.

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

Having a freeze in place does nothing to prevent you from using existing lines of credit you may already have, such as credit, mortgage and bank accounts. By the same token, freezes do nothing to prevent crooks from abusing unauthorized access to these existing accounts.

According to experts, the bureaus make about $1 every time they sell access your credit file. However, a freeze on your file does nothing to prevent the bureaus from collecting information about you as a consumer — including your spending habits and preferences — and packaging, splicing and reselling that information to marketers.

When you place a freeze, each credit bureau will assign you a personal identification number (PIN) that needs to be supplied if and when you ever wish to open a new line of credit. When that time comes, consumers can temporarily thaw a freeze for a specified duration either online or by phone (see above resources). Needless to say, it’s a good idea to keep these PINs somewhere safe and reliable in the event you wish to unfreeze.

One important caveat: It’s best not to wait until the last minute before starting the freeze thawing process, which can be instantaneous or can take a few days. The easiest way to unfreeze your file for the purposes of gaining new credit is to spend a few minutes on the phone with the company from which you hope to gain the line of credit (or research the matter online) to see which credit bureau they rely upon for credit checks. It will most likely be one of the major bureaus. Once you know which bureau the creditor uses, contact that bureau either via phone or online and supply the PIN they gave you when you froze your credit file with them. The thawing process should not take more than 24 hours, but hiccups in the thawing process sometimes make things take longer.

CREDIT LOCKS AND CREDIT MONITORING

All three big bureaus tout their “credit lock” services as an easier and faster alternative to freezes — mainly because these alternatives aren’t as disruptive to their bottom lines. According to a recent post by CreditKarma.com, consumers can use these services to quickly lock or unlock access to credit inquiries, although some bureaus can take up to 48 hours. In contrast, they can take up to five business days to act on a freeze request, although in my experience the automated freeze process via the bureaus’ freeze sites has been more or less instantaneous (assuming the request actually goes through).

TransUnion and Equifax both offer free credit lock services, while Experian’s is free for 30 days and $19.99 for each additional month. However, TransUnion says those who take advantage of their free lock service agree to receive targeted marketing offers. What’s more, TransUnion also pushes consumers who sign up for its free lock service to subscribe to its “premium” lock services for a monthly fee with a perpetual auto-renewal.

Unsurprisingly, the bureaus’ use of the term credit lock has confused many consumers; this was almost certainly by design. But here’s one basic fact consumers should keep in mind about these lock services: Unlike freezes, locks are not governed by any law, meaning that the credit bureaus can change the terms of these arrangements when and if it suits them to do so.

If you have already signed up for credit monitoring services, placing a freeze on your file should not impact those services. However, it is generally not possible to sign up for new credit monitoring services once a freeze is in place. So if you wish to avail yourself of credit monitoring, it’s best to sign up before placing a freeze.

Many consumers erroneously believe that credit monitoring services will protect them from identity thieves. In truth, despite incessant marketing by the bureaus and others to the contrary, these services do not prevent thieves from using your identity to open new lines of credit, or from damaging your good name for years to come in the process. The most you can hope for is that credit monitoring services will alert you soon after an ID thief does steal your identity.

Credit monitoring services are principally useful in helping consumers recover from identity theft. Doing so often requires dozens of hours writing and mailing letters, and spending time on the phone contacting creditors and credit bureaus to straighten out the mess. In cases where identity theft leads to prosecution for crimes committed in your name by an ID thief, you may incur legal costs as well. Most of these services offer to reimburse you up to a certain amount for out-of-pocket expenses related to those efforts. But a better solution is to prevent thieves from stealing your identity in the first place by placing a freeze.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD YOU DO?

Freezing your credit file at the big three bureaus is a great start, but ID thieves can and do abuse other parts of the credit system to wreak havoc on consumers. Beyond the big three bureaus, Innovis is a distant fourth bureau that some entities use to check consumer creditworthiness. Fortunately, filing a freeze with Innovis also is free and relatively painless.

In addition, many wireless phone companies currently check consumer credit using a little-known credit reporting bureau operated by Equifax called the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE). Freezing your credit with Equifax won’t necessarily block inquiries to the NCTUE, but fortunately the NCTUE also offers a freeze process, as detailed in this story.

It’s a good idea to periodically order a free copy of your credit report. There are several forms of identity theft that probably will not be blocked by a freeze. But neither will they be blocked by a fraud alert or a credit lock. That’s why it’s so important to regularly review your credit file with the major bureaus for any signs of unauthorized activity.

By law, each of the three major credit reporting bureaus must provide a free copy of your credit report each year — but only if you request it via the government-mandated site annualcreditreport.com. The best way to take advantage of this right is to make a notation in your calendar to request a copy of your report every 120 days, to review the report and to report any inaccuracies or questionable entries when and if you spot them. Avoid other sites that offer “free” credit reports and then try to trick you into signing up for something else.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, having a freeze in place should not affect a consumer’s ability to obtain copies of their credit report from annualcreditreport.com.

It’s also a good idea to notify a company called ChexSystems to keep an eye out for fraud committed in your name. Thousands of banks rely on ChexSystems to verify customers that are requesting new checking and savings accounts, and ChexSystems lets consumers place a security alert on their credit data to make it more difficult for ID thieves to fraudulently obtain checking and savings accounts. For more information on doing that with ChexSystems, see this link.

Finally, ID thieves like to intercept offers of new credit and insurance sent via postal mail, so it’s a good idea to opt out of pre-approved credit offers. If you decide that you don’t want to receive prescreened offers of credit and insurance, you have two choices: You can opt out of receiving them for five years or opt out of receiving them permanently.

To opt out for five years: Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit optoutprescreen.com. The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies. To complete your request for a permanent opt-out, you must return the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form provided after you initiate your online request.

Source:: KrebsOnSecurity

Lenovo Legion Y920 review: A hefty gaming laptop with buttery graphics and a mechanical keyboard

The Lenovo Legion Y920, with its full-on GTX 1070-calibre graphics, a bright 17-inch screen, and a mechanical keyboard, makes for a solid—and quite hefty—gaming laptop. Besides its premium mechanical keyboard, the Y920 boasts some enticing amenities that its competitors lack, such as a one-touch Turbo mode and Dolby Atmos sound.

It’s a good machine, but shop wisely. Gamers focused purely on the visuals may balk at the Y920’s hefty price tag, particularly given that a similarly configured version of the Alienware 17 R5Remove non-product link (not the maxed-out version we reviewed) currently costs many hundreds of dollars less. You’ll also see 17-inch gaming laptops with newer CPUs than its 7th-generation overclockable part.

To read this article in full, please click here

Source:: IT news – Hardware Systems

Lenovo Legion Y920 review: A hefty gaming laptop with buttery graphics and a mechanical keyboard

The Lenovo Legion Y920, with its full-on GTX 1070-calibre graphics, a bright 17-inch screen, and a mechanical keyboard, makes for a solid—and quite hefty—gaming laptop. Besides its premium mechanical keyboard, the Y920 boasts some enticing amenities that its competitors lack, such as a one-touch Turbo mode and Dolby Atmos sound.

It’s a good machine, but shop wisely. Gamers focused purely on the visuals may balk at the Y920’s hefty price tag, particularly given that a similarly configured version of the Alienware 17 R5Remove non-product link (not the maxed-out version we reviewed) currently costs many hundreds of dollars less. You’ll also see 17-inch gaming laptops with newer CPUs than its 7th-generation overclockable part.

To read this article in full, please click here

Source:: IT news – Hardware Systems