July 22, 2021

Monte Carlo Method and Pi Approximation Day

Pi (π) is probably one of the most recognizable and relevant constants in mathematics. Defined as the ratio between the perimeter of a circle and its diameter, its importance both in geometry and in other fields such as physics, architecture, or engineering is such that, since ancient times, we humans have sought methods to calculate its value, even in an approximate way. It's not surprising that people decided to celebrate 22/07 as Pi's approximation day.

As time passed, we have progressed from very crude approximations (such as the Babylonians' π ≈ 3, which also appears in the Bible) to extraordinarily powerful formulas, such as those proposed by Ramanujan, whose methods, when combined with today's computers, allow us to know the first 50000000000000 digits of π. Along the way, we have come across useful approximations such as Archimedes' π ≈ 22/7, which gives rise to this day's celebration, or Ptolemy's π ≈ 377/120. We have even seen attempts to legislate the real value of Pi as one of these approximations, as π ≈ 16/5!

We at Quside, as random number lovers, enjoy using another method to calculate π: we warmly call it "The Pepperoni π-zza method", although some will recognize it better by its regular name: the Monte Carlo method. ?

To calculate π using this method, we take a pizza in a box and start throwing pepperoni slices randomly into the box: the more we throw, the better (the more accurate the calculation and the better the pizza will taste). When we get enough, we count how many slices have fallen on top of the pizza: if we have done it right, the ratio between the number of pepperoni slices on the pizza and the total number of slices used is close to π/4.

The more slices we throw, the closer we get to the real value of Pi: here are some examples of how we get closer and closer the more slices of pepperoni we put on the pizza.

pepperoni sketch pizza

Pizza 1: π ≈ 12/15 x 4 = 3,2
Pizza 2: π ≈ 25/32 x 4 = 3,125

Using a Monte Carlo method to calculate an ultra-precise value of π is rare anyway. However, these tools are widely applied today in countless areas: logistics, finance, insurance, medicine, physics, engineering, ... in all of them, a fast and reliable source of pepperoni random numbers, such as the ones we manufacture and sell at Quside, is essential to solving the problems that their users must deal with every single day.

Get to know Quside's QRNG now, and, in between simulations, you can enjoy Pi's approximation day by making a nice pizza "à la Monte Carlo".

July 19, 2021

Meet Steve Takhar, Quside’s new CRO, Chief Revenue Officer

Steve joined Quside as CRO in July, has 30 years of experience in sales and marketing in a wide variety of roles, he's British, and based in London. Previously, he was Head of Global Sales for Cambridge Quantum Computing, a company in cybersecurity. He’s a seasoned professional leader with an extensive and impressive background with roles in various enterprise technology vendors, such as Dell-EMC, VCE, (a former joint venture of EMC, Cisco, VMWare, and Intel), and DEC.   

Hi Steve! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us and welcome aboard! Can you tell us a bit about what motivated you to join Quside? 

Quantum is truly a paradigm shift in technology as we know it. Its effects on wider society will eventually be all-encompassing, particularly in the field of cybersecurity. Allied with the threat of ‘harvest now, decrypt later’ a reality today; Quside is uniquely positioned to help organizations combat this looming threat. It gives me great pleasure in joining Quside and helping on the journey to becoming a trusted advisor company and thought leader in the field of quantum and quantum-derived cybersecurity. Quside’s solutions will allow our customers and partners to address the quantum cybersecurity threat with renewed confidence. These were my motivations for joining Quside. 

What is the role of a CRO and what is your first challenge at Quside? 

The role of a CRO, Chief Revenue Officer, is primarily to deal with all matters that are intrinsically customer-facing and revenue-generating. Capturing, devising, owning, and delivering the ‘go-to market’ strategy and supporting the overall unique customer experience. The challenge at Quside is to leverage the great quantum work done to date and harness it into intrinsic business value to our customers and to accurately articulate that message.  

How do you see the Quantum Technology ecosystem evolving over a 5-year period? 

As each day, week and month goes by, the quantum ecosystem develops and grows further. From small startups to global multinationals, I see collaboration as the key to success for companies of all sizes. Technological breakthroughs will occur more often and quicker the more we see collaboration thrive. This includes the new and emerging hardware, software, and niche players with unique use cases in the quantum space. I believe the unique value in quantum is only a few years (as opposed to a few decades, as some may believe) away from being realized.  

What was the major accomplishment of your career so far? 

To date there are two accomplishments to mention, both were new major product launches in the enterprise technology vendor space, namely converged infrastructure & hyper-converged infrastructure in the last decade at VCE. Taking a new technology and capability and helping to create a new multi-million / billion dollar market from scratch within just a few years. I am in the quantum marketplace in order to attempt to do the same. 

Who is Steve outside the work environment?  

My interests outside of the workplace involve sport, either playing, watching, or studying how it can relate to real-life scenarios. My main activities involve golf, football, cycling, and, wherever possible, motorsport. Also, when the world opens up again, I would like to get back to experiencing traveling internationally again!  

Thanks, Steve!  Any final messages to our clients and prospects who you will be in touch with, in the next couple of months? 

Unfortunately, one of the major growth industries currently is cyber criminality! Quside developed a unique quantum-derived technology that can help keep you, your customers, and your partners safe from attack. We will do our best to articulate how we can help you achieve this in an effective manner for your business, and we hope to be in contact with you soon, in the meantime take care & be safe! 

May 17, 2021

Cyber Attacks and Ransomware: What You Need To Know

Cybercriminals don’t take vacations and the list of cyber attacks and ransomware keeps increasing throughout the year. The latest big victim in July was the tech service provider Kaseya, whose systemic flaws left the data of estimated 2.000 companies exposed and elevated the ransom payments to US$ 70 million. But it seems that this action triggered a most powerful response from the White House to tackle the cyber threat, and the company managed to get access to the key to decrypt all their files before the end of the month, on July 23rd.

How did they get it remains a mystery. Previously the CEO hasn´t been clear whether his company were willing to pay or negotiate with the hackers, according to Reuters.

The responsible for the attack was the collective REvil, who also aimed for JBS, the meat processor company, getting US$ million for returning their data. REvil is another Russian hacker group attacking US companies, as Darkside, whose ransomware attack on gas pipeline company Colonial also made the news last May. The crescent tension reached the White House and the Biden press office stated that US officials would discuss with Russian diplomats how to cooperate on the ransomware threaten. Apparently, the action was effective, although no one knows exactly what happened to REvil's website, which went offline on July 13th, and whose responsible also disappeared from Internet forums, having their cyber accounts for ransom payment also shut down.

Briefly said, a ransomware attack happens when a hacker invades a company or institution's computer system, steals and encrypts its data files - normally including its customers' data, or student's personal information - and demands a ransom for decrypting those files, in order for the organization to regain access to them.

According to Coveware Ransomware Reports, the average ransom payment has climbed 43% from the last quarter in 2020. Other studies conducted by private cybersecurity institutions proclaim that it could still increase 15% each year, until 2025, reaching the cipher of U$ 10,5 trillion, which is almost China's current GDP, the second biggest in among all economies.

A long list of cyber-attacks and cyber vulnerabilities

Santa Clarita (California) Schools

The latest member of this victims list were 10 schools in the Newhall School District in Santa Clarita, California, USA, whose system is kept hostage since July 14th. The event is still ongoing by the time this news is being updated, and an estimate of a potential 6,000 elementary school student's data could have been compromised. The district had internal firewalls and updated policies for phishing prevention.

Colonial Pipeline

A group of Russian hackers, known as Darkside, managed to penetrate the gas pipeline that supplies most of the south-eastern United States, on May 6th, 2021, becoming one of the biggest cyber attacks to date. Around 100 GB of customer data were stolen and a ransomware attack - the encryption of their files and the following demand for a ransom – took place the next day. Colonial, the company responsible for the pipeline, had to shut its pipeline down for six days and had a gradual process of restoring its operations to normal. 

The attack was the most significant on US oil infrastructure in history, forcing President Biden to declare a state of emergency and take extraordinary measures to avert a major supply crisis. Biden's latest move was the enactment of an Executive Order to strengthen the cybersecurity infrastructure of US institutions and improve the protection of the federal government's network. 

ANAC

Likewise, in early May a cyber-attack on an Asturian cloud services company left many Spanish national institutions, such as the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECyT), the Court of Auditors, or the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN), as well as some Spanish City Halls, without external IT services. 

Irish Healthcare

The Irish healthcare system was also under cyber-attack in May, which caused cancellations on their services.

SEPE

In March 2021, SEPE (the Spanish State Public Employment Service) suffered a cyber-attack that knocked down its entire network infrastructure, leaving its system inactive for four days, almost causing a delay in the payment of unemployment benefits of thousands of unemployed people.

This list of recent incidences shows that strong and trustworthy cybersecurity protection is essential to today’s society and to the continuity of businesses and governments around the world.

The relevance of a robust system and the need of true random numbers

Global companies are making efforts to improve the level of security of all IT systems, as those on post-quantum cryptography and quantum key distribution. 

In response to that, at Quside we design, engineer, and manufacture high-speed quantum random number generators to power existing and emerging cryptographic systems.

Our FMC 400 randomness module provide the needed high-performance randomness generation to power next-generation security solutions. A key element to prevent cyber attacks like the one described above from happening.

As cyber vulnerabilities are a reality right now and the advances in quantum computing and AI will accelerate this problem, any company or organization should think about elevating their cybersecurity. Especially, if you are dealing with critical data such as in health, banking, corporate, government and defense you should be on your journey to be quantum-ready.

If you want to understand the role of unpredictable random numbers in cybersecurity, read this article, or contact us for more information.

July 20, 2020

Quantum random number generators: Why, how & where

Quantum random number generators (QRNGs) create randomness by measuring quantum processes, which are, by nature fully non-deterministic. Engineering high-quality, scalable and fast quantum random number generators...

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March 19, 2020

Quantum technology: why should you integrate it today

Quantum is becoming more of a buzz word as more tech giants and media channels report on the advances made in the technology. From Google’s 200-second calculations to China’s Micius satellites, news on...

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November 11, 2019

Unpredictability in cybersecurity

From emails to communication on our mobiles, from secure access online to digital cash, cryptography plays an essential role in all parts of our connected lives. To assure no data ends up in the wrong hands, you need three ingredients to secure your information. First, you need an algorithm that converts your message ...

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