Networking and Communication- by Zeina Darwiche (21/09/2015)

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What do we mean when we say Networking and Communication? Well before we can describe this term fully we have to understand what a computer network is. Computer networks also known as data networks are telecommunications networks which allows computers to both send and receive information or data from each other. They perform these exchanges along what we call network links. These connections are made either through cable transfer or wireless transfer. Devices are said to be networked with each other when we can send and receive information using both. Perhaps the largest known computer network is the world wide web. The use of this network allows us access to many of our daily task uses such as fax machines, shared storage, printers and social media applications. Networking heavily relies on both theoretical and practical applications of many different fields such as computer science, electrical engineering and information technology. Most of the information being is sent in the form of packets. There are many different ways in which we can transfer these packets such as electrical cables such as Ethernet, optical fiber, and radio waves. All these are placed under the term Network links. Another branch of network links is wired technologies such as coaxial cables that are widely used in televisions, twisted pairs consist of two copper wires wrapped around each other and are probably the most widely used type of wired technologies. Ethernet cables are actually twisted pairs of four copper wires. There are also optical fibers which are glass fibers that carry pulses of light which represent data. They are used for carrying large amounts of data over long distances and can even be used to transmit data undersea. Besides wired technologies we have wireless technologies which are more widely used today. Wireless technologies include satellites that can send us information from all the way up in space without a wired connection. Cellular transmitters use radio waves to communicate data. So where all this data being does transmitted pass through where is it concentrated? There of course has to be a single place all this data overlaps in and that area is called the hub. The hub is the center for all data transfers, where data is passed and exchanged. Now what if we wanted to share the data of a single machine to many other single machines, well this is where a server comes into play. The server stores all shared information which can be accessed by any machine using that network. It becomes the central hub for all the information the connected computers are using. Almost all practices we perform today could not have been possible without the usage of networks.

Natural Language Processing- by Zeina Darwiche (03/10/2015)

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What is Natural Language processing? Well, Natural Language Processing is a field of Computer Science that deals with the aspect of Human-Computer Interaction. Moreover, it deals with both artificial intelligence and computational linguistics. NLP has existed since the 1950’s, some say it has existed even before then. Breaking down the term even further, NLP refers to the direct translation of human language into computer language and back in a form either the same or different than the original. Experiments were performed in 1954 that successfully automatically translated many sentences in a foreign language into English. After this experiment it was predicted that this field of research that machine translation would be solved. However, contrary to their beliefs the growth was much slower. It took over ten years to perform research which had eventually failed. New breakthroughs in NLP are relatively new concepts, because of this the field faces many challenges. Many machines have already been created that implement NLP we refer to this as machine or speech recognition. Although our algorithm is not perfect we are gradually making good progress. We can already see the many applications of NLP that we have all around us for example: Google Translate in which you can speak using a microphone as an input device allowing the machine to process what you are saying in one language, translate it into machine language and then perform the same process in order to output your desired language on screen. We have even come so far that we can allow machines to speak the language back to us as we may not know how to pronounce certain words or phrases. Besides speech recognition you can type out sentences and have the program simultaneously translate what you are typing into you desired output language. NLP does not just occur naturally there are actually a couple of software tasks which are implemented to achieve this. The tasks are, firstly, speech segmentation which refers to dividing sentences into specific words or phrases. Second, deep analytics which is data processing that searches and obtains data from large multiple resources. It may contain either structured, semi-structured or unstructured data. This data can be measured in petabytes and Exabyte’s which are immense amounts of data. Third is data mining where the machine classifies it data into sets depending on their attributes. Finally, co-reference solution. One could say the ultimate goal of NLP is to rid the world from the need of programming languages, such as Java and Python, making way for only one language which is the “human” language.

Computer Security- by Zeina Darwiche (28/09/2015)

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Computer security, or sometimes referred to as cybersecurity, is the protection of data theft, disruption or damage directly or over networks. The field of computer security is growing in importance in correlation with the increase in amount of smart devices a person or household owns, as everyone will become keener on securing their information. Even with all the practices of computer security, almost all computers remain vulnerable. The main reason for breaches in security is about ninety percent due to the user and ten percent due to the protection program and measures integrated into the computer. If the user is not careful and does not implement safety measures, his machine will most definitely be targeted and most likely hacked, the same way one locks his door before he leaves his house to decrease the chances of his home being robbed the user should be careful with his machine and implement safety measures to reduce the risk of his device being attacked. There are a variety of ways a computer can be attacked; in order to prevent these attacks it is important to be able to identify them. They are classified into eight types. Firstly, Backdoors which is an algorithm or such designed to bypass security and usually succeed due to poor configuration. Denial-of-service attacks are designed to prevent a user access to his machine or when working over a large private network block access to all machines on that line. Direct-access attacks is where a person gets direct access to a machine and is able to obtain and download information from the system and make changes to its programs and operating system. Eavesdropping as its name states is the action of listening in on a private conversation or video chat. Spoofing refers to the action of a program masquerading as another. Tampering describes the modification of products, programs or software. Privilege escalation allows a system to fool another allowing it access files by making the other system think it is of higher authority. Lastly, Social engineering and Trojans which aims to collect data like passwords and such from users. There is no definite way to prevent breaches of privacy and security but only measures to minimize it. The ideal security, which is mainly a theoretical matter, consists of: threat prevention, detection, and response. User account access controls and passwords can protect files and data. Firewalls are the most common practice of security, they act as a shield that prevents any programs from passing through without the user’s permission, and it can be both hardware and software based. Intrusion Detection System (IDS) allows the user to tackle an attack before it has the chance to happen by detecting first. Of course all of these measures are incomplete if there is no response to these attacks; the response can be in the form of anti-virus software or any similar practice. If we are able to implement all these strategies in the right way we will become one step closer to a close to zero privacy attack prevention.