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Few Gmail Users Enable Two-Factor Authentication – here is why you should

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Cybersecurity is an ongoing problem, with critical flaws and weaknesses ranging from ongoing research into how best to break fundamental aspects of CPU architectures to users perennial terrible choice of passwords. All in all, it’s not a cheerful situation, and new data from Google doesn’t exactly improve things.

In a presentation at Usenix’s Enigma 2018 security conference, Google engineer Grzegorz Milka revealed that less than 10 percent of Gmail users have two-factor authentication enabled and just 12 percent have a password manager installed on their browsers. Given the high-profile security failures of password managers, including LastPass, I can’t exactly blame people for not using them — it’s not as if they’ve got great reputations — but using password managers is one way to create strong passwords that have less chance of being cracked.

The Register notes that this actually squares up with what the majority of its readers thought, with 82 percent correctly picking the 10 percent or less figure. Milka’s response as to why Google didn’t require two-factor authentication is telling.

“The answer is usability,” Milka told The Reg. “It’s about how many people would we drive out if we force them to use additional security.”

2fa

Image by The Register

This response echoes Marissa Mayer’s reasoning for why two-factor security authentication or additional security measures weren’t deployed at Yahoo, and we saw how well that turned out. It became the largest known hack in history, as far as how many accounts were compromised.

It’s genuinely tempting to write something along the lines of “It’s hard to blame Google.” Customers don’t generally care about security until they’re the ones being breached. Making two-factor authentication mandatory could result in some users moving to other platforms. But in the wake of Yahoo’s breach, I can’t make that argument.

First, it’d be hypocritical to slam Yahoo’s failure to protect its users, then champion Google’s refusal to do the same thing. But second, humans are terrible at evaluating risks and often take chances they shouldn’t. They also routinely undervalue data. Extra hard drives are dirt cheap and easily purchased. Backup software solutions are highly advanced and easy to use. And yet, most people don’t make regular backups of their own data. They certainly don’t take adequate steps to protect their own online information.

Google should enable two-factor authentication by default, with an option to disable it should people not want it. It’s the right thing to do for people who don’t otherwise understand why the feature is so important. But given that the company is unlikely to do so, we strongly recommend you take the step yourself.

 

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LG G7 ThinQ Is Now Available In the US for $750

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LG waited longer than normal to announce its big 2018 flagship phone, but it finally took the wraps off the LG G7 ThinQ a few weeks ago. Today, the phone is available for purchase on most US carriers. While LG has had trouble competing with the likes of Samsung, it’s still targeting the same premium space. Although, it’s got an iPhone-style screen notch now. That’s what consumers want, right?

The LG G7 ThinQ is the epitome of all things 2018 in smartphone design. It has a glass back, dual cameras, and a display notch that isn’t done particularly well. The missing bit of screen provides a place for the camera, earpiece, and some other sensors. It does seem a little excessively large for how compact these components are, though. In addition, the G7 has a “chin” at the bottom with a larger bezel than the top and bottom. This asymmetric look isn’t as striking as the iPhone X it imitates. The 6.1-inch 1440p display is also an OLED, which lacks the vibrancy of modern OLED panels.

Inside, this phone has all the current flagship hardware you’d expect with a Snapdragon 845, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM. Unlike many other current smartphones, the company has opted to keep the headphone jack for the G7 ThinQ. LG also touts the G7’s unique speaker design that uses the entire chassis as a resonator to boost sound output.

You may be wondering about the name — specifically the “ThinQ” bit. Well, that’s LG’s expanded brand for all its AI technologies. What that means for the G7 is that there’s an AI mode in the camera that looks for objects it can identify and offers possible filters. It’s not very accurate or useful, but LG didn’t even develop any AI software or hardware for this phone. It just licensed a machine vision library from a third-party.

The LG G7 ThinQ is available from all major carriers in the US except AT&T. Apparently, AT&T chose to sell the LG V35 instead of the G7. This marks the third variant of the V30 that LG has sold since it debuted last year. At other carriers, the G7 ThinQ will run you $750, give or take a few dollars. Carriers offer payment plans to split the cost over two years. It will launch on Google’s Project Fi soon, as well. If you don’t want to go through carriers, the phone is also available from Amazon.

 

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Google Doodle honors ‘Prince of Mathematicians’ Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss

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Maths is the latest to receive the Google Doodle homage.

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss, otherwise known as “The Prince of Mathematicians”, made instrumental contributions to number theory, algebra, geophysics, mechanics and statistics.

Gauss was born on April 30 in 1777 in Brunswick, a city in the north of Germany, near Wolfsburg. Despite poor working-class parents and an illiterate mother, Gauss was a child prodigy, believed to have been able to add up every number from 1 to 100 at 8-years-old.

One of his first major equations was working out his date of birth, which his mother hadn’t recorded. He used the only information she had: that it was a Wednesday, eight days before an Easter holiday.

At university when he was 19, Gauss discovered a heptadecagon, or a 17-sided polygon. He requested that a regular heptadecagon be inscribed on his tombstone, but it was too difficult for the stonemason, who said it would just look like a circle.

513px-regular-polygon-17-annotated-svg
 A heptadecagon.

 


László Németh/Wikipedia

And remember your prime numbers? That year Gauss was involved with proving the prime number theorem, helping understand how prime numbers are distributed among the integers, or whole numbers.

Again the same year, a productive one for Gauss, he discovered the quadratic reciprocity law, which allows mathematicians to determine the solvability of any quadratic equation in modular arithmetic.

At 24, Gauss’ work on number theory, which he completed when he was 21, was published as a textbook. Not only did it involve his original work, but it reconciled that of other mathematicians. It would be considered his magnum opus and had an extraordinary impact on the field.

Oh, and add to those achievements a discovery in astronomy — in the same year, 1801, Gauss calculated the orbit of an asteroid called Ceres.

After a much-accomplished life, Gauss died aged 77 on Feb. 23, 1855.

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