It will be virgin territory for Wales when they face Portugal in the Euro 2016 semi-finals yet their opponents could be forgiven a sense of deja vu as they step on to the pitch in Lyon on Wednesday.This will be Portugal’s fourth semi-final in the last five editions of the competition stretching back to 2000, but for all their success in reaching the latter stages of the tournament, there has been little glory along the way.Only once have they overcome the last-four hurdle and then they were beaten in the final by Greece as hosts at Euro 2004.If you include their defeat in the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup and a loss at the Euros in 1984, they are becoming all too familiar with the pitfalls of this stage of major tournaments.Portugal’s conquerors in their recent last-four clashes have included football powerhouses France, at Euro 2000 and the World Cup in 2006, and Spain at Euro 2012.Should they lose to Wales, playing their first major tournament in 58 years and their first ever semi-final, it would be a devastating blow.Yet Wales are arguably the form team coming into the match.Chris Coleman’s side have revelled in their underdog status to win their group, which also included England, Russia and Slovakia, ease out British rivals Northern Ireland in the last 16 and sweep past heavy favourites Belgium in the quarters.Portugal are yet to win a match at the tournament inside 90 minutes, having drawn all three group games, beaten Croatia in extra time and squeezed past Poland on penalties.Things are yet to click for Portugal, and by extension for captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who has at times looked exasperated by his team mates’ attacking shortcomings.Yet Portugal are unbeaten in 12 competitive internationals since Fernando Santos took over as coach at the start of the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.With Ronaldo’s Real Madrid team-mate Pepe marshalling an increasingly assured defence, they will be tough to break down.Especially for a Wales side deprived of one of their most talented creative influences in midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who will be suspended after picking up a booking in the win over Belgium.While Gareth Bale has been Wales’s attacking talisman, scoring three times to lift them out of their group, Ramsey has been arguably their most influential player, scoring one and producing four assists in the run to the last four.The match is likely to be billed as a contest between the two most expensive players in the world — Ronaldo, who will play a record third European Championship semi-final, and his Real Madrid team mate Bale.Perhaps ominously for Wales, Ronaldo has netted twice in each of his last two games in Lyon for club and country.
One thing that Austin recommended companies consider is to adopt a password-management policy. Data thieves look for opportunities for phishing, packet sniffing and social engineering, which are common (and successful) tactics that justify the need of such a policy.“While passwords are a common backdoor for data thieves, organizations that adhere to the adoption of a password-management policy essentially reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim through this attack vector,” said Austin. “Validation of such adopted password tips and controls should then be routinely assessed to ensure checks and balances are in good standing.”Ironically, World Password Day can create some easy ways for hackers to get into accounts and steal important information, according to Heid. He said that an attacker could hypothetically create a phishing e-mail that encourages users to change their password, and direct users to a fake login page that tricks users will into inputting their personal information.“Attackers can then quickly make use of the pilfered credentials before the victim realizes they have been duped,” said Heid.The experts had additional advice on passwords:Billy Austin, vice president of security at LOGICnowConsider a password manager to store and generate passwords. Password managers help employees generate sophisticated and unique passwords for each login.Avoid storing passwords in clear text. If storing a password is required, ensure the file and or password is encrypted.Change all default passwords on vendor-provided devices and applications (ex: When the home wireless router login is “Admin” and the password is “Password”).Remove all account IDs and passwords from terminated employees to avoid unauthorized access. Attackers see this as a backdoor to access data.Use multi-factor authentication such as biometrics or PINs in conjunction with your password.Enforce password complexity rules. Examples include changing the password every few days, ensuring that a password consists of alphanumeric characters and in some cases a special character.Restrict the use of the same password. When attackers obtain easily guessed passwords from third-party applications such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, such credentials are then used to attempt access to other applications where it is more financially rewarding.Dimitri Sirota, CEO and cofounder at BigIDUse stronger password and randomize across sites. There are tools to help here, but as of now, none work seamlessly across the Web, mobile and wearables.Use secondary authentication based on something you have (tokens or SMS PIN codes), something you know (such as where you first met your wife), or something that’s a part of you (thumbprint, faceprint, voiceprint, etc.).Protect your valuables “behind the door.” For example, use encryption where you can (like putting stuff in a safe), use an alarm system to get notified of unusual activity, and insist that whoever has your digital stuff has the tools to track and manage your valuables.Alex Heid, chief research officer at SecurityScorecardIdeally, a password should make use of alphanumerics and special characters. A good method is to make use of a “passphrase,” which can be a short sentence that makes use of punctuation and spaces.A passphrase is especially recommended as the “Master Password” for password-management software.An encrypted password manager will not guarantee the security of stored credentials. It simply adds an extra step to the attack process. This year is marks the fourth annual World Password Day, and yet the old security measure of changing passwords still seems to be troubling both large and small organizations. Today makes it a good day to get updated on the best practices and tips for creating and securing strong passwords.The intention behind World Password Day is to reduce the attack surface of the end user by raising awareness of best practices for password management, according to Alex Heid, chief research officer at SecurityScorecard.The reason for the emphasis on changing passwords is because attackers are constantly trying to reuse passwords that have been obtained in data breaches, he said.(Related: Are mandatory password changes really the best idea?)“Every year, there are increasing reports of large enterprises suffering from successful breaches whereby millions of e-mail addresses, logins and passwords are compromised,” said Heid. “One startling fact is that less than 1% of people will change their passwords even after they have been informed of a breach of their credentials.”Billy Austin, vice president of security at LOGICnow, said that another problem with passwords is getting people to care about secure passwords, and most organizations do not know where to start. These same individuals will continue to use weak passwords, despite the large amount of information and media coverage about hackers.Another problem is passwords are the first line of defense for a consumer to protect their online services, but often the passwords are not secure and are simple (so the user will not forget them), said Dimitri Sirota, CEO and cofounder of BigID. This leaves them vulnerable to hackers who can easily steal their passwords.Austin said the best thing that security leaders could do is continue to educate teams about protecting personal information, and to offer simple solutions so as to not overwhelm them.
ML Grid also recently received a software donation from NetMillennium that provided a form of genetic algorithms to solve optimization problems. “ The algorithms haven’t got to Ignite 2.4 and waiting for their time for a release in the master branch. Once you get them, you can apply the biological evolution simulation for real-world applications including automotive design, computer gaming, robotics, investments, traffic/shipment routing and more,” the team explained.In addition, Spark DataFrames is now available and can be used to process data that is stored in an Ignite cluster. It can be constructed from a variety of sources, which include structured data files, tables in Hive, external databases, or existing RDDs.Ignite 2.4 also comes with a low-level binary client protocol designed to expand the Ignite ecosystem. According to the team, this will provide communication with an existing Ignite cluster without starting an Ignite node. The application can connect through a raw TCP socket from any programming language.“The beauty of the protocol is that you can develop a so-called Ignite thin client that is a lightweight client connected to the cluster and interacts with it using key-value, SQL, and other APIs,” said the team wroteThe full release notes are available here. The Apache Software Foundation has announced the latest version of Apache Ignite. Ignite is an open-source distributed database, caching and processing platform designed for transactional, analytical and streaming workloads. Apache Ignite 2.4 features new machine learning capabilities, Spark DataFrames, and the incorporation of a low-level binary client protocol.According to the Ignite team, while a new version is normally rolled out every three months, Apache Ignite 2.4 was an exception and took five months in total. The team says this release is a milestone release in that Machine Learning Grid is now production ready. ML Grid was created to enable users to run machine learning and deep learning training and inference directly on data stored within an Ignite cluster. In addition, it provides machine learning and deep learning algorithms specifically optimized for Ignite’s distributed processing. “The component gained a variety of algorithms that can solve a myriad of regression and classification tasks, gave an ability to train models avoiding ETL from Ignite to other systems, paved a way to deep learning usage scenarios. All that now empowers Ignite users with the tools for dealing with fraud detection, predictive analytics, and for building recommendation systems…if you want. Note, ETL is optional, and the whole memory-centric cluster is at your service,” the team wrote.