Pandemic Making Mobile Even More Prominent

It’s almost a certainty that in say five to 10 years from now there’s going to be all sorts of conclusions identified about how the COVID years of ’20 and ’21 let to widespread fundamental changes to the lives of humans. Some of that will be good, some of that will be not so good. Some of them are already very apparent, like the explosion in popularity for online shopping. Others can’t be seen as easily and it takes data analysts and the like to dig up those realities and share them with the rest of us.

Which is fine. And leads us to the question – have you noticed your mobile device in your hands and ‘at work’ a whole lot more often since around about a year ago? For some people that may have been the reality long before early 2020, but as a collective whole it would seem that COVID-19 has somewhat subtly made our smartphones a whole lot more integral to our day to day. Here at 4GoodHosting, we imagine we’re like any good Canadian web hosting provider in that we’ve seen more interest in people having mobile-friendly websites.

So what’s behind all of this, and how is that a global pandemic is making mobile even more prominent in the digital lives of earth’s inhabitants?

App usage, purchasing, and time spent on apps have all gone up considerably as the world relied even more on mobile web access to weather the storm. In response to this more and more venture capital has gone into mobile web technology development, and industries that really saw a lot of it were financial services, transportation, commerce, and shopping. And that’s lead to what’s being seen now – 26% of total global VC funding is going into mobile-related ventures and $73 billion was directed into mobile just last year.

Attention and Engagement

There are a lot of different factors that are leading people to be approaching more and more tasks with their handheld device rather than a notebook or desktop. Mobile is increasingly the hub, both at home and at work and it’s a new reality driving considerable changes in how we spend our time. Look no further than recent study results that found our US neighbours now spend 8% more time on mobile devices than they do watching TV.

All around the world many countries have people that spend an average of more than 4 hours a day on their mobile devices. There’s always been an attention economy and now mobile is very much in the centre of it. Again looking to the USA, it’s estimated that people spend anywhere from 16 to 30% of their time using apps on mobile devices, and that’s for everyone from millennials all the way to Gen X and even for Baby Boomers too.

Add further that consumers spent $143 billion on apps – or in them – in 2020. That’s up 20% from the year previous.

Changing Enterprise is Front & Centre

Not surprisingly, Apple and their iOS14 are right on the cutting edge of the new mobile economy. iOS 14 quickly jumped out to higher adoption rates than previous OS generations, and that lead to mobile ad placements growing 95% across the year. Next we add to that the new work-from-home reality that many people now have, and all B2C and B2B communications that come along with that. A similar survey found that business apps grew 275% year over year the 4th quarter of 2020.

What this has created is a need for more consistent data usage and speed, and of course the best of that is coming with 5G. Or so we’ve been told. Then there’s also more and more people using mobile devise for inter-office communication when they’re away from their home workstation, often on apps like Microsoft Teams or Slack.

Communication apps like Twitch and Discord, community-focused apps including Nextdoor, and payment apps are also expanding in leaps and bounds in the space for the same reasons. The interest in better privacy and security for these apps is also pushing investment into mobile.

Industry Transformation

The shift doesn’t end there. Finance, investment, education, and keep-fit apps saw a noticeable use uptick too, and eBook revenues climbed 30%. Digital wallets are increasingly popular for people increasingly comfortable with mobile-based finances, and more and more people are investing through their smartphone too. Stock market activity on mobile climbed 55% globally with Robinhood, Cash App, TD Ameritrade, Yahoo Finance, and Webull Stocks coming in as the top-5 investment apps.

Using iOS within enterprise is also up quite a bit too, and notable here is HSBC embracing Apple’s ecosystem as a means of delivering cutting-edge mobile services that are customer facing.

Last but not least – how many have found you’re ordering in a LOT more than you used to? Food delivery services also saw use increases of more than 100% year-on-year across most markets.

Skipping the dishes fairly regularly these days? Joint the club it seems, and it’s for all the reasons that mobile is increasingly taking the lead given new world realties and expanding user preferences.

8 Ways to Improve cPanel User Security on Your Own: 2 of 2

As promised, with this week’s blog entry we’re continuing with the discussion of what the average person can easily and reliably do to improve the security of their website when managing it through cPanel, which is of course what you’ll be doing if your site is hosted by us. Widespread adoption speaks volumes about the quality and practicality of software, and with that understood it’s not surprising to see that you’d have the same cPanel to work with if you were with pretty much every other good Canadian web hosting provider too.

It continues to be a wild and crazy time in the world as the global pandemic keeps reinventing itself, but fortunately the viruses that infect digitally aren’t nearly as readily transmissible as the physiological one that is turning the whole world upside down right now. So if you’re the Average Joe webmaster ensuring your website is serving whatever interest you have in mind for it then maybe that’s some good news mixed into a whole lot of not-so-good nowadays.

Anyways, let’s get to continuing our list shall we, and here’s to hoping you’re all keeping safe.

Set up Mod Security

Experts are always eager to share warnings about Web Application Security. The aim is usually to reach the web application server to control you. It’s for this reason that a Web Application Firewall (WAF) can enhance cPanel security.

Mod Security gets the nod here as the best choice – it’s reputable and open source. It defends reliably against most external attacks – SQL Injection, Webshell / Backdoor Detection, iFrame attacks, Botnet Attack Detection, or HTTP Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks.
Configuration is simple, and is found in the Security Centre of Easy Apache configuration.
It is simple to configure Mod Security. You will get it under the Security Center of Easy Apache configuration. With it you will also have the option to set additional measures to improve the security of your cPanel server.

Scan with RootKit Hunter

RootKit Hunter gets extremely high marks from cPanel experts. It’s among the best UNIX based tools for scanning possible local exploits including rootkits or backdoors. It offers the option of manual or automatic scans, and really why wouldn’t you choose the automatic scan option? It’s also really straightforward to install too.

Scan System with Maldet

Maldet functions to detect Malware on your server, and it’s already a Linux product so you can trust it’ll fit seamlessly here. It takes primary aim at malicious files that are from PHP backdoors and dark mailers.

Setup Cron Job for Running ClamAV

We gave props to ClamAV last week, and running it with Cron is the best choice. A Cron job is a utility program for repeating tasks at a later time. If you’re the type of person who prefers to ‘set it and forget it’ then installing ClamAV in conjunction with a Cron Job setup for regular scans against viruses or malware then this is a good choice.

Disable Apache Header Information

For whatever reason, Apache Header information tends to be more at risk of malicious attacks than other components in the make up of a site. Hiding information from public access is the quickest and most direct fix here, and here’s how to do it:
• Login to your WHM dashboard
• Go to Service Configuration
• Go to Apache Configuration
• Click on Global Configuration
• Choose ‘Keep Off of Server Signature’ and ‘Select Product Only on Server Tokens’
• Disable Apache Header Information
Hide PHP Version Information
Hiding PHP version information is a quick and easy move you can make, and it’s effective because it prevents would-be attackers from being able to make quick decisions about which entryway is going to be best for them.
Equally easy. Here’s how
• Login into WHM
• Go to PHP Configuration Editor under Service Configuration
• Disable ‘expose_php’ options
• Hide PHP Version Information
Disable FTP and go with SFTP Instead
FTP is the well-established standard, but these days using SFTP is increasingly recommended. The primary reason is because FTP does not use encryption. All data is uploaded as plain text and that aids attackers with identifying access to important information – even including login credentials. SFTP is a better choice as it uses encryption for all types of data.
SFTP is known as SSH File Transfer Protocol because it encrypts the data when using. This is what you’ll do:
• Log in to your WHM or cPanel as admin or root user.
• Go to FTP Server Configuration
• Change the option Required (Command) from Encryption Support
Securing cPanel and WHM access
Adding SSL when logging into cPanel or WHM provides a valuable additional safeguard. By forcing HTTPS to use the URL to access the cPanel or WHM, the connection becomes much more secure.

• Log in to your WHM admin panel
• Go to Home and then Server Configuration and then into Settings
• Next go to the Redirection tab to enable SSL to your server. Reference the images and the red marking point to accurately configure it as you like

Edge Computing & 5G: Perfect Pairing for Apps

5G isn’t commonplace yet, but it’s not too far off from becoming that and we’re already starting to get sample tastes of what it’s capable of. And you likely know someone who already has a 5G smartphone and they’ve probably been all too keen to tell you how it’s so much superior. No doubt they are, but what’s really the big story around 5G is what it’s poised to make specific technologies – and apps among them – capable of. Then when the superior processing capabilities of edge computing are added to the mix we really start ‘cooking with gas’, as the expression goes.

A lot of people are probably currently just as satisfied as can be with apps as it is. Unless you’re a really digitally discerning person you are probably quite fine with what your apps are able to do for you now. If we could fast forward 5 years, however, you’d probably be looking back at your current apps and their capabilities and describing them as totally underwhelming. Here at 4GoodHosting we’re like any good Canadian web hosting service provider in that we can relate to all of this a little more readily than most, and that’s only because the nature of our work puts all of this a lot more on the radar.

So if Edge Computing and 5G are poised to be the perfect dynamic duo that’s going to power web applications to new heights, it makes sense that we dig a lot deeper into this interesting topic.
The Basics

5G promises the ultra low latency and high capacity required to make data-intensive applications work more effectively. That equation starts with blazing fast speeds – 5G enables data travelling from a device to a cell tower and back in just 3 milliseconds. 4G needs 12-15 milliseconds to do that. This is huge for advanced applications. Autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars) are one of the best examples of how 5G’s speed and low latency is opening us up to a whole new world of very life- and society improving technologies. Medical professionals using 5G to get and provide instant diagnoses of patients is another potentially huge development people are excited for.

Current Network Shortcomings

All of the potential of 5G is only going to go as far as the networks that support it though. As has been the case with all cutting edge technologies that have arrived before it, 5G’s arrival into the mainstream has been staggered. Network coverage for it isn’t widespread or common yet, and businesses and developers adopting it are still going through necessary experimentations with it.

What’s holding that back is data. 5G supported applications and services produce a vast amount of data, and as 5G adoption becomes more widespread the data demands for that are growing. The issue is that all the cleaned pipes that transmit the data to and from the cloud and physical data centers don’t have the size or capacity to handle it and keep it moving at sufficiently fast speeds.

After all, part of what 5G is hanging its hat on is ultra-low latency and that has everything to do with what’s called the ‘last hop’. That’s a term given to the transfer from the cell tower to the endpoint device itself. Data being sent from the cell tower to a central cloud data center can still take up to 500 milliseconds, and that’s only to the halfway point before it has to come back.

Long and short here is that as of now the 5G experience can still be far too slow for many people’s liking. But of course that is going to change, and the only question is how soon will it get up to speed to a level that consumers will deem acceptable.
Adding the Edge
Definitions for edge computing will vary, but a safe one is that it’s an architecture characterized by a distributed cloud architecture made up of local micro data centers. Instead of structuring networks around a core with data being continually sent for processing and analysis, edge networks take datan and process it within micro data centers at the ‘edge’ of the network.

What this results in is much less of a need to send data back and forth to a centralized server or cloud, working out to less bandwidth usage and much less latency. In this way it’s key to enhancing the speed and response of the ‘last hop’ we talked about above. In this way edge computing is every integral to 5G’s processing power being experienced the way it’s intended to be.

In comparison to 5G too edge computing is already well established. Look no further than well know initiatives like SyncThink, Molo17 and Doddle. SyncThink in particular is getting a lot of hype these days, with its ability to allow medical professionals to carry out near-instant and entirely accurate injury assessments, even in challenging diagnoses environments.
Good One Way, Good the Other

Edge computing is already fully implemented in the mainstream, and that gives reason to believe that 5G’s widespread adoption is not far behind. And not just because the two enable each other so well. Edge computing enables more organizations to begin experimenting with 5G, and 5G then makes it possible for organizations to get more out of their existing edge deployments.

What this likely will mean for the laypeople like you and I is many new classes of applications with unparalleled resilience, speed, security, and efficiency. That has to sound mighty good to you, and no matter where the bulk of your interest is based in when it comes to taking advantage of digital connectivity to improve your life.

Edge Computing & 5G: Perfect Pairing for Apps

5G isn’t commonplace yet, but it’s not too far off from becoming that and we’re already starting to get sample tastes of what it’s capable of. And you likely know someone who already has a 5G smartphone and they’ve probably been all too keen to tell you how it’s so much superior. No doubt they are, but what’s really the big story around 5G is what it’s poised to make specific technologies – and apps among them – capable of. Then when the superior processing capabilities of edge computing are added to the mix we really start ‘cooking with gas’, as the expression goes.

A lot of people are probably currently just as satisfied as can be with apps as it is. Unless you’re a really digitally discerning person you are probably quite fine with what your apps are able to do for you now. If we could fast forward 5 years, however, you’d probably be looking back at your current apps and their capabilities and describing them as totally underwhelming. Here at 4GoodHosting we’re like any good Canadian web hosting service provider in that we can relate to all of this a little more readily than most, and that’s only because the nature of our work puts all of this a lot more on the radar.

So if Edge Computing and 5G are poised to be the perfect dynamic duo that’s going to power web applications to new heights, it makes sense that we dig a lot deeper into this interesting topic.

The Basics

5G promises the ultra low latency and high capacity required to make data-intensive applications work more effectively. That equation starts with blazing fast speeds – 5G enables data traveling from a device to a cell tower and back in just 3 milliseconds. 4G needs 12-15 milliseconds to do that. This is huge for advanced applications. Autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars) are one of the best examples of how 5G’s speed and low latency is opening us up to a whole new world of very life- and society improving technologies. Medical professionals using 5G to get and provide instant diagnoses of patients is another potentially huge development people are excited for.

Current Network Shortcomings

All of the potential of 5G is only going to go as far as the networks that support it though. As has been the case with all cutting edge technologies that have arrived before it, 5G’s arrival into the mainstream has been staggered. Network coverage for it isn’t widespread or common yet, and businesses and developers adopting it are still going through necessary experimentation with it.

What’s holding that back is data. 5G supported applications and services produce a vast amount of data, and as 5G adoption becomes more widespread the data demands for that are growing. The issue is that all the cleaned pipes that transmit the data to and from the cloud and physical data centers don’t have the size or capacity to handle it and keep it moving at sufficiently fast speeds.

After all, part of what 5G is hanging its hat on is ultra-low latency and that has everything to do with what’s called the ‘last hop’. That’s a term given to the transfer from the cell tower to the endpoint device itself. Data being sent from the cell tower to a central cloud data center can still take up to 500 milliseconds, and that’s only to the halfway point before it has to come back.

Long and short here is that as of now the 5G experience can still be far too slow for many people’s liking. But of course that is going to change, and the only question is how soon will it get up to speed to a level that consumers will deem acceptable.

Adding the Edge

Definitions for edge computing will vary, but a safe one is that it’s an architecture characterized by a distributed cloud architecture made up of local micro data centers. Instead of structuring networks around a core with data being continually sent for processing and analysis, edge networks take datan and process it within micro data centers at the ‘edge’ of the network.

What this results in is much less of a need to send data back and forth to a centralized server or cloud, working out to less bandwidth usage and much less latency. In this way it’s key to enhancing the speed and response of the ‘last hop’ we talked about above. In this way edge computing is every integral to 5G’s processing power being experienced the way it’s intended to be.

In comparison to 5G too edge computing is already well established. Look no further than well know initiatives like SyncThink, Molo17 and Doddle. SyncThink in particular is getting a lot of hype these days, with its ability to allow medical professionals to carry out near-instant and entirely accurate injury assessments, even in challenging diagnoses environments.

Good One Way, Good the Other

Edge computing is already fully implemented in the mainstream, and that gives reason to believe that 5G’s widespread adoption is not far behind. And not just because the two enable each other so well. Edge computing enables more organizations to begin experimenting with 5G, and 5G then makes it possible for organizations to get more out of their existing edge deployments.

What this likely will mean for the laypeople like you and I is many new classes of applications with unparalleled resilience, speed, security, and efficiency. That has to sound mighty good to you, and no matter where the bulk of your interest is based in when it comes to taking advantage of digital connectivity to improve your life.

‘Super Special’ – What Exactly are NFTs?

You’re forgiven if the numbers of new abbreviations people are supposed to be familiar with these days is a little much for you. Adding to all of this is the fact that emerging technologies are increasingly front and center in our lives, and many of these abbreviations apply to these technologies. Such is the case for something you may have heard a lot of buzz about lately – NFTs. One big-ticket news item these days is cryptocurrency, and while nearly everyone will have heard of Bitcoin there’s other that are also claiming similar fanfare and go by abbreviations themselves – XRP being a good example.

The reason we mention those two is there’s a connection between them and NFTs. That being that all three of them are ‘tokens’ that exist only in digital form. But that’s where the similarities end for the large part, and from there NFTs become a lot more unique and a lot more intriguing. At least for most people, and that’s likely a fair thing to say.

All of this stuff tends to interest people like those of us here at 4GoodHosting, as being a good Canadian web hosting service provider has us in the front row for observing all of the newest developments in the digital world. It tends to be interesting stuff, and NFTs in particular are really something that even the most digitally illiterate person may take an interest in just because of their newness and uniqueness.

We figure it’s worthy of a topic of discussion for the blog this week, so here goes.

A Mutual Exchange

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. Right, you’re also forgiven if you have absolutely no ide what the word fungible means, so let’s get to that without delay. ‘Fungible’ is the most uncommon of terms, but it is an adjective that means whatever it is describing can be mutually exchanged. To add to that somewhat, it means that two parties can exchanged whatever good it is we’re talking about, and neither of them gain value by doing so.

So non-fungible would then suggest that there IS value to be gained in the exchange of what it is – in this case, tokens. What’s making NFTs so newsworthy these days isn’t so much that they can have monetary value, but rather that they are a fully digital and thus non-tangible item that gains value in the same way collectibles can. To put this in everyday perspective, anyone who has a Wayne Gretzky rookie card, for example, is going to be pretty darned thrilled to have that in their possession simply because A) it’s incredibly rare, and B) it’s worth an incredible amount of money if they decide to sell it.

Yes, not necessarily in that order either.

NFTs add to this by being capable of being uniquely identified and authenticate yourself as the owner of that collectible. They are tied to blockchain, and blockchain is really just a big, encrypted ledger. As you’d expect, NFTs need to be purchased with a cryptocurrency and Ethereum is usually preferable to Bitcoin. When an NFT is purchased the buyer has the ‘key’ to it and can exchange it, sell it, or do pretty much anything they like.

It’s the scarcity of NFTs that makes them expensive and requires you to part with plenty of cryptocurrency if you want to obtain. Look no further than a few months back when one named CryptoPunk 2890 sold for 605 ETH (Ethereum tokens). That works out to more than $760,000 USD!

As of now, the biggest mainstream NFTs are in the art and sports spaces. Deep-pocketed individuals are both purchasing AND investing in them – with former NBA megastar Michael Jordan being one of them and related to NBA top shots.

One NBA Top Shot NFT of LeBron James dunking the basketball sold for just over $200K USD.

Never in Your Hands

Sticking with the sports theme as we continue discussing NFTs, if someone has an exclusive digital clip of Sidney Crosby scoring Canada’s golden goal in Vancouver, for example, it becomes a very unique and incredibly permanent collector’s item. Unlike cards or prints, it’s not going to become ratty or faded ever. It’ll still be as crisp and vivid 100 years from now as it is today.

Art NFTs are popular too, and one unique aspect of NFT art is that creators are able to make money from secondary sales. Anyone purchasing an up-and-coming artist’s NFT is both supporting them and getting in on the ground floor in case that art explodes in popularity later on.

Part of the reason why NFTs are so hot right now is because there’s plenty and plenty of inventory. Making NFTs isn’t difficult if you are the owner and have rights to the source material, and there’s a chance they can earn royalties in perpetuity too.

For artists they are particularly beneficial, as they take away many of the traditional hurdles that prevent the artist’s work from being made visible and promoted. This medium hasn’t existed before, and artists and other types are quite keen to take advantage of it.

Accessibility Equaling Popularity

NFTs are all the rage right now simply because they’re immediately accessible to anyone. Whether or not you can afford them – or have the (crypto) currency form required to do so – may be an entirely different story. People are also drawn to the way that they can be reflections of what a particular individual may have seen as a noteworthy moment or experience, as compared to what a table of people in an office may decide on.

This really applies to pro sports NFTs, but will expand into other categories for sure. It’s also serving to add to the ‘coolness’ factor for cryptocurrencies in general, and may serve to further the inroads these types of currencies are making.

Some Risk Though

There are risks to NFTs though, and specifically because they are heavily speculative. Most people who look into buying them know they need to be extremely familiar with the long-term prospects for that particular token. Doing your research is a must, and especially looking to see what sorts of NFTs are available in your particular area of interest. Find cool projects and get involved by joining their chatrooms and check discord servers and other resources connecting the community. Understand what you’re buying into.

It’s going to be very interesting to see where NFTs go and to what extent they become a mainstream commodity for collectors and the like. The appeal is certainly easy so see, and it’s almost certain that there will be people who make extremely fortuitous investments in NFTs early on and then see the resale price for their token be a serious windfall.

All the best to you if that’s something you’re considering after putting yourself very in the know about the best approaches to buying NFTs.

‘Everyday’ Optical Fiber Taking Up Pivotal Role in Quantum Computing

Much is being made of quantum computing these days, and for good reason. It stands poised to revolutionize our digital world, and along with that making so much more possible with regards to improving the ability of the world to work together and add so much more reach and efficiency to a great deal of what we’re doing. The development of the technology has been a long time in the making, and it’s a cake that’s not quite bake yet. But one of the most important ingredients to it is one material that’s been commonplace and unexceptional for a long time now.

Optical fiber has been around for 50 years now, permitting transmissions over long distances with higher bandwidth levels. Just that part of the explanation should be all that’s needed to allow you to grasp the significance of what optical fiber has offered to us. And if you don’t even know exactly what they are then that’s fine too. A quick description – straight from Wikipedia – is to say that they are flexible, transparent fibers made by drawing silica glass or plastic to a diameter slightly thicker than that of a human hair.

A whole lot of goodness in very skinny package. Putting people in the know about things that will interest them is a small part of what makes us here at 4GoodHosting a good Canadian web hosting provider, and we think that a shout out to the potentially unsung hero of quantum computing is worth it here this week.

So let’s have a look at the role of optical fibers in quantum computing here, and maybe you’ll have a greater appreciation for them.

Integral to Massive Processing Power

So just how is that an ordinary telecommunications technology is so key to building superconducting quantum computers with massive processing power?

It started with tests measuring and controlling a superconducting quantum bit (qubit) using light-conducting fiber instead of metal electrical wires. The results which indicated that the optical fibers was able to pack a million qubits into a quantum computer rather than just a few thousand.

That’s a BIG jump in capacity, and as a result we’re now seeing superconducting circuits being a lead technology for making quantum computers because of reliability how they are easily mass produced. One hang up of sorts is that these circuits must operate at cryogenic temperatures, and wiring them to room-temperature electronics isn’t simple and there’s a real risk of overheating.

So with that in mind now process yourself how a universal quantum computer, is expected to need about 1 million qubits. Conventional existing infrastructure would only support thousands at most.

Optical fiber, on the other hand, features a glass or plastic core that can carry a high volume of light signals without conducting heat. Superconducting quantum computers use microwave pulses to store and process information though, and that creates a need for the light to be converted precisely to microwaves.

Optical fiber has been reworked to meet this need, and by combining it with a few other standard components that convert, convey and measure light at the level of single particles, or photons, this was made possible. The light is then easily converted into microwaves that showed themselves to be ideal for maintaining the integrity of the qubit’s fragile quantum states.

Long story short here – Optical fiber can also carry far more data in a much smaller volume than conventional cable.

With the new setup using an optical fiber instead of metal to guide light signals to cryogenic photodetectors, microwaves could be routed to the qubit through either the photonic link or a regular coaxial line.

Superconducting Metals

The functional key to the workings of the optical fiber here is that there are two superconducting metals separated by an insulator. Add a certain microwave frequency and the qubit is able to move between low-frequency and excited states without lag.

The frequency at which microwaves naturally bounce back and forth in the cavity, called the resonance frequency, is dependent on and defined by the qubit state. Plus, the frequency at which the qubit switches states depends on the number of photons in the cavity.

The hope with this technology is that quantum processors will be enabled for having optical fibers transmitting signals to and from the qubits, with each fiber capable of carrying thousands of signals to and from the qubit.

Soon-to-Be Applications

Much is being made of quantum computing these days, and for good reason. It stands poised to revolutionize our digital world, and along with that making so much more possible with regards to improving the ability of the world to work together and add so much more reach and efficiency to a great deal of what we’re doing. The development of the technology has been a long time in the making, and it’s a cake that’s not quite bake yet. But one of the most important ingredients to it is one material that’s been commonplace and unexceptional for a long time now.

Optical fiber has been around for 50 years now, permitting transmissions over long distances with higher bandwidth levels. Just that part of the explanation should be all that’s needed to allow you to grasp the significance of what optical fiber has offered to us. And if you don’t even know exactly what they are then that’s fine too. A quick description – straight from Wikipedia – is to say that they are flexible, transparent fibers made by drawing silica glass or plastic to a diameter slightly thicker than that of a human hair.

A whole lot of goodness in very skinny package. Putting people in the know about things that will interest them is a small part of what makes us here at 4GoodHosting a good Canadian web hosting provider, and we think that a shout out to the potentially unsung hero of quantum computing is worth it here this week.

So let’s have a look at the role of optical fibers in quantum computing here, and maybe you’ll have a greater appreciation for them.

Integral to Massive Processing Power

So just how is that an ordinary telecommunications technology is so key to building superconducting quantum computers with massive processing power?

It started with tests measuring and controlling a superconducting quantum bit (qubit) using light-conducting fiber instead of metal electrical wires. The results which indicated that the optical fibers was able to pack a million qubits into a quantum computer rather than just a few thousand.

That’s a BIG jump in capacity, and as a result we’re now seeing superconducting circuits being a lead technology for making quantum computers because of reliability how they are easily mass produced. One hang up of sorts is that these circuits must operate at cryogenic temperatures, and wiring them to room-temperature electronics isn’t simple and there’s a real risk of overheating.

So with that in mind now process yourself how a universal quantum computer, is expected to need about 1 million qubits. Conventional existing infrastructure would only support thousands at most.

Optical fiber, on the other hand, features a glass or plastic core that can carry a high volume of light signals without conducting heat. Superconducting quantum computers use microwave pulses to store and process information though, and that creates a need for the light to be converted precisely to microwaves.

Optical fiber has been reworked to meet this need, and by combining it with a few other standard components that convert, convey and measure light at the level of single particles, or photons, this was made possible. The light is then easily converted into microwaves that showed themselves to be ideal for maintaining the integrity of the qubit’s fragile quantum states.

Long story short here – Optical fiber can also carry far more data in a much smaller volume than conventional cable.

With the new setup using an optical fiber instead of metal to guide light signals to cryogenic photodetectors, microwaves could be routed to the qubit through either the photonic link or a regular coaxial line.

Superconducting Metals

The functional key to the workings of the optical fiber here is that there are two superconducting metals separated by an insulator. Add a certain microwave frequency and the qubit is able to move between low-frequency and excited states without lag.

The frequency at which microwaves naturally bounce back and forth in the cavity, called the resonance frequency, is dependent on and defined by the qubit state. Plus, the frequency at which the qubit switches states depends on the number of photons in the cavity.

The hope with this technology is that quantum processors will be enabled for having optical fibers transmitting signals to and from the qubits, with each fiber capable of carrying thousands of signals to and from the qubit.

Soon-to-Be Applications

Quantum computing experts predict that this year the technology is going to make some very visible inroads. One of them is the predicted first public acknowledgment of the quantum crypto break, where quantum computers become capable of breaking traditional public key crypto. More to what the average person will relate to, there will also greater numbers of quantum devices like quantum random generators and quantum key distribution, made more cheaply and appearing as subcomponents in more devices like smartphones and personal computing devices. 

Regular Amazon Online Shopper? Facebook User? Beware of CooperStealer Malware

Don’t know about you but it hasn’t been even a week since I ordered something from Amazon.ca, and I was browsing through my Facebook feed over breakfast this AM. There are a few people who’ve sworn off social media these days, and in truth that’s often a good thing. But there’s all sorts of us who have Google as big parts of our digital lives and many of those same people take advantage of much of what Apple has to offer too.

That’s not going to change, but what may have to change is the way we all keep our guards up a little bit more when taking advantage of these conveniences or taking in social media in moderation. That’s for the following reason; there’s plenty of malware out there looking for any and all opportunities to get in where they shouldn’t, but none of them are drumming up as much caution quite like the CooperStealer.

Sounds fancy, and it has nothing to do with a digital thief stealing barrels or anything of the sort. What it DOES have the ability to do is steal credentials. And more specifically, login and account credentials for Facebook, Google, and Apple passwords. While it’s debatable whether you could go without Facebook in in the interest of keeping yourself safe from this, you likely won’t see it the same way when it comes to Google and Apple accounts.

Part of being a quality Canadian web hosting provider is keeping our customers in the know about developments that might affect them, and considering what we’ve laid out here this CooperStealer malware definitely meets the criteria for that. So let’s look at it in greater detail with our entry for this week and explain further about why this is something you’ll want to be aware of and then conclude with tips about how you can make yourself less at risk.

Hunger for Cookies Too

This malware we’re discussing here today was given the name CooperStealer by researchers because it is both a password and cookie stealer that is in active development. Plus, another big part of the potential problem is that it comes with a download feature that allows its operators to deliver additional malicious payloads to infected devices.

The infection seriousness doesn’t end there. Threat actors behind this malware strain have used compromised accounts in order to run malicious ads and conduct malware advertising campaigns that have been given the term ‘malvertising’ recently.

But this isn’t exactly new. Early versions of the CooperStealer were seen as early as the summer of 2019. It was seen to effectively target Facebook and Instagram account credentials while also being able to target Bing, PayPal, Tumblr and Twitter.

Building on SilentFade and More

It’s also been determined that CooperStealer utilizes many of the same targeting and delivery methods as SilentFade, the Chinese-sourced malware which ended up on Facebook’s security radar in 2019 too. It ended up being the cause of over $4m in damages, and so the alarms going off about CooperStealer are legit. Industry and malware experts believe that CooperStealer is a previously undocumented family within the same class of malware as SilentFade, StressPaint, FacebookRobot and Scranos.

CooperStealer may also be implemented into suspicious websites advertised as KeyGen and crack sites such as keygenninja[.]com, piratewares[.]com, startcrack[.]com, and crackheap[.]net. The reason people are at these sites at all is because they present themselves as being an alternative to circumventing the licensing restrictions of legitimate software.

The truth of the matter, however, is that these Potentially Unwanted Programs/Applications (PUP/PUA) are much more frequently in existence to simply deliver malicious executables capable of downloading and installing additional payloads. Take note of them, and avoid them unless you see these resources as being worth the risk.

Good Sinkholes

The good news is that the people who you’d think would need to be proactive about this threat are doing just that. Researchers at Facebook, Cloudflare and other service providers have worked to develop co-ordinated disruptive action. The best examples being a warning interstitial page that presents itself in front of the malicious domains, and the development of ‘sinkholes’ for select sites that are known to be favoured by these threat actors behind the CooperStealer.

Now it’s true that most people don’t envision anything good when thinking of a sinkhole, but in this case it’s a good thing and not a huge falling away of the earth that devours homes, vehicles and whatever else has the misfortune of being immediately above them when they’re about to do their thing.

No, the type of ‘sinkhole’ that we’re talking about here is a method used to limit an attacker’s ability to collect data on victims while also enabling researchers to gain visibility into victim demographics. During a sinkhole’s first 24 hours of operation they can log hundreds of thousands of HTTP requests from unique IPs originating from hundreds of different countries around the world.

Based on this industry experts were able to determine the top five countries based on unique infections were India, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, and The Philippines.

Don’t know about you but it hasn’t been even a week since I ordered something from Amazon.ca, and I was browsing through my Facebook feed over breakfast this AM. There are a few people who’ve sworn off social media these days, and in truth that’s often a good thing. But there’s all sorts of us who have Google as big parts of our digital lives and many of those same people take advantage of much of what Apple has to offer too.

That’s not going to change, but what may have to change is the way we all keep our guards up a little bit more when taking advantage of these conveniences or taking in social media in moderation. That’s for the following reason; there’s plenty of malware out there looking for any and all opportunities to get in where they shouldn’t, but none of them are drumming up as much caution quite like the CooperStealer.

Sounds fancy, and it has nothing to do with a digital thief stealing barrels or anything of the sort. What it DOES have the ability to do is steal credentials. And more specifically, login and account credentials for Facebook, Google, and Apple passwords. While it’s debatable whether you could go without Facebook in in the interest of keeping yourself safe from this, you likely won’t see it the same way when it comes to Google and Apple accounts.

Part of being a quality Canadian web hosting provider is keeping our customers in the know about developments that might affect them, and considering what we’ve laid out here this CooperStealer malware definitely meets the criteria for that. So let’s look at it in greater detail with our entry for this week and explain further about why this is something you’ll want to be aware of and then conclude with tips about how you can make yourself less at risk.

Hunger for Cookies Too

This malware we’re discussing here today was given the name CooperStealer by researchers because it is both a password and cookie stealer that is in active development. Plus, another big part of the potential problem is that it comes with a download feature that allows its operators to deliver additional malicious payloads to infected devices.

The infection seriousness doesn’t end there. Threat actors behind this malware strain have used compromised accounts in order to run malicious ads and conduct malware advertising campaigns that have been given the term ‘malvertising’ recently.

But this isn’t exactly new. Early versions of the CooperStealer were seen as early as the summer of 2019. It was seen to effectively target Facebook and Instagram account credentials while also being able to target Bing, PayPal, Tumblr and Twitter.

Building on SilentFade and More

It’s also been determined that CooperStealer utilizes many of the same targeting and delivery methods as SilentFade, the Chinese-sourced malware which ended up on Facebook’s security radar in 2019 too. It ended up being the cause of over $4m in damages, and so the alarms going off about CooperStealer are legit. Industry and malware experts believe that CooperStealer is a previously undocumented family within the same class of malware as SilentFade, StressPaint, FacebookRobot and Scranos.

CooperStealer may also be implemented into suspicious websites advertised as KeyGen and crack sites such as keygenninja[.]com, piratewares[.]com, startcrack[.]com, and crackheap[.]net. The reason people are at these sites at all is because they present themselves as being an alternative to circumventing the licensing restrictions of legitimate software.

The truth of the matter, however, is that these Potentially Unwanted Programs/Applications (PUP/PUA) are much more frequently in existence to simply deliver malicious executables capable of downloading and installing additional payloads. Take note of them, and avoid them unless you see these resources as being worth the risk.

Good Sinkholes

The good news is that the people who you’d think would need to be proactive about this threat are doing just that. Researchers at Facebook, Cloudflare and other service providers have worked to develop co-ordinated disruptive action. The best examples being a warning interstitial page that presents itself in front of the malicious domains, and the development of ‘sinkholes’ for select sites that are known to be favoured by these threat actors behind the CooperStealer.

Now it’s true that most people don’t envision anything good when thinking of a sinkhole, but in this case it’s a good thing and not a huge falling away of the earth that devours homes, vehicles and whatever else has the misfortune of being immediately above them when they’re about to do their thing.

No, the type of ‘sinkhole’ that we’re talking about here is a method used to limit an attacker’s ability to collect data on victims while also enabling researchers to gain visibility into victim demographics. During a sinkhole’s first 24 hours of operation they can log hundreds of thousands of HTTP requests from unique IPs originating from hundreds of different countries around the world.

Based on this industry experts were able to determine the top five countries based on unique infections were India, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, and The Philippines.

In the bigger picture, these days there are more different types of malware out there than ever before and there’s never been a higher level of risk from them. If you think that little old you isn’t going to be at risk yourself then there’s plenty of reasons to rethink that position.

The Case for Website Monitoring

If you’re the type of person who’s used our website builder here at 4GoodHosting and have yourself a simple website to promote yourself and nothing more then you won’t have much of a need to be looking into the workings of your website. If there’s a lot more riding on your website and it doing what you need it to do, however, that’s a different story and you’re going to want to be at least somewhat involved in keeping tabs on how your site is doing set up alongside the information superhighway.

Now like any good Canadian web hosting provider in Canada, that definitely relates to us too. Site monitoring is definitely not my area of expertise, but we have someone who is an expert with the subject and keeps things at their best with this site. So if you have a similarly vested interest in the performance of your website and how optimized it is for SERPS and all the other priorities that exist for everyone then you will want to be involved in website monitoring. Let’s look at why that is today.

Wide Open Expanses

1.8 billion is a big number, and that’s how many websites on the Internet today. Of them, it’s estimated that 70% don’t have the proper monitoring to be entirely safe from cyber attacks. The study that came up with those numbers was based on large enterprises, but cyber resilience is increasingly important for small businesses too.

And the primary reason that’s true is because of malware. If a site becomes infected and the infection really takes root then that site could see a dramatic reduction of traffic as users are kept away by their browsers. And in a good number of cases there’s a long period of time before the site’s owner or webmaster becomes aware of that. During that time your organic SEO is going to be negatively affected in a big way, and so that’s the thing – if your website is serving any type of an e-commerce interest then there’s going to be real problems.

The longer it takes to fix problems like these, the larger the SEO impact, and the longer it will take to make the recovery. So if you need to know why website monitoring is vital, that’s why. It may be out of your realm of abilities too, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be hiring to get someone to take care of it for you if so.

Automation for Superior Cyber Defenses

This same report stated very emphatically that automation increased cyber resilience in a big way. When monitoring is automated, it’s much more likely that checks vital to that particular business or venture’s online health will be conducted from multiple locations worldwide and done regularly. The other advantages to doing what it takes for automation with cyber security is that automated monitors tend to be much more thorough and consistent than if someone is tasked with having to remember to do the checks on their own.

The biggest part of that are the instant notifications sent out if a site goes down or if an all-important email account is unreachable. And all of this is made possible with web monitoring services.

Web Monitoring Services

Cybersecurity is not the only part of effective monitoring. A good web monitoring service will cover a number of other interests too, and in particular you’ll want to have it keeping tabs on your site’s search engine and keyword ranking. It’s a nice way to get that peace of mind and be assured of the operating health of your site.

So here’s the four primary reasons you need a web monitor.

  1. Avoid Potential Downtimes, and Losses that Come with Them

If your website is inactive or unreachable and you’re unaware of it, you’re taking an immediate hit. No purchases, no bookings, no whatever. There’s been research done (admittedly with larger e-commerce sites, but still) where the average cost per minute of this downtime is estimated to be around $5,600. Long term costs of this type and even at a smaller scale are probably not something that you’ll be okay with.

Unless of course you actually DO want to be losing money, visibility, AND reputability in some cases. The longer your site is down, the worse the impact is on brand reputation or SEO. And again, many websites can experience downtime without the owners or managers knowing about it.

  1. KNOW You’ve Got the Cyber Security You Want

This same survey also indicated that as many as 57% of large organizations have been the victim of some sort of data breach or cybersecurity incident that negatively affected their site. No one needs to be told of the really serious risks that can come from data leaks, and so you should be taking this pretty darn seriously.

An insecure website is like a back door with no lock on it, and there’s also the risk of the hackers sending out harmful communications on your behalf and before you have any chance to do anything about it.

  1. Monitor SEO Health and Optimization

SEO shortcomings that result from a compromised website can bring down your SEO fast and furiously. But it can also affect site speed, for instance. For this reason it is useful to monitor SEO performance closely. Problems with your SEO could be indicative of a larger problem but even if it isn’t, organic SEO is a majorly important aspect of a business’s web performance. It’s a big part of creating traffic to engage and contribute to your conversion rates, and of course we all know what bounce rates are and why you want yours as low as possible.

  1. Proactive and Time-Saving Solutions

What you can do is use a certain way of thinking when deciding what sort of website monitoring and cyber security will meet your needs. This is a simple as a) knowing that a problem exists as early as possible, and b) knowing what actions you should take to resolve this problem

Then look into web monitoring solutions that are going to contribute to both these aims being met. Monitoring your site closely for issues is a good start, but from there you should also ensure those all-important reports that detail the actions you need to take. They should be easy to read and easy to act on.

Think StarLink, Not Skynet: The ‘Big’ of Satellite Internet Speeds

We will fully understand if you don’t get the Skynet reference there, but for those of us who were big fans of the Terminator films it’s somewhat hard not to think of the fictional far-reaching A.I. platform that spelled disaster for humanity when we hear of Elon Musk’s ‘StarLink’ satellite internet development. Seems as if everything this billionaire investor does these days is noteworthy, and this is no exception. And let’s be clear – all this development is doing is promising the fastest internet speeds ever available to the average earth dweller.

We can be fairly certain it is NOT going to lead to the Rise of the Machines, or a need for John Connor to save us all from them.

Anyways, enough with the sci-fi movie references. StarLink has the potential to put you in pretty much a Bugatti for roaring down the information superhighway, and we imagine that sounds plenty good to you. Here at 4GoodHosting we’re like every other quality Canadian web hosting provider in that the nature of what we do means we really get how the promise of faster page-loading times and flash media like it was meant to be will really appeal to people.

So it’s for this reason that we think that Mr. Musk and his StarLink are definitely newsworthy enough for this week’s entry. Here’s hoping this all comes to be like it’s predicted it will!

2x Sounds Just Fine

And the meat of that prediction is that Elon has stated that the speeds of the StarLink satellite internet service will double over this year as it continues to build out its global consumer network. More specifically, what’s being suggested is that speed will double to ~300Mb/s and latency will drop to ~20ms later this year. If so, it is quite the development as StarLink routers currently max out at speeds between 50 and 150 Mbps.

That is the consensus, although some users have claimed to get speeds well above that, and even up to 215 Mbps. However, we ca probably safely assume those speeds were recorded by someone enjoying a fairly empty network at the time.

Global Reach

It’s also being reported that StarLink is set to offer these benefits to one and all, and pretty much no matter where it is on the planet you’re calling home. This satellite internet service is promising to reach nearly all customers around the Earth by the close of this year, and the reaches that it can’t quite get to this year would be taken care of successfully by the end of 2022 at the latest.

Lofty aims for sure, but Musk is saying it’s doable – and will be done. He has also said that StarLink is currently very similar to other satellite broadband services in that it’s optimized for customers living in regions with low-to-medium population density. He shares a belief with his lead engineers who are making all of this goodness happen, and that being that traditional methods of providing internet are still best outside of these areas.

The Pikangikum First Nation in Canada is one remote area in a large country with vast expanses of wilderness where the reach and strength of SkyLink is being tested.

Subscribe to the Beta

For $99 a month you can subscribe and try all of this out for yourself, but be aware that by the time you get to that point you’ll already be in for 5 bills at least– for now at least. That’s because it’s $499 for the StarLink kit. The kit includes a Wi-Fi router, mounting tripod and a terminal to connect to the satellites. But it’s not like that’s been dissuading to most people it would seem. So far the service has around 10,000 users participating in the beta test.

So if you want to gauge all this for yourself and you’re not on any sort of a budget, then no one’s stopping you from getting onboard yourself.

It was about three weeks ago now that the company started making pre-orders of StarLink available to other countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico. With a $100 deposit you’ll be put in line to start enjoying the service once it becomes available in those locations. But again with the same hardware expense they’ll be paying $600 upfront for the service.

Possibility of Federal Funding

StarLink reaching both the speed and the coverage that Musk is aiming for is going to be dependent on SpaceX rolling out quite a few more satellites. While they’ve put up more than 1,000 of them for StarLink so far, the goal is to have some 42,000 satellites up there by the middle of 2027.

And of course doing all this is an expensive proposition, and that’s an understatement as is. To help with that SpaceX won $885 million in federal subsidies to expand StarLink. And given what these types of internet speeds along with 5G network connectivity have in potential for federal and municipal governments it’s not surprising that they’re investing to the extent they are.

On the other side of the coin, however, many small internet service providers (ISP) are opposed to this ‘unproven technology’ as they refer to it. They’re asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to review winning applications submitted by satellite and fixed wireless providers to ensure this is being rolled out judiciously and fairly. They insist that what is at stake is legit broadband access to millions of people in rural areas and regions that are currently too costly to serve.

It’s true that there have been companies that received millions of dollars in federal funds to expand broadband internet service to rural services, but they then dropped the ball with that. The project trials in rural Canada might suggest that is not going to be the case this time, but we will have to see how it all plays out.

We will fully understand if you don’t get the Skynet reference there, but for those of us who were big fans of the Terminator films it’s somewhat hard not to think of the fictional far-reaching A.I. platform that spelled disaster for humanity when we hear of Elon Musk’s ‘StarLink’ satellite internet development. Seems as if everything this billionaire investor does these days is noteworthy, and this is no exception. And let’s be clear – all this development is doing is promising the fastest internet speeds ever available to the average earth dweller.

We can be fairly certain it is NOT going to lead to the Rise of the Machines, or a need for John Connor to save us all from them.

Anyways, enough with the sci-fi movie references. StarLink has the potential to put you in pretty much a Bugatti for roaring down the information superhighway, and we imagine that sounds plenty good to you. Here at 4GoodHosting we’re like every other quality Canadian web hosting provider in that the nature of what we do means we really get how the promise of faster page-loading times and flash media like it was meant to be will really appeal to people.

So it’s for this reason that we think that Mr. Musk and his StarLink are definitely newsworthy enough for this week’s entry. Here’s hoping this all comes to be like it’s predicted it will!

2x Sounds Just Fine

And the meat of that prediction is that Elon has stated that the speeds of the StarLink satellite internet service will double over this year as it continues to build out its global consumer network. More specifically, what’s being suggested is that speed will double to ~300Mb/s and latency will drop to ~20ms later this year. If so, it is quite the development as StarLink routers currently max out at speeds between 50 and 150 Mbps.

That is the consensus, although some users have claimed to get speeds well above that, and even up to 215 Mbps. However, we ca probably safely assume those speeds were recorded by someone enjoying a fairly empty network at the time.

Global Reach

It’s also being reported that StarLink is set to offer these benefits to one and all, and pretty much no matter where it is on the planet you’re calling home. This satellite internet service is promising to reach nearly all customers around the Earth by the close of this year, and the reaches that it can’t quite get to this year would be taken care of successfully by the end of 2022 at the latest.

Lofty aims for sure, but Musk is saying it’s doable – and will be done. He has also said that StarLink is currently very similar to other satellite broadband services in that it’s optimized for customers living in regions with low-to-medium population density. He shares a belief with his lead engineers who are making all of this goodness happen, and that being that traditional methods of providing internet are still best outside of these areas.

The Pikangikum First Nation in Canada is one remote area in a large country with vast expanses of wilderness where the reach and strength of SkyLink is being tested.

Subscribe to the Beta

For $99 a month you can subscribe and try all of this out for yourself, but be aware that by the time you get to that point you’ll already be in for 5 bills at least– for now at least. That’s because it’s $499 for the StarLink kit. The kit includes a Wi-Fi router, mounting tripod and a terminal to connect to the satellites. But it’s not like that’s been dissuading to most people it would seem. So far the service has around 10,000 users participating in the beta test.

So if you want to gauge all this for yourself and you’re not on any sort of a budget, then no one’s stopping you from getting onboard yourself.

It was about three weeks ago now that the company started making pre-orders of StarLink available to other countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico. With a $100 deposit you’ll be put in line to start enjoying the service once it becomes available in those locations. But again with the same hardware expense they’ll be paying $600 upfront for the service.

Possibility of Federal Funding

StarLink reaching both the speed and the coverage that Musk is aiming for is going to be dependent on SpaceX rolling out quite a few more satellites. While they’ve put up more than 1,000 of them for StarLink so far, the goal is to have some 42,000 satellites up there by the middle of 2027.

And of course doing all this is an expensive proposition, and that’s an understatement as is. To help with that SpaceX won $885 million in federal subsidies to expand StarLink. And given what these types of internet speeds along with 5G network connectivity have in potential for federal and municipal governments it’s not surprising that they’re investing to the extent they are.

On the other side of the coin, however, many small internet service providers (ISP) are opposed to this ‘unproven technology’ as they refer to it. They’re asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to review winning applications submitted by satellite and fixed wireless providers to ensure this is being rolled out judiciously and fairly. They insist that what is at stake is legit broadband access to millions of people in rural areas and regions that are currently too costly to serve.

It’s true that there have been companies that received millions of dollars in federal funds to expand broadband internet service to rural services, but they then dropped the ball with that. The project trials in rural Canada might suggest that is not going to be the case this time, but we will have to see how it all plays out.

At a more basic level, people are going to be absolutely thrilled at the prospect of consistent 2x faster internet speeds.

Worldwide Semiconductor Chip Shortage May Have Major Ramifications

Everyone all over the world has benefitted from the digital revolution that has made our lives and workplace productivity better over the past few decades. Behind all of that goodness are a collection of key technology contributors, and the semiconductor is definitely one of them. These powerhouses are kind of unsung heroes, as they’re hidden from view and don’t get the fanfare that CPUs do. Despite the fact that much of what your CPU is capable of is made possible because of a semiconductor chip.

These chips have been produced in large, large volumes for a long, long time. But only just recently has it become a situation where – quite simply – there’s just not enough of them to meet demand. That’s problematic for a whole lot of different reasons, but most front and centre is the fact that manufacturers aren’t able to make enough of the products that need these chips to meet ever-growing consumer demand for them. The most newsworthy example these days? There’s a very specific reason why buying a new PlayStation 5 is a real challenge, and it has nothing to do with anyone’s personal finances.

But this has big-picture ramifications for all sorts of people who rely on their digital connectivity, and if you’re only inconvenienced by not being able to play the newest and best video games then consider yourself fortunate. Here at 4GoodHosting we’re like any good Canadian web hosting provider in that our business puts us right in the middle of being able to understand the magnitude of this issue. And it really is something that pretty much anyone should be aware of.

So here goes.

Not Enough Chips

Semiconductors are also known as integrated circuits and they are both the tiniest and most exacting product ever globally manufactured on a global scale. The majority of all the ones currently at work around the world have been produced by one of 2 Asian powerhouses — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics Co. However, even these big producers can only pump out some many of them at a time.

So why is there a shortage of chips?

Well there’s a lot of reasons. Part of it is related to the ongoing global pandemic. It’s spurred an explosion in sales for not just laptops, but also home appliances and TVs, webcams, and other items (including air purifiers) that people are purchasing as their life / work arrangement have changed because of COVID.

The next factor is related to the massive surge in online shopping for these same products. Suppliers have had to hedge bets against the peaks and valleys of orders coming in and in some cases they’ve cut back on production just for this very reason. Another type of popular consumer item that needs semiconductor chips these days is your vehicle, and automakers who cut back drastically in the early days of the outbreak underestimated how quickly sales would rebound.

When they tried to catch up, they found that there are not enough of the chips available, and in large part because nearly all of them are being purchased by smartphone and personal computing device manufacturers. 

The last factor here is that making good semiconductor chips isn’t easy at all. There are only three companies — TSMC, Samsung and Intel — still making advanced logic chips, and Intel- the only NA one here –  has been falling behind. Chips are made in plants that cost billions to build and equip and recouping the investment means going full bore with production 24/7.

However, the real factor here is yield – or the amount of good chips per batch – determines success or failure. It takes years of learning to fine-tune your design and production logistics to get a yield of 90% out of the complex photolithographic process needed for consistent and reliable semiconductor chip production.

Chip Hoarding?

It’s true, and it’s a thing. PC makers were already stating the chronic shortage of chips early last year before all of this global craziness began. By the middle of the year Huawei was hoarding components to keep production up in face of U.S. sanctions that threatened to cut it off from its primary suppliers of chips. Other Chinese companies started to do the same and the country’s imports of chips equalled some $380 billion in 2020.

Lost Sales

Some businesses are taking it on the chin with this global semiconductor shortage. Automakers in particular are expected to suffer $61 billion of sales losses and delays to the production of a million vehicles this financial quarter alone. but the fallout now threatens to hit the much larger electronics industry.

The two Asian chip giants are doing what’s needed to cement their dominance: TSMC raised its envisioned capital expenditure for 2021 to as much as $28 billion from a record $17 billion a year prior, while Samsung is directing $116 billion on a decade-long project to keep pace with its Taiwanese arch-rival.

China has its own interests, and has stated its plans to spend more than $140 billion on building a world-class domestic semiconductor sector. But industry insiders say they have a long way to go before they’re up to speed with the Koreans and Taiwanese.

New POTUS has a Plan

Everyone all over the world has benefitted from the digital revolution that has made our lives and workplace productivity better over the past few decades. Behind all of that goodness are a collection of key technology contributors, and the semiconductor is definitely one of them. These powerhouses are kind of unsung heroes, as they’re hidden from view and don’t get the fanfare that CPUs do. Despite the fact that much of what your CPU is capable of is made possible because of a semiconductor chip.

These chips have been produced in large, large volumes for a long, long time. But only just recently has it become a situation where – quite simply – there’s just not enough of them to meet demand. That’s problematic for a whole lot of different reasons, but most front and centre is the fact that manufacturers aren’t able to make enough of the products that need these chips to meet ever-growing consumer demand for them. The most newsworthy example these days? There’s a very specific reason why buying a new PlayStation 5 is a real challenge, and it has nothing to do with anyone’s personal finances.

But this has big-picture ramifications for all sorts of people who rely on their digital connectivity, and if you’re only inconvenienced by not being able to play the newest and best video games then consider yourself fortunate. Here at 4GoodHosting we’re like any good Canadian web hosting provider in that our business puts us right in the middle of being able to understand the magnitude of this issue. And it really is something that pretty much anyone should be aware of.

So here goes.

Not Enough Chips

Semiconductors are also known as integrated circuits and they are both the tiniest and most exacting product ever globally manufactured on a global scale. The majority of all the ones currently at work around the world have been produced by one of 2 Asian powerhouses — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics Co. However, even these big producers can only pump out some many of them at a time.

So why is there a shortage of chips?

Well there’s a lot of reasons. Part of it is related to the ongoing global pandemic. It’s spurred an explosion in sales for not just laptops, but also home appliances and TVs, webcams, and other items (including air purifiers) that people are purchasing as their life / work arrangement have changed because of COVID.

The next factor is related to the massive surge in online shopping for these same products. Suppliers have had to hedge bets against the peaks and valleys of orders coming in and in some cases they’ve cut back on production just for this very reason. Another type of popular consumer item that needs semiconductor chips these days is your vehicle, and automakers who cut back drastically in the early days of the outbreak underestimated how quickly sales would rebound.

When they tried to catch up, they found that there are not enough of the chips available, and in large part because nearly all of them are being purchased by smartphone and personal computing device manufacturers. 

The last factor here is that making good semiconductor chips isn’t easy at all. There are only three companies — TSMC, Samsung and Intel — still making advanced logic chips, and Intel- the only NA one here –  has been falling behind. Chips are made in plants that cost billions to build and equip and recouping the investment means going full bore with production 24/7.

However, the real factor here is yield – or the amount of good chips per batch – determines success or failure. It takes years of learning to fine-tune your design and production logistics to get a yield of 90% out of the complex photolithographic process needed for consistent and reliable semiconductor chip production.

Chip Hoarding?

It’s true, and it’s a thing. PC makers were already stating the chronic shortage of chips early last year before all of this global craziness began. By the middle of the year Huawei was hoarding components to keep production up in face of U.S. sanctions that threatened to cut it off from its primary suppliers of chips. Other Chinese companies started to do the same and the country’s imports of chips equalled some $380 billion in 2020.

Lost Sales

Some businesses are taking it on the chin with this global semiconductor shortage. Automakers in particular are expected to suffer $61 billion of sales losses and delays to the production of a million vehicles this financial quarter alone. but the fallout now threatens to hit the much larger electronics industry.

The two Asian chip giants are doing what’s needed to cement their dominance: TSMC raised its envisioned capital expenditure for 2021 to as much as $28 billion from a record $17 billion a year prior, while Samsung is directing $116 billion on a decade-long project to keep pace with its Taiwanese arch-rival.

China has its own interests, and has stated its plans to spend more than $140 billion on building a world-class domestic semiconductor sector. But industry insiders say they have a long way to go before they’re up to speed with the Koreans and Taiwanese.

New POTUS has a Plan

The White House is expected to sign an executive order directing a government-wide supply chain review for critical goods shortly, with the Biden administration putting together a longer-term plan for chip supply and aiming it to have a key role in formulating tax incentives for a proposed $12 billion TSMC plant in Arizona and another costlier one Samsung is eyeing for Texas. The EU is also rumoured to be getting ready to do something similar.