Weekend Reads 083019

High performance computing isn’t what it used to be. Performance, in particular, has become a slippery metric as a result of the design constraints of modern clustered systems. A revealing illustration of what this is all about was provided by Dan Stanzione, the director of the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas. —Michael Feldman

One of the most interesting aspects of the proposed merger of Sprint and T-Mobile is that the agreement now includes selling some of Sprint’s spectrum to Dish Networks to enable them to become a 5G cellular provider. This arrangement is part of the compromise required by the Department of Justice to preserve industry competition when the major wireless carriers shrink from four to three. —Doug Dawson

The Department of Justice wants access to encrypted consumer devices but promises not to infiltrate business products or affect critical infrastructure. Yet that’s not possible, because there is no longer any difference between those categories of devices. Consumer devices are critical infrastructure. They affect national security. And it would be foolish to weaken them, even at the request of law enforcement. —Bruce Schneier

Many companies use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to serve static assets. Using a CDN allows you to offload static assets loading from origin servers, to then serve those assets as close to the end users as possible. With many points of presence across the globe, CDNs help deliver content to end users from a server in their city or economy, instead of downloading them from the original location, which could be much further away. —Emir Beganović

There is really only one Big Tech monopoly that I actively worry about. It’s not Amazon, Facebook or Apple, though they are all extremely dominant in their respective fields and do act in anti-competitive ways that merit regulatory remedy. Rather, the tech monopoly that I wonder about is arguably one of the more mundane parts of the modern internet experience: your web browser, and its most likely source – Google. —Blair Reeves

As part of a larger effort to make the internet more private, the IETF defined two protocols to encrypt DNS queries between clients (stub resolvers) and resolvers: DNS over TLS in RFC 7858 (DoT) and DNS over HTTPS in RFC 8484 (DoH). As with all new internet protocols, DoT and DoH will continue to evolve as deployment experience is gained, and they’re applied to more use cases. To understand more about the motivation for developing these protocols, and how they might be used, an excellent post: “Architectural paths for evolving the DNS” can be found on Akamai’s corporate blog. —Bruce Van Nice

Business email compromised (BEC) attacks targeting American companies are exploding, with an increase of over 476% in incidents between Q4 2017 and Q4 2018. Up as well is email fraud with companies experiencing an increase of over 226%. —Frederick Felman