Dec 132017

We are pleased to announce that officially certified FIPS 140-2 level 1 cryptographic packages are now available for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS for Ubuntu Advantage Advanced customers and as a separate, stand-alone product.

In 2016 Canonical began the process of completing the Cryptographic Module Validation Program to obtain FIPS 140-2 validation for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. This has been successfully completed and Canonical now offers key components of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS compliant with the FIPS 140-2 level 1 standard. The FIPS compliant modules are available to Ubuntu Advantage Advanced subscribers in the Ubuntu Advantage private archive.

We currently use Ubuntu Linux because of its superior development environment and frequent LTS releases. As a business that develops software, one of our customer’s requirements is to utilize FIPS 140-2 validated software. We have been able to start rolling out the Ubuntu FIPS modules without needing to reinstall the operating system. This keeps our developers happy and productive as Ubuntu is their preferred environment and minimizes transition cost. The FIPS modules also include a VPN solution which we look forward to implementing to allow our developers to work remotely but still meet our customer’s requirements.

-Alex Stuart, North Point Defense


Users interested in FIPS 140-2 compliant modules on Ubuntu 16.04 can purchase Ubuntu Advantage at or by contacting the Canonical Sales Team.

For further information please visit



What is FIPS?

FIPS stands for Federal Information Processing Standards which is a set of publications developed and maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a United States federal agency. These publications define the security criteria required for government computers and telecommunication systems.

What is the FIPS 140-2 standard?

According to NIST, FIPS 140-2 “specifies the security requirements that will be satisfied by a cryptographic module used within a security system protecting sensitive but unclassified information.”

Why should I use the FIPS 140-2 modules?

Government, defence, healthcare, and finance organizations worldwide operate in highly regulated industries and are required to meet the security requirements defined in the FIPS 140-2 standard. This includes the United States, Canadian, and United Kingdom governments as well as government contractors.

Where can I find out more about FIPS?

General information about the Federal Information Processing Standards can be found on the NIST website. More detailed information about FIPS 140-2 itself can be found in the Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 140-2 document.

Which modules are included?

What versions of Ubuntu have FIPS certified modules?

Currently only Ubuntu 16.04 LTS has FIPS certified modules.

How Can I Find Out More?

Click here to make an inquiry, and somebody from our team will get back to you!

FIPS 140-2 Certified Modules for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Dec 132017

The publication of a new paper by the team behind AlphaGo has really got the chess world talking.  Applying the AlphaGo learning method to chess, they developed a program that was able to beat Stockfish after 4 hours of self learning. To read the headlines (and comments) about this, it would almost seem that humans are about to be replaced by computers, in all facets of life.
For me, while it was an impressive result, it isn’t the end of the world, or even chess. Self learning programs have been around for a while, and were quite strong, even 15 years ago. KnightCap was one such program, with the authors describing the self learning aspects in a paper they published in 1999 (which was cited by the authors of AlphaZero).
On the other hand, what did impress me was the successful implementation of the Monte Carlo Tree Search. This is an alternative to the tried and true Alpha-Beta search method (or its variants), and relies on a probabilistic approach to evaluating position.  Instead of assessing the various factors in a position (material, space, pawn structure), the program self-plays thousands of games from a given position, preferring the move that results in the most number of wins. The obvious flaw in this method (apart from computing restraints), is that while a move may lead to wins 99 times out of 100, the opponent may find the 1% reply that is a forced loss for the engine. But based on the result against Stockfish, this did not seem to occur in practice.
The other thing to point out is that this wasn’t a match between AlphaZero and Stockfish, at least not in a competitive sense. Stockfish had a number of restrictions placed on it (no opening book, less powerful hardware), and I suspect the point of the exercise was to provide a measure of how successful the learning algorithm was. If the authors intend to develop the worlds strongest chess program, then entering the World Computer Chess Championships is instead the best way to test it.

AlphaZero (Computer) – Stockfish (Computer) [E17]
AlphaZero – Stockfish London ENG, 04.12.2017new PgnViewer( { boardName: “game804”, movesFormat: “default”, pgnString:’1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.c4 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.d5 exd5 8.Nh4 c6 9.cxd5 Nxd5 10.Nf5 Nc7 11.e4 d5 12.exd5 Nxd5 13.Nc3 Nxc3 14.Qg4 g6 15.Nh6+ Kg7 16.bxc3 Bc8 17.Qf4 Qd6 18.Qa4 g5 19.Re1 Kxh6 20.h4 f6 21.Be3 Bf5 22.Rad1 Qa3 23.Qc4 b5 24.hxg5+ fxg5 25.Qh4+ Kg6 26.Qh1 Kg7 27.Be4 Bg6 28.Bxg6 hxg6 29.Qh3 Bf6 30.Kg2 Qxa2 31.Rh1 Qg8 32.c4 Re8 33.Bd4 Bxd4 34.Rxd4 Rd8 35.Rxd8 Qxd8 36.Qe6 Nd7 37.Rd1 Nc5 38.Rxd8 Nxe6 39.Rxa8 Kf6 40.cxb5 cxb5 41.Kf3 Nd4+ 42.Ke4 Nc6 43.Rc8 Ne7 44.Rb8 Nf5 45.g4 Nh6 46.f3 Nf7 47.Ra8 Nd6+ 48.Kd5 Nc4 49.Rxa7 Ne3+ 50.Ke4 Nc4 51.Ra6+ Kg7 52.Rc6 Kf7 53.Rc5 Ke6 54.Rxg5 Kf6 55.Rc5 g5 56.Kd4 1-0′, pauseBetweenMoves: 500, pieceSize: 29 } );

Don’t panic
Source: Chessexpress