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Symantec Finally Putting Security Into IoT

January 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Symantec has announced that it has come up with an IoT router which can secure your Internet of Things. 

Dubbed Norton Core, the device is a new app-enabled router that has built-in security to protect the entire home,. Symantec claims the device aims to keep safe up to 20 devices connected to it, including Windows computers, Macs, phones, tablets or any internet-of-things devices, in real time.

The router gets regular updates on cyber-crime information and protection mechanisms to keep any device connected to it safe. In case an infected device is connected to the network, it can isolate it from the rest of your devices to prevent the spreading of the malware.

Router level security is not new but it is rarely seen at for home users

Via the mobile app, you can monitor the network and see a list of online threats that the router has blocked. It even shows you the current safety level of your home network. You can also use the app to pause the internet for any connected device and set a bed time, during which the broadband connection is turned off.

Norton Core is a compact dome-shaped device that measures just 6 by 6 by 5 inches (15 by 15 by 13 cm). It has a dual-core 1.7GHz processor, 1MB of system memory and 4GB of flash memory. The router supports the latest 4×4 AC2600 Wi-Fi standard, with a top speed on the 5GHz band of 1.73 megabits per second and up to 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.

Symantec says the Norton Core’s Wi-Fi can cover a home of somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet. It also comes with four Gigabit LAN ports for wired clients.

The Norton Core is now available for preorder at $200, with a regular price of $280, in either titanium gold or granite gray. The price includes one year of subscription to its security protection, called Norton Core Security Plus, after which the ongoing cost is $99 per year.

Courtesy-Fud 

Amazon Video Launches Worldwide, Challenges Netflix

December 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

amazon-prime-video-150x150Amazon.com Inc has officially rolled out its video-on-demand service, Prime Video, in nearly every country except China, coming into direct competition with video-streaming pioneer Netflix Inc .

Prime Video, home to popular shows such as “The Grand Tour”, “Transparent” and “The Man in the High Castle”, will now be bundled with Prime subscriptions in 19 countries including India, Canada and France.

In other new regions, Prime Video customers will have to pay $2.99 or 2.99 euros per month for the first six months, after which the price will be doubled to $5.99 or 5.99 euros.

Amazon has been spending heavily, sometimes at the cost of profits, on the creation and marketing of movies and TV shows.

The company hopes that people will sign up for its Prime service to watch these videos – and in turn buy more goods from its online store to make the annual subscription worth it.

The Prime Video launch comes almost a year after Netflix Inc went global with its video-streaming service – rolling it out in more than 130 countries with the notable exception of China.

Subscriptions for Netflix, known for shows such as “Stranger Things”, “Daredevil” and “Narcos”, start at $8.99.

Amazon Prime Video members can also access videos offline on mobile devices, a feature Netflix introduced late last month.

Will The U.S. IoT Have A Market Value Of One Half Billion By 2020?

December 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A report by a research company is predicting that the internet of things (IoT) revenues will soar to be worth $500 million in 2020 in the USA alone.

Navigant Research which created the forecast, said that the IoT market covers not just only devices but includes secure data networks, software and services. Casey Talon, a principal research analyst at Navigant said: “If utilities seize the opportunity, they can leverage this to enhance customer offerings and increase customer engagement.”

By this, Talon is suggesting that utilities haven’t got their act together yet and should get on with developing, acquiring or making partnerships so that they can provide IoT enabled managed services.

He said that IoT in the utility field has the ability to give customers manage their energy independent from their utility company and that means re-thinking of business models to grab market share.

Talon estimates too that by 2020 there will be 1.7 million customers for IoT offerings.

Courtesy-Fud

The NHTSA Wants To Block Mobile Apps From Drivers

December 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

distracted-driving-150x150The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed new guidelines that is requesting automakers to create a way to block applications on smartphones or tablets that can distract drivers.

Currently no safety guidelines exist for mobile devices when they are used while driving, the NHTSA said.

The new guidelines, which were published last week and are in a comment period, instruct automakers to create a “Driver Mode” similar to Apple’s Airplane Mode on iPhones, which takes the smartphone offline.

The new guidelines are the latest effort by the federal government to reduce accidents caused by distracted driving.

 In proposing the guidelines, the NHTSA pointed to a rise in U.S. traffic fatalities and injuries in the past two years, a good percentage of which can be connected to drivers who are distracted by mobile technology, it said.
In 2015, some 10% of the 35,092 U.S. traffic fatalities on record involved one or more distracted drivers, and those crashes resulted in 3,477 fatalities, an 8.8% increase from the 3,197 distracted-driving-related fatalities in 2014, according to the NHTSA.

Of the 5.6 million non-fatal, police-reported crashes in 2014 (the most recent year for which this data is available), 16% were distracted-driving-related crashes and resulted in 424,000 injuries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines distracted driving activities to include using a cell phone, texting, and using in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) technologies such as navigation systems.

In 2013, the NHTSA published Phase 1 Driver Distraction Guidelines that focused on visual-manual interfaces of electronic devices installed as original equipment, such as infotainment centers.

Those phase 1 guidelines included a definition for distracted driving as any “single average glance” that takes a driver’s attention away from the roadway for more than two seconds or “where the sum of… individual glances” are 12 seconds or more while performing a testable task, such as selecting a song from a satellite radio station.

The Phase 1 guidelines recommended that interfaces and tasks determined to be more distracting than its specified levels should not be accessible to a driver on the road.

 

Symantec Agree To $2.3 Billion Acquisition Deal For LifeLock

November 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

symantec-150x150Symantec Corp announced plans to acquire U.S. identity theft protection services company LifeLock Inc  for $2.3 billion, in a deal that it hopes will prop up sales at its Norton cybersecurity unit.

Symantec’s security software often comes bundled with personal computers. As a result, the company has suffered as consumers use mobile devices more than traditional computers. While Norton remains profitable, its sales have been falling.

“(Norton) had been declining with the declines in PC market share. This acquisition brings $660 million in revenue to the consumer business and returns it to longer sustainable growth,” Symantec Chief Executive Greg Clark said in an interview.

Reuters was first to report earlier on Sunday that Symantec was in the lead to acquire LifeLock.

Symantec’s purchase of LifeLock is in line with its efforts to diversify its offerings. In August, it bought Blue Coat Inc, which helps firms maintain security over the internet, in a $4.65 billion deal. Clark previously held the top job at Blue Coat, and made the switch after the deal closed.

Based in Tempe, Arizona, LifeLock offers services such as monitoring new account openings and credit-related applications in order to alert consumers about unauthorized use of their identity. It also works with government agencies, merchants and creditors to remediate the impact of identity theft.

Fran Rosch, executive vice president of Norton Business Unit, said that Symantec had dabbled in identity security but had nowhere near Lifelock’s 4.4 million members.

“We had to extend our value proposition. It was a no brainer for us to get back to growth,” Rosch said.

Symantec expects to finance the transaction with cash on balance sheet and $750 million of new debt.

The Mountain View, California-based company has been moving away from what is sees as more commoditized services, selling its data storage business Veritas in January to private equity firm Carlyle Group LP for $7.4 billion. Technology-focused firm Silver Lake Partners has also made a $1 billion investment in the company in two parts this year.

Symantec said the LifeLock deal is not expected to have a material impact on its financial results next year, and reaffirmed its fiscal year 2017 and 2018 guidance. The deal also represents a victory for activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp, which had pushed LifeLock to explore its options.

WhatsApp Adds Full Encryption To Video Calls

November 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

whatsapp-logo-150x150One of the most popular means of communication, Facebook’s  WhatsApp, had included fully encrypted video calling to its messaging app as of Monday, a move that comes as privacy advocates worry about the potential for stepped-up government surveillance under a Trump administration.

WhatsApp, which boasts more than a billion users worldwide, adopted end-to-end encryption early this year, making it technically impossible for the company or government authorities to read messages or listen to calls.

The new video calling service will thus provide another means for people to communicate without fear of eavesdropping though WhatsApp does retain other data such as an individual’s list of contacts.

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum said in an interview that video calls will be rolled out to 180 countries within hours after the feature is introduced at an event in India.

“We obviously try to be in tune with what our users want,” Koum said at the company’s unmarked Mountain View, California headquarters building. “We’re obsessed with making sure that voice and video work well even on low-end phones.”

Koum told Reuters that improvements in phone cameras, battery life and bandwidth had made the service viable for a significant proportion of WhatsApp users, even those using inexpensive smartphones.

Apple Inc  offers its FaceTime video calls to iPhone users, and Microsoft Corp’s  Skype offers video calls on multiple platforms. But WhatsApp has built a massive installed base of mobile customers and has been steadily adding more features to what began as a simple chat applications.

Amazon Ordered To Reimburse Parents For Children’s In-app Purchases

November 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

amazon-logo-1-150x150A federal judge has ordered Amazon.com Inc to set up a year-long process to reimburse parents whose children made in-app purchases without permission, but rejected a U.S. regulator’s request for a $26.5 million lump-sum payout.

U.S. District Judge John Coughenour, in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle, issued his order more than six months after finding the online retailer liable, in a case brought by the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC in July 2014 accused Amazon of making it too easy for children to run up bills while playing games such as “Pet Shop Story” and “Ice Age Village” on mobile devices, resulting in an estimated $86 million of unauthorized charges.

 The order calls for Amazon to set up a notice-and-claims process beginning in early 2017 to alert parents of their eligibility for refunds, and then to reimburse them.

Coughenour said this approach “removes the uncertainty of the proper lump sum amount that the parties have vigorously disputed. Moreover, it accomplishes the goals of placing liability on Amazon and refunding eligible customers.”

Coughenour called the FTC’s $26.5 million damages request “too high,” agreeing with Amazon that it might have taken into account failed password attempts unrelated to unauthorized purchases by children.

But the judge rejected Amazon’s request to issue refunds in the form of gift cards, saying the company would “undoubtedly recapture some of the profits that are at issue.”

Neither Amazon nor the FTC immediately responded to requests for comment.

ARM Finally Adds Security To IoT Chips

November 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

 ARM has announced that it will introduce tiny processors which have Trustzone baked in to run the next generation of IoT devices.

The ARM TechCon in Silicon Valley was told that the new designs will stop devices from being hacked and recruited into huge botnet swarms.

TrustZone has been around for a decade for Windows, Mac OS and Android products but never for chips this small or low-powered.

ARM’s new Cortex-M33 chip design is just one-tenth of a square millimeter, and the Cortex-M23 is 75 percent smaller than that. They are based on the new ARMv8-M architecture and are designed to work with ARM’s mbed OS. Already Chip vendors including Analog Devices, NXP and STMicroelectronics have already licensed the design.

ARM expects chips based on them to be used in products like bandages that collect and send medical data, tracking tags for packages in transit, and portable blood-monitoring devices.

These things won’t be plugged in to an outlet and may not even have batteries: A pocket-sized blood-testing device for diabetics could harvest enough energy to do its job just from the motion of the user removing the cap, ARM says.

ARM also introduced a cloud-based platform for managing and updating IoT processors for as long as they’re deployed. The mbed Cloud software-as-a-service platform is designed to solve the problem of how to manage millions of chips in devices that may be deployed all over a city or a global enterprise.

When a device boots up, mbed Cloud can provide a security key for the communications channel and specify who can get access to the data from the device, based on enterprise policies.

The service can also help to prevent IoT-based denial-of-service attacks by monitoring what’s going on in the network. If there are abnormally chatty devices, it can isolate them or shut them down.
The service can be run on multiple public clouds.

Courtesy-Fud

Qualcomm Plans To Ship 5G Modems In 2018

October 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

qualcom-bldg-150x1505G networks will be five times as fast as the quickest LTE technology by taking advantage of the highest cellular frequencies ever, according to Qualcomm.

The X50 modem won’t ship until the first half of 2018, and 5G networks aren’t expected to go commercial until 2020. But Qualcomm will have a lot to say about the new technology at its 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong. At the same event, it’s announcing plans around its gigabit-speed X16 LTE modem.

The X50 will offer download speeds as high as 5Gbps (bits per second), where networks support them, using millimeter-wave frequencies and futuristic techniques for beaming signals to devices, according to slides prepared for the 4G/5G Summit. Qualcomm shared the materials in advance.

The X50 initially will use the 28GHz band, which is also the focus of 5G development work at the Verizon 5G Technology Forum and Korea Telecom 5G Special Interest Group. It’s one of several millimeter-wave bands that are widely expected to be used for 5G.

Cellular networks up to now have stayed below 6GHz, because higher frequencies don’t naturally travel as far or go through objects as easily. But a lot more bandwidth is expected to become available in millimeter-wave bands in the coming years. Qualcomm says the X50 will be able to use a combined 800MHz of spectrum, compared with up to 80MHz for the X16.

The future modem will use several emerging techniques to make this work. Key tools are beam-forming and beam-tracking, in which a cell can focus its signal to reach a specific mobile device and then follow that device as it moves around. The X50 will even be able to bounce its signal off hard surfaces in order to get around objects between the cell and the user.

Qualcomm expects the X50 modem to ship to system makers in sample quantities starting in the second half of next year. Combined with a gigabit-speed LTE modem, the X50 will form the basis of dual-mode 4G/5G devices. LTE and 5G are expected to coexist for many years.

Meanwhile, the X16 LTE modem will be coming out in a consumer device in the next few months. The NetGear Mobile Router MR1100, a mobile hotspot that provides a Wi-Fi connection on the go, will be sold by Australian carrier Telstra, Qualcomm announced Tuesday.

Is A 200,000 Core PC In The Making?

August 31, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Future Processor

Future Processor

Princeton University researchers have developed a 25-core open source processor that can be scaled to create a monster 200,000-core PC stuffed with 8,000 64-bit chips. The chip is called Piton after the metal spikes driven by rock climbers into mountain sides, and was presented at the Hot Chips symposium on high-performance computing in Cupertino this week.

“With Piton, we really sat down and rethought computer architecture to build a chip specifically for data centres and the cloud,” said David Wentzlaff, a Princeton assistant professor of electrical engineering and associated faculty in the Department of Computer Science.

“The chip we’ve made is among the largest ever built in academia and it shows how servers could run far more efficiently and cheaply.”

The current version of the Piton chip measures 6mmx6mm. It has more than 460 million transistors, each as small as 32nm, the bulk of which are contained in 25 cores.

Companies and academic institutions have produced chips with many dozens of cores in recent years, but the readily scalable architecture of Piton can enable thousands of cores on a single chip with half a billion cores in the data centre, said Wentzlaff, adding that more cores ought to mean more processing power.

“What we have with Piton is really a prototype for future commercial server systems that could take advantage of a tremendous number of cores to speed up processing,” he said.

At the same time, he suggested, the design could also cut power consumption and therefore heat dissipation.

The programs being run in a typical data centre used by hundreds of thousands or even millions of users rely on similar operations at the microprocessor level. The Piton chip’s cores can recognise these instances and execute identical instructions consecutively so that they flow one after another.

This can increase energy efficiency by about 20 per cent compared with a standard core, according to the researchers.

A second innovation is called a memory-traffic shaper that mediates between the demands of different applications accessing memory on the chip. The researchers claimed that this can yield an 18 per cent improvement in performance compared with conventional means of memory allocation.

Piton also assigns areas of the on-chip cache memory to specific cores, while the cores themselves can be reserved or assigned to particular applications.

Generously, rather than creating a startup to exploit the various innovations, Wentzlaff confirmed that the designs will be published under an open source licence.

“We’re very pleased with all that we’ve achieved with Piton in an academic setting, where there are far fewer resources than at large commercial chipmakers. We’re also happy to give out our design to the world as open source, which has long been commonplace for software, but is almost never done for hardware,” he said.

The architecture has been designed to be easily scalable, enabling it to handle the large-scale repetitive processing tasks increasingly demanded of servers running in cloud data centres.

Courtesy-TheInq

Is The IoT A Security Disaster Waiting To Happen?

August 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

The craze for connecting anything and everything and controlling it over the internet will result in a major disaster without better built-in security, according to security expert Bruce Schneier.

Furthermore, if secret services really are trying to influence elections by hacking the systems of political parties and releasing embarrassing emails, they will almost certainly attempt to hack into the increasing number of internet-connected voting machines for the same ends.

Schneier is the author of multiple encryption algorithms, founder of security company Counterpane, and former chief technology officer of BT Managed Security Solutions.

“It’s one thing if your smart door lock can be eavesdropped on to know who is home. It’s another thing entirely if it can be hacked to allow a burglar to open the door or prevent you opening your door,” Schneier wrote in an article published by Motherboard.

“A hacker who can deny you control of your car, or take over control, is much more dangerous than one who can eavesdrop on your conversations or track your car’s location.

“With the advent of the Internet of Things [IoT] and cyber-physical systems in general, we’ve given the internet hands and feet: the ability to directly affect the physical world. What used to be attacks against data and information have become attacks against flesh, steel and concrete.”

Schneier explained that many of the devices now being connected to the internet, including industrial systems controlling major facilities, have security only as an afterthought, and that the IoT “will allow for attacks we can’t even imagine”.

The key weaknesses come from software control systems, the connections between systems and autonomous systems. Schneier highlighted a lack of security patching in control systems, the ability to compromise networks via insecure devices connected to them, especially IoT devices, and the security dangers of increased automation.

“Security engineers are working on technologies that can mitigate much of this risk, but many solutions won’t be deployed without government involvement. This is not something that the market can solve,” he said.

Schneier also suggested that if Russian security services were indeed behind the attack on the systems of the US Democratic National Committee there is no reason why they wouldn’t target internet-connected voting machines.

“Over the years, more and more states have moved to electronic voting machines and have flirted with internet voting. These systems are insecure and vulnerable to attack,” Schneier warned.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Dropbox Paper Opens Beta To All

August 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Ten months after Dropbox first debuted Paper, the collaborative writing tool opened its beta testing to all and is getting mobile versions for iOS and Android.

Paper allows teams to work on documents together in the cloud. It makes it easy to add text, images and embedded videos from YouTube, Google, or Dropbox itself. Users can also add programming code, which gets formatted automatically. And they can create to-do lists and assign tasks on those lists using the @ symbol.

Since its unveiling in private beta, Paper has been used to create more than a million documents for tasks like brainstorming ideas and capturing meeting notes, Dropbox said. Based on lessons learned along the way, Dropbox has improved the software with better tables and image galleries, more powerful search, and notifications via desktop and mobile.

The new apps for Android and iOS, meanwhile, let users get project updates, make edits, and respond to feedback from their mobile devices.

“As Dropbox tries to expand the concept of what it is, it’s only natural that they dig deeper into the productivity tool bag,” said T.J. Keitt, a senior analyst with Forrester Research. “Paper gives them a collaborative content engine that lets teams work collectively on lists and notes — a useful tool given information workers have scooped up note-taking tools like Evernote and OneNote for similar purposes.”

Competitors like Box, Google and Microsoft offer similar tools, so Dropbox needed Paper to keep up, Keitt said. “I don’t think this will be a great point of differentiation for them.”

Paper is “definitely a cool product,” said Melissa Webster, a program vice president with IDC.

It’s essentially Dropbox’s answer to Google Docs but designed to be more visually appealing, Webster said.

“Word processors have historically been poor at supporting creative teams and concept work that is visual,” she said. “Dropbox Paper should appeal to marketers, creative folks, product teams and others who find traditional text-oriented word processors and note-taking apps somewhat confining.”

The beta program for Dropbox Paper is now open online. The associated mobile apps are available in the U.S. from the iOS App Store and Android Play Store, and are coming soon for users in the EU.

 

 

Tech Firms Form OTrP To Support IoT Security

July 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

A bunch of tech firms including ARM and Symantec have joined forces to create a security protocol designed to protect Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The group, which also includes Intercede and Solacia, has created The Open Trust Protocol (OTrP) that is now available for download for prototyping and testing from the IETF website.

The OTrP is designed to bring system-level root trust to devices, using secure architecture and trusted code management, akin to how apps on smartphones and tablets that contain sensitive information are kept separate from the main OS.

This will allow IoT manufacturers to incorporate the technology into devices, ensuring that they are protected without having to give full access to a device OS.

Marc Canel, vice president of security systems at ARM, explained that the OTrP will put security and trust at the core of the IoT.

“In an internet-connected world it is imperative to establish trust between all devices and service providers,” he said.

“Operators need to trust devices their systems interact with and OTrP achieves this in a simple way. It brings e-commerce trust architectures together with a high-level protocol that can be easily integrated with any existing platform.”

Brian Witten, senior director of IoT security at Symantec, echoed this sentiment. “The IoT and smart mobile technologies are moving into a range of diverse applications and it is important to create an open protocol to ease and accelerate adoption of hardware-backed security that is designed to protect onboard encryption keys,” he said.

The next stage is for the OTrP to be further developed by a standards-defining organisation after feedback from the wider technology community, so that it can become a fully interoperable standard suitable for mass adoption.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Is Arm Really A Good Fit For Softbank?

July 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Softbank, the naysayers were mostly on ARM’s side. But it seems that Softbank is having trouble selling the idea to its own shareholders.

Shares in Japan’s Softbank have fallen 10 per cent after it agreed a controversial $30 billion deal to buy UK chip designer ARM.

Part of the reason that shareholders greeted the idea with horror was that it would dump a pile of debt on the company, but the other reason was the value of the company was expected to plummet after Brexit causes the UK economy to collapse.

It was for this reason that the UK Chancellor Philip Hammond welcomed the deal saying that despite the vote to leave the EU, Britain “has lost none of its allure to international investors”. Of course sending profits overseas is just the sort of thing that is good for the British economy under Hammond’s new glorious economic plan.

Common sense, as expressed by ARM co-founder Hermann Hauser, said it represented a “sad day” for the UK’s technology sector. ARM was a golden child which emerged from the days when the UK used to actually make computers.

Analysts had been hoping that Softbank, which has raised nearly 19 billion in cash through sales of some of its assets, was going to use some of that cash to reduce its debt or reward shareholders.

Instead it has secured a $10 billion bridge loan to finance part of its ARM purchase.

SoftBank has pledged to preserve ARM’s existing management team, maintain its headquarters in Cambridge, at least double the number of employees in the UK over the next five years and increase its overseas workforce.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Intel May Get Rid Of Its Security Business

June 28, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Intel is contemplating shedding  its security business as the company tries to focus on delivering chips for cloud computing and connected devices, according to a news report.

The Intel Security business came largely from the company’s acquisition for $7.7 billion of security software company McAfee. Intel announced plans to bake some of the security technology into its chips to ensure higher security for its customers.

With the surge in cyberthreats, providing protection to the variety of Internet-connected devices — such as PCs, mobile devices, medical gear and cars — requires a fundamentally new approach involving software, hardware and services, the company said in February 2011, when announcing the completion of the McAfee acquisition.

Intel has been talking to bankers about the future of its cybersecurity business for a deal that would be one of the largest in the sector, reported The Financial Times, citing people close to the discussions. It said a group of private equity firms may join together to buy the security business if it is sold at the same price or higher than what Intel paid for it.

“I could see them selling a piece of the service, but not all security capabilities,” said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

“Intel has a decent security play right now and security is paramount to the future of IoT,” Moorhead said. “Hardware-based security is vital to the future of computing.”

Intel is declining to comment on the report, a company spokeswoman wrote in an email.

 

 

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