Facebook helicopter-drone to provide wireless internet to disaster areas

Facebook thinks it can do more to help in times of crisis.

On Wednesday April 19, Facebook revealed test results to the F8 developer conference from its efforts to get rural regions around the world online, and function as a source of disaster relief. The social platform created a small helicopter that’s connected to a power source and an internet cable (called a Tether-tenna) which in turn connects it to existing fiber lines.

It can then fly above ground, serving as a tower during emergencies. Although this tech is a long-term plan for now, Facebook says it could eventually provide connectivity for months at a time while communities rebuild in the wake of disasters.

The high-speed corollary for populated areas, Terragraph, is being tested in downtown San Jose. Terragraph, which launched last year, boosts wireless in places with denser internet use. Facebook is making progress with the tech but says there’s still work left to do.


Facebook’s first flight of the Aquila drone — built for beaming internet service using millimeter wave technologies to provide faster data speeds — also took place in 2016. Although, the drone suffered a “structural failure” during its landing, triggering a National Transportation Safety Board investigation. Test flights will continue in 2017.

Source: Futurism

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Top 5 misconceptions of IoT network and device security

With an estimated 30 billion connected devices to be deployed across the globe by 2020, the promise of a global Internet of Things is fast approaching, posing a whole new level of threats to connected organizations.

Misconception 1: Why would I care about the type of device that connects to the network? Someone has already approved it!

IoT devices seem to get all-access passes to corporate networks due to the assumption that they can bring no harm to your network.

FACT: What users fail to comprehend is that IoT devices are possibly the weakest point in the corporate network. When an IP connects to an internet forum that’s okay, but when that IP is an IP security camera, it probably means that, that IP security camera is compromised.

Misconception 2: Only IT teams connect IoT devices to the corporate network

The notion that ONLY IT teams connect IoT devices to the organizational network doesn’t reflect our reality.

FACT: In reality, there are many instances where an employee can connect their own device to the corporate network without it being cleared by IT. For instance, a doctor might bring a medical device to help him better diagnose his patients, he just plugs the device into the hospital network and uses it. Since IT never checked its security settings, the hospital network becomes susceptible to malicious activity, such as the theft of patients’ medical records.

Misconception 3: If it’s a hardware device – it’s secure!

On-prem appliances provide security teams with a false sense that they are safer than other software based solutions.

FACT: The truth of the matter is that once appliances leave the vendor, regular firmware patch updates are required. Appliances that have not been vigilantly updated with the latest firmware patch expose corporate networks to security risks.

Misconception 4: It’s ok to connect your point of sales (POS), PC and IP Security camera on the same network segment

What can potentially go wrong? It’s convenient and easy to define. There shouldn’t be any issues from a security stand point. Right? Wrong!

FACT: Since IoT devices are your weakest link, putting them on the same network segment as other devices, you not only put them at risk, you also make the hacker’s job much easier.

Misconception 5: If it’s up and running, it’s good to go!

Another common misconception is that if a device is working on default configuration, then that is enough. For example, setting up an IP camera on the network without first changing the default password.

FACT: This default configuration poses a significant threat by exposing the device to attacks from other unsecured devices. Failing to change the default settings on an IoT device can allow a hacker to remotely execute malicious code, spy on users, break devices, or recruit them into a DDoS botnet through a known backdoor. Most users do not bother to change factory default usernames and passwords, making the hackers’ lives much easier.

Building a Secure Foundation for IoT

While the trend of IoT devices may be a game changer in many respects, from a security perspective the game changes little. At its most basic level, security for the Internet of Things depends on our ability to see devices in the corporate network and control them.

Source: ISBuzznews

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Why the humble router remains one of the most insecure devices in your home

For all the time that we spend thinking about the security of our phones and laptops — about encryption, strong passwords and two-factor authentication — comparatively little attention is paid to the humble internet router.

The tiny box is probably one of the most important pieces of technology you have in your home. It’s the one device through which all of your other devices connect to the internet. But despite being responsible for such an important task, most routers remain hidden away, rarely monitored and even more rarely updated — if their software is updated at all.

It’s why, for intelligence agencies and criminals alike, routers — plentiful and often insecure — are ever-increasing targets for attack.

“Once you target a router, you don’t just get access to one computer,” says Eva Blum-Dumontet, research officer for London, U.K.-based Privacy International. “You get access to any computer” or device that connects to the internet through that router, too.

Documents released by WikiLeaks this week that detail the breadth of CIA hacking tools underscore just how valuable that access is — and, according to privacy and security experts, how easy it is to get.

Security expert Katie Moussouris called routers “one of the biggest, most lush attack surfaces that we have.”

“This is a very dramatic problem,” said Blum-Dumontet. While our phones and laptops have gotten more secure, she explained, “We’re connecting to the internet through routers which are just literally, absolutely, atrocious in terms of security.”

‘It’s really child’s play’

The WikiLeaks archive details numerous tools and techniques the CIA can use to spy on smartphones and computers. It even describes turning a Samsung Smart TV into a covert listening device.

But there are also many pages devoted to finding and exploiting the numerous security holes in networking devices — common models of home and office routers that connect phones, laptops and smart TVs to each other, and to the wider internet, too.

Source: CBC

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Despite its complexities, insurers and companies can get to grips with cyber risk, Swiss Re sigma says

Cyber threats are evolving rapidly due to the growing digital transformation of society, the widespread use of internet-enabled devices and processes, and the changing profile of hackers.

Recent high-profile cyber attacks demonstrate that the extent of associated possible losses is also broadening, increasingly comprising both physical and financial damage relating to data privacy breaches and to companies’ tangible and intangible assets, and also business interruption costs. As a result, the issue of cyber protection is rising up the corporate agenda, at both large and small companies.

Swiss Re Institute

Swiss Re’s latest sigma report ‘Cyber: getting to grips with a complex risk’, says businesses need to do much more to integrate cyber security into their risk management initiatives.

Highlights from the report include:

Recent high-profile cyber-attacks increasingly demonstrate that the costs of a cyber security breach extend beyond managing the fallout of lost or corrupted data. Firms must now factor in the potential damage to their reputation, physical and intellectual property, and also disruption to business operations. The increasing scope and magnitude of potential costs associated with cyber-incidents reflect the ever-evolving cyber risk landscape, which in turn is being shaped by three main dynamics:

  • The growing speed and scope of digital transformation;
  • The widening sources of vulnerability from hyper-connectivity, with the rapid spread of, for example, internet-enabled devices and cloud computing;
  • And the growing sophistication of hackers alert to the potential economic gains from successful cyber-attacks.

Despite increased awareness of the dangers, firms are generally ill-prepared to cope with cyber risks. Relatively few firms have integrated cyber security into their mainstream risk management. Regulation could be a catalyst for change with legislation coming into force in many jurisdictions requiring firms to build enhanced data protection safeguards. As a result, “firms – large and small – need to invest more in cyber security architecture to develop robust pre-and post-loss risk management capabilities,” says Swiss Re Chief Economist Kurt Karl.

Download report sigma 1/2017 – Cyber: getting to grips with a complex risk 

Source: institute.swissre.com


Amazon’s server outage highlights the major problem with today’s internet

When the world’s biggest websites go down, people start noticing who holds the plug.

For a few hours yesterday, Amazon’s Simple Storage Solution (S3) cloud service experienced what the company called “high error rates”. In practice, this meant two things. Firstly, many of the world’s biggest websites – such as Medium, Business Insider, Imgur, and Quora – went down, and secondly, quite a lot of people realised just how big Amazon is.

RELATED: How did an Amazon glitch leave people literally in the dark?

Far from just a website on which you buy your replacement toothbrush heads, Amazon has its fingers in many technological pies, from e-readers and smart speakers to Amazon Web Services (AWS) – the section of the company which rents cloud computing services. In practice, this means that 150,000 sites and services – including Netflix and Spotify – rely on Amazon to work.

This isn’t, in itself, a bad thing; it is much easier for smaller companies to use Amazon’s services than attempt to run their own, and the fact Amazon’s last major outage was in 2015 is actually quite impressive. But yesterday’s events do highlight one of the biggest problems about today’s internet, namely: eggs, basket, all in one.

In practice, this means that 150,000 sites and services – including Netflix and Spotify – rely on Amazon to work

Over the last few years, a handful of truly gigantic corporations (I don’t even have to name them for you to know who they are) have monopolised the internet. In exchange for convenience, we have handed our entire online lives over to a few giants, and blindly trusted them to behave themselves. We have allowed them to crush and absorb their competitors, and use their power to promote themselves above all others.

Earlier this week, Google’s sister company Jigsaw launched its online troll fighting AI, Perspective.

Over the last few months, it seems we have begun to open our eyes to the power of Alphabet, Google’s parent company. In January, Fark.com complained that Google Adsense turned off the site’s adverts – effectively cutting off its revenue – after, it alleged, Google mistakenly identified an image on Fark as a policy violation.

Source: New Statesman

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