Week in Review: IoT, Security, Auto

IoT trends; TheMoon botnet; Tesla buys Maxwell.


Internet of Things

McKinsey & Company identified 10 top trends in the Internet of Things. They include: IoT is a business opportunity, not just a tech opportunity; disciplined execution across multiple use cases is the path to value; and IoT is gradually enabling more subscription business models, but consumers are resistant.

Louis Columbus of IQMS provides some IoT data points and identifies what he believes are the top 25 IoT startups out there. Venture Scanner says IoT startup funding was $16.7 billion during the fourth quarter of 2018, with all of 2018’s funding for IoT startups increasing by 94% compared with 2017. Among the leading IoT startups in 2019 are Armis Security, Crate.io, Dragos, Drayson Technologies, and Element Analytics, he writes.

CenturyLink Threat Research Labs has been keeping an eye on an IoT botnet known as TheMoon, which has been around for five years. It is said to be a modular botnet that goes after routers in broadband networks, probing for vulnerabilities. “The danger posed by TheMoon stems from its ability to distribute malicious modules of differing functionality after initial infection,” the CenturyLink unit says. “We have reason to believe the botnet actor has sold this proxy botnet as a service to other malicious actors and has used it for credential brute forcing, video advertisement fraud, general traffic obfuscation and more.”

A significant database of customer information run by Rubrik was exposed last week due to a server security lapse, TechCrunch reports. The database was running on a hosted Amazon Elasticsearch server which didn’t have password protection. The data management company quickly fixed the lapse after being notified, stating that no customer-owned data was exposed. Last year, a Swiss data management competitor of Rubrik, Veeam, left a database of more than 200 gigabytes with nearly 444 million email addresses open to exposure. Both companies are large in size and well-funded; Veeam last month raised $500 million from Insight Venture Partners and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, while Rubrik received $261 million in Series E funding from Bain Capital Partners, IVP, and other investors.

Denmark expelled two employees of Huawei Technologies in Copenhagen for failing to comply with residence and work permit laws, while two other Huawei staffers were cited for such violations. Meanwhile, Huawei was accused of stealing trade secrets from Akhan Semiconductor, a developer of diamond-based materials, which allowed the Chinese company to examine and test Akhan’s Miraj Diamond technology for use in smartphone displays. Akhan claims its technology is more durable than Corning’s Gorilla Glass, which is used in iPhones and other smartphone models. Based in Gurnee, Ill., Akhan provided a prototype of its technology to a San Diego laboratory owned by Huawei. When the prototype was returned to Akhan, it was damaged. The FBI later raided the lab to collect evidence.

MedCrypt founder and CEO Mike Kijewski talks about securing medical devices in this article. Experian forecasts health-care cybersecurity spending will reach $65 billion by 2021.

Ivy Walker of AskCoda and Helios Digital Learning writes about how small businesses are a favorite target of cybercriminals. Verizon last year estimated that 58% of cyberattack victims were small businesses. The biggest threat to small businesses is often the actions of insiders, whether advertent or inadvertent, she writes. “Make cybersecurity planning as important as other aspects of your business planning process. Failing to do so could mean that your business may one day face an existential threat that could have been prevented,” Walker adds.

Network penetration tests are generally considered to be a good practice for maintaining network security. The issue is that cybersecurity firms conduct such tests in different ways, often producing varying results. There is no national penetration test execution standard, Mark Dargin writes. The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s SP 800-115, Technical Guide to Information Security Testing and Assessment, provides only general guidelines for performing penetration tests, he notes.

Tesla has agreed to acquire Maxwell Technologies, a developer of battery and energy storage technology, for $218 million in stock. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019. Maxwell is a supplier to General Motors and Lamborghini, among other customers. It has been developing a dry electrode technology for electric vehicle batteries. The company also is a vendor of ultracapacitors. “Tesla needs Maxwell’s solvent-free battery electrode manufacturing for a viable path to lower battery costs,” said Craig Irwin of Roth Capital Partners. “Real competitors are coming now, so Tesla needs to move fast.”

Nissan Motor won’t manufacture its new X-Trail SUV in Britain, citing uncertainty over Britain’s forthcoming exit from the European Union. The company will produce the vehicle in Japan.

STMicroelectronics collaborated with Hyundai Autron to open the Autron-ST Development Lab in Seoul, Korea. “The joint development lab with Hyundai Autron builds on the success of our initial collaboration on automotive electronic control systems and advances our vision for the near future of Smart Driving,” Jerome Roux, Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Asia Pacific, STMicroelectronics, said in a statement. “We are excited to continue our strong collaboration with Hyundai Autron supporting the achievement of their goals using ST’s extensive semiconductor technology and expertise for automotive applications.”

TomTom and Microsoft are expanding their partnership, with the Dutch company selecting Microsoft Azure as its preferred provider of cloud-based services. TomTom will provide location data for Bing Maps and Microsoft Azure.

Consumer Reports says 1,545 people have been injured using electric scooters since late 2017 in 47 cities where Bird or Lime operate, with the data coming from 110 hospitals and five public agencies. UCLA reports 249 people came to two emergency departments in Los Angeles from Sept. 1, 2017, to Aug. 31, 2018, with injuries incurred on e-scooters. One-third of that total arrived by ambulance. While the e-scooter operators generally provide helmets for their customers, many people don’t use them. One week ago, a 21-year-old man using a Lime scooter on a freeway service road in Austin, Texas, was hit by an Uber driver and died the next day. The young man was going the wrong way on Interstate 35’s southbound service road.

This survey of the LiDAR field provides extensive detail on the technology and the vendors behind it.

Germany proposed to set a speed limit on the autobahn to lower high carbon emissions in the country. Ach, du Lieber! Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer quickly quashed the idea.

NationalChip successfully turned out satellite and terrestrial digital television set-top box system-on-a-chip devices using the Arteris FlexNoC interconnect IP. “Arteris IP’s technology has allowed us to create high-value security features and reduce power consumption, which both add significant value to our STB products,” says Feng Ye, NationalChip’s chief technology officer.

Mentor, a Siemens Business, says Graphcore of Bristol, U.K, met its test requirements and achieved rapid test bring-up on its Colossus Intelligence Processing Unit using Mentor’s Tessent product line. The AI chip developer’s Colossus integrates 23.6 billion transistors and more than 1,000 IPU cores.

Synopsys and SAE International this week issued a report, Securing the Modern Vehicle: A Study of Automotive Industry Cybersecurity Practices. Synopsys and SAE commissioned the Ponemon Institute to author the report, which includes a survey of nearly 600 professionals from automotive manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers. Separately, Synopsys says FABU Technology decided to develop high-performance AI SoCs for advanced automotive applications with a portfolio of Synopsys software and intellectual property. FABU selected Synopsys DesignWare Interface, Security, ARC EM Safety Island Processor, and Embedded Memory Test and Repair IP.

Sierra Wireless reports that Unimar, a supplier of tower and obstruction lighting products, selected the company’s AirLink RV50 industrial gateways and SIMs, along with the AirVantage IoT Platform, to connect and manage critical lighting and control systems along flight paths.

Extreme Networks introduced Defender for IoT, meant to help enterprises secure unsecured IoT devices. Defender for IoT can be deployed on any network, the company says, and it is part of its Smart OmniEdge offering.

Seattle-based Convoy says its logistics marketplace is now automated to match 100% of loads to trucks across many of its main markets. Last September, Convoy raised $185 million in Series C funding led by CapitalG, bringing its total private funding to more than $265 million.

Fortinet debuted its high-performance FortiGate Next-Generation Firewalls – the FortiGate 3600E, FortiGate 3400E, FortiGate 600E and FortiGate 400E Series, adding intent-based segmentation to security architectures.

Carbonite agreed to acquire Webroot for about $618.5 million in cash. The companies expect to close the transaction during the first quarter of this year. The deal marries Carbonite’s appliance-driven and cloud-based backup and disaster recovery business with Webroot’s cybersecurity business for managed service providers and small to medium-size businesses.

Microsoft acquired DataSense, a data management platform for the education market. The seller was BrightBytes, an educational technology firm. DataSense will be integrated into Microsoft Azure. Financial terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed.

MWC19 Barcelona (formerly known as Mobile World Congress) takes place during the week of February 25th in Barcelona, Spain. Arm will be exhibiting at its booth in Hall 6, Stand E30. Arm CEO Simon Segars will give a keynote address on Wednesday, February 27th, at 9:30 a.m. in Hall 4, Auditorium 1. He will be accompanied by four children, ages 10-14, to provide insights into a generation that has grown up with smartphones, social media, and tablet computers. Flex Logix Technologies will be at MWC19, setting up in the GlobalFoundries booth.

ClioSoft will participate in CDNLIVE, the Cadence user conference, the first of which is scheduled for April 2-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Silicon Valley.

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