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Week in Review: IoT, Security, Auto

Microsoft tools; Huawei’s results; safety consortium.

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Internet of Things
Microsoft has new services and capabilities for Azure-connected Internet of Things devices. There’s a new IoT security tool called Azure Security Center for IoT, which ties in with other tools within Azure IoT Hub. Azure Security Center for IoT uses Azure Security Center, Microsoft’s threat intelligence offering. The new IoT security tool also hooks into Azure Sentinel, Microsoft’s new cloud-native security information and event management tool.

KPMG and the Global Semiconductor Alliance surveyed 149 semiconductor industry leaders on technology trends. About two-thirds of the respondents said IoT (smart appliances, smart cities, wearable gadgets) is the most important application driving microchip revenue during this year. International Data Corp. forecasts global technology spending on IoT to increase from $745 billion in 2019 to $1.2 trillion by 2022. More data can be found here.

Japan Display will begin shipping organic light-emitting diode screens for the Apple Watch later this year, Reuters reports, citing two sources. Japan Display declined to comment on the report. Samsung Display exclusively supplies OLED panels going into iPhones. LG Display provides a majority of panels for Apple Watch.

Products/Services
Arteris IP licensed its FlexNoC Interconnect intellectual property to Horizon Robotics of China for use in multiple advanced driver-assistance system chips.

Elastic debuted version 1.0 of the Elastic Common Schema, an open-source specification developed with the support of the Elastic user community, providing a consistent and customizable way for users to store their event data in Elasticsearch. ECS is said to facilitate the unified analysis of data from diverse sources.

Cybersecurity
This week in Huawei – the Chinese company reported 2018 revenue of more than $105 billion, up almost 20% from 2017, and profit of more than $8 billion, a 25% gain. The privately held company has released audited financial results as a gesture toward openness. For all of the Trump administration’s efforts to deny business to Huawei, they don’t seem to have put a dent in the company’s sales and net income. Guo Ping, Huawei’s deputy chairman, says, “We will do everything we can to shake off outside distractions, improve management, and make progress toward our strategic goals.” He adds that the United States has created “a certain amount of trouble” for Huawei. With global competition for 5G wireless networks limited to Ericsson and Nokia, Huawei is poised to capture significant market share in 5G infrastructure. “Commercial power almost directly translates to standard-setting power … and if you dominate the standards, you dominate the products. Your early developments will be faster and work better than others,” says Henning Schulzrinne, a computer science professor at Columbia University. “This is a fundamental strategic competition for who builds the platform for the next round of the Internet. That is just as important — if not more — than who builds the state-of-the-art harbors, railways and highways over the next 20 years,” notes Janice Stein, a political science professor at the University of Toronto.

Carbon Black issued a new Global Incident Threat Response Report, its third in less than a year. Incident response professionals say there are more instances of “island hopping,” counter incident response, and lateral movement within a network, all part of a cybercrime wave that’s continuing to evolve. You may download the report here.

In 2016, the Australian census experienced interference from foreign attackers, leading the Australian Bureau of Statistics to take its census website offline and causing damage the bureau estimated at A$30 million (about $21.2 million). That episode is creating concern for the integrity of the 2020 census in the United States. The Government Accountability Office has warned that the current 2020 census schedule “lacks a risk assessment” and that almost half of the positions in the office overseeing the $866 million contract for integrating the IT systems needed to conduct the 2020 census remain vacant, Tim Maurer writes in this opinion piece. Maurer is an author and cybersecurity expert who is a director of the Cyber Policy Initiative at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The Gustuff malware is aiming at people who do their banking on Android devices, using phishing to steal credentials and automating bank transactions for more than 100 banks and 32 virtual currency applications, the Group-IB security firm reports. The malware is targeting leading international banks, such as Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, and Wells Fargo. It also is capable of stealing from Bitcoin Wallet, Coinbase, and other cryptocurrency apps.

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s censorship agency, ordered 10 providers of VPN services in the country to link their servers in Russia to its network, with the goal of keeping people from accessing banned websites. They must comply by April 26. Five of the 10 companies say they will tear down their servers in Russia while continuing to provide their Russian VPN customers if those users can reach their servers located outside Russia. Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab will comply with the agency’s directive.

Automotive/Mobility
General Motors, Ford Motor, Toyota Motor, and SAE International are the founding members of the Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium, which will address training recommendations for AV safety drivers, communicating with pedestrians, and how first responders should interact with autonomous vehicles. The initiative is expected to lead to formal standards and rules for AVs in the U.S. “It’s a new industry and obviously there are a lot of new entrants,” says Edward Straub, executive director of the consortium.

Daimler Trucks acquired a majority stake in Torc Robotics, a developer of self-driving vehicle technology. Financial terms weren’t revealed. The Blacksburg, Va.-based company was established in 2005. Since 2017, Torc shifted its emphasis to self-driving car tech, and it recently partnered with Transdev to develop a fully autonomous shuttle platform, using Torc’s Level 4 self-driving software.

Volkswagen picked Siemens to help with its project connecting all of VW’s 122 plants to Amazon Web Services. The carmaker is a customer for the Siemens MindSphere IoT platform.

FiveAI began testing of autonomous vehicles in the London boroughs of Bromley and Croydon. Five vehicles will be on the streets of those communities, testing day and night, with safety drivers in the vehicles at all times.

Few companies are looking forward to the era of autonomous vehicles more than Lyft and Uber Technologies. Those ride-hailing and ride-sharing providers can reduce their costs by eliminating the need for drivers, this weekly wrap-up notes. Waymo is currently testing an autonomous ride-hailing service in Phoenix with paying members of the public. Not all of those customers are satisfied with that service, saying there were wrong turns and near-crashes on some occasions, The Information reports.

Apple hired Michael Schwekutsch, a former Tesla executive, to serve as its senior vice president of engineering within the company’s Special Projects Group, which has been developing self-driving vehicle technology for several years. At Tesla, Schwekutsch was in charge of drivetrain components. He helped to design the forthcoming Roadster supercar and Tesla’s autonomous semi-truck.

Renault’s board met Wednesday to discuss its internal investigation into actions by Carlos Ghosn, the company’s chairman and CEO until earlier this year. The automaker later said it had flagged issues with the executive’s expenses and notified judicial authorities in France of those findings. Renault will also withhold Ghosn’s pension. Meanwhile, Ghosn activated a verified Twitter account and announced that he would hold a press conference on Thursday, April 11. Then came news that Ghosn was arrested for a fourth time at his Tokyo residence, potentially cancelling his press conference, unless he is granted bail once again.

Aurora CEO Chris Urmson said his company would be willing to work with BMW and Daimler on self-driving technology. “We are open to working with everybody,” he told Reuters at the Auto Motor und Sport conference in Stuttgart, Germany.

Paris will fine anyone riding an electric scooter on a sidewalk €135 (nearly $152). Blocking the sidewalk with parked e-scooters will get a fine of €35 (about $39). The City of Light will also designate parking spots for scooters and levy an annual fee for operators of on-demand scooters.

A decade ago, the federal government bailed out Chrysler and General Motors, forcing both companies into Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, which were fast-tracked through the courts. Ford didn’t need any financial aid at the time, although Ford is struggling now, writes Steven Rattner, who led the White House Auto Task Force during the early years of the Obama administration. Chrysler (now part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and GM prospered after completing their restructurings. The worldwide auto industry is going through a slowdown in consumer demand this year, so FCA, Ford, GM, and other carmakers are cutting costs to survive the sales slump.

M&A
ZF Friedrichshafen agreed to acquire WABCO Holdings of Brussels, Belgium, for an equity value of more than $7 billion, paying $136.50 in cash for each WBC share. WABCO has its origins in the Westinghouse Air Brake Company, an American company founded in 1869. It provides commercial vehicle safety technology and capabilities for vehicle dynamic control and active air suspension systems. WABCO’s product line will complement ZF’s chassis and driveline technologies. The merger is expected to close by the beginning of 2020.

Renesas Electronics completed its $6.7 billion acquisition of Integrated Device Technology, with IDT becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese chipmaker. Upon the closing, Sailesh Chittipeddi joined the Renesas management as an executive vice president and will serve as IDT’s president and CEO. The combined portfolio of products covers applications in advanced automotive electronics, industrial systems, and infrastructure.

Thales, the French military/aerospace electronics group, completed its €4.8 billion (almost $5.4 billion) acquisition of Gemalto. “Together, we are creating a giant in digital identity and security with the capabilities to compete in the big leagues worldwide,” Thales Chairman and CEO Patrice Caine said in a statement.

Lear Corporation plans to purchase Xevo Inc. of Bellevue, Wash., a developer of automotive software, for $320 million; the transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of this year. Founded in 2000 as UIEvolution, Xevo offers connected-car technology now installed in more than 25 million vehicles, primarily in the U.S. The company provides its Journeyware products and the Xevo Market platform. Lear Innovation Ventures last month invested in an Israel-based venture capital fund managed by Maniv Mobility. In 2017, Lear acquired EXO Technologies, an Israeli developer of high-accuracy vehicle positioning technology.

Atlassian completed its $166 million acquisition of AgileCraft, a provider of enterprise agile planning software, based in Georgetown, Texas.

Progress Software agreed to acquire privately held Ipswitch for $225 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close in late April. Founded in 1991, Ipswitch provides data file transfer and network management. Progress is a supplier of application development software.

MSA Safety plans to purchase Sierra Monitor, a provider of Industrial IoT offerings to connect and protect high-value infrastructure assets. MSA will pay $3.25 in cash for each share of SMC common stock. The definitive merger agreement calls for Sierra Monitor to become an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of MSA Safety.

Pure Storage bought Compuverde, a Swedish specialist in data-storage software meant for file storage in hybrid cloud deployments. The transaction is expected to close this month; financial terms weren’t revealed.

Finance
Tufin Software Technologies of Israel set initial public offering terms of 7.7 million shares priced at $12 to $14 a share. The provider of network security policy management software will trade its shares as TUFN on the New York Stock Exchange. J.P. Morgan is the lead underwriter. The company raised about $26 million in venture-capital funding. It reports a $4 million net loss on revenue of $85 million in 2018.

San Francisco-based PagerDuty, which operates an incident resolution platform, set its IPO terms at 9.07 million shares priced at $19 to $21 per share. It plans to trade as PD on the NYSE. Morgan Stanley is the lead underwriter. The company raised more than $170 million from private investors. Andreesen Horowitz owns 18.4% of PagerDuty prior to the IPO. Other leading shareholders include Accel (12.3%) and Bessemer Venture Partners (12.2%). PagerDuty had a net loss of $41 million on revenue of $118 million last year.

Connectivity
China and the United States are virtually tied in deploying 5G cellular communications technology, followed by South Korea, Japan, and the United Kingdom, according to CTIA, the wireless industry association. For the U.S., CTIA says there are two key unresolved issues in the 5G rollout: mid-band spectrum and a national strategy.

Legislation
Senior U.S. senators have introduced the Secure 5G and Beyond Act, requiring the Trump administration to maximize the security of domestic network infrastructure and the networks of foreign allies. Senators John Cornyn, Richard Burr, and Mark Warner proposed the bill, with co-sponsors Susan Collins, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, and Michael Bennet.

Deals
Trend Micro is partnering with Luxoft Holding to develop an intrusion detection system and an intrusion prevention system, meant to provide cybersecurity for connected cars.


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