Week in Review: IoT, Security, Auto

Security issues; Marvell debuts; startup funding.


Jens (Atom) Steube, a cybersecurity researcher and creator of the Hashcat password cracking tool, was probing for vulnerabilities in the new WPA3 security standard for Wi-Fi routers. WPA3 presents a robust defense against hacking, yet Steube discovered a security flaw in routers using WPA/WPA2 – one that leaves Wi-Fi passwords enabled with Pairwise Master Key Identifiers vulnerable to cracking. The clientless attack takes place on the Robust Security Network Element with the Extensible Authentication Protocol over LAN.

Juniper Research forecasts more than 33 billion records will be stolen by cybercriminals in 2023, a 175% increase from the 12 billion records that will be compromised this year. It estimates more than 146 billion records will be stolen in the next five years. The firm has a free white paper on the topic available here, while its new research, “The Future of Cybercrime & Security: Threat Analysis, Impact Assessment & Leading Vendors 2018-2023,” can be found here.

The acquisition of Duo Security for $2.35 billion by Cisco Systems points to a larger trend – how providers of cloud-based services and cybersecurity companies are trying to broaden their defenses for customers, this analysis notes. Cisco has spent more than $3.6 billion over the past five years on acquisitions of cybersecurity startups, with the proposed Duo deal bringing that total to nearly $6 billion.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing reported its wafer fabrication facilities were affected last weekend by a computer virus, a WannaCry variant, that got into the company’s computer network and spread to production equipment in the fabs. The disruption caused delays in making chips that could cost the foundry up to $171 million in lost revenue. Apple is reportedly a significant customer for TSMC, getting its custom application processors made by TSMC.

Parisa Tabriza, Google’s director of engineering, urged attendees at the Black Hat USA conference in Las Vegas to take new approaches in protecting sensitive data. “We have to stop playing whack-a-mole and we have to be more ambitious, strategic, and collaborative in our approach to defense,” she said in a keynote address. “Computer security is increasingly the security of the world and we have to do more to solve problems. It’s up to us.”

Marvell Technology Group had several announcements at this week’s Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, Calif. The company introduced the 88SN2400 NVMe over Fabric solid-state driver converter controller for applications in cloud services and enterprise data centers. It rolled out reference designs for enterprise data center SSD form factor implementations. The company also demonstrated artificial intelligence capabilities enabled by incorporating Nvidia’s Deep Learning Accelerator technology in its data center and client SSD controllers.

Achronix Semiconductor partnered with Mentor, a Siemens Business, to provide an optimized high-level synthesis flow for a field-programmable gate array integrated development environment. Mentor’s Catapult HLS is paired with Achronix’s ACE design tools.

Automotive Tech
China’s Manbang Group, a truck-hailing service, wants to raise new funding of $1 billion from private investors, The Wall Street Journal reports. That new money would bring the company’s valuation to $10 billion. Manbang in April raised $1.9 billion from the SoftBank Vision Fund, the China Reform Fund, CapitalG (Alphabet’s investment arm), and Sequoia Capital China, among others.

Didi Chuxing plans to invest $1 billion in its automobile services business, which is renamed Xiaoju Automobile Solutions, providing services to registered Didi drivers.

General Motors is initiating a bug bounty program, working with cybersecurity professionals to identify software flaws in its vehicles. After an orientation period at GM headquarters, the “white hat” hackers will return home with GM-provided computer hardware to continue their efforts.

Germany’s Schaeffler Group agreed to form a joint venture with Roland Arnold and Paravan GmbH to develop further Paravan’s SPACE DRIVE drive-by-wire technology. Schaeffler Paravan Technologie, the JV, will also work on development and sales of mobility systems.

France’s BlaBlaCar, a ride-hailing service, acquired the BeepCar carpooling platform from Mail.ru; financial terms were not revealed.

San Francisco-based Ample, a startup working on providing energy for electric vehicles, raised $31 million in Series A funding led by Shell Ventures. Also investing in Ample were Moore Strategic Ventures, Repsol Energy Ventures, Hemi Ventures, and TRIREC.

Cisco Investments invested $30 million in Dremio, a data-as-a-service platform startup in Mountain View, Calif. The new investment brings the company’s total private funding to $45 million. Dremio was established in 2015 and counts Lightspeed Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, and Redpoint Partners among its other investors.

RiskRecon of Salt Lake City, which provides a third-party cyber risk management service, received $25 million in Series B funding led by Accel. Existing investors Dell Technologies Capital, General Catalyst, and F-Prime Capital (the venture capital affiliate of Fidelity Investments) also participated in the new round, which brings the startup’s total funding to more than $40 million. RiskRecon was founded in 2015.

Agoura Hills, Calif.-based InVia Robotics raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Point72 Ventures, which was joined by Upfront Ventures and Embark Ventures. InVia develops automated robotics for fulfillment centers.

Phoenix Contact Innovation Ventures led funding of C$22 million (about $16.9 million) for iS5 Communications, a supplier of industrial cybersecurity platforms. ClearSky and other investors also participated. Mississauga, Ontario, is where iS5Com makes its headquarters.

India’s Metro Bikes, a motorbike-on-demand service, received $12.2 million in funding led by Accel and Sequoia India. Metro Bikes, founded as Wicked Rides in 2014, is rebranding itself as Bounce.

RiskSense of Sunnyvale, Calif., raised $12 million in Series B funding led by Spring Mountain Capital and NightDragon Security. Also investing in the new round were UL Ventures, Paladin Capital Group, Sun Mountain Capital, EPIC Ventures, and Jump Capital. RiskSense provides pro-active cyber risk management through a software-as-a-service platform.

HYAS, a Canadian cybersecurity startup, received $6.2 million in Series A funding led by M12 Ventures, Microsoft’s venture capital fund. Startup Capital Ventures, 205 Capital, and individual investors also provided funding. HYAS, based in Victoria, British Columbia, provides attribution intelligence tools to identify threats and cybercriminals.

MOV.ai of Lisbon, Portugal, raised $3 million in seed funding led by Viola Ventures, with participation by NFX. The startup is developing an industrial-grade operating system for autonomous intelligent collaborative robots.

Artificial intelligence technology is being used to automate work now done by humans, this analysis notes. The nascent field of robotic automation (also known as robotic process automation) is led by startups like Automation Anywhere, and it is gaining entries from IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle.

The seventh annual TDK Developers Conference is scheduled for September 17-18 at the Santa Clara Marriott Hotel in Silicon Valley.

Market Research
ON World estimates that 500 million Zigbee chipsets have been sold for Internet of Things applications and forecasts sales of 802.15.4 mesh chipsets will hit 4.5 billion units by 2023. The Zigbee Alliance says its technologies will account for 3.8 billion, or nearly 85%, of those 4.5 billion chipsets.

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