Week in Review – IoT, Security, Autos

Smart factories; Amazon & Rivian; Datadog’s IPO.


Synopsys had a lot of announcements this week! Summer is definitely over. The company released BSIMM10 study, the latest version of the Building Security in Maturity Model, helping organizations plan, execute, mature, and measure their software security initiatives. It also released LucidShape version 2019.09, the latest version of that tool for the design, simulation, and analysis of automotive exterior lighting products. Infineon Technologies is collaborating with Synopsys to integrate Infineon’s next-generation AURIX microcontrollers with a high-performance artificial intelligence accelerator called the Parallel Processing Unit, using DesignWare ARC EV Processor intellectual property. The new DesignWare EV7x Vision Processors integrates vector digital signal processor, vector floating-point unit, and a neural network accelerator. Synopsys DesignWare ARC EM22FS, HS4xFS, and EV7xFS processors support ASIL B and ASIL D safety levels to simplify safety-critical automotive system-on-a-chip device development and accelerate ISO 26262 qualification. The company released version 2019.09 of its comprehensive Photonic Solutions portfolio, which includes the RSoft products for photonic device design, the OptSim and ModeSYS tools for photonic system design, and the OptSim Circuit and OptoDesigner tools for photonic integrated circuit design.

Cadence Design Systems introduced the Cadence Celsius Thermal Solver, a complete electrical-thermal co-simulation tool for the full hierarchy of electronic systems from ICs to physical enclosures. The product expands the company’s presence in the system analysis and design market.

Marvell Technology Group completed its $452 million acquisition of Aquantia, a move to help the company’s customers in automotive, data center, and enterprise applications. Aquantia’s chairman and CEO, Faraj Aalaei, is joining Marvell in a senior leadership position.

OmniVision Technologies reports combining its OX03A1Y image sensor with the Arm Mali-C71 image signal processor for a dual-mode automotive camera module.

Wing Aviation, an Alphabet unit, will collaborate with FedEx Express and Walgreens to begin deliveries by drones starting next month in Christiansburg, Va. FedEx customers in the designated delivery zones will need to opt in during the trial period, so drone deliveries can begin, under certain operating conditions. Walgreens will be able to provide over-the-counter medications and other items via drone delivery. In addition, Sugar Magnolia, a Southwest Virginia retailer, will offer drone deliveries of sweet and savory treats, gifts, stationery, and paper goods.

Internet of Things

Ericsson implemented a smart manufacturing project at its existing factory in Nanjing, China, which cost more than $51 million. The upgrade took 18 months. The Swedish company makes 5G and 4G radio products at the plant. The company separately announced that its U.S. fully automated smart factory will be located in Lewisville, Texas. The 300,000-square-foot facility will produce 5G and Advanced Antenna System radios. Commercial operations will commence in early 2020. Ericsson will invest about $100 million in the factory, which initially will employ approximately 100 people.

This analysis looks at how Internet of Things technology is being used in the oil and gas business.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities turned to IoT tech to keep its highways clear. The department equipped its vehicles with sensors and telemetry stations, then used Microsoft Azure IoT to analyze and clean the data, starting with the winter of 2015-16. The results: Fewer accidents and a 25% reduction in costs.

Avnet agreed to acquire Witekio (formerly known as Adeneo Embedded), a privately held French company with expertise in software and embedded systems for IoT applications. The transaction is expected to close by the end of this year; financial details weren’t disclosed.

New technologies are being brought to bear in precision agriculture applications. This analysis looks at how aerial imaging companies are using AI data analysis and high-resolution cameras to provide farmers with insights into efficient water use.

Alibaba Cloud is working with Semtech to provide an IoT-enabled location tracker using Semtech’s LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN protocol. The Beagle tracker is said to offer up to 2,000 meters of point-to-point location, indoors or outdoors, without resorting to GPS.

Israel-based NSLComm plans to launch its NSLSat-2 nanosatellite within six months, following the successful July launch of NSLSat-1. The nanosatellite network will provide asset monitoring from space in a variety of industries, including agriculture, oil, and shipping. TechCrunch reports the satellite startup has raised at least $16 million in private funding, with $12 million of that coming from venture capitalists.

SafeBreach Labs reports discovery of a vulnerability in Forcepoint’s VPN client software for Windows. Details are available here. Forcepoint quickly confirmed the flaw and within two weeks patched and disclosed the vulnerability.

The Travis Central Appraisal District in Austin, Texas, was hit with a ransomware cyberattack on September 11, shutting down the agency’s website for a week. Travis Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler says no data was breached in the attack, and the ransomware virus did not propagate to other systems. As often seen in similar attacks, the hackers demanded a payment in bitcoin to decrypt the affected software and systems. The district appraises the values of all property in Travis County, Texas.

F-Secure reports attacks on IoT devices and networking devices using the SMB, Telnet, and UPnP protocols are escalating. The purpose is to propagate banking Trojans and ransomware, it was said.

The iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro smartphones have a confirmed security vulnerability in the iOS 13 mobile operating system, this analysis notes. This flaw leaves the phones open to attackers seeking stored contact information. One mitigating factor in the seriousness of the vulnerability is that an attacker must have physical access to the phone.

This week in Huawei – the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams group suspended the membership of Huawei Technologies, The Wall Street Journal reports. The organization of companies, governments, and security experts was established in the 1990s to address and prevent hacking incidents. The embattled Chinese company on Thursday formally unveiled the Mate 30 smartphone, Huawei’s response to the iPhone 11 models. The Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro handsets are touted for their designs, especially with their cameras and displays. The phones lack the Android operating system and all of its related applications.

China’s CRRC Corporation, the world’s largest supplier of trains, spent $100 million on a new factory in Chicago. Congress is considering legislation to bar sales of its train cars in the U.S. on economic and national security grounds, a move supported by the White House. Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended adding $436 million to the Pentagon’s research and development budget for the “5G-XG” program, which is meant to provide cybersecurity and other safeguards for 5G cellular communications. The panel also proposed spending another $100 million on other cybersecurity efforts.

Dental practices in Oregon and Washington were unable to access their X-rays and other stored data in early July, this article notes. They all were clients of Portland-based PM Consultants, which was responsible for backing up data, setting up firewalls, and updating software. Later that month, the firm notified the dental clinics that it was shutting down, unable to help them with their IT woes. This was one recent episode in cyberattacks on managed service providers, which are on the rise. Businesses often turn to MSPs to reduce their IT costs. Hackers like to attack those providers, since they are linked to networks of small to medium-sized businesses. The July attack on 22 small Texas municipalities went through TSM Consulting Services, an MSP in Rockwall, Texas.

The Idaho National Laboratory is working on a wind energy grid security roadmap with the U.S. Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratories, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the wind-power industry.

Independent Security Evaluators first recognized the potential vulnerabilities of small office/home office wireless routers and network-attached storage devices back in 2013. The bad news is: Those remote-access vulnerabilities are increasing, not decreasing, and now they extend to IoT devices in addition to consumer and enterprise routers.

IBM Security is teaming with the City of Los Angeles and the LA Cyber Lab to help local businesses fight cybercrime. The LA Cyber Lab is making a threat information sharing platform and a mobile application for filtering suspicious emails available, free of charge.

Cyberattackers are masquerading as business executives to set up websites, then get security certificates for those sites, Charlie Osborne writes. Posing as a trustworthy party on the web, those sites can then be used to deliver malware payloads to unsuspecting website operators.

Ecuador’s massive data breach, which exposed the personal information of 20.8 million Ecuadorians, has led to the arrest of the general manager of Novaestrat, a local data analytics firm, which left an Elasticstretch server exposed online without a password. His home served as the office of Novaestrat, which was not authorized to have the personal data it held.

Senate Democrats are pressing for a vote on bills that would allocate $600 million for election security ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Those funds would be on top of $380 million allocated by earlier legislation. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced an amendment to an annual spending bill providing $250 million to the states for fortifying and upgrading their voting systems, a measure which the Senate Appropriations Committee quickly adopted.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is soliciting bids for a $95 million contract that will be spread among 15 vendors. The contract would support the Air Force’s LevelUP program with cloud-based dev-ops platforms.

Amazon ordered 100,000 delivery vehicles from Rivian Automotive; those vehicles will start making deliveries in 2021. Amazon invested $700 million in Rivian in February. Ford Motor followed that investment with a $500 million investment in the electric vehicle startup during April. Earlier this month, Cox Automotive made an equity investment of $350 million in Rivian, bringing its total private funding to about $1.8 billion, according to Crunchbase.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 5, which classifies ride-hailing drivers, delivery drivers, and other independent contractors as employees, entitled to a variety of benefits. As a result, the vaunted “gig economy” may have to go through significant changes to retain a workforce that can now easily find traditional jobs with benefits, including minimum-wage protection.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long ridiculed the use of LiDAR technology in self-driving vehicles. The difficulty in developing cost-efficient LiDAR sensors is holding back wider adoption of the technology, this analysis notes.

Quanergy Systems, a leading LiDAR developer, says its M8 LiDAR sensor was selected by Geodetics for use in the Geo-MMS LiDAR drone mapping product line.

Toyota Motor plans to spend $391 million on its San Antonio truck assembly plant, bringing its total investment in the factory to $3 billion. The project is part of the company’s $13 billion commitment to its facilities in the U.S. through 2021. The plant assembles full-size Tundra pickup trucks and mid-size Tacoma pickups. More than 7,200 workers are employed at the facility. Toyota also said it would fund an expansion of a factory in Sorocaba, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, a project costing $243.3 million. The plant makes Etios and Yaris sedans. Meanwhile, Navistar International said it would spend more than $250 million to construct and equip a new factory in the area of San Antonio, Texas. The plant will make Class 6-8 vehicles. About 600 jobs will be created with the factory. The company is also spending $125 million on its engine plant in Huntsville, Alabama.

Uber Technologies will begin testing its self-driving cars in Dallas starting in November. The company will confine the testing area to downtown Dallas. Human operators will be in each vehicle, which will be used in collecting mapping data and capturing driving scenarios for Uber engineers to reproduce in simulation. No passengers, paying or otherwise, will ride in the vehicles.

Ola Electric Mobility is working on providing electric-powered vehicles for people in India. The company has received a total of $550 million in private funding from Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, and SoftBank.

Daimler Trucks & Buses signed a battery cell module supply agreement for electric trucks with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL).

At the recent Frankfurt Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled an electric scooter, which will be branded within the company’s EQ electric vehicle product line. The e-scooter will come out in early 2020.

Qualcomm is taking full ownership of RF360 Holdings Singapore, a joint venture with TDK. The chip design company originally created the JV with EPCOS, which was acquired by TDK. RF360 developed radio-frequency front-end technology. Qualcomm is paying about $3.1 billion to take over RF360, which worked with Qualcomm Technologies to produce RFFE filters.

Nissan Motor seeks to sell Nissan Trading, a related distributor of vehicle parts, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The sale may yield $1 billion for the troubled automotive manufacturer, which is looking for a new CEO.

GitHub, a Microsoft subsidiary, acquired Semmle, a San Francisco-based code analysis service that had raised more than $30 million in private funding from investors that included Accel and Work-Bench. Financial terms weren’t revealed.

Datadog raised $648 million in its initial public offering, selling 24 million shares at $27 a share. The DDOG stock trades on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. The stock finished its first day of trading on Nasdaq at $37.55 a share, up $10.55 and 39.07% for the day. The New York-based provider of cloud application monitoring services gradually increased its IPO terms from $19 to $22 a share and then to $24 to $26 a share, before finally going out at $27. Cisco Systems reportedly offered more than $7 billion to acquire Datadog before the IPO, per Bloomberg.

Ping Identity raised $187.5 million in its IPO, selling 12.5 million shares at $15 a share. The PING stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock also enjoyed a first-day boost on the Big Board, finishing the day at $20.11 a share, up $5.11 and 34.07% for the day. The cybersecurity firm granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 1,875,000 additional shares.

Vivint Smart Home of Provo, Utah, will go public through a reverse merger with SoftBank-backed Mosaic Acquisition, which trades on the NYSE as MOSC. Vivint Smart Home is a home automation company owned by The Blackstone Group.

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