Internet of Things news of the week August 4, 2017
Here’s a summary of news you can use this week about the Internet of Things. Get this summary in your inbox every Friday morning when you subscribe to Stacey’s newsletter.
Don’t forget the physics in cyber physical security: A presentation from a Honeywell security researcher showed off an area that many forget when thinking about securing industrial and enterprise connected devices. Many things can be hacked by analog elements as well. The Honeywell researcher showed how a hacker could compromise one section of a plant to create a stream of bubbles that would gradually damage a valve in another section of the plant. Another example would be the researchers who discovered a way to spoof accelerometers by using sound vibrations. Thinking like a hacker is going to be an essential skill when connecting the world. (Wired)
Want to hack the electric grid? The U.S. government and utilities are worried that you might. Last week the U.S. Department of Energy released a report that details a way to prevent large-scale outages. The major concern is building resiliency into the grid so natural disasters can’t take it out for days at a time, but it notes that hackers pose a growing and serious threat as well. For those dealing with electricity-related IoT or industrial IoT startups, the report provides an excellent overview of how today’s grid works and the opportunities for improvement. (National Academies of Science and Engineering)
Meet a startup aiming to stack IoT chips: There’s a lot of chip language in here, but this profile of zGlue tries to explain how it created a way to package a series of chip components in a stack of between 4 and 30 chips high. The result is smaller and more efficient chips for the internet of things. Such stacked chips are a way to move more info around the chip faster and are generally more expensive, which is why the technology is reserved for things like high-performance processing. (EETimes)
Glenn Lurie is leaving AT&T: Glenn Lurie, the head of AT&T’s Mobility practice and one of the executives who was trying to get connected device startups to use AT&T’s network, has stepped down. Thanks to Lurie’s efforts to get AT&T services inside cars like the Tesla and Honda, the carrier was the first in the U.S. to get more than $ 1 billion in revenue from IoT devices. (Wireless Week)
Step aside Fitbit, Xiaomi is big in wearables: Chinese tech company Xiaomi has rebounded in smart phones and apparently in wearables. A Strategy Analytics report out this week discovered that it beat FitBit and Apple during the second quarter with 3.7 million wearables sold. FitBit and Apple sold 3.4 million and 2.8 million respectively. Worth noting is that everyone except FitBit saw the number of devices they sold increase. FitBit saw a precipitous decline from 5.7 million devices sold in the second quarter of last year to the 3.4 million reported in 2017. (Strategy Analytics)
Samsung’s ARTIK just got more interesting: Samsung’s been pitching its ARTIK cloud as a connection layer for any type of IoT device or service for a little over a year. It has quietly added a huge variety of connections and targeted developers in the enterprise who want to easily link services as opposed to building a device and finding a cloud that can handle the data flows, provisioning etc. This week Samsung added the ability to exchange money between services on its ARTIK cloud, which is a pretty big deal. Instead of trying to beat AWS or Microsoft Azure at providing the compute infrastructure, Samsung’s ARTIK is trying to build a commerce layer between all of the different possible players. Both SAP and Salesforce have been trying to do this. (The Stack)
Intel killed its Quark chips too: A few weeks back we covered Intel’s decision to get out of making the Curie modules and boards for makers, but Intel didn’t answer when I had asked it about the Quark chip. The Quark chip was a lower power chip designed for wearables and IoT, and now it is dead. Intel’s IoT hopes seem more dependent on data analytics and selling boxes to cloud providers. (EETimes)
Flash memory exploit renders a lot of devices vulnerable: The annual Defcon and Black Hat security conferences are a time of much heartburn if you love the internet of things. Normally the hacks I read about are because people didn’t change their Wi-Fi or camera password. But in late July we get the serious exploits, like this one that uses a flash memory reader wired to a memory chip on a device. The hackers were able to get the data on that device and then they could reprogram the device, but they could also pull all the code off the memory chip to look for other vulnerabilities. (Wired)
Hacking with software defined radios: If you want to get geeky and create the equivalent of a modern-day bug check out Caleb Madrigal’s Defcon presentation on using software-defined radios to listen in to find out what devices are in a room and to use radio signals to confuse them. The results range from being able to identify people in a room to attacking connected devices. Exciting! (Defcon)
I liked everything about this robot: Seriously, scientists built a robotic eel that contains a variety of sensors to detect water pollution. The sensors are snapped onto the robot and it’s free to go find the source of pollution or merely sample the water. (Adafruit)
Connected homes get less connected: Home builder Lennar has decided that it’s not going to install low-voltage wiring or put CAT5 or CAT6 cabling in the walls of its homes anymore because wireless tech can replace a lot of the wiring. This is causing a lot of debate in the installer market, as professional installers see their role cut down by DIYers or better-designed products that take the hassle out of creating a home network. (CEPro)
I was interviewed about IoT in Design News.