Altair and Geotab team up to develop LTE-enabled automotive telematics devices

Altair and Geotab team up to develop LTE-enabled automotive telematics devices

Altair’s IoT Chipset to Provide Low Power, Cost-Optimized LTE Connectivity for Vehicle Tracking over the AT&T Network.

Altair Semiconductor today announced that it is teaming up with Geotab to power the next generation of GPS vehicle tracking devices operating on AT&T’s 4G LTE network.

Designed to meet the needs of telematics applications, Altair’s CAT-1 chipset, will usher in the new era of Geotab’s LTE-connected products. Customers can look forward to the advanced connectivity and longevity provided by LTE-enabled telematics.

Neil Cawse, CEO for Geotab, said:

“Low data rate LTE technology is perfectly suited for our telematics applications. Altair’s chipset addresses the low power consumption requirement while providing a highly cost effective yet future proof solution for our telematics products that are designed to last 7-10 years, or in some cases the entire vehicle lifecycle.”

“We are excited to collaborate with both Altair and AT&T to provide our customers with efficient LTE-capable telematics solutions.”

Geotab’s end-to-end telematics solutions provide fast GPS acquisition time and highly accurate engine diagnostics. Key features include high quality recording capabilities, in-vehicle driver coaching, and accident detection and notification.

“Altair’s CAT-1 chipset is ideal for providing low-cost and power-efficient connectivity for a range of IoT applications,” said Cameron Coursey, Vice President of Product Development, AT&T Internet of Things Solutions. “Our collaboration with Altair and Geotab will provide the market with a superior long-term solution for vehicle telematics.”

Designed specifically for IoT and M2M applications, Altair’s chipset employs advanced idle and sleep mode power management. It offers a combination of low cost, reduced power and small size that is unmatched in the market.

“We are pleased to expand our work with AT&T and to have been chosen by Geotab to power its LTE-enabled devices,” said Eran Eshed, Co-Founder and VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Altair Semiconductor. “Geotab joins a fast-growing customer base for Altair’s market leading IoT chipset.”

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GigSky chooses Gemalto to enable seamless connectivity for devices around the world

GigSky chooses Gemalto to enable seamless connectivity for devices around the world

Gemalto will supply GigSky with its On-Demand Connectivity (ODC) services on a GSMA compliant embedded SIM (eSIM) with remote management capabilities.

Devices enabled with these eSIMs will allow end-users to choose short-term data plans across the globe. GigSky offers mobile connectivity solutions for consumers and businesses with service available in over 140 countries for a large variety of devices including iPad with Apple SIM.

Gartner predicts that over 20.8 billion devices will be connected by 2020. OEMs and mobile operators need a standardized way to manage consumer eSIM subscriptions. As pioneers in on-demand, seamless global connectivity, Gemalto and GigSky are well positioned to quickly introduce innovative, standards-based eSIM subscription solutions.

“Over the past few years, the industry has evolved around proprietary reprogrammable and embedded SIM solutions that lack consistency and scale, making the job of serving our customers quite challenging” said Ravi Rishy-Maharaj, CEO, GigSky.

“Our partnership with Gemalto enables us to address a much broader market opportunity, built around a GSMA-compliant platform, while enhancing our ability to better serve our customers worldwide.”

Devices will be provisioned over-the-air to operate around the globe on any network technology (2G, 3G or LTE), without the need to produce dedicated SIM cards for each country. To activate a service, end-users access the GigSky App, or access GigSky through the device’s cellular data settings, and choose a plan best suited to their geographic region and data requirements. Users are then connected instantly, while the service is securely provisioned through Gemalto’s remote subscription management solution.

Gemalto’s remote subscription management solution adds the security, flexibility, quality of service and GSMA compliance to bring new services to life, by connecting more consumer and industrial devices to cellular networks around the world.

“As the number of connected devices continues to grow, we are excited to deliver a truly scalable solution,” said Rodrigo Serna, Senior Vice President of Mobile Services and IoT Americas at Gemalto. “With our reputation of trust with carriers, deployment of over 20 On-Demand Connectivity solutions and at least 300 over-the-air (OTA) solutions around the globe, one of Gemalto’s top priorities is to continue to promote connectivity, anytime and anywhere for our customers.”

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WikiLeaks discloses details of CIA hacking IoT, mobile devices

WikiLeaks discloses details of CIA hacking IoT, mobile devices

In the first part of a Vault 7 leak series, the anonymous publishers of secret information at WikiLeaks have released documents containing information acquired by the CIA through the hacking of IoT devices.

A total of 8,761 documents were leaked from an isolated, high-security network inside the Central Intelligence Agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Viriginia.

WikiLeaks calls the leak “Year Zero” in a nod to the zero days computer software vulnerability and claims this is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.

Supposedly it ‘introduces the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of ‘zero day’ weaponized exploits against a wide range of US and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.

This role reversal is likely to be highly embarrassing for the government agency which is tasked with accessing secrets, not leaking its own.

Leaks from a team of hackers

According to a WikiLeaks statement, the CIA’s hacking division – the Center for Cyber Intelligence – had over 5,000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other ‘weaponized’ malware.

Supposedly, these hackers used more code “than that used to run Facebook” between 2013 and 2016. WikiLeaks accuses the CIA of creating, “in effect, its ‘own NSA’, with even less accountability.”

Included in the details are documents relating to a surveillance technique know as ‘Weeping Angel’. This was supposedly used by the CIA and the UK’s MI5 intelligence organization to infest smart Samsung TVs, turning them into covert microphones.

Additionally, the statement said that the CIA also runs a “very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware.”

Samsung and Microsoft have both said they are looking into the situation.

Citing fears that a cyber ‘weapon’ could be used by rival states and hackers, WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange stated that “There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber ‘weapons’. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such ‘weapons’, which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of “Year Zero” goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective.”

Read more: Businesses need more focus on smart device security, says Samsung

Commitments breached, powers exceeded

WikiLeaks claims its source believes this issue raises serious policy questions that need to be debated in public.

Not least among these will be the accusation that the CIA breached former President Barack Obama’s administration commitment to disclose all serious vulnerabilities, exploit, bugs or zero days to technology companies and US-manufacturers.

For example, specific CIA malware revealed in ‘Year Zero’ is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts. However, the CIA has kept these vulnerabilities concealed meaning the phones remain hackable.

Google has declined to comment on the allegations, according to the BBC, but in a more detail statement, Apple said “While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities.”

The company urges customers to download the latest iOS and ensure they have the most recent security update.

Read more: Security researchers find backdoor in Chinese IoT devices

“Hardly surprising”

Sharing his reaction to the leaks in emailed comments to journalists, Lee Munson, security researcher at cyber-security advice company, said: “Wikileaks’ disclosure of what it claims are wide-ranging CIA hacking tools is hardly likely to surprise anyone in the post-Snowden world we now live in.

Munson suggested that whether cyber weapons exist is immaterial and that citizens should be no more concerned about surveillance today than they were yesterday.

“While exploits across a range of devices and the ability to turn on cameras and microphones is a touch chilling, they’re nothing new, and anyone with real concerns should already be going about their business with those possibilities in mind,” Munson said.

“The really interesting aspect to this leak, however, is how the alleged cyber-spying tools all appear to have one thing in common – the need to acquire information over the wire.

“That means, for now at least, we can assume that messaging systems with strong end-to-end encryption are beyond the reaches of the security services; a win for everyone who is truly concerned about protecting their privacy today.”

Ian Hughes, an IoT analyst at research company 451 Research, told Internet of Business that, “in the security industry, many people already do not trust their devices, covering cameras, disconnecting cameras in TVs.”

Hughes does believe, however, that in making this public, WikiLeaks will make people more aware of the need for stronger personal security.

Read more: IoT teddy bears leak more than 2 million recordings between parents and kids

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IoB Insiders: What can the iPhone teach us about IoT edge devices?

IoB Insiders: What can the iPhone teach us about IoT edge devices?

IoB Insiders Rob Bamforth of research company Quocirca looks back on (almost) ten years of the iPhone and asks: are enterprises are ready to embrace and discard new fashions in edge computing?

As the iPhone approaches its tenth anniversary at the end of June, it is easy to forget how negative many people were when the first device appeared.

Some thought the device’s impact would be minimal: it would only appeal to a few ‘gadget freaks’.

Some considered it deeply flawed, with a slow internet connection and a lack of buttons. At that time, they had a point, but performance of the early devices, which only supported the slow 2.5G or ‘EDGE’ mobile network standard, improved with the arrival of 3G and then 4G as the mobile network.

Others initially refused to believe that the iPhone could pose a threat to the Motorola RAZR or the BlackBerry. There was “no chance”, they said, it could win a significant share of the market.

All this naysaying seemed reasonable to many at the time. After all, mobile phone use was already widespread, but dominated by Nokia, Motorola and the mobile network operators, with RIM’s BlackBerry the default tool in the upper reaches of the enterprise. Handheld connected computers from Palm, Psion and others had filled a niche, but not taken off in huge numbers. Next to them, the iPhone looked too locked down, restricted and expensive – and perhaps it still is – but something important had changed.

Read more: IoB Insiders: Planning for the IoT

Early signs

There were very early signs of this change. Within six months of the iPhone launch, Quocirca conducted research into enterprise mobile services commissioned by mobile operator O2, and asked a single, ad hoc question about the iPhone. It was couched as looking for the personal opinion of the interviewees. Each one was responsible for the purchase of mobile and fixed telephony networks, in a large and multinational company, based in different countries across Europe.

The question was “What best characterizes your personal thoughts about the Apple iPhone as a business tool?”. There were six exclusive options:

A: It is only for consumers

B: It won’t replace the BlackBerry or enterprise smartphones

C: It will be a useful business device for many users

D: Some gadget fans will go for them

E: Some executives will request them

F: I’d like one

In the UK, 30 percent of respondents thought it was only for consumers; a similar number in France thought it might be a useful business tool and over a third in Germany thought it was only for gadget fans. These were the largest answers respectively in each country. However, it was Italy, the first country in Europe to go beyond 100% mobile phone penetration, where the answer set the scene for the last 10 years.

Six out of ten respondents told us: “I’d like one”.

Shifts in power

The success of the iPhone has coincided with (and most likely been the cause of) two dramatic shifts in power. The first was the loss of dominance by mobile network operators. It is easy to forget, but before the iPhone, in the mobile sector, the term ‘revenue share’ most often meant just between operators. They were the powerhouses of the industry and largely drove handset specifications as much, sometimes more than, the device manufacturers themselves.

Apple took a different approach with the iPhone. After its success with mobile music and the iPod, it focused on data, not voice. So many in the industry were relatively unconcerned that it was able to get started via exclusive deals with a single operator in each territory – typically not a market leader. It then exploited the software development model that had been so well employed by Microsoft in the previous desktop era, and created revenue opportunities in the ecosystem and an app marketplace. Developers flocked and the result? Apps for everything or, in the words, of an early campaign, ‘There’s an app for that.’

Another shift is in the workplace. The surge in consumer adoption of mobile technology, sparked by Wi-Fi and broadband availability as well as lower cost laptops and mobile phones, continued to gather momentum with the arrival of smartphones, tablets and decent performance mobile data networks. The home suddenly appeared better equipped with IT and networking than the workplace and so individual technology choices became important in the enterprise. This is now termed BYOD (bring your own device) or consumerization and has been a challenge for many responsible for IT governance to control.

Read more: The IoT edge in micro datacenters

Other edge devices in the IoT

Going forward, the appeal of more and more internet connected ‘things’, including wearable devices, will increase the challenge for IT departments. Many of the devices will be short-lived as both appeal and manufacturers falter, but they will drift through enterprise networks and need to be discovered, understood and dealt with, however ephemeral they turn out to be.

Some may need to be isolated and contained, others like the smartphone and tablets before them, will become integral to both working and home lives of employees and need to be cautiously embraced. What is clear is that IT teams will have many more ‘cats to herd’ or ‘plates to spin’ as the phrase “I’d like one” is heard again and again.

This will require a new way of thinking about IT at the edge of the network. The process might have started off with a shiny gadget, but these gadgets are simply gateways. IT management should be less about controlling a fixed number of devices and assets and more about flexibly controlling access to IT delivered anywhere, as a service.

Policies, procedures and management tools will need to evolve to take into account a whole spectrum of actions and intent – less about consumerization of devices and more about how IT itself is consumed.

Read more: Are we edging closer to IoT edge computing? 

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