Let’s talk about containers at the edge

Alexandros Marinos, CEO and founder of Resin.io

If the internet of things is to scale to millions of devices and embrace millions of different use cases it’s going to need developers. And to broaden the number of developers who can program edge devices, the tech industry needs to make platforms and languages that are easier to use. Resin.io is one company that hopes to make that possible.

Resin.io is building software that it hopes will provide that leap for developers. It hopes to move from fragmented and complex IoT programming frameworks and languages to tools that developers can use to manage and deploy software on what could be millions of connected devices.

Resin’s leap was building a form of a Docker container on ARM-based silicon used by many connected devices. Containers allow a developer to build a self-contained version of an app or service and then replicate it across many different servers. Or in the case of IoT, light bulbs or microprocessors.

Containers help with the problem of scale, allowing IT staff to treat an application as a resource that can be managed and deployed in any sort of infrastructure. But when thinking about computing at the edge of an industrial or enterprise network, containers aren’t enough. Alexandros Marinos, CEO and founder of Resin.io, says that in the four years since Resin.io’s founding a lot of work has gone into making the containers resilient enough for the edge.

For example, the connectivity inside a digital sign or an edge sensor can be sporadic, as can power. So Resin.io has taken steps to store data in a way that preserves it in case of power or data connection loss. But because data must travel back to the cloud on limited or unreliable networks, Resin.io also tried to minimize the container size and the way it transfers information to limit the use of bandwidth.

The software also puts guardrails in place so a machine that is operating can’t get a software update or perform certain functions. For example, if your light bulb got a security update while you are reading, you probably want it to wait until you flip the switch off before it performs an update. Today those updates are generally scheduled for a time when you aren’t likely to be using the device or when the device is first turned on after the patch has been released.

As someone who has flipped a switch only to have to wait for an update, neither is ideal.

“Some of what we have learned comes from the embedded world and some of it from the cloud,” says Marinos.

This philosophy makes sense when it comes to building what is essentially a new computing architecture for the internet of things. Now bring on the developers.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis

Let’s Make the Internet Safe for All

Imagine you’re at the starting line of a race, excited about the opportunity that awaits you when you complete the course. The starting pistol is fired and you try to take off, but instead of soaring with the other runners, you stumble. You look down to see that someone has slashed your shoelaces. As you crouch down to try to fix them, you see the others gain distance ahead of you.

This is the reality for many women who use the Internet. The technology is the same and its potential is the same for men and women. But when women go online, there are barriers to access and safety that men do not experience. While men might worry about identity theft or a virus, women – along with trans and non-binary users – are navigating a minefield of sexualized harassment, whether they’re on a dating site, gaming, or using social media. The sexual violence women are exposed to in the physical world translates to the online space.

According to a 2017 survey from Pew Research Center, women and men experience and view online harassment very differently. The survey found that, while 41 percent of Americans have experienced online harassment, women experience sexualized harassment at much higher rates than men. Women are also more likely to report that the emotional impact of the harassment is more damaging, and to view online harassment as a serious issue. Seventy percent of women said they thought online harassment was a major problem while only 54 percent of men said the same.

Meanwhile, a 2016 study out of Australia found that harassment of women was becoming “an established norm in our digital society,” especially for young women. Seventy-six percent of women under the age of 30 reported that they had experienced abuse online, with the harassment ranging from unwanted contact, trolling, cyberbullying, sexual harassment, and rape and death threats. This risk is increased for women and trans people of color, who are subject to racialized harassment on top of the genders abuse.

That reality is reflected in the way women are innovating online. One need only look at the Internet Society’s 25 Under 25 awardees – young people who are using the Internet to make a positive impact on their communities and the world – to see that innovation. While many of the young men’s projects tackle problems like fake news, stampedes, or traffic accidents – worthy and important, for sure – many of the women’s projects focus on making digital and physical spaces safe and equitable for people marginalized by gender. There are projects fighting revenge porn, teaching girls to code, providing sexual health information, and connecting women to healthcare.

“I was a victim of online harassment, receiving kidnapping and rape threats,” says Linda Patiño, a 25 Under 25 awardee who uses information and communications technology to promote gender equality and Internet safety in Colombia. She began this work after her own experiences, when she realized that other women likely didn’t have the tools or knowledge to respond to digital violence. “I entered this world so other girls know they are not alone. We are creating things to help them get through this,” she says. Paula Côrte Real, a 25 Under 25 awardee whose work in Brazil helps educate young people about the dangers of revenge porn and digital harassment, says that the responsibility for safety of users should be shared by the platforms themselves. “Terms of use are so huge that people are unable to comprehend them,” she says. “We need to be teach users how they can protect themselves while they’re online. We should empower the user.”

The innovations women are making in digital spaces are often overlooked or downplayed in favor of flashier projects, but it’s worth recognizing that many of these changemakers are using technology to solve the problems they face — often rooted in their marginalized gender — and that their work is just as important.

The Internet Futures Report touched on this reality, too. The Digital Divides are evident not only in the way women use the Internet, but in whether they’re even granted access to it in certain places, and how safe they are to navigate it once they’re online. “Boys have privilege more than girls,” says Kate Ekanem, a 25 Under 25 awardee who provides online literacy to young girls in Nigeria. “I started talking to other girls, our brothers were preferred, we were less human. I was 18 and I started to teach girls how to code, I trained myself. When I sit at my computer, I feel so powerful.”

Kate’s story demonstrates something extraordinary: Access begets access. The girls who are learning to code from her will be the next generation’s changemakers.

When women have a voice at all stages – from policy to design to implementation to content creation – we can start to see a world in which the Internet is truly open to all.

Want to make a difference? Join SIG Women, which aims to “promote a global neutral space that works towards the involvement of women in technology and contributes to reducing the gender gap in the field.”

Got a great idea to close tech’s gender gap? Apply for funding through Beyond The Net.

Celebrate some of the brilliant and gutsy women who are making the Internet a safer and more trusted place.

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Internet Society

Let’s Mobilize for Better Data Stewardship

If we want organizations like Equifax to be good data stewards, we, the users and consumers, must mobilize.

In October, the Internet Society explored why the dominant approach to data handling, based around the concepts of risk and compliance, does not work. To recap: “…data handlers try to adhere to regulatory requirements and minimize the risk to themselves – not necessarily to the individuals whose data they handle. For some data handlers, the risk that poor security creates may not extend to them.”

Euphemistically put, Equifax has not been an example of forthcomingness, transparency, and accountability. Users can change this paradigm. Users can shift the cost of a data breach onto the data handler by holding the accountable for their action or lack of action.

The key is to organize. For example, Consumer Reports is organizing a campaign calling on Equifax to take the next steps to address the fallout from the data breach. Their first step was to deliver a petition signed by over 180,000 individuals to Equifax’s headquarters.

To continue making sure Equifax does everything in its power to make things right for consumers in danger of identity theft, Consumer Reports is fundraising. The Internet Society just pledged 10k to this cause, and we hope others will join us.

Other actions you can take:

  1. Sign the Consumer Reports Petition to Equifax.
  1. Prepare for a breach incident with the Online Trust Alliance’s 2017 Cyber Incident & Breach Response Guide.
  1. Read the Global Internet Report 2016 to take a close look at the economics of data breaches and consider five recommendations for a path forward.

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Internet Society

Homehack: Smartphone App Lets Hackers Take Control Of Your Home Appliances!

Homehack: Security Bug In Login App Lets Hackers Control Your Home Appliances

As more and more smart devices being used in the home can be accessed by smartphone apps, hackers are focusing on exploiting software flaws and hacking the apps that control these devices. Recently, a vulnerability in LG’s SmartThinQ app could let hackers take control of your costly home appliances. Walmart has deployed fancy new shelf-scanning robotic machines across its stores which it says will boost customer shopping experience as well as store sales. Renesas is furthering its autonomous-driving endeavors with a new vehicle solution which will be leveraged by Toyota’s autonomous vehicles, which are scheduled for commercial launch in 2020.

Bug In LG Home Appliance Login App Could Let Hackers Take Control Of Your Home

Recently, Check Point researchers discovered a vulnerability, dubbed HomeHack, in LG’s smart home software exposing it to critical user account takeover. They claim this vulnerability could let hackers to take remote control of the Internet-connected devices like refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, air conditioners, dryers, and washing machines. Researchers found the flaw was found during users’ signing into their accounts on the LG SmartThinQ app. The attacker could create a fake LG account to initiate the login process. Attackers could also switch dishwashers or washing machines on or off. They could even spy on users’ home activities via the Hom-Bot robot vacuum cleaner video camera, which sends live video to the associated LG SmartThinQ app. Read more.

Autonomous Shelf-scanning Robots Restock Items Faster

Walmart has decided to roll out autonomous self-scanning bots to over 50 US stores to replenish inventory faster and save employees time when products run out. The robots are supposed to do tasks like checking stock, identifying mislabeled or misplaced items, incorrect prices, and helping employees in finding orders in online shopping. The robots, approximately 2-foot, come with a tower that is fitted with cameras that scan the stores to perform teir tasks. Once the robot completes its task, its results are forwarded to Walmart employees, who can analyze the data to reduce inefficiencies in the stores. The company emphasizes that robots performing these vital but repetitive tasks frees store employees allowing them to better assist customers and sell merchandise. In addition, this will help online customers and also personal shoppers to fulfil their orders. Read more.

Autonomous-driving Vehicle Solution For Toyota’s Vehicles

Renesas stated that its autonomous-driving vehicle solution will be leveraged by Toyota’s autonomous vehicles, which are presently under development and scheduled for commercial launch in 2020. Selected by Toyota and Denso Corporation, the solution combines the R-Car system-on-chip (SoC), which serves as an electronic brain for in-vehicle infotainment and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), and the RH850 microcontroller (MCU) for automotive control. Renesas boasts that this combination delivers a comprehensive semiconductor solution that covers peripheral recognition, driving judgements, and body control. Read more.


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Raspberry Pi-powered Inventor’s Laptop Lets You Start With Amazing DIY Projects

Raspberry Pi-powered Inventor’s Laptop Lets You Start With Amazing DIY Projects

If you are a maker or a budding coder and want to create something unique and exciting, here’s how you can get hands-on with your computer science and electronics skills. A new Rapsbbery-Pi based laptop includes everything to get you started with amazing projects. Gigabit Ethernet in the car is getting into gear with KDPOF’s new transceiver for car makers. Finally, Laird is helping OEM customers leverage enhanced throughputs and security benefits of the Bluetooth v4.2 in their end devices with new Class 1 HCI modules.

A new Raspberry-Pi Laptop For Budding Makers

To allow Raspberry Pi tinkerers and budding coders experiment with a variety of interesting projects, a new version of the modular Rapsberry-Pi laptop (Pi-top), has been revealed. To invent new things, this Rapberry-Pi 3 based laptop has everything including an impressive sliding keyboard panel, a 14-inch 1080p display, a power source, a battery slated to offer up to eight hours of use between charges and an 8GB SD card. Furthermore, the Pi-top also includes an Inventor’s Kit to allow inventers and young learners to be inspired by STEAM-based learning. Unlike other laptops, students can access the internals and play with them, enabling them to explore computer science and basic electronics. The price is $ 319.99 including a a Raspberry Pi 3, or $ 284.99 without. Read more.

HCI modules Updated With Bluetooth v4.2 Dual-mode Connectivity

Laird has announced Bluetooth-qualified Class 1 HCI modules for rapid enablement of Bluetooth technology into OEM devices. The BT850, BT851, and BT860 series adds support for the Bluetooth v4.2 BR/EDR/LE core specification in Classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).  The BT850 and BT860 series provide more options for OEM customers through enhanced throughputs and security benefits in the Bluetooth v4.2 specification. Read more.

Gigabit Ethernet Connectivity In Cars Gets Into Gear

Making automotive gigabit Ethernet over POF (plastic optical fiber) a reality, KDPOF is shipping samples of the first automotive-grade Gigabit Ethernet over Plastic Optical Fibres (GEPOF) transceiver to car makers. Automotive applications of the KD1053 include 100Mbps and 1Gbps Ethernet links such as battery management systems (BMS), inter-domain communications backbones, antenna hubs, autonomous driving, and ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) with surround view. To allow users start designing fast and easy, the firm also offers comprehensive support such as application notes, reference design, evaluation boards and kits. Read more.


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