Help Make the Internet Open to All: Join SIG Women!

When we talk about women and technology, we need to talk data. In the United States, a recent report by the National Center for Women and Information Technology highlighted that only 26% of the workforce in the computer field is made up of women. In addition, a survey by Silicon Valley Bank revealed that 68% of startups do not have women on their board. In India, women make up just 30% of the workforce in the technology industry. In many European countries, the wage gap between men and women is present in technological positions. In Latin America, the proportion of women studying in computer careers is low. In addition, shortcomings in Internet access makes it difficult for women of all ages to use the technology in Africa.

Increasing access, skills, and leadership of women and girls in ICT has enormous potential for improving their health and emancipating them through access to information, education and trade opportunities, strengthening not only families and communities, but also national economies and global society as a whole.

In order to speak on a daily basis and to make the problem visible, we considered it necessary to create a Special Interest Group to help change those statistics and to break down the barriers that – at different levels and different realities – still exist between women and technology. In pursuit of these objectives, SIG Women will be a neutral space where women and men can develop, train, discuss, and link their work.

Our general objective:
Promote a global neutral space that works towards the involvement of women in technology and contributes to reducing the gender gap in the field.”

We want to work with civil organizations, institutions, and companies that currently have or are interested in projects related to women and technology. We also want to work with women to help shape the future of the Internet.

Can men participate? Of course. We need everyone to work hand in hand.

SIG Women’s main interest is in the work and empowerment of women in technology issues. It seeks to be a neutral space for projects, initiatives, and stakeholders that advocate for greater inclusion of women in technology and contribute to gender equality in the field.

We invite you to join! We know that the road is not easy, but with your support we will achieve great goals.

Find SIG Women on Facebook, Twitter, and via email!

If we want to ensure that the Internet remains a free and safe digital space for all, it is time to join SIG Women.

Angélica Contreras will be attending the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) later this month as an IGF Ambassador, where this year’s theme is Shape Your Digital Future.

Explore the IGF schedule, which includes the following gender-focused sessions: Women and LGBTQI in the IGF, Tackling gender divides: ICT and women’s economic empowerment (WS37) (organized by ICC Basis), TU/UN Women EQUALS in Tech Awards Ceremony: Closing the gender digital divideEQUALS in Tech Panel Discussion (OF26)BPF on Gender & Access, and Main Session on Gender.

The post Help Make the Internet Open to All: Join SIG Women! appeared first on Internet Society.

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Using The Internet Of Things To Extend Beyond Factory Walls

Part 5 of the “Manufacturing Value from IoT” series

In my last blog, I talked about how a strong collaboration between information technology (IT) and operations technology (OT) departments increases IoT-enabled profitability and productivity. Here, I will talk about how the Internet of Things can help manufacturers engage with their supply bases to prevent wasted productions and late deliveries.

Any manufacturer seeking to improve performance must engage its supply base or risk:

  • Production of goods with flawed components, parts, and materials, leading to customer rejections
  • One-piece flow processes stalled by delayed supplier shipments, resulting in late deliveries to customers
  • Development of inefficient, overpriced products that drive customer defections

The good news is that IoT initiatives can and should extend beyond factory walls to suppliers – with the potential for dramatic boosts in productivity across the entire supply chain.

The bad news is that most suppliers still don’t have access to their customers’ IoT-enabled data. For example, only 13% of manufacturers report that all suppliers who need IoT-enabled data have it. What’s more, 10% report that no suppliers have access to this information, and another 22% have no IoT data for their suppliers to access.

This IoT-supplier disconnect limits manufacturers’ abilities to alert suppliers to demand changes, leading to wasted production and shipments. In fact, many companies can’t connect their own IoT information to their own supply-chain management (SCM) systems, making supplier guidance impossible or, at best, out of date.

Yet sharing IoT-enabled data with suppliers can improve both company and supplier performances via:

  • Better sequencing of supplier deliveries to plant schedules
  • Rapid responses to inventory changes
  • Real-time awareness of production problems with supplier goods
  • Intelligence that drives value-added supplier services

At the same time, failure to connect supply chains to IoT-enabled data is more than just a performance issue. Regulators and customers increasingly demand that manufacturers be accountable for supplier actions. The IoT can minimize these risks by:

  • Monitoring in real time supplier component and material specifications vs. requirements
  • Ensuring quality of supplier goods during development, and enabling track-and-trace functionality in the event of product contamination or recalls
  • Documenting supplier operating environments (e.g., environment, workplace safety) that can harm corporate reputations and brands
  • Tracking inbound goods to ensure safe passage and documenting that sensitive materials and components haven’t been tampered with or adulterated

It’s imperative that manufacturers establish practices and solutions that deliver IoT benefits across the supply chain. How?

  • First, embed devices within your operations to capture data, and then share that intelligence throughout your supply chain.
  • Next, begin a supply-chain rollout by sharing information that benefits vendors, even those unwilling to participate in IoT efforts. For example, provision of real-time inventory levels and forecast changes can help suppliers synchronize deliveries to your production schedule while allowing them to optimize their own inventories.
  • As suppliers learn to leverage your IoT information, share product-quality data, such as scrap and rework tallies, to help suppliers improve the quality of their goods.
  • Finally, allow suppliers to monitor and react to all of your real-time data to improve performances and add value to processes. Ask, too, for access to their real-time data for insights into their operations.

The IoT can rapidly help your supply chain improve, delighting customers, increasing sales, and growing margins. What are you waiting for?

Stay tuned for more on how your company can increase productivity and profitability with IoT, analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. In the meantime, download the report “The IoT is Delivering the Future – Now” to learn more about the complexity of an IoT transformation.


Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

Internet Of Things: Five Ways To Overcome Security Challenges

The promise, benefits, and value of the Internet of Things (IoT) have been documented extensively, but a number of widely publicized IoT attacks leaves the impression that the IoT is deeply insecure. What is often not mentioned is that many of these attacks originated due to failures in implementing basic protections.

But even where the vendor has taken reasonable precautions, things can go horribly wrong, as can be seen in a – literally – fly-by attack on smart lighting.

Another challenge is that IoT-enabled devices are deployed “where the action is” – the factory floor, oil platforms, public roads, offices, stores, moving vehicles, or in cities running over wireless networks.

That means that they are often physically accessible by employees, contractors, and even the general public. If we compare that to modern cloud data centers, where only authorized personnel can enter, there is a substantial difference. More people with access means the risk of compromise goes up, so we may need to ensure devices themselves are physically protected against tampering.

But these are not insurmountable obstacles. The question is less one of not knowing what to do to protect IoT environments, rather how to implement and apply security measures to keep the solution safe.

Five recommendations for securing the IoT

1. Manage risk

Modern security practices follow a risk-based approach that considers both the ease of an attack and the impact should one happen – giving a strong indicator of how much security you’ll need. The reality is that an IoT solution that monitors, manages, and optimizes operations in a chemical factory requires much tighter security protocols than one that simply turns off the light in a conference room when sensors detect nobody is present. In the former, a successful attack could lead to a catastrophic industrial accident including injury and loss of life. In the latter, the worst that could happen is that an electricity bill is a little higher.

2. Limit device-to-device communication

There is a misconception that the Internet of Things, by definition, means that many devices are connected to many other devices, increasing the risk that a successful attack leads to catastrophic failure or takeover of a substantial portion of your IoT infrastructure. In many cases, devices have a single purpose and only need to send the data they collect to a single location. By limiting the number of IoT devices that talk to each other, we can better secure each one and limit the damage should any breaches occur.

3. Retain control over your IoT infrastructure

The risk is yours – any failure in security is your responsibility and you will be held accountable for the result – so it is important to maintain control. This starts with device selection: Make sure that devices either have the security features you need or, preferably, are “open” so you can analyze and understand how they work, and then add any features you need to fill security gaps. This includes the ability to update devices in an automated and secure way and to control that process yourself.

4. Use encryption from end to end

It’s critical to encrypt communication between devices and data-ingestion points to make sure nobody can listen in, tamper with sensitive data in transit, or recover enough information to spoof or impersonate the device and feed the system manipulated data. Modern encryption techniques work in much the same way as HTTPS does to protect information online. Encryption also needs to be tied to device identity to ensure the data we think comes from a particular device actually does.

5. Leverage existing expertise

Apply proven security technologies, tools, and best practices used in traditional IT landscapes. In many cases, they can be implemented directly: by using digital certificates or equivalent, by restricting what IoT devices can do and communicate with, and by adding protection and monitoring mechanisms. In other cases, such as micro-controllers and low-power networks, we may need to apply new techniques, but we can draw on existing principles and concepts.

IoT adoption is still in early days. Unfortunately, that means that there aren’t many established standards yet, and while the number of devices brought to market is quickly rising, certification schemes and regulations are lagging. As a result, adopters still need to carefully plan and build in security from the start and properly evaluate any IoT equipment brought in house.

As large technology providers recognize the security challenges with new IoT technologies and software solutions, the situation is rapidly improving. At SAP, we’re also committed to both describing the pitfalls and providing clear guidelines to overcome them.

This article originally appeared on the SAP Community.


Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

The Internet Is at a Crossroads: We Have a Choice to Make

As we look around at a rapidly changing world that is shaped more and more by the digital domain, we see an Internet that faces many challenges. We see an Internet at a crossroads, where we have critical choices to make about its evolution in the years to come.

Those choices will determine whether we continue to benefit from an Internet that opens up a world of opportunity for everyone online, or whether we grow more fearful of it as a negative influence on our lives.  People’s hopes and fears about the Internet today are dividing us and its future.

The notion of hope and progress has defined our view of the Internet since its inception. Its own growth has taken it from obscure computer-to-computer connections to a social and economic powerhouse. It is the platform on which young people and an ever-growing number of women can invent their own futures. Small enterprises and communities all over the world are using digital tools to mobilize and empower themselves to access new markets, grow their economies and provide vital services to their citizens.

Of course, we must see the adoption of the Internet for what it is: a reflection of everything in society itself.

In light of growing sentiment that the Internet is fueling social and cultural divisions, there are legitimate concerns around the safety and security of life on the Internet. I discuss these themes in an article published this week as part of the launch of an edition of the Journal of Cyber Policy produced in a partnership between Chatham House and the Internet Society. To mark the occasion, we are also hosting a livestreamed panel discussion in partnership with Chatham House entitled “Do we still trust the Internet?” Here, we will explore concerns around the ‘securitization’ of the Internet, where a focus on national security and political control is usurping the notion of a “people-centric” Internet for everyone.

To solve these fundamental issues we need new models to address the challenges. My view is that the answers lie in the principles that have defined the Internet to date. These include: openness, global connectedness, trustworthiness, transparency, collaboration and inclusion. These values should remain at the forefront of the Internet and the policies that shape it.

We have already done much of the work and the thinking that puts these values at the heart of the Internet’s future. The global Internet community has called for collaborative decision-making: the multistakeholder model that has been used in the organizations and policies that built the Internet. And this is exactly the context in which much of the global Internet community will come together next week at the Internet Governance Forum in Geneva. I look forward to the gathering of this engaged and energized global community.

It is an important time to talk about how we can turn thinking into reality. We have an opportunity to explore how we can expand the collaborative decision-making model, how we can do more, say more and move beyond the confines of discussion to put the mechanisms, policies and practices in place that will shape the future of the Internet.

Above all, we can reaffirm our commitment to an Internet that is truly for everyone by making choices that take us toward opportunity, not toward fear.


Image credit: Veni Markovski on Flickr CC BY NC

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Another BGP Routing Incident Highlights an Internet Without Checkpoints

Yesterday, there were two BGP routing incidents in which several high-profile sites (Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitch, NTT Communications and Riot Games) were rerouted to a previously unused Russian AS. The incidents only lasted about three minutes each, but demonstrated once again the lack of routing controls like those called for in MANRS that could have prevented this from happening.

As reported in BGPmon’s blog post on 12 December 12,

“…our systems detected a suspicious event where many prefixes for high profile destinations were being announced by an unused Russian Autonomous System.

Starting at 04:43 (UTC) 80 prefixes normally announced by organizations such Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitch, NTT Communications and Riot Games were now detected in the global BGP routing tables with an Origin AS of 39523 (DV-LINK-AS), out of Russia.”

Either a configuration mistake or a malicious attack, it propagated quickly through the Internet without visible obstacles. This was one of almost 5000 route leaks and hijacks in 11 months of 2017. For comparison, network outages during the same period caused almost 8000 incidents (source: https://bgpstream.com/):

In practice, the efficacy of corrective actions strongly depends on the reliability and completeness of information related to expected routing announcements. And these qualities quickly deteriorate with every routing hop on the path. Meaning that the easiest and most effective way to prevent such incidents from a customer is by its direct transit provider. In the case of AS39523 – that is AS31133 (Megafon).The Internet is an interconnected system and its security is only as strong as its weakest link – the least secure network operator. But the concept of “defense in depth” is more applicable here: If a network emits a false routing announcement, there should be many chances to correct it.

Deploying the simple, low-cost, low-risk measures promoted by MANRS is vitally important for all network operators. Had Megafon implemented Action 1 “Prevent propagation of incorrect routing information,” the false announcements yesterday would have been stopped at the first hop. Had reliable data been available about what prefixes DV-LINK-AS is authorised to advertise, others could have prevented that too.

Is your network doing all it can to prevent incidents like this? Read the MANRS document, follow the Implementation Guide, and Join MANRS!

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