The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to explode in popularity in coming years, but trying to keep a growing number of connected devices secure from cybercriminals remains a major effort. To help get a step ahead of malicious criminals, companies are embracing white hat hackers specialized in finding and exploiting potential security loopholes - and then sharing details with the company.
"Source code analysis, integrating security testing into the normal test cycle, and penetration testing at the end," said Michael Murray, director of GE Healthcare cybersecurity consulting and assessment, in a statement published by Dark Reading. "I'm [still] breaking lots of stuff. I'm just breaking it before it gets to the customer to make sure bad things don't happen to people out in the world."
Connected devices are increasing to vehicles, our homes and apartments, medical devices, and virtually everywhere else - but keeping consumers and users secure is a major effort.
Japanese company Mamiya-OP plans to begin selling a pricey robotic lawn mower that will be able to autonomously take care of golf courses. Mamiya-OP partnered with Jacobsen, a company that manufacturers golf course lawn mowing products, to create the "Robot Mower for Five Successive Fairways."
Mamiya-OP said customers could be able to pay off purchasing one unit within three years, as the robot mower is able to travel up to 6 m.p.h. along a preset route. Utilizing a GPS, three-axis gyroscope and encoder, the robot mower has sensors so it is able to spot - and avoid - humans and other obstacles on the course.
The lawn mower utilizes a custom autonomous driving system and each unit will cost between $70,000 and $90,000.
The US Navy is progressing in its Silent NEMO Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC), with the GhostSwimmer unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), an underwater craft that is 5-feet in length and weighs almost 100 pounds. Silent Nemo can operate in water as shallow as 10 inches down to depths of 300-feet, providing additional low-visibility intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to keep ships safe - and to conduct hull inspections.
Silent Nemo is able to mimic the same swim motion as a regular fish, oscillating its tail back and forth, according to developers.
"GhostSwimmer will allow the Navy to have success on more types of missions, while keeping divers and sailors safe," said Michael Rufo, Boston Engineering director of the Advanced Systems Group program. "The unit is a combination of unmanned systems engineering and unique propulsion and control capabilities."
The US Army is building a custom airport for its Gray Eagle and Shadow drones at Fort Bliss, located in Texas. The location will include a 50,000 square-foot hangar, 1,000-ft. runway for Shadow aircraft, and a 5,000-ft. runway for Gray Eagle drones. The Army Corps of Engineers issued a $33-million-dollar contract to a private contractor, which will also build a maintenance facility and a hazardous waste disposal facility.
In addition to surveillance and reconnaissance missions, the Gray Eagle can carry up to four hellfire missiles while traveling faster and at higher altitude than the Predator. However, it has a window of just 25-hours of flight time, 15 hours shorter than the Predator.
The Army hopes to use its custom facility to research and better understand how to improve its drones.
A rumor out of Taiwan indicates the Apple Watch will enter mass production starting in January, with Quanta Computer reportedly prepared to manufacture up to 24 million units during the first year. Quanta is stepping up employees from 2,000 up to 10,000, and should be extremely busy trying to keep up with orders.
Final pricing of the Apple Watch hasn't been published, but entry-level pricing begins at $250.
The wearables market is gaining steam in the United States, and the Apple Watch is expected to drive the industry to new heights. Microsoft, Samsung, LG and Motorola already have smart watches available on the consumer market, but Apple is predicted to quickly dominate all rivals.
Despite major ramifications from its data breach suffered last month, with Sony still seeing bulk amounts of information leaked online, the company must continue moving forward. However, hopefully some people in the movie industry can now appreciate that public figures will remain a target of interest among hackers.
Agents, actors and movie studios in Hollywood can certainly learn from Sony's glaring mistakes, understanding that those emails with snide marks about others - which they expect to be confidential - shouldn't be sent, in fear potentially being leaked.
"[T]here's going to be consequences for senior people at the studio," said Sharon Waxman, founder and editor-in-chief of TheWrap, speaking to CNBC. "The studio has to go on with its business and it's drip drip drip everyday of an unknown damage hitting the studio - and embarrassment, another piece of information."
Chinese cybercriminals are finding success using social engineering attacks to easily compromise companies, with an increased focus on universities, financial institutions, defense contractors, and critical infrastructure. Likely state-sponsored cyberattackers were able to breach the Canadian National Research Council, searching around for scientific research information and possible trade secrets.
A spear-phishing attack, with the email including an attached piece of malicious code, found its way onto the organization's network. The Canadian government didn't disclose what type of information could have been compromised from the breach, which took place earlier in 2014.
It is also unclear as to whether any personal information has been compromised," said Tobi Cohen, a privacy commissioner spokeswoman, as noted by the CBC. "We are satisfied that the organization took appropriate steps to notify employees and other parties about the cyber-intrusion and that efforts are underway to update [information technology] systems and security procedures to prevent this from happening again."
Instagram recently proudly boasted it has more than 300 million monthly active users, as the Facebook-owned company continues to gain popularity. Twitter isn't far behind, with 284 million active users, with 500 million people reached by publicly posted and shared Tweets per month. However, don't count Twitter co-founder Evan Williams as a fan of Instagram's milestone:
"If you think about the impact Twitter has on the world versus Instagram, it's pretty significant," Williams recently said while speaking with Fortune. "It's at least apples to oranges. Twitter is what we wanted it to be. It's this real-time information network where everything in the world that happens on Twitter - important stuff breaks on Twitter and world leaders have conversations on Twitter. If that's happening, I frankly don't give a s**t if Instagram has more people looking at pretty pictures."
What Williams said is true: Instagram may have more members, but people around the world flock to Twitter for breaking news. Both social media platforms have plenty of room to continue to grow and develop without disturbing one another, as Twitter tries to close down the gap to Facebook.
According to a press release issued yesterday, TomTom's navigation technology will be featured in the 'Uconnect' infotainment systems installed in new Fiat 500X cars being sold throughout Europe, starting early 2015.
These Uconnect systems will come pre-installed with TomTom software including their traffic, speed camera, weather and 'places' services. TomTom will also see their navigation systems featured in these new production models, reportedly offering highly accurate traffic services, which are said to receive over 100 million kilometers of real-time traffic measurements daily.
TomTom's Vice President of Automotive, Jan-Maarten de Vries, commented that "We [TomTom] are delighted to extend our relationship with Fiat," further stating that "by adding TomTom's LIVE services and software including accurate traffic information, the latest road closure information and better routes, Fiat empowers drivers with more advanced knowledge of the road ahead, to help make journeys faster."
The Guardians of Peace released more information stolen from Sony, and promised a large "Christmas gift" of additional data taken in a breach Sony suffered that started late last month. The leaked content reportedly contained more email correspondence and information related to Crackle, the online video website.
Here is part of the post from hackers (via Pastebin): "We are preparing for you a Christmas gift. The gift will be larger quantities of data. And it will be more interesting. The gift will surely give you much more pleasure and put Sony Pictures into the worst state."
The cybercriminals behind the Sony breach have released seven waves of stolen data and movies to the Internet, and will continue to do so. The FBI and cybersecurity companies are helping Sony clean up the mess, but the damage has clearly already been done.