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IoT Hype

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  • Monnit’s New Edge Gateway Elevates Sensor-to-Server IoT Security

    Robust processing — Linux® UBUNTU™ single-board computer with a 32-bit ARM

  • Thousands Of Internet-Connected Satellites Above Us, What Could Possibly Go Wrong!

    Our skies are full of satellites, more full than they have been, that is, because SpaceX’s Starlink and a bevvy of other soon-to-launch operators plan to fill them with thousands of small low-earth-orbit craft to blanket the Earth with satellite Internet coverage. Astronomers are horrified at such an assault on their clear skies, space-watchers are fascinated by the latest developments, and in some quarters they’re causing a bit of concern about the security risk they might present. With a lot of regrettable overuse use of the word “hacker”, the concern is that such a large number of craft in the heavens might present an irresistible target for bad actors, who would proceed to steer them into each other can cause chaos.


    Decades ago, to be involved in space technology you had to be a government. The average Joe might just be able to listen to some satellite traffic, but the investment required to set up any kind of ground station was not in any way trivial. Thus satellites were not built with security in mind because it was deemed unlikely that anyone would have the means to access them. This led to many craft carrying open transponders, making them effectively always-on analogue repeaters in the sky.

    As technology progressed it became possible to build or acquire ground station components for some of these transponders, and by the 1980s there were tales of shady companies selling transatlantic data links using illicit narrow-bandwidth carriers hidden amid the wideband TV feeds on commercial relays. This type of open-transponder hijack reached a mass-market in Brazil, where the US Navy’s Fleet Satellite Communications System dating from the late 1970s became so widely used as to become almost akin to a CB radio for the vast interior of that country. Even as satellite communications moved into the digital domain it was believed that the high barrier to entry would be enough of a deterrent, so for example the Iridium satellite phone system launched in the 1990s lacked encryption and could easily be eavesdropped upon with an SDR in 2015.

    In 2020 though, even the most novice of satellite engineers will be aware of security, and we expect that the likes of SpaceX will not have employed novices. Just as you could steal a 1980s Cosworth Ford Sierra with rudimentary tools but their latest quick Mondeo model has a formidable engine immobiliser built-in, so is it likely to be no walk in the park to compromise any of the current crop of spacecraft. Their citing a satellite hijack story from 1999 as reason to be worried in 2020 is about as valid as worrying about the Mondeo because a child could nick the Sierra; it simply isn’t credible. It’s not that there are not legitimate concerns to be expressed with relation to satellite security, it is simply that inflamatory and shoddy journalism is hardly the way to approach them.

  • The IT and Security Teams: Buddies or Rivals?
  • AIoT Has a Nice Ring To It

    The Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) is a relatively new term for the evolution of a domain Wind River has been playing in for a very long time. If we think of many of the first applications of Artificial Intelligence in connected devices, it is adding autonomy to previously human controlled systems. Think advanced autonomous drones, automated driver assistance features in vehicles, or even autonomous factory robots. These autonomous systems tend to still interact with humans, and as such they are safety critical. More so, they’re connected and have associated security risks. Importantly, you can have a secure device that doesn’t deliver safety critical functionality, but you cannot have an insecure safety critical device.

    These connected autonomous systems are incredibly complex, and require an intelligent systems platform from the device edge to the infrastructure edge to the cloud; and in the device they require real-time operating systems (RTOS) with guaranteed performance, coupled with AI/ML algorithms that are mostly associated with Linux. The use cases and requirements span the complete system. The systems may require containerized applications running in the cloud and on edge devices. The systems may require AI/ML frameworks that span the RTOS and Linux on the device. Wind River can offer the complete package with its comprehensive software portfolio.

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