Published June 2018
Here is another news update of current and interesting subjects on technology and the Internet.
Let’s start off with two security alerts.
There is a computer worm we need to keep an eye on. It is said to be the most sophisticated program ever written! So that is scary. Have a read on the link below for an overview of the risk.
The second one involves researchers at Cisco's cyber-intelligence unit. Malicious software, called VPNFilter, infected around 500 000 routers in over 50 countries. That is a large attack. The FBI advised that you turn your router off and then on again! No jokes.
Onto a subject I really enjoy debating, which is the brand argument between Apple and its competitors.
Samsung very recently lost a lawsuit against Apple in America over copyright infringements. The two companies have been fighting for years, but that is not what is interesting here. What is interesting is the value of the suit. Apple wants 1billion USD in damages. That is a lot of apples. Apple was, however, only awarded 539 million USD. I can’t believe I just said only 539 million USD. That is 6 770 459 442, 88 rand.
Samsung will appeal the award very soon.
This is standard practice.
Equally interesting to the value is the fact that a month prior, Apple was defeated for 500 million USD to another company called VirnetX (the corporation that developed security technology for the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies.) for similar reasons.
Sticking with lawsuits, Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram have a very pressing complaint against them in the EU lobby group, called “noyb.eu”
They are arguing that these companies are in breach of new privacy laws, and that users have to consent before use.
Therefore, ask before use.
What irritates me is that this law is illogical in some practices. For example, even if you visit a website by using its domain name in a browser, you still need to go through a consent process. This normally happens with an annoying pop-up.
We can expect many pop-ups blocking us in the future and asking us to confirm that we really do want to use their services…
Privacy and consent to use is something being taken very seriously now, after the Facebook incident. I guess every cloud has a silver lining. I do mean everyone is taking privacy seriously! Even porn companies! (So I have heard)… for example: Porn Hub is now offering a free VPN (Virtual Private Networks) service. I guess this is important because sites can gather some very interesting stats. It is good news to know that we are protected in S.A, considering that we are in the top 20 of their country users.
In other news, and something I was glad to hear, not that I have any personal qualms with Amazon, but Google Home is kicking Amazon’s butt on the web, in terms of global device shipments. It is even closing in on Amazon’s lead in the USA. I know there was drama this month with news of Alexa (Amazon) recording our conversations. Both Amazon Alexa and Google devices do record conversation. Both also have an activity log that can show you what they’ve been hearing.
The simplest way to check Alexa is through the iOS/Android App: Open the app, tap the three-line menu, go to settings, and then scroll down to find history. For Google Home, go to the myactivity.google.com link on your PC.
Sticking with the subject of Alexa, it is interesting to see how this device is being used for out-of-the-box needs. Alexa is incorrectly being used to deliver on design code for developers who are using the device to help them with mundane and repetitive tasks. So it has started, computers building computers… or at least the code. It is one step closer to the AI self-replication.
Two South African companies won awards at the VIVA (French tech conference) technology event that took place in Paris in May. The event dedicates a hub to African tech & innovation, with over 50 African start-ups present. Take a look at these two websites: https://vizibiliti-insight.co.za/ and https://thesunexchange.com/ - well done!
I have found a few interesting sites the last few days and wanted to share them with you. The first one is Sprint, which has launched an online Internet of Things Factory, offering ready-made solutions. See https://business.sprint.com/iot-factory/?ECID=vanity:iotfactory
The Internet of Things is nothing if we can’t use data. Have you heard of LoRaWAN?
This is a protocol specification built on top of the LoRa technology developed by the LoRa Alliance. (https://lora-alliance.org)
LoRa Alliance is a non-profit association, which has more than 500 members and been running for over 3 years. It is becoming the biggest alliance in the technology sector.
The offering is the use of unlicensed radio spectrum in the industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) bands to enable low power, wide area communication.
We are going to be seeing a lot of growth in this area. Very exciting stuff!
This brings me to the final item of this post, which is another website: https://thingstream.io
This is a global provider of I.o.T connectivity. It enables things to simply connect to the strongest GSM network available just about anywhere in the world and communicates using I.o.T Messaging. (Unique combination of MQTT and USSD messaging protocols)
Thingstream Connectivity leverages GSM networks in a manner which requires far less power consumption than cellular data, enabling longer life spans for in field I.o.T solutions. The network is nice and secure because Thingstream doesn’t use TCP-IP. No IP means things cannot be easily visible on the Internet, making it far more difficult for hackers to find them and abuse them.
Published June 2018