Cybersecurity was the virtual elephant in the showroom at this month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Attendees of the annual tech trade show, organized by the Consumer Technology Association, relished the opportunity to experience a future filled with delivery drones, autonomous vehicles, virtual and augmented reality and a plethora of "Internet of things" devices, including fridges, wearables, televisions, routers, speakers, washing machines and even robot home assistants. Given the proliferation of connected devices--already, there are estimated to be at least 6.4 billion--there remains the critical question of how to ensure their security. The cybersecurity challenge posed by the internet of things is unique. The scale of connected devices magnifies the consequences of insecurity.
The future depends on connectivity. From artificial intelligence and self-driving cars to telemedicine and mixed reality to as yet undreamt technologies, all the things we hope will make our lives easier, safer, and healthier will require high-speed, always-on internet connections. The FCC regulates who can use which ranges, or bands, of frequencies to prevent users from interfering with each other's signals. Low-Band Frequencies Bands below 1 GHz traditionally used by broadcast radio and television as well as mobile networks; they easily cover large distances and travel through walls, but those are now so crowded that carriers are turning to the higher range of the spectrum. Mid-Band Spectrum The range of the wireless spectrum from 1 GHz to 6 GHz, used by Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, mobile networks, and many other applications.
Today at the Frankfurt motor show, one of the biggest and most prestigious motor shows in the world, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, spoke before German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Now what is Facebook and most importantly, Sheryl Sandberg doing at an automotive industry event? The obvious answer that comes to mind when one relates Facebook and the car industry is the billions of advertising dollars the industry spends on marketing and advertising. However, that does not seem to be Facebook's game plan, as highlighted by Sheryl and shown at their pavilion. Facebook seems to have a strategy of leveraging its capabilities in social marketing, AR & VR and interestingly, who would have thought of it, leveraging its advanced AI and deep learning capabilities to support the development of autonomous vehicles.
A specialized division of the business software powerhouse SAP (System Application Products) is building tools to harness machine learning and artificial intelligence for antiterrorist intelligence missions and cybersecurity--though details of how exactly the software has been used are shrouded in secrecy. SAP National Security Services, which describes itself as an independent subsidiary of the German-based software giant that's operated by U.S. citizens on American soil, works with homeland government agencies to find ways to track potential terrorists across social media. "One [use] is the identification of bad actors: People that may be threats to us--people and organizations," says Mark Testoni, president and CEO of SAP NS2, as the company is known. "Secondarily, once we've identified those kinds of players and actors, we can then track their behaviors and organizations." SAP NS2 is also working with cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect to use some of the same underlying technology to track intruders and menaces in computer networks in real time, the companies announced this week.
Over the last two years, academic researchers have identified various methods that they can transmit hidden commands that are undetectable by the human ear to Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google's Assistant. According to a new report from The New York Times, scientific researchers have been able "to secretly activate the artificial intelligence systems on smartphones and smart speakers, making them dial phone numbers or open websites." This could, perhaps, allow cybercriminals to unlock smart-home doors, control a Tesla car via the App, access users' online bank accounts, load malicious browser-based cryptocurrency mining websites, and or access all sort of personal information. In 2017, Statista projected around 223 million people in the U.S. would be using a smartphone device, which accounts for roughly 84 percent of all mobile users. Of these 223 million smartphones users, around 108 million Americans are using the Android Operating System, and some 90 million are using Apple's iOS (operating system).