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.
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.
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.
Cashless payments are all the rage but people in Sweden have been told to squirrel away notes and coins in case of a cyber attack on the nation's banks. Digital payments offer convenience for both buyers and sellers alike and the Scandinavian nation has been an eager adopter of the technology. Now, government experts are concerned that people could be left without any money should its computer networks become victim to an attack. Sweden's Civil Contingencies Agency has issued guidance to every household telling residents to stockpile'cash in small denominations' for use in emergencies. The warning will ring alarm bells around the world as developed nations increasingly make the move to a cashless society.