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.
Eddy Cue, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, demonstrates the new Apple Pay mobile payment system at a Whole Foods store in Cupertino, Calif. The nature of identity fraud is changing. With the rollout of smart chips in credit and debit cards making it more difficult to steal using cards themselves, thieves have their eyes on your data instead. If you don't protect yourself, you could join the 13.1 million Americans Javelin Strategy & Research reported got hit by identity thieves in 2015. While mobile banking and payments are certainly making it easier and more convenient to handle one's finances and conduct business, the same ease and convenience make them a ripe target for criminals, says Madeline Aufseeser, CEO of fraud-prevention company Tender Armor.
Alphabet Inc. is working on several developments with Cuba to expand internet connectivity in the country, the company announced in a blog post Monday. These partnerships are the first of what the company hopes will be more developments in Cuba. Google has partnered with the Organic Romerillo Museum in Havana and will offer Google Cardboard, the low-cost virtual reality headsets, and Google Chromebook to visitors. These products will be connected to the internet via the government-owned network operator ETECSA. "We hope this installation will enable people for whom internet access is scarce to browse the web and find information.
We'll find out this week what the tech giant is planning and how virtual and augmented reality factor into its goal to remain the world's most valuable company, as well as updates on the world's most popular operating system, Android, and possibly details on a return to China. On Wednesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai will take the stage at the Shoreline Amphitheatre -- a 15-minute walk from his office at Google's Mountain View, California, headquarters -- and deliver an update on the company's current and coming projects. Nominally a conference for developers, Google I/O is really a way of keeping everyone updated on what it is working on, to help give products that are underperforming a promotional push and to remain in the public eye about other projects that may have slipped from the public memory due to being in development so long. Last year, it was all about a big update to Android; the previous year Google pushed Android TV and Android Wear; in 2013 it was the launch of Google Music; and 2012 saw a team of skydivers drop onto the Moscone Center stage in San Francisco during the keynote, shooting their exploits on Google Glass and live streaming it to an awestruck audience. This year, while we will hear about Android, Chrome OS, driverless cars and Project Ara, the big focus will be on the tech world's hot topic: virtual reality.
Sprint customers in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City will be among the first to test the company's 5G wireless network when it launches in May, executives said Monday. Expect an additional five markets -- Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. -- to come online by the first half of the year, said Sprint chief executive Michel Combes. The impending launch could make Sprint the first U.S. wireless carrier to offer a mass-market 5G service for smartphones in a global race to provide faster download speeds and support for new applications such as self-driving cars. Customers of Google Fi, the wireless service run by Google on Sprint's network, will be able to connect to Sprint's 5G capabilities, as well, Combes said -- though it is unclear when Google Fi customers will gain access to 5G smartphones that can take advantage of the new technology. Company officials declined to say how Sprint's 5G plans will be sold to consumers, or at what price.