Huawei still committed to US market, calls government suspicion ‘groundless’

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Huawei hasn’t given up on the US market despite facing difficulties, CEO Richard Yu told CNET in an email. Chinese smartphone makers have had a rough go in the States in recent months, with US intelligence agencies cautioning consumers against purchasing electronics from firms like Huawei and Xiaomi.

The firm plans to continue operations in the United States. “We are committed to the US market and to earning the trust of US consumers by staying focused on delivering world-class products and innovation,” Yu told CNET.

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Huawei committed to competing in U.S. despite government security concerns

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Huawei Mate 10 Pro hands-on video

Huawei has had a pretty rough few months, with AT&T and Verizon reportedly deciding not to sell the Mate 10 Pro due to pressure from the U.S. government and then Best Buy allegedly opting to stop offering all Huawei products. Despite all of this, though, the company isn’t giving up its U.S. ambitions.

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group, says that Huawei will continue working to establish itself in the U.S. and earn consumers’ trust. Yu’s statement to CNET:

“We are committed to the US market and to earning the trust of US consumers by staying focused on delivering world-class products and innovation. We would never compromise that trust.”

Yu went on to say that the security concerns that the U.S. government has about Huawei are “based on groundless suspicions and are quite frankly unfair.” He added that Huawei is open having a discussion with the heads of the CIA, FBI, and NSA so long as it is based on facts.

While Huawei has a significant international presence, the company hasn’t been able to gain much traction in the U.S. That’s because to date, it’s only ever sold it’s best phones unlocked, while most U.S. consumers buy their phones through their carrier. It’s good to hear that Huawei is going to keep plugging along in the U.S. because products like the Mate 10 Pro and P20 Pro look like solid smartphones, but it’s going to be difficult for the company to gain a significant foothold in the U.S. unless it can convince carriers to sell those products.

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The Government Wants To Share Your Health Data. That’s Not A Terrible Idea.

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The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) want to give you more access to your healthcare data. And they want to help third party companies get at it, too, according to an announcement earlier this month and a recent article from Stat News.

That might sound scary, especially since you’ve been hearing a lot about your data lately, in part thanks to Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. Especially because it’s your medical data, and what could be more personal than that?

But it’s actually not that bad an idea.

First, a little background. In your lifetime you’ve created a tremendously detailed cache of healthcare data. Checkups, dental procedures, medications, that one ER visit in college… all of this information is about your body and could be used to create a picture of your overall health.

There’s a catch: that data is stored in four different systems. And they don’t automatically share data with one another — your dentist’s office won’t send your records to your doctor’s office unless you ask. Lacking access to complete records increases the risk of unnecessary treatments and medical error.

In CMS’s vision, all that data would be available in a central location patients can access anywhere, anytime. The program, called MyHealthEData, would give care providers all that information so they could offer patients the best possible treatment, especially in emergencies.

The program goes one step further  it wants to hand this history over to third party companies as well. That could include medical researchers, health app creators, and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Sharing it could further medical research by providing scientists with data that is otherwise hard to access, leading to treatments that are more effective and better tailored to individual patients.

There are risks, of course. So much valuable data in one place is basically a bull’s eye for hackers. Government infrastructure has been the target of such attacks before, and they are likely to increase in the future.

One thing you at least don’t need to worry about? CMS intentionally sharing your data without your knowledge. Thanks, HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) established a national standard of health data protection and security measures which ensure your records can’t be shared without your consent)!

The ultimate result may be a healthcare ecosystem in which medical professionals, your devices, and patients themselves are better connected. A physician who can see data from a patient’s smartwatch, for example, might be better able to see the signs of a heart attack before it happens.

That kind of system is still a ways off. But to get there, we’ll need to pay close attention to who has access to all our medical records, and especially how those records can be protected. If we do it right, our lives will be the better for it. And if we don’t, well, hackers will auction off our medical data to the highest bidder. The stakes are pretty high.

The post The Government Wants To Share Your Health Data. That’s Not A Terrible Idea. appeared first on Futurism.

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Indian Government Could Take Legal Action Against Apple for Failing to Help with “Do-Not-Disturb” App

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The government of India has toughened its stance on Apple after negotiations between the two parties for a government approved do-not-disturb app fell through. While Apple was reluctant initially, the company came up with a compromise after mounting pressure from the government. Continue reading
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Questionable report claims ‘iPhone SE 2’ built solely in India, launch held up by government

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A new report claims that the "iPhone SE 2" is coming at some point after the "Field Trip" event, and not only will be produced exclusively in India, but the global launch is being delayed by the India government for reasons unknown.
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Amnesty International presses Apple to warn Chinese iCloud users of government snooping risk

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Amnesty International is calling on Apple to inform Chinese iCloud users that their data might be at risk of government prying after the company migrated regional accounts to China-based servers, a move designed to conform with local laws.
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Telegram loses appeal to keep encryption keys from Russian government

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Telegram is a popular messaging service in Russia, partially because of its encrypted communication capabilities. However, the company may be forced to disclose its encryption keys if a new court ruling stands. Russian Supreme Court Judge Alla Nazarova denied Telegram’s appeal today, ordering Telegram to hand over the keys to the Federal Security Service (FSB).

Russia is in the midst of a crackdown on secure messaging clients following the implementation of new anti-terrorism laws in 2016.

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Coca-Cola and US government use blockchain to curb forced labor

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The quest to end forced labor has created some unusual technological allies. Coca-Cola, the US State Department and a trio of crypto organizations (Bitfury Group, Blockchain Trust Accelerator and Emercoin) have launched a pilot project that will use…
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The Government Has Plans for an Asteroid-Destroying Spacecraft

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NASA scientists have devised a plan to take care of an asteroid that has a 1 in 2,700 chance of hitting Earth on September 21, 2135. Their solution?

Blast it with nukes.

The asteroid, known as Bennu, is currently orbiting the Sun about 54 million miles from Earth. The 1,600-foot-wide, 74-billion-pound space object is probably not going to hit the Earth, but it’s not in the U.S. government’s nature to sit idle when a potential threat — no matter how unlikely  — exists. NASA, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and two Energy Department weapons labs have come together to design spacecraft that could explode Bennu if it gets too close.

Hammer Time

According to Buzzfeed Newsthe Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response spacecraft, HAMMER for short, could use one of two tactics to combat an impact. If an asteroid is small enough, HAMMER would use an 8.8-ton “impactor” to smash the object. But, if the asteroid is too big, the spacecraft would instead use an on-board nuclear device to blow it up.

Physicist David Dearborn from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory even suggested to Buzzfeed News that multiple HAMMER craft could throw themselves in front of the asteroid to slow it and change its course.

The HAMMER spacecraft (left) and launch rocket (right). Image Credit: LLNL
The HAMMER spacecraft (left) and launch rocket (right). Image Credit: LLNL.

The idea for HAMMER came from a 2010 report published in the journal Acta Astronautica about defending our planet from near-Earth objects (NEOs). “The two realistic responses considered are the use of a spacecraft functioning as either a kinetic impactor or a nuclear explosive carrier to deflect the approaching NEO,” the report stated.

Unfortunately, the spacecraft may never be built, and NASA scientists declined to give a cost estimate for the project. The agency’s recent OSIRIS-REx mission, already on its way to Bennu, costs upwards of $ 800 million — so cost is likely a serious impediment to HAMMER’s design approval.

The scientists behind this design will present their work in May 2018 at the Catastrophic Disruption in the Solar System workshop in Japan. Even if NASA and its collaborators get the green light to move forward with the project, its important to remember that HAMMER has a 0.0003 percent change of hitting the Earth.

Being prepared, especially if scientists are aware of the possibility of an asteroid collision, is imperative, but it’s unlikely that this asteroid will cause any sort of doomsday scenario akin to the 1998 blockbuster Armageddon. Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck will probably have to sit this one out.

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UK government proposes IoT security and device labelling scheme

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UK government proposes IoT security measures and device labelling scheme

The UK government has proposed an IoT device labelling scheme to ensure that consumers are aware of a product’s security features at the point of purchase.

In addition, the government has published its Secure by Design review, which lays out plans to ensure that manufacturers embed security in the design process rather than bolt them on as an afterthought.

The initiative forms part of the UK government’s five-year, £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy.

The review, developed in collaboration with manufacturers, retailers, and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), comes after a number of high-profile breaches of connected devices, including attacks on smart watches, CCTV cameras, and even children’s dolls.

Several reports have been critical of IoT security, suggesting that manufacturers are ignoring basic safety measures to rush devices to market before their competitors, while another has found privacy and security flaws in many popular smart home devices.

Internet of Business’ recent coverage includes the following news reports:-

Read more: Alexa beware! New smart home tests reveal serious privacy flaws

Read more: Vendors, users ignoring IoT security in rush to market – report

Read more: IoT ramps up cyber security risk, says in-depth report

With an estimated 15 internet-connected devices for every household in the UK by 2020, there could be 420 million in use in homes across the country within three years, meaning both an increased attack surface and a higher chance that insecure devices will be targeted.

Worldwide, IoT connections have been estimated at 20 billion by 2020, while Dell EMC CEO Michael Dell said last October that, “we’ll soon have 100 billion connected devices, and then a trillion, and we will be awash in rich data”.

A national problem

To avoid being awash with security risks, too, the government has outlined the practical steps that IoT companies should take. These include ensuring that all passwords on new devices and products are unique, and cannot be reset to factory defaults, such as ‘admin’.

More, devices should have a vulnerability policy and a public point of contact so security researchers and others can report problems immediately, it says.

The review urges that any sensitive data transmitted by devices or apps should be encrypted, and that software should be updated automatically, with clear guidance to customers on each update. This report reveals that this isn’t the case with some popular brands and devices.

Manufacturers must make it easy for consumers to delete personal data from devices and apps, and ensure that the installation and maintenance of the devices is simple.

“We want everyone to benefit from the huge potential of internet-connected devices, and it is important they are safe and have a positive impact on people’s lives,” said Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries.

“We have worked alongside industry to develop a tough new set of rules, so strong security measures are built into everyday technology from the moment it is developed,” she added.

“This will help ensure that we have the right rules and frameworks in place to protect individuals and that the UK continues to be a world-leading, innovation-friendly digital economy.”

The cost challenge

NCSC technical director Dr Ian Levy said that he hoped that the main legacy of the review would be a government ‘kitemark’ that clearly explains the security promises and effective lifespan of products.

“Shoppers should be given high-quality information to make choices at the counter. We manage it with fat content in food, and this is the start of doing the same for the cyber security of technology products,” he said.

Graeme Wright, CTO for manufacturing, utilities, and services at Fujitsu UK, explained that a key reason for IoT devices not being as secure as other devices is the cost. “Often security risks are down to cost, as devices capable of connecting to the internet are usually cheap to develop and even cheaper to sell at scale,” he said.

“In recent years, we’ve seen how cheap drones, and home automation devices like smart lightbulbs, don’t undergo the rigorous development cycles usually expected with best practice.”

In such an environment, security becomes an expensive afterthought, he suggested.

“The risk of not owning a house alarm is not worth considering when the alarm is protecting everything you own,” he added. “The same can be said for IoT devices: good coding practises, non-hardcoded passwords, and regular firmware or device upgrades can help encourage a more open approach to security, instead of cutting costs to create better sales margins at the cost of consumers’ security.”

Internet of Business says

One of our recent reports on IoT security found that the challenge isn’t only limited to manufacturers who lack a credible track record in enterprise-grade security. Many IoT users – including in medium to large organisations – seem to have a lax attitude to the problem as well. The report found that while many enterprises have either been successfully attacked via IoT devices, or expect to be, only a small minority see IoT security in itself as being very important.

The fact that both home and enterprise IoT devices may be connected to critical systems, and even to the data centre, suggests that many IT professionals need to be better educated about the threat. Part of the challenge is that while an attack on a specific organisation’s smart lightbulbs or HVAC systems might seem implausible – if far from impossible – a broad-spectrum attack on specific device types around the world would be a different matter.

 

 

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