Apple CEO warns users to encrypt data, dismisses ‘beauty contest’ for next campus

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Following yesterday’s education-focused Apple media event in Chicago, CEO Tim Cook returned to Lane Tech College Prep High School today for a taped interview with Recode, which tweeted key details from the conversation. In addition to discussing education, Cook addressed a handful of recent topics, ranging from the Facebook debacle and user p…Read More
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Mining industry must strengthen IoT security, warns report

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Inmarsat digs into prospect of Internet of Mining Things

Inmarsat report finds that mining companies are struggling to secure IoT deployments.

Almost all mining companies are worried that their cybersecurity needs urgent improvement as the industry looks to implement IoT projects, according to a new report.

As part of satellite communications firm Inmarsat’s The Future of IoT in Enterprise report, market research specialist Vanson Bourne interviewed respondents from 100 large mining companies across the world.

The survey found that 94 percent of these operations admitted that their approach to cybersecurity could be significantly improved, while 67 percent said that their data security measures would need a “complete overhaul” to be fit for IoT deployments.

A lack of relevant skills has emerged as a key area of concern, with 64 percent of respondents saying that they needed additional cybersecurity skills in order to safely deploy IoT technologies.

However, despite recognising the increased security risks associated with the IoT, just 44 percent are investing in new security technologies. Only 17 per cent reported that they are taking steps to plug the security skills gap by hiring new staff.

But why are these issues of critical importance to the mining sector?

Increased cybersecurity risks

Joe Carr, director of Mining at Inmarsat Enterprise, said that mining companies stand to make considerable gains by exploiting digital technologies and applications, such as the IoT, but as the industry becomes more digital-oriented, the risks for these businesses increase.

“A more connected mine is a more vulnerable one, and as the IoT connects ever more parts of a mining company’s operations to the internet, it opens up new avenues for attack, whether that’s from environmentalist groups seeking to disrupt operations, or from state-sponsored actors conducting cyber espionage,” he said.

Carr added that the sector’s increased dependency on data for its operations and profitability means that the risks of not having adequate security in place grow exponentially.

“Whereas a decade ago a data breach or intrusion would have been an inconvenience, today a mine might grind to a complete halt, so it is worrying that so many mining companies are struggling in this area,” he said.

He added that for businesses to thrive in this climate, IoT and digital security needs to be at the top of the agenda, and it is essential for boards to increase their understanding of the risks.

“This involves ensuring that the fundamental network infrastructure underpinning device connectivity aligns with the highest security and reliability standards, and that the endpoints are configured correctly,” he added.

This echoes a similar 2017 report by EY, which found that 55 percent of mining operators had experienced a significant cybersecurity incident.

That report also found that 97 percent of organisations admitted that their current cybersecurity function did not fully meet their organisation’s needs. Despite all this, only 53 percent of respondents had increased investment in cybersecurity.

Internet of Business says

A raft of recent reports have identified IoT security as a blind spot for many organisations. And as IoT systems are layered on top of legacy networks and critical systems, this introduces a much broader attack surface, where responsibility for security becomes less and less clear.

This is why organisations need to take responsibility themselves, stress test systems, and consider in advance the possible impacts of a cyber attack.

However, several Internet of Business reports reveal that many organisations simply aren’t taking responsibility, and are doing little to secure the IoT, despite strong awareness of the risks.

To plug this gap ourselves, we have recently published a number of reports that suggest some solutions to this fast-growing problem:-

Read more: IoT Security: How to fight attacks on health, energy, and transport

Read more: Gartner: IoT security spend hitting $ 1.5 billion – but strategy poor

Read more: Reports reveal critical need for IoT cybersecurity upgrade

5G networks will also demand an entirely new approach to security, warned a panel of experts in another recent report:

Read more: How to secure 5G to prevent IoT disasters: expert panel

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Skills: UK nation of IoT marketers, not engineers warns critical report

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The UK has hundreds of thousands of IoT professionals – just not the right ones, suggests a new employment report. Chris Middleton explains why the UK needs to take urgent action to rethink its workforce.

There are 28 qualified professionals for every Industry 4.0 post advertised in the UK, according to a new report.

The document finds that there are an average of 14,368 Industry 4.0 jobs advertised every year in the UK, and nearly 400,000 qualified professionals in total (399,719 people).

Over 150,000 of those professionals are either actively or passively searching for new work, it says, meaning that there is an average of 11 experienced people for every new job opportunity in the IoT and related areas.

The report has been produced by a new organisation called i-AMdigital, which describes itself as a “talent partner” for enterprises working with digital technologies such as IoT systems, robotics, AI, big data analytics, and 3D printing.

A nation of marketers

Delve into the granular detail, and the report reveals a fascinating – if not altogether positive – picture of the UK’s new technology sector.

Despite the prevalence of skilled and talented professionals in analytics, engineering, and IT systems – with degrees from universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, and London’s Imperial College and University College – the UK is overwhelmingly sales and marketing focused, it says.

Nearly one-third (31 percent) of the entire Industry 4.0 workforce is in business development and sales positions – in roles such as IIoT or big data sales managers – versus just five percent in research and development, across areas such as AI and robotics.

Over one-quarter of those sales professionals want to change jobs, it finds, while 31 percent of the UK’s researchers are actively looking for new opportunities too. The report implies that the marketers may find it much easier to do that than the researchers.

With recent findings that the UK spends too little on R&D – 1.4 percent or less of GDP – compared with countries such as the US, Japan, France and Germany, the figures are troubling. With Brexit on the horizon, the UK needs to at least double its R&D spend to compete on the world stage.

With its historic strengths in areas such as computer science, AI, and the Web, Internet of Business suggests that the UK should aim even higher than three percent of GDP.

At the recent Westminster eForum on AI policy, attended by figures from government, academia, and business, a senior civil servant told Internet of Business that the UK is now being “actively excluded” from European science and technology research programmes in which it has previously had a central role.

Too many unfilled jobs

So what of the rest of the UK’s Industry 4.0 workforce?

Nineteen percent work in engineering roles, such as data scientist or machine learning engineer, says the report, and a further 19 per cent in more traditional IT positions. In both cases, one-quarter of those professionals are looking for new opportunities, says the report.

The remaining seven percent of industry experts are consultants, according to i-AMdigital.

This employment breakdown reveals another big challenge for the UK’s IoT and Industry 4.0 sector: 37 percent of all the relevant jobs advertised in the UK are in traditional IT roles. That’s nearly twice the number that are in sales (20 percent) or specialist engineering (22 percent). Just four percent of advertised jobs are in marketing, and three percent in consulting.

In other words, the UK market is flooded with marketers and sales people when it really needs to be full of qualified IT workers who can fill tech positions.

There are seven active professionals for every sales job, adds the report, and also for every R&D post. However, the survey demonstrates that there are different explanations for this parity: there are far too many marketers and far too few research roles.

This reinforces both anecdotal employer evidence and the findings of several local jobs surveys: the UK has countless unfilled IT vacancies, even in supposed digital hotspots, such as Brighton or Manchester.

In a world of social platforms and surface noise, it seems that the UK is overly focused on selling things that it doesn’t know how to produce or run itself.

The report also finds a strong bias towards London and the South-East. Forty-three percent of Industry 4.0 jobs are in London, it says, versus just two percent apiece in other hotspots, such as Manchester, Birmingham, and Bristol, and just one percent in Edinburgh.

More, the report reveals that many Industry 4.0 professionals are working for a small number of major companies, such as Accenture, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Deloitte, PwC, KPMG, Boston Consulting Group, and EY. In short, the big consultancies and systems integrators are mopping up the UK’s talent – which is perhaps no surprise.

However, with so little investment being put into R&D nationally, that focus on working for big-ticket, overseas giants is likely to remain – despite the success of innovation zones and startup hubs, such as Tech City, Sensor City, and others.

Internet of Business says

The UK’s track record in innovation is second to none. And it’s good to know that the country’s IoT and Industry 4.0 market has 400,000 qualified and experienced workers: that’s a positive message. But in other respects, these findings ought to ring alarm bells in Whitehall and among employers. 

Here’s why. First, the government has refocused its industrial strategy on AI, robotics, and autonomous systems, with a new Office for AI and other welcome initiatives. This means that digital expertise is critical, and Whitehall is funding new PhD opportunities, and more. That’s good news.

However, it’s clear that – at present – the UK has the wrong workforce mix for an ambitious, independent future. The country urgently needs to refocus on R&D and on nurturing the hard skills and experience in the technology sector. Not just from the top down, but also from the ground up at local level.

At present, the UK has too few research positions for its world-leading experts, too many unfilled digital posts in its big towns and cities, and a job market full of marketers and sales people.

More, the UK is overly reliant on London and on a small number of big companies.

With reports that several banks are reconsidering their positions in London, post-Brexit, and news that Unilever – the UK’s third biggest company – is quitting the country for the Netherlands after almost a century, there is a risk that other major employers and IP owners may follow.

The facts are stark: if the big consultancies, IT giants, and systems integrators think about leaving too, then the UK will be in big trouble. And that’s not a message that will be easy for thousands of marketers to sell.

• i-AMdigital has produced similar reports on the US and European markets, which we will publish soon.

Read more: South Korea most automated nation on earth, says report. The UK? Going nowhere

Read more: IoT sends demand for mobile skills soaring, say recruitment experts

Read more: Inmarsat research: skills gap threatens IoT innovation in energy sector


IoTBuild is coming to San Francisco, CA on March 27 & 28, 2018 – Sign up to learn all you need to know about building an IoT ecosystem.IoT Build

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Blockchain: “not solution to 90 percent of problems”, warns expert

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Blockchain specialist Denis Baranov, principal consultant at consultancy group DataArt, has warned the UK’s Institute of Directors of the dangers of jumping on the blockchain bandwagon.

“In about 90 per cent of cases, blockchain is not the solution for an individual company or organisation, and there is a better answer,” he said.

While the distributed ledger technology could have a transformative effect on some processes, it would be dangerous to follow the hype and jump onboard for the wrong reasons, he added.

IoD meets the IoT

Denis Baranov

Baranov was a panellist at an IoD event in London this week, Volatile cryptocurrency and game-changing blockchain: What does the future hold?, moderated by broadcaster and technology journalist David McClelland.

The discussion presented an uncertain outlook for cryptocurrency in its current form, but sent a strong message that blockchain is “coming of age” for a range of business applications.

Despite that, Baranov – an early blockchain innovator and consultant to industry – warned against falling for AI-style hype and making big strategic errors.

“We already have big data and many solutions,” Baranov said. “Just as with AI, where lots of people said, ‘Our company should get some AI because everyone is getting AI’, when it often isn’t the appropriate solution, some are now saying ‘Blockchain, I must get some blockchain’ because everyone has it.

In about 90 per cent of cases blockchain is not the solution for an individual company or organisation, and there is a better answer.

“However, for 10 percent, blockchain makes perfect sense and is a powerful addition, creating transparency, accountability and huge competitive advantage. The key is knowing what this technology is, does, and can do.”

Blockchain doesn’t play well

Baranov explained, as a distributed technology, blockchain does not work well in isolation, adding that, “blockchain is a community.”

On data aggregation as a barrier against the use of blockchain technology, Baranov said that in many cases a hybrid technology that incorporates blockchain is the best solution, bypassing the issues created by the attachment of heavy data loads.

Read Internet of Business’ own, equally cautious, report on blockchain applications here: IoT 101: How blockchain will transform manufacturing and supply chains.

Baranov emphasised the importance of starting the decision-making process by examining the business case, rather than bringing in the technology for the sake of it, as many have done with AI.

• Also on the panel was cryptocurrency consultant Matthew Baldock of Portsmouth Crypto, who explained that cryptocurrency is only anonymous in theory, as blockchain makes it both traceable and accountable. He added that the Bitcoin Lightning Network – which has gone live this week after beta testing – is highly controversial in the crypto community and generally disliked.

• Jonathan Beddoes, co-founder of Giftcoin, a blockchain start-up that aims to enhance transparency and trust in charities, presented the ICO (Initial Coin Offering) soon to be launched by his company.

Internet of Business says

We have published a number of in-depth reports recently on both blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The strong theme in all of these is to compare the hype, ideology, and – in some cases – complete lack of common sense of the technologies’ more evangelical fans with their real-world impacts, such as processing power, energy, and basic physics.

But at the same time, we are clear about the technologies’ potential value, their advantages, their promise, and their future at the core of the Internet of Things – and share some inspiring examples.

As is the case with AI, blockchain and crypto present unique challenges, which make them distinctly different to other waves of technology innovation, such as cloud services or mobility. Just as AI challenges traditional notions of accountability and responsibility, so blockchain and crypto shine a light on longstanding concepts such as value and trust.

In some cases, they propose a superior alternative to systems that have become corrupt and abused over decades – even centuries. But at the same time, they need to be anchored in the real world of physics, value, time, and good sense.

As ever with new technology: put strategic business need first, and technology second.

Read more: IoT 101: How blockchain will transform manufacturing and supply chains

Read more: Cryptocurrencies failing, claims Bank of England. But is it right?

Read more: Qarnot QC1: An IoT heater that mines for cryptocurrency. Hot idea?

Read more: IoT firm deploys blockchain to transform pharmaceutical shipments

Read more: Opinion: Use blockchain to build a global data commons

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CPSC Warns: Stop Using Your ‘AmazonBasics’ Battery Pack Immediately

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We’ve covered far too many reports of battery overheating in the past, incidents in which mobile phone batteries have either burned, exploded, or caused physical damage as the result of their apparent malfunction. Nobody wants to deal with the issue of an overheating battery, not you, not me, and certainly not the Consumer Product Safety Commission […]
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FCC warns consumers about “scourge” of scam robocalls and caller ID spoofers

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The Federal Communications Commission wants you to know that it is fighting on the side of the average American consumer, and not just devoted to appeasing the likes of Comcast and Verizon, by taking on the existentially crucial issue of scammy phone calls. Sort of. Like, they’re thinking about it.

Today, the FCC announced that it will hold a joint policy forum with the Federal Trade Commission on March 23 on the topic of illegal robocalls and what these agencies, along with “private sector solutions,” can do to stop them.

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Apple warns customers about phishing emails, details legitimate communication

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Apple last week posted a new support document to its website detailing a few tips designed to help customers distinguish official emails from phishing attempts, the latter of which have become increasingly sophisticated in recent months.
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Apple warns customers to watch out for a new wave of App Store phishing emails

Apple scam

You can never be too careful when visiting unfamiliar websites or opening emails from sources you don’t recognize, but on occasion, it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s fake. For example, in recent weeks, a convincing new phishing scam has been appearing in the inboxes of App Store users, and while it isn’t particularly innovative, it has apparently become enough of a problem that Apple felt the need to warn its customers on its website.

9to5Mac shared a copy of one of the phishing emails on Tuesday, which appears as a subscription confirmation for a service that the user didn’t actually sign up for. In the email, the user is alerted that they have signed up for a 30-day free trial of YouTube Red, and that they will be charged $ 144.99/month once the trial period ends.

The point of the scam is to have the user click on the link to cancel the subscription (which they never actually signed up for in the first place). Once they click through, they are asked for a range of sensitive information, from Apple ID to credit card details. Most of us would catch on at this point, but the email is admittedly fairly convincing.

In response to this phishing attempt, Apple has published a page on its site explaining how to identify a legitimate App Store or iTunes Store email from a fake. Here’s what you need to look out for when you see an email from Apple:

If you receive an email about an App Store or iTunes Store purchase, and you’re not sure whether it is real, you can look for a couple of things that can help confirm that the message is from Apple.

Genuine purchase receipts—from purchases in the App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, or Apple Music—include your current billing address, which scammers are unlikely to have. You can also review your App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, or Apple Music purchase history.

Emails about your App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, or Apple Music purchases will never ask you to provide this information over email:

  • Social Security Number
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Full credit card number
  • Credit card CCV code

If you’re concerned about an email or a message and can’t decide if it’s real, just contact Apple. Customer service will be able to pull up your account and make sure that you aren’t making any unexpected payments.

Apple – BGR

The ESRB now warns against in-game purchases

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) today announced that it’s launching a new “in-app purchases” (IAP) warning label. Future software products containing IAPs will display this label, informing parents and consumers that the game they’re purchasing contains additional paid-for elements. According to the ESRB, the labels apply to games which allow players to “purchase digital goods or premiums with real world currency.” The organization went on to offer specific examples, although noted it isn’t an exhaustive list of what might earn its ire. These include: bonus levels, skins, surprise items (such as item packs, loot boxes, mystery awards), music, virtual…

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Apple updates HomePod support page, warns about marks on wood

A number of HomePod owners have started noticing rings left on wooden surfaces, particularly those with oil-based finishes. The silicone in the base of the HomePod can react to oil on a molecular level, causing these marks or rings. This type of problem is not specific to the HomePod, in fact, all kinds of speakers (or anything with a silicone base like an Amazon Echo Dot) can cause these kinds of marks on wood. Because of this, Apple has updated its HomePod support page with the following information regarding the HomePod and wooden surfaces. It is not unusual for any speaker with a… – Latest articles