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Found: New Android malware with never-before-seen spying capabilities

By Dan Goodin

Enlarge (credit: portal gda)

Last year, researchers found what at the time was quite possibly the world’s most sophisticated espionage app ever written for the Android mobile operating system. Now, in a discovery that underscores the growing arms race among competing malware developers, researchers have uncovered a new Android spying platform that includes location-based audio recording and other features that have never been seen in the wild before.

According to a report published Tuesday by antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab, “Skygofree” is most likely an offensive security product sold by an Italy-based IT company that markets various surveillance wares. With 48 different commands in its latest version, the malware has undergone continuous development since its creation in late 2014. It relies on five separate exploits to gain privileged root access that allows it to bypass key Android security measures. Skygofree is capable of taking pictures, capturing video, and seizing call records, text messages, gelocation data, calendar events, and business-related information stored in device memory.

Skygofree also includes the ability to automatically record conversations and noise when an infected device enters a location specified by the person operating the malware. Another never-before-seen feature is the ability to steal WhatsApp messages by abusing the Android Accessibility Service that’s designed to help users who have disabilities or who may temporarily be unable to fully interact with a device. A third new feature: the ability to connect infected devices to Wi-Fi networks controlled by attackers.

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Alchemy IoT launches with $4 million seed funding to simplify industrial IoT using artificial intelligence

By Zenobia Hegde

Alchemy IoT, a provider of IoT Asset Intelligence for industrial applications, launched with $4 million (€3.40 million) seed funding from Aweida Venture Partners and several angel investors. The startup’s cloud-based application, Clarity, helps customers achieve a greater return on their industrial assets and competitive advantage.

The product introduces a novel “no-code” approach to IoT Asset Intelligence that simplifies how fleet management, plant maintenance and manufacturing performance can be improved using artificial intelligence and unsupervised machine learning.

Alchemy will focus on helping small- to mid-sized industrial customers overcome the technical and data-science resource mandates that are needed – and often unattainable – to deploy today’s expensive and highly complex IoT solutions.

“The promise of artificial intelligence, machine learning and industrial IoT are very real, but so too are the challenges smaller organisations face when trying to adopt and gain value from these new technologies,” said Victor Perez, CEO for Alchemy IoT. “Our mission is to make AI-powered IoT a ‘no-code’ proposition, one that any industrial company can quickly start and put to use to gain fast value. Too many of today’s IoT solutions require a massive budget and an extraordinary amount of customisation to even getting started – we aim to disrupt and change that.”

Led by technology industry veterans from IBM, ABB, GE, StorageTek, Seagate and Sony Electronics, Alchemy defines its industry approach as “IoT Asset Intelligence,” an AI-based method to quickly gain knowledge and ROI from industrial assets. Supporting Industry 4.0 and digital transformations, this cloud-based approach eliminates the complexity and expense of Big Data and IoT initiatives by shifting the value stream to the asset itself. It aims to standardise workflows and enable no-code IoT adoption to preemptively solve problems and discover new business opportunities.

clarity desktop

Through AI innovation, Alchemy aims to make “data science” available to small- to mid-market industrial customers by delivering a contextual view of operational and performance data – fast, and at a fraction of the cost of expensive, heavyweight, customised solutions. Its Clarity application creates a digital twin of industrial assets, allowing the full benefit of the internet to make industrial assets and data feeds easy to connect to its IoT cloud application.

Using Clarity, teams can visualise asset information in graphical dashboards, analyse asset performance through unsupervised machine learning, and take proactive action to increase the productivity of industrial fleets and machinery.

Clarity stands alone in its ability to deliver self-learning, predictive analytics to automate complex tasks typically performed by high-cost and scarce data scientists. Offering asset data analytics through a low-cost SaaS model also enables customers to quickly deploy and scale thousands of devices within 48 hours of using Alchemy’s unique auto-provisioning capabilities.

“There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence and IoT will transform how companies operate and wi

Jesse Aweida

n in the industrial IoT market, and Alchemy has proven that it can make these technologies accessible smartly and practically,” said Jesse Aweida, general manager of Aweida Venture Partners. “I am very excited to support the Alchemy team as it moves to simplify and speed time-to-value for industrial IoT […]

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Annual IIoT maturity survey – Adoption of IIoT in manufacturing, oil and gas, and transportation

By IoT Now Magazine

Awareness of the competitive landscape is vital to any business. Did you know that 86% of organizations already have an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solution in place? Bsquare’s 2017 annual IIoT Adoption Study also found that 96% of your transportation industry peers are happy with their solutions. But there’s more to the story.

Most organizations leave extensive ROI opportunities on the table due to limited IIoT deployments. In fact, fewer than half utilize sophisticated IIoT functionalities – like advanced analytics (48%) and automation (28%) – that increase ROI potential.

How does your organization stack up? Check out the full survey findings in this white paper.

It provides an overview of the current state of IIoT adoption, as well as a framework for advancing your IIoT initiatives and enhancing ROI. Additionally, you’ll gain competitive insights into prevailing industry attitudes towards IIoT, solution deployment progress, motivating factors, business objectives, and technology investment projections.

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Annual IIoT maturity survey – Adoption of IIoT in manufacturing, oil and gas, and transportation

By IoT Now Magazine

Awareness of the competitive landscape is vital to any business. Did you know that 86% of organizations already have an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solution in place? Bsquare’s 2017 annual IIoT Adoption Study also found that 96% of your transportation industry peers are happy with their solutions. But there’s more to the story.

Most organizations leave extensive ROI opportunities on the table due to limited IIoT deployments. In fact, fewer than half utilize sophisticated IIoT functionalities – like advanced analytics (48%) and automation (28%) – that increase ROI potential.

How does your organization stack up? Check out the full survey findings in this white paper.

It provides an overview of the current state of IIoT adoption, as well as a framework for advancing your IIoT initiatives and enhancing ROI. Additionally, you’ll gain competitive insights into prevailing industry attitudes towards IIoT, solution deployment progress, motivating factors, business objectives, and technology investment projections.

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New research shows industrial organisations increasingly focused on IoT adoption, but most are still in early stages

By Zenobia Hedge

Bsquare, a provider of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions, released the findings of its first annual IIoT Maturity Study. This explores the current IoT adoption progress of business buyers in Manufacturing, Transportation, and Oil and Gas (O&G).

According to the 2017 study, 86% of industrial organisations are currently adopting IoT solutions and 84% believe those solutions are very or extremely effective. In addition, 95% believe that IoT has a significant or tremendous impact on their industry. However, the study also shows that most IIoT investments are focused on connectivity (78%) and data visualisation (83%). In addition, only 48% are doing advanced analytics on that data and only a small number (28%) are automating the application of insights derived from analytics.

“Our study shows that while industrial organisations have enthusiastically adopted IIoT, a majority have not yet moved to more advanced analytics-driven orchestration of data insights,” said Kevin Walsh, vice president of marketing at Bsquare.

“These later stages of IIoT maturity—analytics, orchestration and true edge computing—tend to be where most of the ROI is realised. This is especially important because, according to our study, the number one reason cited for IIoT adoption is cost reduction.”

Bsquare’s 2017 Annual IIoT Maturity Study was conducted in the United States in August 2017, and reached more than 300 respondents at companies with annual revenues in excess of $250 million (€214.53 million). Participants were evenly divided among three industry groups (Manufacturing, Transportation, and O&G) and titles covered a wide spectrum of senior-level personnel with operational responsibilities, most of whom had spent an average of six years in their organisations.

Key highlights from the report include:

The vast majority (86%) of organisations are deploying IIoT solutions, led by Construction/Transportation (93%) and followed by O&G (89%) and Manufacturing (77%).
Nearly two-thirds (73%) of all businesses plan to increase their IoT investments over the next 12 months, despite almost every respondent acknowledging that IoT deployments are complex.
Nine out of 10 decision-makers feel it is very or somewhat important for their organisation to adopt IoT solutions. And 95% perceive IoT as having either a significant or tremendous impact on their industry at a global level.
Industrial organisations are using IoT most frequently for device connectivity and data forwarding (78%), real-time monitoring (56%), and advanced data analytics (48%). More mature uses of IoT, such as automation and enhanced on-board intelligence, are also prevalent in industrial settings.

Kevin Walsh

More than 90% of IIoT adopters cite device-health as the primary reason for IoT adoption followed by logistics (67%), reducing operating costs (24%) and increasing production volume (18%).
More than half of organisations are using annual subscription models for their IIoT solutions, and 77% use a cloud-based model. Amazon and Microsoft were tied (14%) for the preferred cloud service provider.

The IoT Maturity Index outlines the stages commonly associated with Industrial IoT technology adoption. Each phase typically builds on the previous one, allowing organisations to drive maximum value as they progress through the index.

The stages include:

Device connectivity – on-board logic to collect data and transmit to cloud databases
Data monitoring – dashboard and […]

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