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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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Data, dashboards and decisions

By IoT Now Magazine

Cloudleaf enterprise solutions orchestrate the flow of assets across the three dimensions of data, dashboards and decisions, writes Nitesh Arora, the head of marketing at the company

Cloudleaf IoT solutions are predicated on the most robust, secure and interoperable technologies available today. However, our story doesn’t end there. Although we’re undeniably a tech company, our solutions approach is decidedly non-technical; we view technology as the means not the end. In fact, we can extend this idea by saying that, for us, the success of an IoT implementation is measured, not by the number of sensors or cloud analytics apps, but by the degree to which it provides sustainable and measurable value to society, the environment and on the bottom line. By adopting a Three Ds solutions approach, we’re able offer rich live data, accessible from intuitive mobile dashboards from which operations managers can quickly make critical resourcing and prioritisation decisions.

Now that we’ve got that straight, let’s come back down to earth and talk nuts and bolts in terms that both engineers and everyday folk can understand. If you read our other article on page 16 of this issue, you’ll get a good idea of how the Cloudleaf Sensor Network helps those running industrial operations derive maximum business value in the areas of:

Asset utilisation – Serialised management, location tracking and monitoring, utilisation, inventory control and dwell-time management
Factory operations – Product quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC), audit and regulatory compliance, safety and loss management, work node control and work in progress (WIP)
Complex assemblies – Multi site/party workflows, supplier conformance, on-time delivery and penalty mitigation
Condition monitoring – Predictive/prescriptive management, environmental monitoring and fault management

So let’s get further down into the weeds and talk about our tech.

The Cloudleaf family of products is made up from a collection of end-to-end hardware, connectivity, cloud services and apps that solve distributed manufacturing challenges and harmonise workflow relationships between people, systems and things. Our endpoint sensors, zone sensors and gateways form an intelligent-mesh that orchestrates the flow of realtime asset data, elegantly bridging the operation technology (OT) domain processes with back-office information technology (IT) business systems. We call this the CloudLeaf Sensor Fabric. Let’s take a closer look at the components:

Cloudleaf Sensor Fabric The Cloudleaf Sensor Fabric is composed of patented, easyto-deploy, purpose-built and location aware sensors and gateways, to enable smarter operations, with indoor, outdoor and in-transit coverage.

Cloudleaf Sensors – Long-range sensors that securely collect and share asset location and condition data over our patented Bluetooth Smart technology.

Each Cloudleaf-enabled asset in the Sensor Fabric generates a unique digital fingerprint with location and contextual metadata (such as temperature, shock, vibration and more). More assets-sensors results in the more accurate data and better intelligence. There is virtually no limit to the number, class, location or mobility of assets that can join the fabric. Moving containers of raw materials, lab samples, sub-assemblies, components, finished products, high-value handheld tools and fixed industrial robots are all excellent candidate asset types. And given a two-to-five year battery life, long-range Bluetooth connectivity and sensor provisioning from the […]

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ZTE and velcom jointly announce Belarus’ first NB-IoT commercial deployment

By Zenobia Hegde

ZTE Corporation, a major international provider of telecommunications, enterprise and consumer technology solutions for the Mobile Internet, and velcom, a branch of A1 Telekom Austria Group, jointly announced the deployment of the first scaled commercial Narrowband IoT(NB-IoT) network in Belarus.

The network was deployed in Minsk city first and then in other regions accordingly as scheduled. So far, velcom has verified smart metering and smart city solutions in the network.

The cooperation of NB-IoT between velcom and ZTE has started since the end of last year. In April’s Tibo exhibition, the end-to-end gas metering service demo has been successfully demonstrated. Following that, more lab tests and field tests were carried out.

velcom has highly appreciated ZTE’s commitment in this market. “We are very excited that, with ZTE, we have provided abundant services to our customers. Within the project, we installed equipment that will allow us to implement NB-IoT technology. This is an incredible breakthrough in the field of telecommunications, and we are happy to complete it together. We are sincerely glad to have such a partnership and looking forward to further cooperation.” said Mr. Christian Laque, CTO of velcom.

Mr. Pu Yingchun, vice president of ZTE and general manager of FDD Products, said: “ZTE is very proud to work with velcom to release the first NB-IoT commercial deployment overseas. The achievement signifies ZTE’s capabilities of providing operators with the smooth evolution solution towards 5G.”

velcom is one of the leading mobile operators in Belarus dedicated to providing customers with the cutting-edge communication services. It started its 3G network rollouts in March 2010. In February 2016, velcom was the first to launch UMTS-900 throughout the whole country, bringing dramatic coverage extension and high mobile data quality.

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Orange Belgium’s new IoT network claims 100% coverage to support massive Internet of Things solutions

By Zenobia Hegde

The possibilities offered by the Internet of Things (IoT) are growing strongly in Belgium and throughout the world. Orange Belgium decided last year to invest in new IoT technologies based on international standards, and has now announced the availability of Narrow Band-IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M technologies, so called “Mobile IoT”, across the whole Belgian territory, reaching nationwide coverage both indoors and outdoors.

The NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies are Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) cellular network layers that will allow millions of everyday objects to be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). LPWA technologies offer many advantages when connecting objects to the Internet of Things, such as extending the battery life of the connected equipment by up to 10 years thanks to low energy consumption, or drastically reducing the cost of the radio modules inside the devices that need to be connected. Smart furniture, smart parking and asset tracking for instance become possible.

Orange turns Belgium into a mobile IoT test lab

The Mobile IoT technologies bring a different approach to LPWA technologies. Apart from extended battery life and the minimal cost of radio modules, NB-IoT and LTE-M is also said to enable:

Full bidirectional communication between the object and the network allowing firmware software updates over the air;

The best possible mobile coverage (up to +20dB compared to 2G/4G coverage), considerably improving signal penetration inside buildings;
Guaranteed connectivity abroad (roaming) on other operators’ mobile IoT networks;
And the safest solution for IoT connectivity as it operates in licensed spectrum. Moreover, says Orange, the SIM card offers secure connections thanks to LTE networks’ unique capabilities in terms of authenticating and encrypting the data in transit.

Gabriel Flichy, chief technology officer of Orange Belgium, explains: “The choice for Mobile IoT technologies is future-proof as it is fully consistent with the future evolution towards 5G. It will then be possible to connect objects that require very high reliability e.g. for the remote control of critical devices and automation processes.”

“Today we are already using our Mobile IoT network together with the Flemish government for a project with connected bikes in collaboration with our partners Huawei and Sensinxs; IMEC is testing a smart plug project as part of Antwerp’s City of Things program and we have teamed up with CommuniThings for smart parking solutions. We invite all application developers, system integrators and early adopters to test the advantages of Orange Mobile IoT network.”

Overall Mobile IoT will act as the catalyst for companies to establish connections that would not have been viable with existing technologies. Consumers will see a huge variety of new products, services and applications enabled by Mobile IoT.

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TM Forum launches Open API lab to foster innovation

By Zenobia Hegde

TM Forum, the industry association driving digital transformation through collaboration, announced the launch of an online Open API lab “platform” that will accelerate innovation for service providers and suppliers. The lab provides an environment where users can learn, innovate and develop applications and new digital services. The platform, developed with IBM and Neural Technologies, is hosted on IBM Cloud.

In today’s rapidly evolving world, the need for experimentation in the R&D process has never been greater. The Open API lab platform will accelerate innovation and support experimentation and prototyping of new services that are underpinned by TM Forum’s Open APIs. By leveraging IBM Cloud, open source capabilities, and Neural Technologies’ Optimus platform, the Open API lab will enable faster deployment of TM Forum’s Open APIs, as well as providing access to many open source technologies, such as Node.js, OAuth2 and Connect ID.

The lab will also have capabilities to build and check the application of Open APIs in TM Forum’s proof-of-concept Catalyst projects, through which TM Forum is driving the industry’s cultural and digital transformation.

The Open APIs are designed to be used as a suite of APIs to maximise their benefits. Lab users will have access to an Open API component framework developed by TM Forum members which will demonstrate how the APIs can be used as a suite to manage end to end services as part of a flow of capabilities.

Steve Canepa

“The TM Forum Open API lab is the next step in our support for designers, architects and developers to accelerate innovation. The Forum Open APIs enable organisations to reap the rewards of operational agility and business model innovation as it provides a great environment for experimentation and prototype development,” said Joann O’Brien, vice president APIs & Ecosystems at TM Forum.

TM Forum’s Open APIs have been proven to reduce operational expenditure through increased reuse, creating a more agile business where innovation can thrive. Service providers have also advocated the use of Open APIs to reduce integration in the context of mergers and acquisitions.

“As communication service providers look to digitally reinvent their businesses and to support rapidly increasing network demands, APIs and microservices are combining with cloud as the platform for digital innovation,” said Steve Canepa, managing director, Global Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment Industry, IBM. “The IBM Cloud, secure to the core and built to enable agile enterprises, allows CSPs to have access to a rich set of platform services and AI that can be combined with the TMForum Open APIs to speed the development of new digital services and the modernisation of existing applications.

Nik Willetts

Kai Sui, CEO of Neural Technologies, commented: “We believe that the TM Forum Open API Lab initiative will play a key part in digital transformation strategies, and that the Optimus Platform from Neural Technologies will drive enterprises into achieving complete digitisation of their business.”

“TM Forum members are on a journey of digital transformation, and we support them by providing the tools and services that they need to culturally and technically transform their business in order […]

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