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Kaspersky launches IoT OS

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Kaspersky Lab has launched KasperskyOS, a specialised operating system designed for embedded systems with strict cybersecurity requirements.

“A massive undertaking that has taken Kaspersky Lab’s best talent 15 years to create,” says the company, KasperskyOS is now commercially available to OEMs, ODMs, systems integrators and software developers around the world. Key implementations of the operating system are tailored for the telecoms and automotive industries as well as critical infrastructure.

Kaspersky Lab provided the folliowing information:

KasperskyOS introduces a secure-by-design environment for the ever-growing and increasingly attacked embedded systems and IoT devices. In a modern connected world where rich IoT devices are being used by consumers, utilised in critical infrastructure, control many aspects of our everyday life, the demand for a strong security approach is higher than ever. Based on a new, developed entirely in-house microkernel, the new Kaspersky Lab’s solution utilises well-established principles of security-driven development such as Separation Kernel, Reference Monitor, Multiple Independent Levels of Security and the Flux Advanced Security Kernel architecture. KasperskyOS was designed with specific industries in mind and thus not only solves security issues, but also addresses organisational and business challenges related to secure application development for embedded systems.

Eugene Kaspersky, Chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, comments; “We understood from the very beginning that designing our own operating system would be a huge undertaking – a project that would require vast resources for many years before it could be commercialised. Today we see clear demand for strengthened security in critical infrastructure, telecoms and the finance industry, as well as in both consumer and industrial IoT devices. In the beginning it was a risky investment that no other security vendor had the courage to conduct. But today, thanks to our efforts, we have a product that provides the maximum possible level of immunity against cyberattacks – a product based on principles that can be verified independently”.

The deployment flexibility

KasperskyOS is not a general-purpose operating system. It is designed for, and meets the requirements of, embedded devices and is aimed at three key industries: telecommunication, automotive and industrial. In addition, Kaspersky Lab is also developing deployment packages for the financial industry (security of POS-terminals and thin client PS) and the security enhancement of critical operations for general-purpose Linux-based systems and endpoints in particular. Ease of deployment is achieved with three packages implementing certain features of KasperskyOS.

KasperskyOS itself offers maximum security, although its requirements bring an extra challenge to a customer’s development process. It can be used as a base on which to build devices like network routers, IP cameras or IoT controllers. It addresses the needs of the telecom industry, critical infrastructure applications and the emerging development of the Internet of Things.

Kaspersky Secure Hypervisor at a slightly reduced cost, Kaspersky Secure Hypervisor makes it possible to execute applications with strict control over how they communicate with each other. It addresses the needs of telecoms, the automotive industry and can also be used for general security purposes, up to the secure operation of endpoints.

Kaspersky Security System brings enforced security to conventional operating systems as well as other embedded and real-time OS with minimal development overheads.

Andrey Nikishin, Head of Future Technologies Business Development, comments; “There is no such thing as 100% security, but KasperskyOS guarantees our customers the first 99%. Technically speaking, in a really complex environment, attempts to inject a certain code in our system cannot be successful. Our advantage is that, since any malicious operation is undocumented by the security policy, being an integral part of any application, the payload will never be executed. KasperskyOS is therefore immune from the typical cyberthreat agenda of today.”

Availability:

KasperskyOS is available for OEMs, ODMs, systems integrators and software developers around the world. Successful projects have already been conducted with Russia’s system integrator Kraftway (secure network router), SYSGO (strengthened security for PikeOS real-time operating system with Kaspersky Security System) and European systems integrator BE.services (embedding KasperskyOS technology in specialised Programmable Logic Controllers). As a unique project, that is tailored for every customer, the pricing of KasperskyOS varies depending on requirements.

More information about KasperskyOS, Kaspersky Secure Hypervisor and Kaspersky Security System, as well as contact information for potential customers is available on a dedicated website.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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By 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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How load-shedding is killing our cellphone signals

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Extensive load-shedding, combined with the theft of cell tower backup batteries and copper wire, is placing a massive strain on mobile network providers.

MTN says the majority of MTN’S sites have been equipped with battery backup systems to ensure there is enough power on site to run the system for several hours when local power goes out and the mains go down. 

“With power outages on the rise, these back-up systems become imperative to keeping South Africa connected and MTN has invested heavily in generators and backup batteries to maintain communication for customers, despite the lack of electrical power,” the operator said in a statement today.

However, according to Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive: Corporate Affairs, at MTN SA, “The high frequency of the cycles of load shedding have meant batteries were unable to fully recharge. They generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category, and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge.”

An additional challenge is that criminals and criminal syndicates are placing networks across the country at risk. Batteries, which can cost R28 000 per battery and upwards, are sought after on black markets – especially in neighbouring countries. 

“Although MTN has improved security and is making strides in limiting instances of theft and vandalism with the assistance of the police, the increase in power outages has made this issue even more pressing,” says O’Sullivan.

Ernest Paul, General Manager: Network Operations at SA’s leading network provider MTN, says the brazen theft of batteries is an industry-wide problem and will require a broader initiative driven by communities, the private sector, police and prosecutors to bring it to a halt.

“Apart from the cost of replacing the stolen batteries and upgrading the broken infrastructure, communities suffer as the network degrades without the back-up power. This is due to the fact that any coverage gaps need to be filled. The situation is even more dire with the rolling power cuts expected due to Eskom load shedding.”

Loss of services and network quality can range from a 2-5km radius to 15km on some sites and affect 5,000 to 20,000 people. On hub sites, network coverage to entire suburbs and regions can be lost.

Click here to read more about efforts to combat copper theft.

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