In a further move to allay fears in the West of possible security compromises due to its Russian origin, Kaspersky Lab has announced that malicious and suspicious files shared by users of Kaspersky Lab products in Europe will start to be processed in data centers in Zurich.
This initiates the first part of a relocation commitment made by the company in late 2017 under its Global Transparency Initiative. Kaspersky Lab says the move symbolises its determination to assure the integrity and trustworthiness of its products. It is accompanied by the opening of the company’s first Transparency Center, also in Zurich.
The relocation of data processing is part of a major infrastructure move designed to increase the resilience of the company’s IT infrastructure to risks of data breaches and supply-chain attacks, and to further prove the trustworthiness of its products, services and internal processes.
The move comes a day after the Paris Call for trust and security in cyberspace unveiled at the Paris Peace Forum on November 12 by President Emmanuel Macron and Foreign Affairs minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
The Paris Call lays out several important principles and guidelines for international cybersecurity. In particular, it recognises the responsibilities of key private sector actors in improving trust, security and stability in cyberspace, and encourages initiatives aimed at strengthening the security of digital processes and products across the supply chain. It also promotes broad digital cooperation and a multi-stakeholder approach to build confidence, capacity and trust.
Kaspersky Lab says the call coincides with its own championing of international cooperation on cyber issues and the need to counter the risk of balkanisation.
The company said in a statement: “Online crime is borderless; and so must be the world’s response. We cannot fight back if we are isolated and fragmented. Shared intelligence and public-private partnerships, for instance through cooperation between national police forces and cybersecurity companies, are necessary to ensure stronger protection for all.
“The solution is also to become more transparent and to give stakeholders proof that they can trust cybersecurity. We have started already through our Global Transparency Initiative (GTI), a programme designed to build trust, accountability, assurance and resilience. Within the GTI framework, we are relocating some of our infrastructure to Switzerland – starting from November 13, 2018, when we begin to process suspicious and malicious files shared by users in Europe, in Zurich, and open the doors of our first Transparency Center in the city. More data and processes, and more regions, will follow.”
Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, said today: “I’m very glad to see the wheels are turning to international cyberspace cooperation. The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace announced by the French authorities is a very positive shift given the atmosphere of growing mistrust that the cybersecurity industry is experiencing now. This Call recognises the responsibilities of leaders of the private sector in improving trust, security and stability in cyberspace.
“That’s exactly what our efforts have been focused on lately in many of our company’s initiatives – to become more transparent, to prove our trustworthiness, and, as we love to do, become pioneers of a new industry standard. We’ll undoubtedly continue to push for cooperation in the industry and open doors in cyberspace, and it’s great to feel supported in this mission!”
From November 13, threat-related data coming from European users will start to be processed in two datacenters. These provide world-class facilities in compliance with industry standards to ensure the highest levels of security.
The data, which users have actively chosen to share with Kaspersky Lab, includes suspicious or previously unknown malicious files and corresponding meta-data that the company’s products send to Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) for automated malware analysis.
Files comprise only part of the data processed by Kaspersky Lab technologies, yet the most important one. The relocation of other types of data processed by Kaspersky Lab products, consisting of several kinds of anonymised threat and usage statistics, is planned to be conducted during later phases of the Global Transparency Initiative.
Today also marks the opening of Kaspersky Lab’s first Transparency Center in Zurich, enabling authorised partners to access reviews of the company’s code, software updates and threat detection rules, along with other activities. Through the Transparency Center, Kaspersky Lab will provide governments and partners with information on its products and their security, including essential and important technical documentation, for external evaluation in a secure environment. These two major developments will be followed by the relocation of data processing for other regions and, in phase two, the move to Zurich of software assembly.
According to independent rankings, Switzerland is among the world’s top locations in terms of the number of secure internet servers available, and it has an international reputation as an innovative center for data processing and high quality IT infrastructure. Being in the heart of Europe and, at the same time, a non-EU member, it has established its own data privacy regulation that is guaranteed by the state’s constitution and federal laws. In addition, there are strict regulations on processing data requests received from authorities.
“Transparency is becoming the new normal for the IT industry– and for the cybersecurity industry in particular,” said the CEO. “We are proud to be on the front line of this process. As a technological company, we are focused on ensuring the best IT infrastructure for the security of our products and data, and the relocation of key parts of our infrastructure to Switzerland places them in one of the most secure locations in the world.”
Liv Minder, Investment Promotion Director at Switzerland Global Enterprise, said: “The settlement of Kaspersky’s Transparency Center in Switzerland underlines that our country has become a global centre for innovation and technology with a strong cyber security cluster, offering advanced and secure digital infrastructure within a strong framework of security and privacy that attracts ever more technology leaders.”
Samsung S10 in lock-step with its rivals?
Tonight Samsung will kick off the next round in the smartphone wars with the S10 range, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.
When Samsung unveils the new S10 smartphone at an event in San Francisco today, it will mark the beginning of the 2019 round of World War S. That stands for smartphone wars, although Samsung would like it to be all about the S.
Ever since the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 in 2013, Samsung has held both technology and thought leadership in the handset world. Back then, Apple’s iPhone 5 was the last device from the American manufacturer that could lay claim to being the best smartphone in the world. With the 2013 launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple entered an era of incremental improvement, playing catch-up, and succumbing to market trends driven by its competitors.
Six years later, Samsung is fighting off the same threat. Its Chinese rival, Huawei, suddenly wrested away leadership in the past year, with the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro regarded as at last equal to the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and Galaxy Note 9 – if not superior. Certainly, from a cost perspective, Huawei took the lead with its more competitive prices, and therefore more value for money.
Huawei also succeeded where Apple failed: introducing more economical versions of its flagship phones. The iPhone 5c, SE and XR have all been disappointments in the sales department, mainly because the price difference was not massive enough to attract lower-income users. In contrast, the Lite editions of the Huawei P9, P10 and P20 have been huge successes, especially in South Africa.
Today, for the first time in half a decade, Samsung goes into battle on a field laid out by its competitors. It is expected to launch the Galaxy S10 Plus, S10 and S10 e, with the latter being the Samsung answer to the strategy of the iPhone XR and Huawei P20 Lite.
Does this mean Samsung is now in lock-step with its rivals, focused on matching their strategies rather than running ahead of them?
It may seem that way, but Samsung has a few tricks up its electronic sleeve. For example, it is possible it will use the S10 launch to announce its coming range of foldable phones, expected to be called the Galaxy X, Galaxy F, Galaxy Fold or Galaxy Flex. It previewed the technology at a developer conference in San Francisco last November, and this will be the ideal moment to reclaim technology leadership by going into production with foldables – even if the S10 range itself does not shoot out the lights.
However, the S10 handsets will look very different to their predecessors. First, before switching on the phone, they will be notable by the introduction of what is being called the punch-hole display, which breaks away from the current trend of having a notch at the top of the phone to house front-facing cameras and speakers. Instead, the punch-hole is a single round cut-out that will contain the front camera. It is the key element of Samsung’s “Infinity O” display – the O represents the punchhole – which will be the first truly edge-to-edge display, on the sides and top.
The S10 range will use the new Samsung user interface, One UI, also unveiled at the developer conference. It replaces the previous “skin”, unimaginatively called the Samsung Experience, to introduce a strong new interface brand.
One UI went live on the Note 8 last month, giving us a foretaste, and giving Samsung a chance to iron out the bugs in the field. It is a less cluttered interface, addressing one of the biggest complaints about most manufacturer skins. Only Nokia and Google Pixel handsets offer pure Android in the local market, but One UI is Samsung’s best compromise yet.
It introduces a new interaction area, in the bottom half, reachable with the thumb, with a viewing area at the top, allowing the user to work one-handed on the bottom area while still having apps or related content visible above. One UI also improves gesture navigation – the phone picks up hand movements without being touched – and notification management.
The S10 range will be the first phones to feature the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip, at least for the South African and American markets. That makes it 5G compatible, for when this next generation of mobile broadband becomes available in these markets.
They will also be the first phones to feature Wi-Fi 6, the next generation of the Wi-Fi mobile wireless standard. It will perform better in congested areas, and data transfer will be up to 40% faster than the previous generation.
The phones will be the first to use ultrasound for fingerprint detection. If Samsung gets it right, this will make it the fastest in-screen fingerprint sensor on the market, and allows for a little leeway if one pushes the finger down slightly outside the fingerprint reader surface. It does mean, however, that screen protectors will have to be redesigned to avoid blocking the detection.
Not enough firsts? There are a few more.
Most notably, it will be the first phone range to feature 1 Terabyte (TB) storage – that’s a thousand Gigabytes (GB) – at least for the top-of-the-range devices. Samsung last month announced that it would be the first manufacturer to make 1TB built-in onboard flash storage. Today, it will deploy this massive advantage as it once again weaponises its technology in the fight for smartphone domination.
- Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee
IoT set to improve authentication
By Sherry Zameer, Senior Vice President, Internet of Things Solutions for CISMEA region at Gemalto
As it rapidly approaches maturity, the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to continue a transformational trajectory, introducing new efficiencies in multiple fields by allowing measurement and analysis on a scale that has never been possible before. From agriculture to logistics, from retail to hospitality, from traffic to health, from the home to the office, the applications for monitoring ”things” are limited only by the imagination.
And South African (and African) businesses are showing abundant imagination in their practical deployments of IoT solutions in multiple settings, creating a better tomorrow through almost universal measurement and the introduction of new levels of convenience – including how to access locations, devices and services securely.
Any company, whether South African or international, should bear in mind that understanding consumer expectations can be the key to unlocking the full potential of IoT devices and related smart services.
According to Gemalto’s latest Connected Living study, improving the way consumers authenticate themselves to services is one of the most anticipated benefits of IoT, highlighting a desire for a more seamless and secure IoT experience.
Consumers are interested in advanced ways of authenticating themselves through automatic (based on behavioral patterns) or biometric techniques, lessening the need to have to intervene manually, all in the name of a much more streamlined authentication process. Smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Samsung have already placed fingerprint and facial recognition high on the agenda. There is also a widespread positive sentiment towards IoT’s potential for improving the quality of home life through connected, smart appliances.
Personalised services is something else that wins consumers over. In fact, a fluid, personalised and unified experience with continuity of services, together with security and privacy, is critical for the successful implementation of any technology.
And those types of services are today quite possible. With everything being connected – from small gadgets to digital solutions for large enterprises – IoT is no longer just a buzzword. That much is clear in a piece from Vodacom IoT managing executive Deon Liebenberg. Writing for IOL Online, Liebenberg provides insight into the sheer range of applications for IoT: the 20 use cases he cites range from the obvious, like transport and logistics, to the connected home and wearables; he even suggests tagging pets with IoT transmitters, for those who always need to know the whereabouts of the family cat.
Low-cost tags fitted to cats, dogs, lamp posts, shipping containers or other items are just one part of the puzzle, however. There are other two pieces; arguably the most complex part is the availability of communication networks in areas where there aren’t any WiFi networks, or indeed, anything else.
And that’s where the bigger takeaway from Liebenberg’s piece and other IoT trends articles becomes apparent. The communication networks are there, as are those tags: dedicated IoT networks (like LoraWAN, SigFox and narrowband IoT) are all available in South Africa.
So, too, is the third and final essential component. Software which is able to process the data generated by the tag and transmitted over the IoT network and into the internet. In this regard, there’s no shortage of solutions available from cloud providers like AWS and Azure; electronics giant Siemens, too, is in on the action, having recently launched a new cloud-based IoT operating system to develop applications and services for process industries, including oil and gas and water management.
This combination means it is quite possible right now to enable just about any use case. Business owners, who will know best how IoT can add value in their organisation, can now see their ideas becoming reality. Most crucial of all, IoT solutions delivering new levels of efficiency and convenience are not only possible, they are able to be offered with the simple and effective security that will drive consumer acceptance.