A new partnership between WISeKey and Kaspersky Lab will strengthen protection for wearable devices as their use for mobile and contactless payments takes off.
With smart watches, fitness trackers and payment wristbands expected to account for one in five mobile payment transactions by 2020 – representing $500 billion a year – it is inevitable that they will become a growing target for cyber-attack, according to WISeKey and Kaspersky Lab. The two companies have announced that they are developing technology that will deeply integrate authentication and data encryption into new wearable devices, enabling them to safely connect, communicate and exchange financial data.
The interaction between devices, known as the Internet of Things is set to transform the business and consumer landscape. The market for connected wearables alone is estimated to be growing by 35% a year**. However, many connected devices and the data they exchange remain worryingly unprotected, and this will become even more serious as more of them are used to make payments.
Premium watch manufacturers, such as Bulgari, already integrate WISeKey’s patented security software, WIS.WATCH into their connected watches. This enables a customer to securely identify and authenticate their device, to connect it to other devices such as their smartphone and to access applications, personal data and secure cloud storage.
Under the new partnership, Kaspersky Lab’s secure software development kit for mobile devices will be included in this solution, adding a further layer of security and paving the way for ultra-secure mobile payments.
“This cooperation between WISeKey and Kaspersky Lab represents a breakthrough in IoT cyber-security. The combination of trust and convenience that will be delivered to wearable devices opens the door to implementations in other sectors, where the same approach can support a variety of other IoT applications,” said Carlos Moreira, CEO of WISeKey.
Eugene Kaspersky, chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, said: “We live in a truly connected world. But as the number of connected devices continues to grow, so does the number of threats. And unfortunately there are millions of devices in active use today that were never designed to be secure. But security should be built-in from the very outset. There’s an urgent need to establish and implement higher levels of security for IoT devices, and we’re happy to work with WISeKey in the development of such a solution”.
The collaborative solution will be based on WISeKey’s ‘Cryptographic Root of Trust for IoT’ and on its NFCTrusted© technology. Between them, these technologies ensure the authenticity, confidentiality and integrity of online transactions. The Cryptographic Root of Trust has been installed in over 2.6 billion desktop, browsers, mobile devices, SSL certificates and connected devices.
Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart
Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.
As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page
KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching.
The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter.
The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style.
The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button.
The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on.
In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode.
Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.
Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.
Find them on Kickstarter here.
Taxify enters Google Maps
A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.
People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.
Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.
Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.
If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.
This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.
“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.
Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.