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MWC: Kaspersky unveils 2050

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Kaspersky Lab this week launched Earth 2050 during a panel discussion at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This interactive multimedia project accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years.

Kaspersky Lab has teamed up with futurologists such as Ian Pearson, added the future visions of its own researchers, and spoken to artists and scientists to develop a realistic view of the not-so-distant future. Users can help shape this vision of the future by studying over 200 predictions online, and they are invited to submit their visions for inclusion on the Earth 2050 site.

Kaspersky Lab says it wants to understand what the world will look like in the not-too-distant future, so that it can better understand the challenges the future will bring.

For example, if all our lives are digitalised, how will we handle privacy? If people have all their devices implanted inside them and their data in the cloud, how will we protect that data?

And importantly for Kaspersky Lab: if there are no endpoints anymore, will the industry move quicker towards providing security solutions which adapt to customer circumstances, regardless of which device they are using at any one time?

Andrey Lavrentyev, Head of Technology Research Department at Kaspersky Lab, said: “All of the forecasts you can find about Earth 2050 could become a reality in just a couple of decades. Earth 2050 is not only a creative exercise for us. For the last 20 years, Kaspersky Lab experts have been fighting with cybercrime, and they have seen threats evolving over this time.

“They are therefore able to share their knowledge and expertise and – in many cases – encourage users to take a more thorough look at the security of future technologies. Although inventions might be amazing – such as like driverless cars, intelligent infrastructure and the ability to instantly share medical data between doctors across the world – they can still trip us up. Each of them brings a whole new world of opportunity for cybercriminals to exploit.”

At the moment Earth 2050 contains predictions for 80 cities around the globe. Users can select any of these cities and forecasts will appear at the top of the map. The portal is divided into three time categories: 2030, 2040 and 2050, with each of these containing predictions from people who are recognised experts in their fields. For example, users can explore the thoughts of Ian Pearson and different experts at Kaspersky Lab, about what the future holds.

The forum is not limited to written predictions. Earth 2050 also contains 12 VR-enabled panoramas of cities like Barcelona and Shanghai, as well as illustrations of different artefacts from the future. Users can take a 360º look at how future cities might be operating. Will we be able to adjust the appearance of every person we see in the street? Will we invent a dress that changes its style? Are driverless cars in smart cities the future of the taxi business? Will we see ads while we sleep? These questions are just a glimpse of what a user can find on the site.

Filling in a special feedback form allows visitors to add their own ideas to the portal. These will be published once they have passed through the editorial team’s review. Users can discuss existing predictions and also contribute by sharing their own. New content from the experts, and forecasts compiled from different sources, will frequently appear on the site.

“Still, we hope to see many more names on the portal and encourage our users and site visitors to send us their craziest ideas on what the future might look like,” said Lavrentyev.

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Epic Games brings a
Nite-mare to Android

Epic Games’ decision to not publish games through Google Play inadvertently opens a market to Android virus makers, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, decided to take the high road by skipping Google Play’s app distribution market and placing a third-party installer for its games on its website. While this is technically fine, it is not recommended for the average user, because allowing third-party installers on one’s smartphone opens up the possibility of non-signed and malicious software to be run on the smartphone. 

In June, malware researchers at ESET warned Android gamers that malicious fake versions of the Fortnite app had been created to steal personal information or damage smartphones. A malware researcher demonstrated how the fake applications works in the Tweet below.

While the decision to bypass Google Play was a bold move on Epic Games’ part, it has been a long time coming for app developers to move their premium apps off Google’s Play Store. The two major app distributors, Google Play and Apple’s App Store, take a 30% cut of every purchase made through their app distribution platforms. 

The App Store is currently the only way to get apps on a non-modified iOS device, which is why Epic Games had no choice for Fortnite to be in the App Store. On the other hand, Android phones can install packages downloaded through the browser, which makes the Play Store almost unnecessary for the gaming company. 

The most interesting part of this development is that Google is not the “bad guy” and Epic Games is no saviour to other game developers. Epic Games is a company with a multi-billion dollar valuation and has resources like large-scale servers to distribute and update its games, a big marketing budget to ensure everyone knows how to get its games, and server security to protect against malware. 

Resources of this scale allow the game company to turn a cold shoulder to Google’s Play Store distribution and focus on its own, in-house solution. 

That said, installing packages without the Google Play Store must be done carefully, and it is essential to do homework on where a package is downloaded. Moreover, when a package is installed outside of the Google Play Store, a security switch to block the installation of third party apps must be turned off. This switch should be turned back on immediately after the third party package is installed. 

This complex amount of steps makes it less worthwhile to install third party apps, in favour of rather waiting for them to reach the Play Store.

From a consumer perspective, ESET recommends not installing packages outside of the Google Play Store and to ignore advertisements to download the game from other sources.

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How to take on IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming, whether you like it or not and organisations today will look to platforms and services that help them manage and analyse the streams of data coming from connected devices, says RONALD RAVEL, Director B2B South Africa, Toshiba South Africa.

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Today, we are witnessing an explosion in IoT deployments and solutions and are moving towards a world where almost everything you can imagine will be connected. While this opens the door to many possibilities it also comes with its own challenges such as privacy and security.

The Internet has become an integral part of everyday life; it has been a free for all on a daily basis. IoT is a difficult concept for many people to wrap their minds around. Essentially, nearly every business will be affected.

Managing vast quantities of data across increasingly mobile workforces can be tremendously beneficial if done well, but equally can be cumbersome and ineffective if not managed properly. This is why technologies such as mobile edge computing are becoming increasingly popular, helping to increase the prevalence of secure mobile working and data management in the age of IoT.

Unlocking IoT

The evolution of IoT, despite rapid and ongoing technological innovation, is still very much in its fledgling stages. Its potential, though, is demonstrated by the fact that by 2020, Bain anticipates a significant shift in uptake, with roughly 80 per cent of adoptions at that point to have progressed to the stage of either ‘proof of concept’ or extensive implementation. This means that technological innovation in IoT for the enterprise is progressing at a similarly fast rate with many of these solutions being developed with utilities, engineering, manufacturing and logistics companies in mind.

Processing at the edge

For IoT to be adopted at the rate predicted, technology which does not overwhelm current or even legacy systems must be implemented. Mobile edge computing solves this. Such solutions offer processing power at the edge of the network, helping firms with a high proportion of mobile workers to reduce operational strain and latency by processing the most critical data at the edge and close to its originating source. Relevant data can then be sent to the cloud for observation and analysis, thereby reducing the waves of ‘data garbage’ which has to be processed by cloud services.

A logistics manager can feasibly monitor and analyse the efficiency of warehouse operations, for example, with important data calculations carried out in real-time, on location, and key data findings then sent to the cloud for centrally-located data scientists to analyse.

The work of wearables

The potential of IoT means it not only has the scope to change the way people work, but also where they work. While widespread mobile working is a relatively new trend in industries such as banking and professional services, for CIOs in sectors where working on the move is inherent – such as logistics and field maintenance – mobility is high on the agenda.

Wearables – and specifically smart glasses – have started to gain traction within the business world. With mobile edge computing solutions acting as the gateway, smart glasses such as Toshiba’s assisted reality AR 100 viewer solution have been designed to benefit frontline and field-based workers in industries such as utilities, manufacturing and logistics. In the renewable energy sector, for example, a wind turbine engineer conducting repairs may use assisted reality smart glasses to call up the schematics of the turbine to enable a hands-free view of service procedures. This means that when a fault becomes a barrier to repair, the engineer is able to use collaboration software to call for assistance from a remote expert and have additional information sent through, thereby saving time and money by eradicating the need for extra personnel to be sent to the site.

The time is ripe for organisations to look to exploit the age of IoT to improve the productivity and safety of their workers, as well as the end service delivered to customers. In fact, Toshiba’s recent ‘Maximising Mobility’ report found that 49 per cent of organisations believe their sector can benefit from the hands-free functionality of smart glasses, while 47 per cent expect them to deliver improved mobile working and 41 per cent foresee better collaboration and information sharing. Embracing IoT technologies such as mobile edge computing and wearable solutions will be an essential step for many organisations within these verticals as they look to stay on top of 21st century working challenges.

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