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Oracle puts IoT to work

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The Oracle Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud offering has been enhanced with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning that powers Digital Twin and Digital Thread capabilities. 

As a result, customers and partners can quickly gain operation-wide visibility and leverage predictive insights from connected assets. These insights can decrease deployment times, reduce costs, improve business outcomes, and accelerate new market opportunities. Combining the power of Oracle IoT Cloud and enterprise applications, Oracle also introduced new industry solutions for digital field service, smart connected factories, and digital fleet management.

“IoT holds the potential to transform today’s siloed operations into a modern, interconnected, digital set of workflows with real-time visibility and responsiveness,” said Bhagat Nainani, group vice president, IoT Applications at Oracle. “Oracle continues to push the boundaries of IoT to help our customers significantly simplify their IoT deployments. By receiving real-time data streams enhanced with predictive insights, they can reach new levels of intelligence and a much quicker realization of ROI.”

The expansion follows the recent introduction of new Oracle IoT Cloud Applications for asset monitoring, connected workforce, fleet monitoring, and production monitoring. Also, in the past six months alone, Oracle has more than tripled its IoT application ecosystem of device and systems integration partners. Oracle IoT Cloud is offered both as software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, as well as platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings, enabling a high degree of adaptability for even the most demanding implementations.

“Hitachi Consulting is constantly looking for industry leaders like Oracle to help clients and prospects harness the power of data and IoT to optimise operational and financial performance, outpace their competition and solve significant business problems,” said Garth Carter, vice president North America Sales, Hitachi Consulting. “Our longstanding, strategic relationship with Oracle delivers industrial IoT solutions to digitise the physical world for manufacturing, energy, and transportation. In particular, Hitachi is leveraging Oracle IoT Applications—asset monitoring and production monitoring—that are uniquely engineered to meet specific industry and functional needs. These applications have a depth of OT, IT and IoT functionality that no competitor can match.”

New capabilities introduced today include:

·         Digital Twin for Supply Chain Management
Digital Twin is a digital representation of a physical asset or equipment that enhances traditional analytics approaches. The object model includes multi-faceted views into current, historical, and predictive data, as well as operational and behavioral dimensions of that asset. This enables remote users to not only monitor the health of that asset to prevent failures before they occur, but also to run simulations of “what-if” scenarios in the context of the business processes. With Digital Twin, organizations have a new operational paradigm to interact with the physical world, allowing lower operational and capital expenditures, minimizing downtime, and optimizing asset performance.

·         Digital Thread for Supply Chain Management
Supply Chain practitioners have spent millions of dollars in implementing SCM and ERP systems, but most often, data is manually fed into these systems. Digital Thread is a connected business process framework that leverages IoT and creates a “system of systems” by connecting traditionally siloed elements in real-time throughout the digital supply chain. By providing an end-to-end view of an asset throughout the entire manufacturing lifecycle, Digital Thread seamlessly bridges the entire supply chain process—from product design and order fulfillment, to manufacturing and product life cycle management, to warehousing and transportation, to logistics and procurement.

·         Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Built-in AI and machine learning features are now fully integrated across Oracle’s IoT solutions portfolio. These technologies leverage machine data in the context of business data from applications, such as manufacturing, maintenance, service, and logistics. The built-in operational analytics help detect anomalies, predict equipment failures, and recommend the best course of action. They also provide the intelligence needed to evolve capabilities to increase effectiveness and experiences of applications.

·         Industry Solutions Built on IoT Cloud Applications
Oracle IoT industry solutions help customers reimagine and innovate business solutions for the connected, intelligent, context-aware, digital enterprise. New solutions introduced today include:

o    Digital Field Service: Showcases intelligent remote monitoring, failure prediction, over-the-air repair, and dynamic technician dispatch. The solution features IoT Asset Monitoring Cloud, CX Service Cloud, CX Engagement Cloud, and CX Field Service Cloud, plus the use of augmented reality (AR) for guided equipment repair.

o    Smart Connected Factory: Demonstrates how incident detection, root cause analysis, and smart resolution are performed within minutes in a connected factory. The solution features IoT Production Monitoring Cloud, SCM Cloud and ERP Cloud, and the use of virtual reality (VR) to navigate the manufacturing floor. It can also be used for remote worker training.

o    Digital Fleet Management: Showcases real-time shipment tracking, risk management, and logistics synchronization. The solution features IoT Fleet Management Cloud and Oracle Logistics Cloud.

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Worldwide ICT spending poised to hit $4.3-Tn in 2020

Worldwide spending on ICT will increase by 3.6% this year over 2019, with commercial and public sector spending accounting for well over half the total

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A new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts worldwide spending on information and communications technology (ICT) will be $4.3 trillion in 2020, an increase of 3.6% over 2019. Commercial and public sector spending on information technology (hardware, software and IT services), telecommunications services, and business services will account for nearly $2.7 trillion of the total in 2020 with consumer spending making up the remainder.

Serena Da Rold, program manager in IDC’s Customer Insights and Analysis group, says: “The slow economy, weak business investment, and uncertain production expectations combined with protectionist policies and geopolitical tensions — including the US-China trade war, threats of US tariffs on EU automobiles and the EU’s expected response, and continued uncertainty around the Brexit deal — are still acting as inhibitors to ICT spending across regions. On the upside, our surveys indicate a strong focus on customer experience and on creating innovative products and services driving new ICT investments. Companies and organizations across industries are shifting gears in their digital transformation process, investing in cloud, mobility, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, robotics, and increasingly in DevOps and edge computing, to transform their business processes.”

IT spending will make up more than half of all ICT spending in 2020, led by purchases of devices (mainly mobile phones and PCs) and enterprise applications. However, when combined, the three IT services categories (managed services, project-oriented services, and support services) will deliver more than $750 billion in spending this year as organizations look to accelerate their digital transformation efforts. The application development & deployment category will provide the strongest spending growth over the 2019-2023 forecast period with a five-year compound annual growth rates (CAGR) of 11.1%.

Telecommunications services will represent more than one-third of all ICT spending in 2020. Mobile telecom services will be the largest category at more than $859 billion, followed by fixed telecom services. Both categories will see growth in the low single digits over the forecast period. Business services, including key horizontal business process outsourcing and business consulting, will be about half the size of the IT services market in 2020 with solid growth (8.2% CAGR) expected for business consulting.

Consumer ICT spending will grow at a much slower rate (0.7% CAGR) resulting in a gradual loss of share over the five-year forecast period. Consumer spending will be dominated by purchases of mobile telecom services (data and voice) and devices (such as smartphones, notebooks, and tablets).

Four industries – banking, discrete manufacturing, professional services, and telecommunications – will deliver 40% of all commercial ICT spending in 2020. IT services will represent a significant portion of the spending in all four industries, ranging from 50% in banking to 26% in professional services. From there, investment priorities will vary as banking and discrete manufacturing focus on applications while telecommunications and professional services invest in infrastructure. The industries that will deliver the fastest ICT spending growth over the five-year forecast are professional services (7.2% CAGR) and media (6.6% CAGR).

More than half of all commercial ICT spending in 2020 will come from very large businesses (more than 1,000 employees), while small businesses (10-99 employees) and medium businesses (100-499 employees) will account for nearly 28%. IT services will represent a significant portion of the overall spending for both market segments – 54% for very large businesses and 35% for small and medium businesses. Application and infrastructure spending will be about equal for very large businesses while small and medium businesses will invest more in applications.

“SMBs are increasingly embracing digital transformation to take advantage of both the opportunities it presents, and the disruption it can mitigate,” says Shari Lava, research director, Small and Medium Business Markets at IDC. “Digitally determined SMBs, defined as those that are making investments in digital transformation-related technology, are almost twice as likely to report double-digit revenue growth versus their technology indifferent peers.”

IDC’s Worldwide ICT Spending Guide Industry and Company Size is IDC’s flagship all-in-one data product capturing IT spending across more than 120 technology categories and 53 countries. This IDC Spending Guide will provide a granular view of the market for IT spending from a country, industry, company size, and technology perspective. This comprehensive database delivered via pivot table format or IDC’s custom query tool allows the user to easily extract meaningful information about various technology markets and industries by viewing data trends, relationships, and making data comparisons across more than three million data points.

The Worldwide Small and Medium Business Spending Guide provides detail on small and midsize business IT spending across 40 technology categories in nine geographic regions and 53 countries. Spending details are also provided for four company size categories: 1–9 employees, 10–99 employees, 100–499 employees, and 500–999 employees. Unlike any other research in the industry, the comprehensive spending guide was designed to help IT decision-makers to clearly understand the direction of SMB spending today and over the next five years.

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Hackers hit SA with fake VPN

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Kaspersky researchers have detected an unusual malicious campaign that uses phishing to mimic a popular VPN service. This helps spread AZORult, a Trojan stealer, under the guise of installers for Windows. The campaign, which kicked off at the end of November 2019 with the registration of a fake website, is currently active and focused on stealing personal information and cryptocurrency from infected users. This shows that cybercriminals are still hunting for cryptocurrency, despite reports that interest in the currency has died down. AZORult is highly active: in 2019 this malware targeted 78,189 users in Africa, with 16,975 users located in South Africa, 8,165 in Kenya and 1,965 in Nigeria. January 2020 has already seen the continuation of this dangerous trend, with 759 users hit in South Africa, 128 in Nigeria, and 639 in Kenya.

AZORult is one of the most commonly bought and sold stealers on Russian forums, due to its wide range of capabilities. This Trojan poses a serious threat to those whose computers may have been infected as it is capable of collecting various data, including browser history, login credentials, cookies, files from folders, cryptowallet files, and can also be used as a loader to download other malware.

In a world where privacy is heavily fought for, VPN services play an important role by enabling additional data protection and safe internet browsing. Yet cybercriminals try to abuse the growing popularity of VPNs by impersonating them, as is the case in this AZORult campaign. In the most recent campaign, the attackers created a copy of a VPN service’s website, which looks exactly the same as the original with the only exception being a different domain name.

Screenshot of a phishing copy of the targeted VPN service’s website

Links to the domain are spread through advertisements via different banner networks, a practice that is also called ‘malvertizing’. The victim visits the phishing website and is prompted to download a free VPN installer. Once a victim downloads a fake VPN installer for Windows, it drops a copy of AZORult botnet implant. As soon as the implant is run, it collects the infected device’s environment information and reports it to the server. Finally, the attacker steals cryptocurrency from locally available wallets (Electrum, Bitcoin, Etherium, and others), FTP logins, and its passwords from FileZilla, email credentials, information from locally installed browsers (including cookies), credentials from WinSCP, Pidgin messenger and others.

Upon the discovery of the campaign, Kaspersky immediately informed the VPN service in question about the issue and blocked the fake website.

“This campaign is a good example of how vulnerable our personal data is nowadays”, says Dmitry Bestuzhev, head of Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) in Latin America in Latin America. “In order to protect it, users need to be cautious and be especially careful when surfing online. This case also shows why cybersecurity solutions are needed on every device. When it comes to phishing copies of websites, it is very difficult for the user to differentiate between a real and a fake version. Cybercriminals often capitalise on popular brands and this trend is not likely to die down. We strongly recommend using a VPN for protection of data exchange on the web, but it is also important to closely study where the VPN software is downloaded from.”

Kaspersky detects this threat as HEUR:Trojan-PSW.Win32.Azorult.gen

Read more about this AZORult campaign on Securelist.com.

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