IoT global round-up: Suspect arrested in Mirai botnet attack

24 Feb 2017

Image: Kanok Sulaiman/Shutterstock

This week in IoT, police in London arrested a suspect behind the enormous Mirai botnet attack, while Sigfox revealed an inexpensive location device.

There was quite a bit going on this week in the internet of things (IoT) world, particularly on the hardware side of things.

Over in MIT, researchers have managed to create a chip specifically for IoT that uses a new method of power conversion, which could drastically improve a device’s ability to remain efficient by as much as 50pc.

“This work pushes the boundaries of the state of the art in low-power DC-DC converters,” said Yogesh Ramadass, director of power management research at Texas Instruments’ Kilby Labs, who was involved in the project.

Meanwhile, Wexford company Taoglas revealed it had created a new kind of antenna that makes deploying 5G seem just like building Lego blocks.

Those working within the field of IoT and who might be looking for a new opportunity should be aware of the opening of a new office by London-based ArtOfUs, which is developing a human operating system for the IoT market.

The company has plans to create 18 R&D jobs in Dublin, citing Ireland’s advanced postdoctoral research by Irish universities as a reason for establishing a base here.

Suspect arrested in Mirai botnet attack

Those within the infosec community will be all too familiar with the fallout following the Mirai botnet attack towards the end of last year, which is now known as the largest-scale DDoS attack ever orchestrated.

Using the Mirai malware, thousands of devices became unwilling participants in various attacks, bringing down services such as Twitter and Reddit.

This week however, Motherboard reported that a 29-year-old British man, believed to be the criminal hacker BestBuy, was arrested before boarding a flight in London.

The arrest is the first to be linked to the Mirai attack.

The online chat account of BestBuy has been offline for some time, as has that of another hacker called Poporet, who BestBuy claimed to have worked with on a previous hack attempt against Deutsche Telekom.

Sigfox launches world’s lowest-cost IoT GPS-free geolocation service

Sigfox has established itself as one of the largest providers of IoT networks in the world, with news coming last summer that it was to spread its reach across 100 US cities.

Now the company has revealed a new ‘GPS-free’ IoT geolocation service called Spot’it, which is able to work both indoors and outdoors.

Sigfox said Spot’it does not require any additional hardware, software or energy, making it the simplest and lowest-cost IoT location service on the market.

Laetitia Jay, chief marketing officer of Sigfox, said: “From fraud detection to new insurance and geo-marketing business models, the possibilities are endless.”

Former FCC chairperson Tom Wheeler joins IoT board

Those familiar with the legal wrangling over net neutrality in the US will be familiar with the name Tom Wheeler, who, until recently, was the chairperson of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

He has now joined the board of Actility, a major player in low-power, wide-area, large-scale networks for IoT, to facilitate expansion into ‘Web 3.0’.

“IoT is a key manifestation of Web 3.0,” Wheeler said in a statement, “but we need to think bigger than some of our current IoT examples. Web 3.0 is about connecting intelligence in all forms – data, ideas, apps, and, ultimately, people.”

Since leaving the Obama administration, Wheeler has spoken of his concern for IoT under the presidency of Donald Trump.

Ericsson and Intel launch 5G Innovators Initiative

Intel and Ericsson have announced a new initiative in partnership with Honeywell, GE and the University of California, Berkeley to speed up development of industrial IoT (IIoT) technology.

The 5G Innovators Initiative (5GII) will join major equipment manufacturers, tech companies, industry leaders and universities to explore, test, innovate and accelerate 5G network and infrastructure innovation in the US.

5GII will first focus on IIoT and develop pilots for application of technologies, including augmented and virtual reality for first responder drone surveillance of hazardous environments and other uses.

As other participants join, the pilots are expected to expand to other industries where 5G will enable societal improvements, such as autonomous driving, smart and connected cities, healthcare and media.

“5G is not simply about making smartphones faster,” said Ericsson’s chief strategy and technology officer, Ulf Ewaldsson.

“It’s about the machines and things that will deliver an entirely new smart and connected future. Building our 5G future requires a new approach to industry collaboration and development.”

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic