KW 11: Five Chinese firms designated as threats to US national security, Interpol: Cybercrime is becoming a „parallel pandemic“, SpaceX wants Starlink access for vehicles and ships


Five Chinese firms designated as threats to US national security: A United States government regulator overseeing the communications industry has labelled five Chinese telecommunications companies a “threat to national security” on Friday, including Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that telecommunications products and services provided by the companies posed an unacceptable risk to US national security or the security and safety of US persons. FCC acting chief Jessica Rosenworcel did not elaborate on what specific measures would be taken against the companies following the designation. A similar determination the FCC made last year against Huawei and ZTE led to a ban on US firms drawing from an $8.3 billion government subsidy program to purchase equipment from the two companies.

Interpol: Cybercrime is becoming a „parallel pandemic“: In a CNN interview, Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock warned of the parallel pandemic of crime threats linked to Covid-19. The organized crime threat, especially in relation to vaccines, combined with international terrorism and cybercrime has created an unprecedented dynamic criminal situation, requiring a global response which Interpol is uniquely positioned to coordinate.

SpaceX wants Starlink access for vehicles and ships: SpaceX wants to connect moving vehicles, including planes, ships, and large trucks, to its Starlink satellite internet service, according to a request the company filed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Currently, Starlink provides rural and underserved communities with broadband through its 1,122 low-Earth orbit satellites. Now, the space firm plans to use antennas that can mount to vehicles, vessels, and aircraft, and are „electrically identical“ to existing user terminals, the filing said.

Demand for cloud experts is increasing rapidly: In the fourth quarter of 2020, for the first time, more digital experts were sought via job advertisements in Germany than before the pandemic. These are the figures from the job monitor published by the “Handelsblatt”, in which the Berlin Index Group checks all job advertisements placed in printed media, websites and online job exchanges. According to this, experts in cloud computing are particularly in demand. The reason for the increased demand for skilled workers is likely to be the increasing spread of “multi-cloud” and “hybrid cloud” models as well as progress in the European cloud initiative “Gaia-X”.

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According to a survey by the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW) e.V. and Deloitte among around 2,000 German consumers, 70 percent said they already use at least one IoT device.


Ruhrpott is becoming a tech location: For a long time the Ruhrpott, once a stronghold of industry and mining, was considered the loser of structural change. But secretly and quietly, the region has developed into a tech location. A cyber security center has now been built near the city of Bochum, attracting established companies, startups and research institutes. One of the startups that were founded at the location is Physec, which specializes in IoT security. Its roots are in the Horst-Görtz Institute, located in Bochum, the largest training facility for IT security personnel in Europe. Today the institute is seen as a stepping stone into independence and has already created several startups that were later taken over by Google, Bosch and TÜV Rheinland.

How IoT becomes a gateway for criminals: Despite omnipresent warnings about security risks due to the inadequate integration of devices into the Internet of Things, many users repeatedly create fantastic conditions for cyber criminals. In addition to poor configuration of individual devices, the tiresome issue of password security is an acute security risk. Users often don’t change the preset admin password of their internet-accessible IoT device or replace it with an easy-to-guess code. Such loopholes were and are mercilessly exploited and can not only cause high financial damage, but in extreme cases also endanger human life. In addition, many IoT components from the manufacturer are already on the market with shotty firmware. It is all the more serious that many IoT users rarely or never carry out security updates and so make it much easier for malware to penetrate.

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IoT project to reduce costs and carbon emissions from Highland Council buildings: The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming to Highland Council’s estate as part of a £400,000 project between the council and leading IoT service and solutions provider, North. The project will use Scotland’s national IoT network, IoT Scotland, along with smart IoT sensors to collect data and gain insights on council buildings including CO2 levels, temperature and humidity, ventilation, electricity consumption and light levels. The data will be used by the council to reduce costs and carbon emissions, while improving the environment for young people, elderly care home residents, members of the local community, and council staff.


„Cybercrime has developed into a parallel pandemic. Never before in my police career have I experienced such a dynamic situation: A wave of Covid-19-specific crimes follows the virus around the world.“
Interpol boss Jürgen Stock warns of an increase in cyber crime during the Covid crisis. The Internet of Things in particular would create “unprecedented opportunities for perpetrators who became more professional and specialized”, said Stock in a guest article in “Wirtschaftswoche”.


Smart sex toys in the IoT are becoming a safety trap: As IoT devices continue to seep into our homes and offer an increasingly wide range of features, new concerns are beginning to arise about the security of the data processed by these devices. Although they’ve been subject to countless security breaches that led to the exposure of people’s login details, financial information and geographical location, among others, there are few kinds of data with more potential to harm users than those relating to their sexual preferences and behavior. As is the case with any other IoT device, there are certain threats to privacy when using internet-enabled adult toys. Vulnerabilities could allow attackers to execute malicious code on the device, or to lock it preventing the user from sending any command to the toy.

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