The Intrinium Review, May 2021

The Intrinium Review, May 2021
Can you believe we are already just 1 month away from concluding the first half of 2021? At Intrinium we have continued to stay busy meeting organizational goals while keeping our clients security at the forefront of our business. We are still continuing to grow, and are excited to announce Ed Terzek as our Sales Director and Jim Kreutel as our Director of Product Management. Both of these additions to our team will help us to streamline our products and create even more efficient and beneficial product offerings for client security.

While we continue to grow, we remain focused on security threats that continue to be a financial burden to many organizations. Below are some of this month’s headlines that you should be aware of as you continue to place your security needs first.

Mobile Ad Fraud and The Pandemic

The majority of the world spent significant portions of 2020 under lockdown due to quarantine, with pressure constantly mounting on mobile companies to keep us connected to the outside world. This pressure was felt most acutely in emerging markets such as South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia where users depend almost exclusively on their mobile phones to interact with the online world while computers are more rare. Perhaps that’s why, according to a new report published by Upstream, they seem to be the epicenter of a new mobile malware pandemic.

“Vulnerability is heightened in countries where phones are the primary vehicle for accessing educational resources, government services, news broadcasts, entertainment and shopping. For many of these markets data credit is like currency, something that can be taken literally for “unbanked” users who use their data to buy goods and services through direct carrier billing.”

The data in the report is based on 840 million mobile subscribers worldwide. One of the most frightening findings was that 95% of all mobile transactions during the pandemic were identified and subsequently blocked as fraudulent. These transactions originate from fraudulent apps posing as legitimate ones, often purchasing premium subscriptions or other content in the background without the user’s direct knowledge or consent. More than 45,000 malicious apps were in circulation in these emerging markets throughout the pandemic, according to the report. For the first time ever, mobile games were the number one most targeted app category.

Being Friendly With the Neighbors

If you use Alexa, Echo, or any other Amazon device, you may soon be included in an experiment that leaves your personal privacy and security under new threat. On June 8, Amazon will automatically enroll some devices in Amazon Sidewalk. The new wireless mesh service will share a small slice of your Internet bandwidth with nearby neighbors who don’t have connectivity and help you to their bandwidth when you don’t have a connection.

By default, Amazon devices including Alexa, Echo, Ring, security cams, outdoor lights, motion sensors, and Tile trackers will enroll in the system. And since only a tiny fraction of people take the time to change default settings, that means millions of people will be co-opted into the program whether they know anything about it or not. The Amazon webpage linked above says Sidewalk “is currently only available in the US.”

The webpage also states:

“What is Amazon Sidewalk?

Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network that helps devices work better. Operated by Amazon at no charge to customers, Sidewalk can help simplify new device setup, extend the low-bandwidth working range of devices to help find pets or valuables with Tile trackers, and help devices stay online even if they are outside the range of their home wifi. In the future, Sidewalk will support a range of experiences from using Sidewalk-enabled devices, such as smart security and lighting and diagnostics for appliances and tools.

How will Amazon Sidewalk impact my personal wireless bandwidth and data usage?

The maximum bandwidth of a Sidewalk Bridge to the Sidewalk server is 80Kbps, which is about 1/40th of the bandwidth used to stream a typical high definition video. Today, when you share your Bridge’s connection with Sidewalk, total monthly data used by Sidewalk, per account, is capped at 500MB, which is equivalent to streaming about 10 minutes of high definition video.

Why should I participate in Amazon Sidewalk?

Amazon Sidewalk helps your devices get connected and stay connected. For example, if your Echo device loses its wifi connection, Sidewalk can simplify reconnecting to your router. For select Ring devices, you can continue to receive motion alerts from your Ring Security Cams and customer support can still troubleshoot problems even if your devices lose their wifi connection. Sidewalk can also extend the working range for your Sidewalk-enabled devices, such as Ring smart lights, pet locators or smart locks, so they can stay connected and continue to work over longer distances. Amazon does not charge any fees to join Sidewalk.”

Humans, Robots and a Changing Job Market

Island Grill in New Jersey is trying a new method to handle the lack of waitstaff available – they’ve deployed “Peanut”, an autonomous machine that moves back and forth from the kitchen delivering food and bussing dirty dishes. It looks like a rolling bookshelf, with four trays, a touchscreen, and an upward-facing infrared camera that scans markings on the ceiling in order to navigate. When it encounters an object it doesn’t expect, it even says “Excuse me”.

Peanut has unwittingly entered an unprecedented labor market. There have been many anecdotal accounts of restaurant owners not being able to hire for a variety of reasons – people may not be comfortable working in public spaces yet, or aren’t fully vaccinated, or are still trying to sort out childcare.

But the reality is that in the vast majority of cases, robots are still too unskilled and clumsy to replace humans. “Robots are more like tools, a way to augment the efficiency of a person,” says Phil Zheng, chief operating officer at Richtech Robotics, which makes Peanut.  “So you increase the human’s ability to produce and do things, that’s really what it is. It’s more of a partner, a tool, like a laptop is a tool.”

Peanut is part of a vanguard of machines that are just beginning to work more closely with humans and assuming parts of jobs. Peanut mostly shleps dishes; the Island Grill’s servers still have to do everything else themselves. The cooks have to load the robot up and send it to a preset area of the dining room to deliver the food. Once the waiter removes the plates from the robot, they tap a button to send the machine back to the kitchen. Peanut may be helpful, but its not taking over the job market just yet.

The past couple months have shown us that it’s not simply banks or hospitals at risk to cyber-attacks. We have seen oil companies and meat companies recently targeted. Prevention of these attacks, will save thousands in the long run if you have to resolve a future attack. Cybersecurity should remain a top priority when it comes to securing your important information.

Intrinium is here to help.

Please reach out to us here with any concerns about your network or security. Our team operates 365 days a year to ensure your cybersecurity is solved!

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