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DEEP TECH NEWS: Respecting individual rights by using ‘privacy preserving aggregate statistics’

By Byron V. Acohido

To sell us more goods and services, the algorithms of Google, Facebook and Amazon exhaustively parse our digital footprints.

Related: The role of ‘attribute based encryption’

There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with companies seeking to better understand their customers. However, over the past 20 years the practice of analyzing user data hasn’t advanced much beyond serving the business models of these tech giants.

That could be about to change. Scientists at NTT Research are working on an advanced type of cryptography that enables businesses to perform aggregate data analysis on user data — without infringing upon individual privacy rights.

I had the chance to visit with , senior scientist at NTT Research’s Cryptography & Information Security (CIS) Lab, to learn more about the progress being made on a promising concept called “privacy preserving aggregate statistics.”

MY TAKE: Rising geopolitical tensions suggest a dire need for tighter cybersecurity in 2024

By Byron V. Acohido

Russia’s asymmetrical cyber-attacks have been a well-documented, rising global concern for most of the 2000s.

Related: Cybersecurity takeaways of 2023

I recently visited with Mihoko Matsubara, Chief Cybersecurity Strategist at NTT to discuss why this worry has climbed steadily over the past few years – and is likely to intensify in 2024.

The wider context is all too easy to overlook. Infamous cyber opsattributed to Russia-backed hackers fall into a pattern that’s worth noting:

Cyber attacks on Estonia (2007) Websites of Estonian banks, media outlets and government bodies get knocked down in a dispute over a Soviet-era war memorial.

Cyber attacks on Georgia (2008, 2019) Georgian government websites get defaced; thousands of

STEPS FORWARD: How decentralizing IoT could help save the planet — by driving decarbonization

By Byron V. Acohido

The Internet of Things (IoT) is on the threshold of ascending to become the Internet of Everything (IoE.)

Related:Why tech standards matter

IoT is transitioning from an array of devices that we can control across the Internet into a realm where billions of IoE devices can communicate with each other and make unilateral decisions on our behalf.

This, of course, is the plot of endless dystopian books and movies that end with rogue machines in charge. Yet IoE, at this nascent stage, holds much promise to tilt us towards a utopia where technology helps to resolve our planet’s most intractable problems.

This was the theme of Infineon Technologies’ OktoberTech 2023 conference, which I had the privilege of attending at the Computer History Museum in the heart of Silicon Valley. I had the chance to visit with Thomas Rosteck, Infineon’s Division President of Connected Secure Systems (CSS.)

Infineon supplies semiconductors embedded in smart systems, most notably in automotive, power and IoT. What I found most commendable

DEEP TECH NEWS: Sophos X-Ops advances threat intelligence sharing to the next level

By Byron V. Acohido

Threat intelligence sharing has come a long way since Valentine’s Day 2015.

Related: How ‘Internet Access Brokers’ fuel ransomware

I happened to be in the audience at Stanford University when President Obama took to the stage to issue an executive order challenging the corporate sector and federal government to start collaborating as true allies.

Obama’s clarion call led to the passage of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, the creation of Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs) and the jump-starting of several private-sector sharing consortiums.

Material progress in threat intel sharing, indeed, has been made. Yet, there remains much leeway for improvements. I had the chance to discuss this with Christopher Budd, director of Sophos X-Ops, the company’s cross-operational task force of security defenders.

Budd explained how Sophos X-Ops is designed to dismantle security silos internally, while also facilitating

DEEP TECH NEWS: How ‘attribute-based encryption’ preserves privacy at a fined-grained level

By Byron V. Acohido

The ubiquity of smart surveillance systems has contributed greatly to public safety.

Related: Monetizing data lakes

Image capture devices embedded far and wide in public spaces help deter crime as well as aid first responders — but they also stir rising concerns about an individual’s right to privacy.

Enter attribute-based encryption (ABE) an advanced type of cryptography that’s now ready for prime time. I’ve had several discussions with scientists who’ve led the development of ABE over the past two decades.

Most recently, I had the chance to visit with Takashi Goto, Vice President, Strategy, and Fang Wu, Consultant, at NTT Research. We discussed how ABE is ready to help resolve some rather sticky privacy issues stemming from widespread digital surveillance – and also do much more.

For a full drill down on this leading-edge form of agile cryptography, please view the accompanying videocast. Here are my takeaways.

STEPS FORWARD: Regulators are on the move to set much needed IoT security rules of the road

By Byron V. Acohido

New government rules coupled with industry standards meant to give formal shape to the Internet of Things (IoT) are rapidly quickening around the globe.

Preserving privacy for a greater good

This is to be expected. After all, government mandates combined with industry standards are the twin towers of public safety. Without them the integrity of our food supplies, the efficacy of our transportation systems and reliability of our utilities would not be what they are.

When it comes to IoT, we must arrive at specific rules of the road if we are to tap into the full potential of smart cities, autonomous transportation and advanced healthcare.

In the absence of robust, universally implemented rules of the road, cybercriminals will continue to have the upper hand and wreak even more havoc than they now do. Threat actors all-too-readily compromise, disrupt and maliciously manipulate the comparatively simple IoT systems we havein operation today.

I had an eye-opening conversation about all of this with Steve Hanna, distinguished engineer at Infineon Technologies, a global semiconductor manufacturer based in Neubiberg, Germany. We went over how governments around the world are stepping up their efforts to impose IoT security legislation and regulations designed to keep users safe.

This is happening at the same time as tech industry consortiums are

RSAC Videocast: As network perimeters shift and ecosystems blend, the role of MSSPs solidifies

By Byron V. Acohido

Deepening interoperability of AI-infused systems – in our buildings, transportation grids, communications systems and medical equipment — portend amazing breakthroughs for humankind.

Related: The coming of optical infrastructure

But first businesses must come to grips with the quickening convergence of their internal and external computing resources. And that’s no small task.

I had the chance to discuss this with Shinichi Yokohama, NTT Global CISO and John Petrie, Counselor to the NTT Global CISO, at RSA Conference 2023. It was a rare opportunity to get the perspective of senior executives responsible for protecting a Fortune 100 global enterprise.

We discussed how the boundaries between in-company and out-of-company IT infrastructure have become increasingly blurred making network security more challenging than ever. For a full drill, please view the accompanying videocast. Here are a few takeaways:

A converged ecosystem

Cloud migration and rapid software development were both on a rising curve when Covid 19 hit and the global economy suddenly shut down in 2020. As companies adjusted in the post pandemic operating environment, Internet-centric services rose to the fore.

This accelerated the convergence of on-premises and cloud-hosted IT infrastructure. Today, data storage and processing power are prominently