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SIM maker Gemalto denies damage amid hacking fallout

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Reuters / Dado Ruvic

Dutch-based chip maker Gemalto has acknowledged that American and British spy agencies tried hacking its systems years ago, but critics have slammed that response as denial and damage control.

In a statement Wednesday, the multinational corporation confirmed last week’s revelations of hacking by the United States National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ in 2010 and 2011, claiming they “only breached its office networks and could not have resulted in a massive theft of SIM encryption keys” as reported.

READ MORE: Gemalto says SIM cards ‘secure’ despite NSA, GCHQ hacking claim

Reporters who uncovered the hacking attempts have criticized Gemalto’s statement, saying the company only learned about the attacks last week when reached for comment, and that a proper investigation in just five days was simply not possible.

 

The Intercept magazine, which published the original investigation into the Gemalto hacks, quoted several security experts who characterized the company’s statement as “a lot of effort…to minimize and deny the impact of some old attacks,” and more of a “damage assessment” than a proper investigation.

“A true forensic investigation in such a complex environment is not possible in this time frame,” Ronald Prins of the Dutch firm Fox IT told The Intercept.

Last week, The Intercept published an investigation into the hacks by Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley, based on the revelations by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the NSA. Snowden’s documents provided insight into how and why the surveillance services targeted the Dutch-based multinational. Gemalto makes some two billion SIM cards for 450 wireless providers around the world, as well as chips for luxury cars and biometric US passports. Its security technology is used by more than 3,000 financial institutions and 80 government organizations.

Gemalto’s statement claims no breaches were found in the secure networks “running our SIM activity,”or “our other products such as banking cards, ID cards or electronic passports.”

 

However, documents cited by The Intercept directly contradict this: We “believe we have their entire network,” the author of a secret GCHQ slide reportedly boasted.

The Intercept’s investigation reported that the hacks targeted SIM cards belonging to mobile operators in “Afghanistan, Yemen, India, Serbia, Iran, Iceland, Somalia, Pakistan and Tajikistan.”Gemalto acknowledged this, but claimed these cards were using the obsolete, 2G technology, and that current users in the West – who rely on 3G, 4G and LTE technology – were “not affected.”

Targeting the manufacturer of SIM cards, used in most mobile devices around the world, would give the US and UK intelligence agencies the ability to collect mobile communications without government warrants or the permission of service providers.

 

Theft of the SIM keys “enables the bulk, low-risk surveillance of encrypted communications,” Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union, told The Intercept. Gemalto and its employees were targeted by spies “not because they did anything wrong, but because they could be used as a means to an end,” he added.

According to The Intercept, fixing the security flaws in the current mobile phone system that intelligence agencies “regularly exploit” would take “billions of dollars, significant political pressure, and several years.” Jeremy Scahill, one of the authors of the original article, was disappointed by Gemalto’s denials as much as the media’s willingness to take them at face value.

Eric King, deputy director of the London-based advocacy group Privacy International, called trust in the security of communications systems “essential for our society and for businesses to operate with confidence” in a statement on Wednesday, adding that “The impact of these latest revelations will have ripples all over the world.”

 

China appears to have taken notice already. Citing security concerns over Western hardware, the government in Beijing has dropped a number of Western companies from its approved state purchase lists. Cisco, Apple, Citrix, and Intel’s McAfee security software are among the affected.

However, unnamed technology executives told Reuters that security concerns were only a pretext, and that the “real objective was to nurture China’s domestic tech industry and subsequently support its expansion overseas.”

source:http://rt.com/usa/235571-gemalto-sim-damages-nsa-hack/

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Business

ONEPLUS IS GOING TO START MAKING TVS

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OnePlus is is getting into a new line of business: making TVs. Best known for its phones, China’s OnePlus also has a small catalog of really good accessories like wireless earphonesand surprisingly awesome backpacks, though nothing as complex or expensive as a television set. In announcing the news on the OnePlus online forums, company chief Pete Lau describes it as “the first step in building a connected human experience.”

Every hardware manufacturer is now looking intently at ways to monetize the smart home space. Samsung and Huawei recently announced smart speakers, Apple and Google already have the HomePod and Google Home, respectively, and Microsoft and Sony are old incumbents with their Xbox and PlayStation consoles. OnePlus has decided to make its entry point into this market the TV itself, which has always been at the center of home entertainment, though often with the help of other connected devices. Reading Lau’s teaser announcement, the OnePlus TV — which so far only has a project name, no timeline or specs have been revealed — will serve as the connectivity hub for OnePlus’ future vision of the smart home.

The OnePlus smart TV will be developed by a new division within OnePlus, led by Pete Lau himself. Still at the earliest stages of development, OnePlus is currently seeking input from its fans, as it often does, about what their priorities with a future smart TV will be.

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LAGOS TO HOST BIANNUAL AFRICA FINTECH SUMMIT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NOVEMBER

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The Summit, organized by Dedalus Global, gathers innovators, investors, policy makers and other key stakeholders in the Fintech sector to discuss technologies transforming finance on the continent, debate regulatory policies, compare best practices, and forge new ventures
LAGOS, Nigeria, September 17, 2018/ — Africa’s premier fintech event, the Africa Fintech Summit, (www.AfricaFintechSummit.com) will be held for the first time in Lagos, Nigeria, onNovember 8-9, 2018. This event comes on the heels of the earlier edition in Washington D.C. which featured leading policy makers, c-suite business executives, start-ups, and investors.

The Summit, organized by Dedalus Global, gathers innovators, investors, policy makers and other key stakeholders in the Fintech sector to discuss technologies transforming finance on the continent, debate regulatory policies, compare best practices, and forge new ventures.

Speaking on the decision to bring the Summit to Lagos, the Chairman of the Summit, Leland Rice, said, “Lagos is an ideal host city; it’s an epicenter of Africa’s fintech revolution and the driving force behind the continent’s entrepreneurial spirit. The successes of companies such as Paga, Flutterwave, Mines.io, and Paystack have strategically positioned Lagos as the destination of choice for investors.”

“The first edition of the Summit in D.C. was a launch pad for several milestone fintech deals struck among its delegates in the months after the event. We plan to build on these successes in Lagos, with a focus on bringing innovators and policy makers together to move the needle on fintech regulation and bringing founders and investors together to facilitate further capital raises,” added Leland.

The two-day event will feature investor missions from the US, UK, and UAE, an Alpha Expo featuring the most exciting startups and entrepreneurs in Nigeria, a half-day blockchain masterclass, and an awards ceremony.

Reacting to the decision to host the Summit in Lagos, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Technology, Lanre Osibona, stated, “This reflects the progress Nigeria is making in the areas of technology and financial services. The event is very important as it comes at the heels of the Vice President Osinbajo’s trip to Silicon Valley to promote Nigeria’s tech sector. We look forward to collaborating with the organizing committee and to a successful event in Lagos.”

In similar vein, Tayo Oviosu, the founder of Paga—a payment company that recently raised $10 million in Series B2 funding—said that “the Africa Fintech Summit in Washington D.C. provided valuable insights into the fintech space and connected me with key players in the industry. I look forward to the Lagos edition.”

Speakers lined up for the event include Chief Economist of PwC Nigeria, Dr. Andrew S. Nevin; Managing General Partner of EchoVC, Eghosa Omoigui; CEO of Diamond Bank, Uzoma Dozie; Founder of Flutterwave, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji; and CEO of PayStack, Shola Akinlade, whose company recently raised $8 million Series A funding

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Dedalus Global.

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For more information, please contact:
Ridwan Sorunke
Directory of Communications, AFTS
Ridwan@AfricaFintechSummit.com
+234 (0) 8037885760
+1 2023166726

About Dedalus Global

Dedalus Global (https://VC4A.com/dedalus-global/) is an investment and strategy advisory firm focusing on emerging markets and emerging technologies. With networks throughout Africa and the Middle East, we leverage granular market knowledge to drive innovation, accelerate capital deployment, and create value for our clients and the economies where they operate.

About Africa Fintech Summit (AFTS)

The Africa Fintech Summit (www.AfricaFintechSummit.com) is a biannual event that brings together leading disruptors, tech and finance professionals, regulators, and investors from around the globe to debate policies, compare best practices, and forge Africa-focused ventures. AFTS leverages the growth of the fintech sector in Africa to bring key stakeholders to discuss the technologies transforming finance on the continent.

To learn more about AFTS, please visit www.AfricaFintechSummit.com

View a recap from the AFTS Washington: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIdDS-u0rXE

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Dedalus Global

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Business

AMAZON IS REPORTEDLY BUILDING A FREE STREAMING VIDEO SERVICE FOR FIRE TV OWNERS

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Amazon is said to be prepping an ad-supported streaming video service; it’ll be available to folks who own any of the company’s Fire TV streaming dongles and set-top boxes, reports The Information.

It’ll be separate from Prime Video, which offers a range of licensed shows and movies, as well original content produced by Amazon, to people who are subscribed to Prime.

Amazon's latest streaming device is the Fire TV Cube
Credit: Amazon
Amazon’s latest streaming device is the Fire TV Cube

Do you like good gadgets?

Those sweet cool gadgets?

Oh, yeah

The idea behind this upcoming service, which is dubbed Free Dive, is to help Amazon bring in more revenue through advertising. Ads presently account for a small fraction – about $2 billion out of more than $200 billion – of its annual revenue, but they offer higher margins than retail, and are one of Amazon’s fastest growing earners company-wide.

To that end, the company’s been selling ad space on its site, and is slated to run ads during live sporting events on Prime Video. It also turned off ad-free viewing on Twitch – its game video streaming service – for Prime subscribers earlier this month.

Free Dive could give Amazon a chance to rival Roku, which offers a similar ad-supported streaming service for owners of its devices and is expected to reach 59 million users by the end of 2018. Roku also made its ‘Channel’ service available via the web earlier this month to folks in the US, so you don’t need the company’s hardware to access it. It’ll be interesting to see if Amazon follows suit – and how it plays its cards with customers across the globe, especially in cost-conscious markets like India, where it’s expanding its media offerings.

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