End-to-end encryption is a staple of secure messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal. It ensures that no one—not even the app developer—can access your data as it traverses the web. But what if you could bring some version of that protection to increasingly ubiquitous and notoriously insecure internet of things devices?
The Swiss cryptography firm Teserakt is trying just that. Earlier this month, at the Real World Crypto conference in New York, it introduced E4, a sort of cryptographic implant that IoT manufacturers can integrate into their servers. Today most IoT data is encrypted at some point as it moves across the web, but it's challenging to keep that protection consistent for the whole ride. E4 would do most of that work behind the scenes, so that whether companies make home routers, industrial control sensors, or webcams, all the data transmitted between the devices and their manufacturers can be encrypted.
Tech companies already rely on web encryption to keep IoT data secure, so it's not like your big-name fitness tracker is transmitting your health data with no protection. But E4 aims to provide a more comprehensive, open source approach that's tailored to the realities of IoT. Carmakers managing dozens of models and hundreds of thousands of vehicles, or an energy company taking readings from a massive fleet of smart meters, could have more assurance that full encryption protections really extend to every digital layer that data will cross.
"What we have now is a whole lot of different devices in different industries sending and receiving data," says Jean-Philippe Aumasson, Teserakt's CEO. "That data might be software updates, telemetry data, user data, personal data. So it should be protected between the device that produces it and the device that receives it, but technically it's very hard when you don't have the tools. So we wanted to build something that was easy for manufacturers to integrate at the software level."
Being open source is also what gives the Signal Protocol, which underpins Signal and WhatsApp, so much credibility. It means experts can check under the hood for vulnerabilities and flaws. And it enables any developer to adopt the protocol in their product, rather than attempting the fraught and risky task of developing encryption protections from scratch.
Aumasson says that the Signal Protocol itself doesn't literally translate to IoT, which makes sense. Messaging apps involve remote but still direct, human-to-human interaction, whereas populations of embedded devices send data back to a manufacturer or vice versa. IoT needs a scheme that accounts for these "many-to-one" and "one-to-many" data flows. And end-to-end encryption has different privacy goals when it is applied to IoT versus secure messaging. Encrypted chat apps essentially aim to lock out the developer, internet service providers, nation-state spies, and any other snoops. But in the IoT context, manufacturers still have access to their customers' data; the goal instead is to protect the data from other entities and Teserakt itself.
It also only hardens IoT defenses against a specific type of problem. E4 looks to improve defenses for information in transit and offer protection against data interception and manipulation. But just like encrypted chat services can't protect your messages if bad actors have access to your smartphone itself, E4 doesn't protect against a company's servers being compromised or improve security on IoT devices themselves.
"I think it's a good idea, but developers would need to keep in mind that it covers only one part of data protection," says Jatin Kataria, principal scientist at the IoT security firm Red Balloon. "What’s the security architecture of the embedded device itself and the servers that are receiving this data? If those two endpoints are not that secure, then end-to-end encryption will only get you so far."
Teserakt has been consulting with large tech companies in aerospace, health care, agriculture, and the automotive and energy sectors to develop E4 and plans to monetize the tool by charging to customize implementations for their specific infrastructures. The company has not yet open-sourced full server code for E4 alongside the protocol details and cryptography documentation it released, but says that final step will come as soon as the documentation is complete. Given the glacial pace of investment in IoT security overall, you probably shouldn't expect E4 to be protecting the whole industry anytime soon.
That multifaceted IoT security hellscape needs as many available tools as possible, though. Larger services like Microsoft's Azure Sphere are also exploring ways to extend more comprehensive encryption to peripherals and IoT devices. They aren’t cross-platform like E4, though, and with so many IoT security problems to solve there’s plenty of room for multiple companies to work on protections.
"It’s not a perfect solution for all of IoT's issues," Aumasson says. "But it's an interesting discussion to have about what end-to-end really means in the IoT context. There are so many machines and entities that do not have the need to view or modify this data, so they shouldn’t have access to it. At the end of the day, we know that's the right thing to do for security."
China’s autonomous vehicle startups AutoX, Momenta and WeRide are coming to TC Sessions: Mobility 2021
As the autonomous vehicle industry in the United States marches toward consolidation, a funding spree continues to exhilarate China’s robotaxi industry. Momenta, Pony.ai, WeRide and Didi’s autonomous vehicle arm have all raised hundreds of millions of dollars over the past year. And 21-year-old search engine giant Baidu competes alongside the startups with a $1.5 billion fund launched in 2017 to help cars go driverless.
Their strategies are similar in some regards and diverge elsewhere. The biggest players have deployed small fleets of robotaxis, manned with safety drivers, onto certain urban roads and are diligently testing driverless vehicles inside pilot zones. Some companies embrace lidar to detect the cars’ surroundings, while others agree with Elon Musk on a vision-only future.
The industry is still years from being truly driverless and operational at scale, so some contestants are seeking easier cases to tackle and monetize first, putting self-driving software inside buses, trucks and tractors that roam inside industrial parks.
Will investors continue to back the lofty dreams and skyrocketing valuations of China’s robotaxi leaders? And how is China’s autonomous driving race playing out differently from that in the U.S.?
We hope to find out at the upcoming TC Sessions: Mobility 2021, where we speak to three female leaders from Chinese autonomous vehicle startups that have an overseas footprint: Jewel Li from AutoX, which is backed by Chinese state-owned automakers Dongfeng Motor and SAIC Motor; Huan Sun from Momenta, which attracted Bosch, Daimler and Toyota in its $500 million round closed in March; and Jennifer Li from WeRide, whose valuation jumped to $3 billion after a financing round in May.
We can’t wait to hear from this panel! Among the growing list of speakers at this year’s event are GM’s VP of Global Innovation Pam Fletcher, Scale AI CEO Alexandr Wang, Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt, investor and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman (whose special purpose acquisition company just merged with Joby), investors Clara Brenner of Urban Innovation Fund, Quin Garcia of Autotech Ventures and Rachel Holt of Construct Capital, Starship Technologies co-founder and CEO/CTO Ahti Heinla, Zoox co-founder and CTO Jesse Levinson, community organizer, transportation consultant and lawyer Tamika L. Butler, Remix co-founder and CEO Tiffany Chu and Revel co-founder and CEO Frank Reig.
Stay tuned for more announcements in these final weeks. Book your general admission pass for $125 today and join this year’s deep dive into the world of all things transportation at TC Sessions: Mobility.
Motul Goes Retro With Classic Line Of Engine Oil For Older Cars
Without engine oil your car wouldn’t run for seven minutes, never mind seven decades. Furthermore, ask any car enthusiast about oil and odds are each person will vehemently support one brand over another. Now Motul seeks to win the hearts of classic car owners with a new series of oils that tug on retro heartstrings while also offering better blends for specific eras of motoring.
Motul simply calls its new lubricants the Classic Line, but it’s not just new synthetic oil packaged into cool containers. In a press release, the company says all Classic Line oils include an additive package with high-zinc and molybdenum and start with a base synthetic oil. From there, the individual formulas have various detergent levels and other tweaks that are designed to work better with engines from specific eras going back to pre-1950 vehicles.
It starts with straight-weight, low-detergent Classic Oil SAE 30 and SAE 50 for those old cars, back when engine tolerances weren’t as tight as they are today. Classic Oil 20W-50 is designed for muscle cars, hot rods, and collector cars after 1950 where muscular engines with high-lift cams are common. Classic Oil 15W-50 is a revised version of Motul’s 2100 oil designed for both naturally aspirated and forced induction engines with a focus on 1970s engine technology.
Similarly, Motul’s Modern Classic Eighties 10W-40 and Modern Classic Nineties 10W-30 are also aimed at both naturally aspirated and forced-induction mills. The Nineties oil is further tweaked for better protection in high-revving, DOHC engines.
As for the containers, Motul uses its historical logo for the Classic Oils, while the Modern Classics get their own cool containers with retro appeal. In addition to the actual oil, we suspect there are more than a few car-crazy folks out there keen on simply collecting the neat cans.
The new oil lineup from Motul is available now.
Life On Earth, Inc. (LFER) Closes Purchase of SmartAxiom, Inc.
LFER is Poised for Growth in Cloud Based Software and Technology Solutions to Enable Secure, Smart, Compliant and Maintainable Enterprise Business Solutions
NEW YORK, New York – OTC PR WIRE – May 13, 2021- Life On Earth, Inc. (OTC Pink: LFER), announces today that it has closed on the purchase of 100% of the issued and outstanding shares in SmartAxiom, Inc. and it’s India Subsidiary (“SmartAxiom”), including all intellectual property, existing software infrastructure, and current customers. SmartAxiom is a California-based IoT solution and cybersecurity software company founded by Amit Biyani. Along with the acquisition comes a team that has decades of experience in embedded system engineering, security, blockchain, data analytics, technology marketing, and solution sales, contributing to the success of industry leaders such as Broadcom, Intel, ARM and NXP.
SmartAxiom’s patented software technology manages and secures through a unique lite blockchain technology running among those devices at the edge of the Internet and enabling them to defend themselves. The SmartAxiom technology can also manage Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and this solution is seeing great customer interest for tracking the entire lifecycle of IoT devices and every step of the supply chain and distribution webs. Upon closing of the SmartAxiom’s acquisition, SmartAxiom will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Life On Earth, Inc.
Statement from Mr. Mahmood Khan Chief Executive Officer of Life On Earth, Inc.: “I am very pleased to announce our closing of the SmartAxiom acquisition. This first step is the key to our vision of delivering value in the fast-emerging technologies, that include bullet proof secure IoT solutions and SaaS based enterprise software. In addition, we can leverage SmartAxiom’s patented core technologies to rapidly expand our systems to address desperately needed hacker-proof business solutions. This is vitally important given the recent developments of cyber-attacks and hacks that have occurred recently on a worldwide scale. To that end, we shall be making additional announcements to update the markets, and our industry, on how SmartAxiom progresses with its existing and new strategic partnerships and solutions.”
Statement from Mr. Amit Biyani, Founder SmartAxiom Inc.: “I am thrilled to be working with the LFER team as this acquisition will accelerate the productization and deployment of vertical solutions based on our patented blockchain IoT technologies. This will enable us to better satisfy a broader range of customers and partners more quickly with exciting new NFT-based offerings. The acquisition will help us realize our vision to be the de-facto standard for securing the Internet-of-Things through decentralized blockchain technologies, thus making it all safer, faster and more efficient for all.”
LFER has disclosed the closing in Form 8-K.
About Life On Earth, Inc.
Life On Earth, Inc. (“LFER”) is a cloud based enterprise software developer and a provider that enables rapid innovation that keeps the Cloud enterprise operations safe, compliant and manageable. The products were designed to help organizations innovate and modernize legacy systems while minimizing cost and risk of business disruptions and ensure regulatory compliance. For more information, please visit our Corporate Website – www.lifeonearthinc.com. Investors and corporate inquiries, please contact: email@example.com – (646) 844- 9897
About SmartAxiom, Inc.
SmartAxiom’s software manages and secures the Internet-of-Things (IoT) through patented, lite blockchain technology running among those devices at the edge of the Internet and enabling them to defend themselves. Our peer-to-peer distributed ledgers improve security, latency, reliability, and manageability. We uniquely create the first true endpoint-to-cloud blockchain solution, while our IoT Smart Contracts manage NFTs and push intelligence to the edge. SmartAxiom technology is proving valuable in many verticals such as smart buildings, manufacturing lines, vehicles, and shipment tracking. It interoperates with enterprise systems such as IBM Blockchain and Microsoft Azure and is proven on many ARM and Intel based microcontrollers such as those from Intel, NXP, Renesas, Marvell, and Broadcom. https://www.smartaxiom.com.
Safe Harbor Act
Forward-Looking Statements: This release contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements appear in a number of places in this release and include all statements that are not statements of historical fact regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of Life On Earth, Inc. its directors or its officers with respect to, among other things: (i) financing plans; (ii) trends affecting its financial condition or results of operations; (iii) growth strategy and operating strategy. The words “may,” “would,” “will,” “expect,” “estimate,” “can,” “believe,” “potential” and similar expressions and variations thereof are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements, including those relating to the LFER’s financing being adequate for it to develop and market its software products, and to launch its growth and expansion plans, among others, are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Life On Earth, Inc.’s ability to control, and actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors. No information in this press release should be construed in any way whatsoever as an indication of Life On Earth, Inc.’s future revenues, financial performance or stock price. More information about the potential factors that could affect the business and financial results is and will be included in Life On Earth, Inc.’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov.
Ford Power-Up Launches To Give Models Over-The-Air Software Updates
Ford Power-Up is the brand’s newly announced name for its over-the-air software updates. One major implementation of this tech is the introduction of voice-controlled Amazon Alexa that can even control your smart home devices from the vehicle.
The Ford F-150 and Mustang Mach-E with the Sync 4 infotainment system already support Power-Up. The Bronco is the next to get the tech, and the Escape and Super Duty receive the functionality this fall. Ford will make 33 million vehicles with Power-Up capability by 2028.
Upcoming over-the-air updates for the F-150 and Mach-E will include improvements to the navigation system to add destination suggestions and conversational voice command recognition. Plus, the Apple CarPlay system will be able to show turn-by-turn navigation on the instrument cluster.
Soon, the Mach-E gets an app called Sketch (example above) for its infotainment system. It lets owners draw pictures with their fingers on the screen. It could be a fun way to spend the time while waiting for the EV to charge.
The improved Amazon Alexa capability lets simply speak commands for controlling both the vehicle and other Alexa-enabled devices. Users get three years of free functionality. Afterward, owners have to purchase a subscription to retain the features. Ford isn’t yet disclosing the cost after the initial period.
Power-Up goes far beyond just improving the infotainment software because the Blue Oval can send upgrades to over 110 vehicle modules. The company says it can tweak any of them as long as the change doesn’t require hardware changes. When there’s an upgrade, the installation is generally seamless. In cases where the installation takes longer, owners can schedule a time, like overnight when they aren’t using the vehicle.
As an example, Ford used connected vehicle data to identify an issue with the F-150’s zone lighting. The engineers are also working on an update to fix a problem with the Android Auto connectivity in the F-150 and Mach-E.
If you want to know more about Power-Up, listen to Motor1.com’s podcast Rambling About Cars tomorrow where we interview Ford Director of Retail Operations Kate Pearce about the tech.
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