Since the beginning of time, each new technological invention has meant a change of paradigm for the way people work. However, in recent years the frequency of changes has accelerated to such an extent that companies have to renew themselves and their daily procedures almost every season.
2019 is a disruptive year as far as technology is concerned: the trend of innovation continues at an accelerated pace, deepening the technological revolution. Innovative industries keep evolving and they are overcoming barriers only imaginable in Isaac Asimov’s sci-fi novels or in TV series and films such as Black Mirror or Gattaca. Check the technological trends that are making a disruptive change in the digital transformation.
1. 5G mobile networks
Some companies have started to launch pilot experiments of this kind of technology. 5G prepares the ground for navigating at speeds of up to 10 gigabytes per second from mobile devices.
2. Artificial intelligence (AI)
This will be the year of its definitive take-off. Included in the political agendas, the European Commission has made it one of the mandates for member states to develop a strategy on this matter by the middle of the year.
3. Autonomous devices
Robots, drones and autonomous mobility systems are some of the innovations related to AI. They all aim to automate functions that were previously performed by people. This trend goes beyond mere automation through rigid programming models, as it explores AI to develop advanced behaviors that interact more naturally with the environment and users.
Finally, this technology it is no longer associated only to the crypto coins world, and experts are starting to notice its likely application in other fields. In congresses such as the annual IoT World Congress by Digitalizing Industries, -coming in october 2019-, we will witness the actual implementation of many projects based on ‘blockchain’, which will try to solve the challenges still faced by technology in different fields such as banking and insurance. It will also be a decisive year for the deployment of ‘decentralised organisations’ operating around smart contracts.
5. Advanced analytics
‘Big data’, is taking a step further with this trend, which combines this technology with artificial intelligence. Automatic learning techniques will transform the way data analysis is developed, shared and consumed. It is estimated that the capabilities of advances analytics will soon be widely adopted not only to work with information, but also to implement them in business applications of the departments of Human Resources, Finance, Sales, Marketing or Customer Service, in order to optimize decisions through a deep analysis of data.
6. Digital twins
Digital Twins are one of the disruptive technologies that will have more impact on the simulation and analysis of industrial processes. A digital twin is the virtual representation of a real-world entity or system capable to maximize the benefits of the digital transformation of companies. Many companies and organizations are already implementing these representations and will develop them over time, improving their ability to collect and visualize the right data, apply improvements to it, and respond effectively to business objectives.
7. Enhanced Edge Computing
Edge computing is a trend mostly applied to the Internet of Things. It consists of the location of intermediate points between connected objects in order to process information and perform other tasks in places closer to the reception of content by the user, in order to reduce traffic and latency in responses. This is a way to keep processing near the endpoint rather than on a centralized cloud server. However, instead of creating a new architecture, cloud computing and perimeter computing will evolve as models complementary to cloud services, managed as a centralized service that runs not only on centralized servers, but on local distributed servers and on the perimeter devices themselves.
8. Immersive experiences in intelligent spaces
Chatbots integrated into different conversation platforms and voice assistants are transforming the way people interact with the digital world, as are virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). The combination of these technologies will lead to a profound change in the perception of everything that surrounds us through the creation of intelligent spaces where more immersive, interactive and automated experiences can be lived for a specific group of people or for specific scenarios in an industry.
9. Digital ethics and privacy
Digital ethics and privacy are issues of increasing interest to individuals, organizations and governments. It is no coincidence that people are increasingly concerned about how their personal information is being used by public and private sector entities, so in the coming months companies will be proactively addressing these concerns and to gain the trust of users.
Inside the New WhatsApp Buffer Overflow Vulnerability
Facebook’s WhatsApp mobile app has had a rough time lately with regard to software vulnerabilities. In November 2019, the social media company quietly issued a security patch for a buffer overflow vulnerability contained in their messaging application.
However, the vulnerability disclosed in November 2019 is not the only recent vulnerability discovered and patched in the secure messaging application. Earlier in 2019, another buffer overflow vulnerability was discovered and patched by the company. Both of these vulnerabilities are rated as “severe” due to the fact that an attacker exploiting them can run malicious code on the target device.
To make things worse, the vulnerabilities in WhatsApp can be exploited by an unauthenticated attacker. These vulnerabilities were discovered in functions that process data sent by another WhatsApp user to the target. By taking a simple action – initiating a WhatsApp call or sending an MP4 video to the target – an attacker can trigger the vulnerability, giving them control over the device. These vulnerabilities can then be exploited to place spyware on the victim’s device and to view the user’s messaging history within the app.
A Brief History of WhatsApp Security
The recent WhatsApp vulnerability is not the first buffer overflow contained within the mobile app. In May 2019, a different buffer overflow vulnerability was discovered in how WhatsApp processed the data contained within an incoming call.
This vulnerability was created because WhatsApp uses a special binary format for sending data between devices and then unpacks this data at the recipient device. If an attacker sent a specially formatted packet, which lied about the length of a certain field, the recipient’s WhatsApp would unpack the data into a place on the stack that did not have sufficient space for it. As a result, the attacker would have the ability to write to memory that should have been outside of their control. This vulnerability was concerning since it allowed remote code execution on a target device without any user interaction required. The malicious packet was sent as part of initiating a call, so, even if the user rejected the call, the damage was already done.
This past WhatsApp vulnerability has been the source of significant controversy. While Facebook was in the process of patching the vulnerability, they observed someone trying to exploit it on the device of a UK-based human rights lawyer. Additional investigation pointed to the use of the vulnerability to spy upon individuals who would be of interest to certain governments.
The Israeli-based NSO Group is well known for developing and selling exploits to governments for use in surveillance activities that fall outside the scope of law enforcement activities. This, and the fact that the observed attack used infrastructure previously linked to the NSO Group, has led Facebook to believe that the company was beyond the exploitation of the WhatsApp vulnerability. As a result, Facebook has begun a lawsuit against the NSO Group for exploitation of a vulnerability in one of their products.
The Newest WhatsApp Vulnerability
The buffer overflow vulnerability disclosed in May was not the last such vulnerability in the WhatsApp platform. In November 2019, Facebook patched another vulnerability in WhatsApp that was similar in scope, severity, and potential impact.
This vulnerability dealt with how WhatsApp handled MP4 video files. Along with a video file comes a stream of metadata containing details about the file. When parsing this metadata, WhatsApp is vulnerable to a stack-based buffer overflow attack. This would allow the attacker to perform a Denial of Service attack (crashing the app) or to run attacker-controlled code on the app that could give access to previous conversations that the user has performed on the app. Exploitation of the vulnerability only requires an attacker to know the phone number of the victim and to send them a malicious MP4 video via WhatsApp.
Luckily, while the new vulnerability had the potential to be at least as damaging as the previous buffer overflow flaw, it appears that this one was not being actively exploited by attackers prior to being patched by Facebook. However, this demonstrates the importance of keeping such applications up-to-date (so that Facebook-provided security patches are applied) and to consider the risks associated with using these applications for personal communications.
Protecting Against Buffer Overflow Vulnerabilities
Buffer overflow vulnerabilities are nothing new. They are extremely simple vulnerabilities – only involving a failure to properly manage memory and user input – yet they can be extremely difficult to detect. A wide range of buffer overflow vulnerabilities exist, and sometimes apparently “safe” code can be vulnerable since another vulnerability can be exploited to bypass existing protections against buffer overflows.
The two major WhatsApp vulnerabilities disclosed and patched in 2019 demonstrate the potential impact of a buffer overflow vulnerability in a critical application. Both of these vulnerabilities could be exploited without user interaction, and enabled an attacker to run malicious code within the victim application. In one case, the vulnerability was exploited multiple times to spy upon parties of interest to various governments, leading to a lawsuit by Facebook against the suspected perpetrator.
Protecting against buffer overflow vulnerabilities requires the ability to identify and block potential exploits before they reach a vulnerable application. Deploying a strong web application firewall (WAF) to protect an organization’s web presence and runtime application self-protection (RASP) for critical or potentially vulnerable assets is an important first step toward protecting an organization and its software assets against exploitation.
3 2020 Developments That Could Make Your Life Easier
There are many systems under development right now that could eventually make your life easier – but below, we’re going to look at 3 of them. We could be using these developments a lot sooner than you think!
Why do we need 5G when we have 4G – 4G is fast enough, right? People are worried about the health implications, but everybody seems willing to look past that to get more speed. More speed could really help businesses. Also, while 5G is generally operating from the same infrastructure as before, mass adoption will cause issues for data centers. This could make the situation both better and worse in some respects.
Virtual reality is already being used by many people, but it could actually be put to good use soon. When it comes to simple things like shopping, you could make your life so much easier and more enjoyable. Whether you’re shopping for furniture or clothes, virtual reality could mean checking out the fit easily. Try on clothes in the comfort of your home without even ordering them first. See what a sofa looks like before you buy. The options are endless!
We’re still going to need human intelligence, but AI can have a huge impact in our personal and working lives. In work alone it could mean enhanced automation with no need to do tedious tasks. Then, there’s next gen disaster response. It’s the technology of the future!
With these developments in mind, what are some of the most important developments in human history? Check out the infographic to find out!
check out an infographic about human history
Technology Advances And How We Can Embrace Them
When it comes to the world as we know it, there is one denying that technology has advanced at an alarming rate. So much so, that we can find that more of us are starting to see these influences being incorporated into our lives. Whether you embrace it or not. Of course, there are technophobes out there, especially the older generation, who can find the latest technology a little harder to grasp. But these advances can really help us when it comes to living our lives. Here are some of the advances and how we can embrace them each day.
The changes in what we wear have become more noticeable as more of us will be wearing some form of wearable technology. It could be in the form of a watch that tracks our heart rate or exercises. It might be that some people who are older will have wearable technology to remind them to take medication or to feel safe. Such as a button that can be pressed isn they feel unwell or need some form of assistance.
Technology on our devices
The technology that we all use personally each day has changed dramatically, we only have to look at our smartphones or laptops to see that. They are more advanced than ever before, and with that some of them can become a little more like virtual assistants. Whether that be using Apple, Android or other devices. However, we can find that there may be situations where technology can let us down, such as mac os Catalina could not be verified or we find that certain models are not updated. Another issue we can have is older technology not keeping up with the latest downloads and software updates that are required.
The smart home
Our homes are advancing more and more, and with that it means with things like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, we have more control over what we do through our voice and commands. Whether you want to control your heating, or even things like lights, these devices in your home are making it possible with simple demands. While it may seem lazy, these devices can help to transform your home. Even enabling you to switch the heating on or lights before you arrive home, for example.
Lifestyle changes that technology can help us embrace
Finally, technology has changed so much that we can find ourselves in a position where we are able to embrace lifestyle changes that to different technology allowing business to track things. Smartphone apps can enable us to stay on track with our spending and budgets, even do our banking online. We can then perform lifestyle changes because of the wearable technology that we can use, such as tracking exercises, the amount of calories we burn and our heart rates.
Let’s hope this has given you an indiviation of some of the more daily technology advances we are in contact with and how we can embrace them.
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