Thursday, January 5, 2017

Cisco and Ericsson Extend Partnership to Wi-Fi

Ericsson and Cisco are extending their strategic partnership to include a new Wi-Fi solution n0amed Evolved Wi-Fi Networks (EWN).

The joint offering combines Ericsson's 3GPP access, core networks and applications with Cisco's Wi-Fi portfolio, to provide reliable Wi-Fi with the highest performance to Ericsson's mobile, cable and other industries customers. The design and deployment will be handled by Ericsson's services organization, with full product support from Cisco. EWN can be offered as a fully managed service with the global reach of more than 180 countries.

Highlights include:

  • Indoor Small Cells - Combining indoor Ericsson access networks with Cisco® WLAN enables deployment in venues of both Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity.
  • Operator Wi-Fi - Allowing operators who have outdoor Ericsson access networks to use Cisco WLAN to offer access to their subscribers.
  • Traffic Steering - Integrating Cisco WLAN with either Ericsson macro or indoor access networks via Ericsson's unique Real Time Traffic Steering feature enables operators to steer users between mobile and Wi-Fi access networks, ensuring the best end-user experience.
  • Core Network Integration - Integrating Cisco WLAN into Ericsson packet core using trusted configurations will allow operators to offer all their core network services over Wi-Fi for multimode devices. Ericsson's highly successful Wi-Fi Calling capabilities already deliver seamless voice mobility over Cisco WLAN.

Rima Qureshi, Head of Region North America with responsibility for the strategic partnership with Cisco, Ericsson, says: "Our strategic partnership brings together the capabilities of two leading players in networking, mobility and cloud, creating the best end-to-end solutions and opportunities for our customers. By adding Wi-Fi solutions into the partnership, we will enable our customers to offer best-in-class Wi-Fi in their networks, complemented by our leading 3GPP portfolio and services organization."

"With Wi-Fi traffic predicted to grow to 50 percent of the total IP traffic by 2020, a top priority for service providers is to deliver the best possible connected experiences to their customers," said Yvette Kanouff, SVP & GM of the Service Provider Business Unit, Cisco. "Through our extended strategic partnership with Ericsson, we are committed to providing Wi -Fi solutions of the highest quality performance and reliability."

http://www.ericsson.com
http://www.cisco.com


Comcast Announces Multi-Platform, Direct-to-Consumer Solution for OTT Providers

Comcast Technology Solutions, which is a division of Comcast Cable, has expanded its direct-to-consumer (D2C) solution to help content providers build, launch, and manage over-the-top (OTT) experiences.

The expanded D2C solution offers video processing, management, multi-CDN distribution, and playout capabilities, as well as a powerful out-of-the box suite of monetization options spanning subscription management, promotion, storefront enablement, and billing. The solution is built with an innovative UX integration layer that allows UX providers to easily develop pre-integrated multi-platform application templates for maximum speed and flexibility.

Comcast Technology said its turnkey solution supports a variety of monetization models, with maximum flexibility and simplified pricing for enterprise customers.

"Content providers are increasingly interested in establishing direct-to-consumer businesses, but quickly become overwhelmed by the challenges of building, deploying, and managing OTT solutions seamlessly across any screen," said Barry Tishgart, Vice President of Comcast Technology Solutions.

"Customers want simplicity, repeatability, and speed, but they don't want to be locked into a one-size-fits all approach that can't evolve with their audiences and business needs. Our turnkey solution enables content providers to reduce complexity, accelerate time to market, and optimize their workflows, user experience, and monetization models as needed."

http://www.comcasttechnologysolutions.com

Intel Announces Global 5G Modem

Intel will begin sampling a 5G modem in the second half of 2017. The device will be capable of delivering 5G in both sub-6 GHz bands and mmWave spectrum in regions worldwide – including the United States, Europe, Korea and Japan

The modem’s baseband chip pairs with a new 5G transceiver that enables both sub-6 Ghz and mmWave capabilities. The chipset incorporates key 3GPP 5G NR (new radio) technology – including low latency frame structures, advanced channel coding and massive MIMO – to deliver faster connectivity and ultra-responsiveness.

Intel said its goal is to support both early trials and to lay a foundation enabling accelerated development of products that will support the 3GPP NR specification and help drive global adoption of the 3GPP 5G standard.

https://newsroom.intel.com/editorials/intel-accelerates-the-future-with-first-global-5g-modem/

WD Debuts PCIe NVMe-based SSDs

Western Digital introduced a branded, performance PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe-based SSD that delivers more than three times the sequential read speeds of current SATA SSDs.

The WD Black PCIe SSDs will be available in 256GB and 512GB capacities in a single-sided M.2 2280 form factor. The WD Black PCIe SSD boasts up to 2050MB/s and 800MB/s sequential read and write speeds, making it ideal as a boot drive when paired with a high-capacity hard drive, or as primary storage when building a future-ready PC. The company said its new WD Black PCIe SSD delivers more than three times the sequential read performance of SATA SSDs, an industry-leading 1.75M hours MTTF, and WD Functional Integrity Testing (F.I.T.) Lab certification.

“NVMe PCIe-based SSD adoption is poised to accelerate in 2017 and the years to follow,” said Jeff Janukowicz, vice president, IDC. “Products like the WD Black PCIe SSD, with a broad ecosystem and compatibility testing, should give customers a significant performance increase over SATA SSDs and offer a straightforward solution for customers to update to or build future-ready systems.”

“We are in the midst of a once-in-a-generation interface change,” says Eyal Bek, senior director of client SSD, Devices Business Unit, Western Digital. “The WD Black PCIe SSD ramps up performance while delivering worry-free reliability for our customers worldwide. We believe that this will accelerate the transition that is already occurring from SATA to PCIe. Western Digital is uniquely positioned to offer customers a complete storage portfolio—HDD or SSD, and SATA or PCIe form factors for every segment of the market.”

http://www.wd.com

SanDisk Intros 256GB Ultra microSD Card

Western Digital's SanDisk division introduced the first microSD card that meets the Application Performance Class 1 (A1) requirements from the latest SD Association’s SD 5.1 specifications. The 256GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card can hold up to 24 hours of Full HD video and with premium transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s.

The A1 spec allows the new card to manage random read input-output access per second (IOPS) of 1,500 and write IOPS of 500, so it can quickly open apps and process accompanying tasks, such as audio, graphics, saved profiles and in-app permissions. With this in mind, the new SanDisk Ultra microSD card with A1 is designed to provide consumers a faster, more powerful app experience using cards.

“SD technology is trusted by consumers around the world for its reliable, backwards compatible and highly interoperable storage, making it the world’s leading memory format with billions of SD memory cards and devices in the market,” said Brian Kumagai, SDA president. “The A1 specification will help consumers identify the appropriate card to ensure an optimal experience when running and launching apps on their smartphone. We are pleased that SanDisk will release an A1 card, and continues to contribute to breakthrough technologies enabled by the microSD format.”

MSRP is $199.99.

http://www.sandisk.com

Infinera Xceed Software Suite Powered by OpenDaylight

Infinera announced that its Xceed Software Suite is the first optical transport software-defined networking (SDN) solution to join the “Powered by OpenDaylight” program.

The OpenDaylight Project (ODL) is a collaborative open source project that aims to accelerate the adoption of SDN and network functions virtualization. The Powered by OpenDaylight program signals compliance with exceptional technical standards and quality for commercial products or services based on ODL. Xceed offers a portfolio of open and modular components for SDN programmability and automation of multi-layer transport networks.

“The Powered by OpenDaylight program makes it easy for end users to identify solutions that leverage the most critical components of the ODL platform without alteration,” said Neela Jacques, Executive Director of OpenDaylight. “The Infinera Xceed Software Suite is the first optical transport network solution to receive this recognition. Open software platforms like ODL help solution providers accelerate the development of tools for life cycle service orchestration, which help service providers simplify their network operations while rapidly bringing new services online.”

“Infinera has contributed to ODL as a member since 2014, leading the design and development of open SDN solutions for optical transport networks,” said Ian MacDonald, Vice President, Software Product Line Management at Infinera. “Network operators are increasingly focusing on open software solutions for multi-layer management of multi-vendor networks. We are pleased to be the first optical transport member of the Powered by OpenDaylight program.”

https://www.infinera.com


https://www.infinera.com/products/xceed-software-suite/

T-Mobile Adds 2.1M Customers in Q4 to Reach 71.5M in Total

T-Mobile added 2.1 million net customers in Q4, bringing its total customer count to 71.5 million at year-end 2016 and marking the fifteenth consecutive quarter that T-Mobile has generated more than 1 million net customer additions. Full-year 2016 also marked the third consecutive year that T-Mobile added more than 8 million net customers.

T-Mobile also saw ongoing strength in branded postpaid customers, reporting branded postpaid net customer additions of 1.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. Branded postpaid phone net customer additions were 933,000 in the fourth quarter of 2016, bringing the total branded postpaid phone net customer additions to approximately 13 million since the end of the first quarter of 2013, when T-Mobile launched the first Un-carrier initiative.

https://newsroom.t-mobile.com/news-and-blogs/q416-prelim-results.htm

NTT and Furukawa Announce 2 Joint Ventures for Optical Components

NTT Electronics Corporation and Furukawa Electric Co. agreed to establish two joint venture manufacturing companies for planar lightwave circuits and optical semiconductors. Both joint ventures will be based in Japan.

The companies said the deals were motivated by the need for stable and efficient supply capability of optical components has increased in response to the demand created by rapid growth in cloud services.

http://www.ntt-electronics.com/en/news/2016/12/ntt-electronics-and-furukawa-electric-establish-joint-venture.html

New SEA-ME-WE 5 Cable Boasts 24 Tbps Capacity

Construction of the SEA-ME-WE (South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 5) cable system is now complete. The project was backed by consortium of leading telecom operators.

The new submarine cable connects Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh,  Sri-Lanka, India, Pakistan, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen,  Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy and France.

Sea-Me-We 5 initially offer an aggregate capacity of 24 Tbps on 3-fibre pairs and the ability to carry 100G wavelengths. The SEA-ME-WE 5’s main endpoints are carrier-neutral/open Points-of-Presence (PoPs) and not just Cable Landing Stations (CLS).

Orange previously announced a construction and maintenance agreement for Sea-Me-We 5.

In March 2014, Alcatel-Lucent and NEC both announced contract wins for the new SEA-ME-WE5 project.

“The completion of the SE-ME-WE 5 project is a landmark system upgrade for all data users worldwide. This system facilitates a new age of digital transformation and innovation, catalysing greater economic activities, trade and growth across three continents.” noted Linette Lee, Chairperson, SEA-ME-WE 5 Consortium Management Committee. “I would like to thank all the members of the consortium for their unstinting support and commitment toward this project. Together, we collaborated across different time zones and overcame numerous challenges to achieve the complex integration of technologies as promised and on time.”

http://www.seamewe5.com/



  • The 19 SEA-ME-WE 5 member companies include Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), China Mobile International (CMI), China Telecom Global (CTG), China United Network Communications Group Company Limited (CU), Djibouti Telecom, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du),Myanmar Post and Telecom (MPT), Ooredoo, Orange, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (Singtel), Sparkle, Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT), Telecom Egypt (TE), Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), TeleYemen, Turk Telekom International(TTI) and Trans World Associates (Pvt) Limited Pakistan (TWA)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

AT&T Network 3.0 Indigo Envisions Closed Communities fo Data Sharing

AT&T outlined Indigo -- a "Network 3.0" initiative to create a trusted environment where organizations can share data and collaborate on analytics.

The announcement, which was made at the annual AT&T Developer Summit in Las Vegas, envisions a more advanced network centered around trust. Trusted identification, network connection, cloud provider and network operator.

AT&T Network 3.0 Indigo has three pillars:

  • A new platform to enable closed communities of data sharing and collaboration. This platform will have strong identity management, a policy engine (rules enforcer), rightful retention of data ownership, and 2 types of analytics – built-in and bring-your-own. Organizations will create communities and invite others to join.
  • Running on a virtualized network, such as the AT&T software-defined network. The AT&T SDN has API access, built-in secure access channels like NetBond, and identity and access-management services. As other networks adopt our open-source ECOMP framework, community memberships can span across networks.
  • Necessary infrastructure services – compute, network and storage.  Any virtual private cloud provider with API-accessible cloud orchestration could enable these services.


http://about.att.com/innovationblog/indigo

AT&T Tests Fixed 5G for DIRECTV NOW

AT&T announced its 5G Evolution plans for 2017 and beyond, including the growing possibility that it will offer fixed 5G residential access for video services. Some highlights:

  • AT&T is working with more than a dozen global technology companies around 5G standards efforts
  • 5G lab trials are already achieving speeds up to 14 Gbps over a wireless connection.
  • 5G lab trials have demonstrated less than 3 milliseconds of latency. The industry expectation for 5G is latency less than 5 milliseconds.
  • 1 Gbps Speeds in 2017: AT&T's continued deployment of its 4G LTE-Advanced network is expected to deliver peak theoretical speeds of up to 1 Gbps at some cell sites in 2017. AT&T is currently deploying three-way carrier aggregation in select areas, and plans to introduce four-way carrier aggregation as well as LTE-License Assisted Access (LAA) this year.
  • 5G Video Trial with DIRECTV NOW: In the first half of 2017, AT&T plans to conduct a trial in Austin where residential customers can stream DIRECTV NOW video service over a fixed wireless 5G connection. The trial will include next-generation entertainment services over fixed 5G connections. The trial will evaluate how fixed wireless mmWave technology handles heavy video traffic.  
  • First 5G Business Customer Trial: the industry’s first 5G business customer trial is underway in Austin with Intel and Ericsson using millimeter wave (mmWave) technology, which can deliver multi-gigabit speeds using an unlicensed band of spectrum. 
  • Additional 5G Trials: AT&T recently announced plans to team up with Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson for mobile and fixed wireless trials in the second half of 2017. 

“Our 5G Evolution plans will pave the way to the next-generation of higher speeds for customers. We’re not waiting until the final standards are set to lay the foundation for our evolution to 5G. We’re executing now,” said John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president, Technology and Operations.  “Data on our mobile network has increased about 250,000% since 2007, and the majority of that traffic is video. 5G’s promise of greater speed and overall network performance brings huge opportunities not only for video but in the Internet of Things, 4K video, augmented and virtual reality, smart home and cities, autonomous vehicles and much more.”

http://www.att.com

T-Mobile Pushes LTE to Near 1 Gbps with Nokia

T-Mobile pushed LTE speeds to near 1 Gbps in a demonstration using Nokia's deployed 4.5G Pro technology.

The demonstration, conducted at T-Mobile's lab in Bellevue, Washington, encompassed technologies currently live in the operator's network, including carrier aggregation, 256 QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) and 4x4 MIMO (Multiple Input and Multiple Output) on Nokia's commercially available radio access hardware.

T-Mobile has already launched 4x4 MIMO, carrier aggregation and 256 QAM modulation. Its network currently provides speeds up to 400 Mbps.

Overview of the demo solution:

  • Three-carrier aggregation technology using Bands 2 and 66.
  • 4X4 MIMO technology for doubling peak speeds.
  • 256 QAM, which is a higher order modulation scheme that allows an increase in peak data rates of up to 30% compared to 64 QAM.
  • Nokia commercial LTE eNodeB.

"We've had the fastest LTE network for the last three straight years, but we never stop innovating. We demonstrated nearly 1 Gbps speeds over the air on LTE with our long-standing strategic partner, Nokia, to show how much more our network can do to achieve higher speeds and superior performance."

http://www.nokia.com/en_int/news/releases/2017/01/04/nokia-and-t-mobile-achieve-ground-breaking-lte-speeds-near-1-gbps-ces2017

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Intel and HERE Work on HD Mapping with Centimeter Precision

Intel will acquire a 15 percent ownership stake in HERE, a developer of digital maps and location-based services based in the Netherlands. HERE is a private company, which is indirectly wholly owned by AUDI AG, BMW AG and Daimler AG.

Intel and HERE will collaborate on the research and development of a highly scalable proof-of-concept architecture that supports real-time updates of high definition (HD) maps for highly and fully automated driving. Additionally, the two companies plan to jointly explore strategic opportunities that result from enriching edge-computing devices with location data.

Intel will also work with AUDI AG, BMW AG and Daimler AG to test the architecture. Intel and HERE envision making the architecture broadly available across the automotive industry as a seamlessly integrated offering that simplifies and shortens time of development for automakers.

The companies said future HD mapping will support vehicle localization to within centimeters, enabling vehicles precisely position themselves on the roadway to enable reliable autonomous driving functionality.

“Cars are rapidly becoming some of the world’s most intelligent, connected devices,” said Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO. “We look forward to working with HERE and its automotive partners to deliver an important technology foundation for smart and connected cars of the future.”

“A real-time, self-healing and high-definition representation of the physical world is critical for autonomous driving, and achieving this will require significantly more powerful and capable in-vehicle compute platforms,” said Edzard Overbeek, HERE CEO. “As a premier silicon provider, Intel can help accelerate HERE’s ambitions in this area by supporting the creation of a universal, always up-to-date digital location platform that spans the vehicle, the cloud and everything else connected.”

http://www.intel.com

Molex takes 20% Stake in Excelfore for Smart Vehicles

Molex has acquired a 20% equity stake in Excelfore, a start-up based in Silicon Valley developing a cloud platform and connectivity applications for intelligent transportation. Molex’s investment is part of a Series A round of funding in Excelfore, which is geadquartered in Fremont, CA with offices in China, Germany, India, and Japan,

Excelfore specializes in middleware solutions for smart mobility networks that support next-generation smart, autonomous and learning vehicles, fleets and associated infrastructure. Excelfore automotive software products enable communication between automotive components and cloud-based servers, automotive fleet monitoring, and provision of Firmware Over the Air (FOTA) and Software Over the Air (SOTA) updates.

“Smart mobility starts with innovative people and solutions to make intelligent vehicle designs a reality,” according to Bill Fitzer, vice president and general manager of the Molex Connected Mobility Solutions Business Unit. “Together, Molex and Excelfore will provide complete intelligent vehicle systems integrating the hardware, software, and technical services needed to advance adoption of next-generation connected platforms in today’s vehicles.”

http://www.excelfore.com
http://www.molex.com

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Huawei Forecasts 2017 Sales will Continue to Rise Dramatically

Huawei expects its 2017 sales revenue to reach 520 billion yuan (US$74.8 billion), up 32% year-on-year.

In a New Year's message, Huawei Rotating CEO Eric Xu said the company made significant progress in 2016 in improving its efficiency and quality.

"Fear not the drifting clouds that block your eyes: beneath shifting sands bright gold still lies. The year 2016 has seen a flock of black swans – both political and economic – sweep across the globe. Nevertheless, we have remained focused on our strategy and have patiently applied ourselves to making breakthroughs and creating real value for our customers."

Some priorities for 2017:
  • Cut down on empty and extravagant marketing events and conferences; have more meaningful meetings with customers to address their real problems
  • Talk less about trends, vision, and new concepts; develop more scenario-specific summaries and case studies based on our practices, experiences, and lessons learned
  • Have fewer empty talks in offices that are far removed from actual business; pay more visits to equipment rooms, base stations, street cabinets, and shops
  • Avoid blind optimism and rhetoric about Huawei as an industry leader or how it has entered uncharted territory; give due respect to uncertainty and prepare for the unknown with more independent thinking
  • Avoid demonstrations of "value" to managers, with fancy internal promotional videos and slides; focus on creating value for customers

http://www.huawei.com/en/special-release/new-year-message-2017?utm_medium=sm&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=MBBF

Huawei's First Half Sales Hit CNY245.5 billion, up 40% YoY


Huawei reported sales revenue for the first half of 2016 of CNY245.5 billion (US$36.75 billion), an increase of 40% comparing with the same period last year. The company's operating margin was 12%. "We achieved steady growth across all three of our business groups, thanks to a well-balanced global presence and an unwavering focus on our pipe strategy," said Sabrina Meng, Huawei's Chief Financial Officer. "We are confident that Huawei will maintain...

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ford Cites Progress in Autonomous Vehicles, to Double Silicon Valley Team

The Ford Motor Company is on track to build a high-volume, fully autonomous SAE level 4-capable vehicle by 2021.

At CES and the North American International Auto Show in January, Ford is expected to show its next-generation Fusion Hybrid autonomous development vehicle featuring new new computer hardware, electrical controls and LiDAR sensors.

In a blog posting, Chris Brewer, chief program engineer, Ford Autonomous Vehicle Development, writes that the company plans to double the size of its Palo Alto research team by the end of 2017. Brewer cited work with four startups in areas such as advanced algorithms, 3D mapping, LiDAR, and radar and camera sensors:

Velodyne: Ford has invested in Velodyne, a Silicon Valley-based leader in light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors. The aim is to quickly mass-produce a more affordable automotive LiDAR sensor. Ford has a longstanding relationship with Velodyne, and was among the first to use LiDAR for both high-resolution mapping and autonomous driving beginning more than 10 years ago

SAIPS: Ford has acquired the Israel-based computer vision and machine learning company to further strengthen its expertise in artificial intelligence and enhance computer vision. SAIPS has developed algorithmic solutions in image and video processing, deep learning, signal processing and classification. This expertise will help Ford autonomous vehicles learn and adapt to the surroundings of their environment

Nirenberg Neuroscience LLC: Ford has an exclusive licensing agreement with Nirenberg Neuroscience, a machine vision company founded by neuroscientist Dr. Sheila Nirenberg, who cracked the neural code the eye uses to transmit visual information to the brain. This has led to a powerful machine vision platform for performing navigation, object recognition, facial recognition and other functions, with many potential applications. For example, it is already being applied by Dr. Nirenberg to develop a device for restoring sight to patients with degenerative diseases of the retina. Ford’s partnership with Nirenberg Neuroscience will help bring humanlike intelligence to the machine learning modules of its autonomous vehicle virtual driver system

Civil Maps: Ford has invested in Berkeley, California-based Civil Maps to further develop high-resolution 3D mapping capabilities. Civil Maps has pioneered an innovative 3D mapping technique that is scalable and more efficient than existing processes. This provides Ford another way to develop high-resolution 3D maps of autonomous vehicle environments.

https://media.ford.com/content/fordmedia/fna/us/en/news/2016/08/16/ford-targets-fully-autonomous-vehicle-for-ride-sharing-in-2021.html

Sprint Commits to Create or Bring Back to America 5,000 Jobs

Sprint announced a commitment to create or bring back to America 5,000 jobs by the end of its fiscal year 2017.

“We are excited to work with President-Elect Trump and his Administration to do our part to drive economic growth and create jobs in the U.S.,” said Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. “We believe it is critical for business and government to partner together to create more job opportunities in the U.S. and ensure prosperity for all Americans.”

Sprint said it anticipates these jobs will support a variety of functions across the organization including its Customer Care and Sales teams.

http://www.sprint.com

Friday, December 23, 2016

Video - The Story of Facebook's Infrastructure



The Facebook Engineering team talks about building the company's leading-edge data center infrastructure. In a few years, Facebook has gone from rented space in colocation facilities to a network of hyperscale data centers with global connections.



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Predictions 2017: IaaS Becomes the Next Launching Pad for Cyber Threats

by Corey Nachreiner, Chief Technology Officer, WatchGuard Technologies

Cloud technology has had an incredible impact on the business landscape over the last five years. Public infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platforms like Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft Azure, in particular, are growing at incredible rates – even among small businesses. According to RightScale’s 2016 State of the Cloud report, 71 percent of small and medium businesses (SMBs) are running at least one application in AWS or Azure. It’s clear that IaaS solutions provide a ton of business opportunities for organizations, especially those without the financial or personnel resources necessary to manage physical network infrastructure.

However, as the public cloud becomes more engrained in the fabric of everyday business operations, it has also become a serious target for hackers. The question: How safe is it really? With so much valuable customer, financial and healthcare data stored in one place, and managed by a third party, it’s easy to see why criminals have begun to focus their efforts on IaaS.  

In the past, we’ve seen threat actors target or infect servers running in public cloud services. For example, there have been cases where hackers take over servers running in Amazon EC2—the virtualized compute portion of Amazon AWS. Remember, servers you spin up in EC2 are no different from servers on your premises. If you leave a port open, without a firewall or access control rules, hackers can attack it in the same way they attack physical servers. To illustrate this, a honeypot organization spun up some fake SSH servers in Amazon EC2 to see whether they’d get targeted. Even without publishing the servers’ IP addresses, or attaching them to a domain, attackers found and started brute-force attacks the IaaS-based honeypots within 10 hours.

We’ve also seen criminals target IaaS customers through their cloud credentials. An Amazon AWS account is powerful. Customers can spin up almost endless servers, as long as they are willing to pay Amazon for the compute power they use. In 2014, one AWS customers had a very costly AWS credential breach. Some criminal learned his AWS credential, and used its administrative powers to spin up more EC2 server instances, which he used to mine bitcoin. This credential leak (due to the victim accidentally leaving credentials in a Github project), almost cost the victim over $5000 in AWS bills.

In short, without the proper protections, attackers can hack servers in the public cloud just as easily as the ones on your premises. As we move more and more of our data to IaaS servers, you can expect criminal hackers to follow.

Iaas doesn’t only make a good attack target, but also provides a powerful attack platform. We’ve seen cybercriminals leveraging these robust virtualization cloud platforms to build their attack infrastructure. For instance, criminals started putting their botnet command and control (C&C) servers in Amazon EC2 shortly after its launch, one example being the Zeus botnet. Despite increased monitoring and security from Amazon, attackers still use AWS infrastructure for attacks.

More recently, a web security company did a study of all the web application attacks launched on the Internet, and found that 20 percent of these attacks from AWS’s IP addresses. This comes as no surprise, since public IaaS services can provide single individuals with more scalable compute and network power one person could easily harness on their own. As long as public clouds offer impressive distributed computing capabilities to customers, hacker will search for ways to exploit these powers for evil.

In 2017, I expect to see attackers increasingly leverage public IaaS both as a potential attack surface, and as a powerful platform to build their attack networks. It’s highly likely there will be at least one headline-generating cyberattack either targeting, or launched from a public IaaS service next year.

So what can businesses to do protect their IaaS properties from being attacked in 2017?

In short, extend your existing network perimeter security tactics to the public cloud. There are a number of simple best practices I’d recommend to proactively protect your IaaS credentials and business critical data:
       
·        Properly implement IaaS’s existing access controls: IaaS services like AWS and Azure have built-in security tools you can use to protect your cloud servers in the same way you do physical ones. While cloud services don’t offer Unified Threat Management (UTM) or Next-generation Firewall (NGFW) services, they do have basic stateful firewalls. At the very least, make sure you firewall your cloud servers, and only expose the network services you really need to. 

·        Use strong authentication or two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible: Passwords are not perfect. They can get stolen, or you might accidentally leave them in a Github project, like the victim mentioned above. If you’re only using a password to authenticate to your IaaS service, a lost password gives attackers everything they need to take over your account. However, most public clouds offer two-factor authentication (2FA), where you can pair your password with some other authentication token, such as a secure code delivered to your mobile phone. With 2FA enabled, cybercriminals won’t be able to access your IaaS account even if they compromise your password.

·        Bring your on-prem security to the cloud: Most organizations protect their premise servers with UTM and NGFW appliances that combine many different security controls into one easy to manage appliance. Luckily, you can now bring these advanced premise security solutions to IaaS as well. Search your IaaS marketplace for your favorite security solution and you might find it.

·        Check out your IaaS provider’s security best practices: Frankly, there are more security tips and practices to protect your cloud servers that I can share in one short article. The good news is your favorite IaaS provider may already have you covered. For instance, AWS users can find a white paper on all Amazon’s best practices in this PDF.


Business will continue to boom for the IaaS industry. According to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide spending on public cloud services is expected to reach upwards of $141 billion by 2019, up from nearly $70 billion last year. With the sustained growth and prevalence of IaaS, organizations need to constantly educate themselves on new ways cybercriminals are leveraging it and focus on effectively extending their network security into the public cloud. 

About the Author

Corey Nachreiner is Chief Technology Officer of Watchguard Technologies.

Recognized as a thought leader in IT security, Nachreiner spearheads WatchGuard's technology vision and direction. Previously, he was the director of strategy and research at WatchGuard. Nachreiner has operated at the frontline of cyber security for 16 years, and for nearly a decade has been evaluating and making accurate predictions about information security trends. As an authority on network security and internationally quoted commentator, Nachreiner's expertise and ability to dissect complex security topics make him a sought-after speaker at forums such as Gartner, Infosec and RSA. He is also a regular contributor to leading publications including CNET, Dark Reading, eWeek, Help Net Security, Information Week and Infosecurity, and delivers WatchGuard's "Daily Security Byte" video on Facebook.

Qualcomm, Ericsson, SK Telecom Set 5G NR Trials

Ericsson, Qualcomm, and SK Telecom will conduct interoperability testing and over-the-air field trials in the second half of 2017 based on 3GPP's 5G New Radio (NR) standards, which utilize wide bandwidths available at higher frequency bands to increase network capacity and achieve multi-gigabit per second data rates.

The first 3GPP 5G NR specification that will be part of Release 15 - the global 5G standard that will make use of both sub-6 GHz and mmWave spectrum bands.

The companies said the upcoming trials will employ 3GPP 5G NR Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques, including non-line-of-sight (NLOS) environments and device mobility. It will also make use of scalable OFDM-based waveforms and a new flexible framework design that are also part of the 5G NR specifications. The trials are expected to yield valuable insight into the unique challenges of integrating 5G NR technologies into mobile networks and devices.

"As we did in both 3G and 4G, we are excited about collaborating with leading operators and industry stakeholders such as Ericsson and SK Telecom to accelerate the path to 5G," said Matt Grob, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "The roadmap of 5G technologies is incredibly complex, and trials based on the global 3GPP 5G standard, such as this, are critical to continuing our long history of leadership integrating advanced wireless technologies in form-factor accurate devices to ensure timely deployment of 5G networks."

"As 5G rapidly gains momentum, a globally agreed and unified standard becomes imperative to achieve early commercialization of 5G and build an efficient ecosystem around it," said Alex Jinsung Choi, EVP, Chief Technology Officer, SK Telecom, "As 3GPP NR is a global 5G standard, we are delighted to announce early 3GPP NR trials with leading 5G players, Ericsson and Qualcomm, with which we have made remarkable world's first footprints in the past with previous generations of groundbreaking mobile technologies.."

http://www.ericsson.com
http://www.qualcomm.com