Mobile networks are upgrading to 5G, but it may lead to more dangers
Mobile networks are upgrading to 5G, but it may lead to more dangers
(TECH NEWS) New networks technology means better speeds, and more data; But with more 1s and 0s flying around, there are more vulnerabilities that some may exploit.
Natalie Gonzalez, Staff Writer
New technology is exciting, but with new tech comes new security concerns. The rise of 5G networks is no different. With the recent announcement of T-Mobile’s “5G For All” , the next generation of cellular communication is on everyone’s radar, including hackers.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves it’s important to remember that we are still not living in a 5G world – even if T-Mobile’s marketing campaigns want you to believe it.
The G in 5G stands for generation. 5G is the latest generation of cellular wireless technology. It’s nearly 10x faster than 4G networks and promises to make mobile communication nearly instantaneous. But 5G will do so much more than just make your text messages get to your friends faster. 5G will play a pivotal role in connecting various technologies from GPS systems in vehicles to robots in factories.
The problem is it’s not actually here yet. 5G exists only in small pockets across the country and there are still some issues to sort out. Current 5G networks have a transmission radius of just a few hundred feet, plus they have trouble going through normal stuff like walls and heavy rain.
Major mobile carriers are currently working to redevelop their system of transmitters in order to make “5G For All” more than just a marketing pitch. Despite its current shortcomings, 5G is the future of communications. and everyone from criminal organizations to military groups will be trying to hack it.
According to European computer security company, Enisa , there are five groups most likely to try hacking into the new 5G networks. First on their list is cyber criminals, so no surprise there. Also on their potential hackers list are insiders, nation states, military, hacktivists, and script kiddies (individual junior hackers). These groups have the most to gain from hacking into 5G networks either for stealing data or committing fraud.
The amazing connectivity of 5G could leave certain systems vulnerable to attacks by hackers. Still, let’s not go hitting the panic button on 5G. The rise of 5G networks will mean users, businesses, and governments will have to take on new security tactics, but that is a small price to pay for progress.
Staff Writer, Natalie Gonzalez earned her B.A. in English and a Creative Writing Certificate from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a writer and social media nerd with a passion for building online communities.
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The government want access to all of your messages (for your safety, of course)
(TECH NEWS) The US government wants to protect you and yours, and are willing to ask tech companies for help and easy access to messages
Brittany Vance, Staff Writer
With great technology comes great government hearings. Apple has long been known for its heavily encrypted software and Facebook has started to work to offer encryption in its messaging service. Recently, these companies have once again met with lawmakers in an ongoing debate about privacy.
The government wants tech companies to create a way for agencies to access encrypted messages. And as you might expect, tech companies aren’t too pleased.
What does this mean? Well, all those embarrassing photos and personal conversations could be available for the government to see. Worse, it might not just be the government that has access. Facebook executives argue that the creation of a backdoor will make it easier for anyone, like criminals or foreign governments, to break into your encrypted messages.
Speaking of foreign governments, there have been cases where more restrictive governments, like China, have actually worked to censor messages sent through less private apps like WeChat. Giving the government access to our information – essentially additional surveillance – could even be dangerous.
As far as companies like Facebook or Apple are concerned, they’re protecting the privacy of their customers. There’s truth to that, too. We all have some sort of information stored on our devices we’d prefer remain out of the hands of others.
But the average Facebook user, who might want to keep pictures of their baby private, isn’t the only person using the technology. Human trafficking, drug cartels, violent crime – these are all activities that are often coordinated on technology.
With such intense encryptions, however, it can be difficult to break into systems. This can down law enforcement. At its most extreme, encrypted services are keeping us from catching people like child pornographers. And it’s such a concern that there is bi-partisan insistence that something must be done.
To be fair, Facebook executives admit that the situation is complicated. Sure, nobody wants human trafficking to continue to occur simply because we can’t hack a system. But on the other hand, we don’t want devious individuals to have access to our information either.
Is the potential to catch more criminals worth weaker protections of our information? Are corporations responsible for solving these complicated problems? What do you think?
China no longer dependent on U.S. for smartphone components
(TECH NEWS) Trump’s trade war, more specifically, the ban on shipping phone components, to China has begun to take a toll on chip manufacturing.
Rachael Olan, Staff Writer
Once upon a time, the U.S. and China were buddies, exporting and importing from each other with ease. However, President Trump’s recent actions regarding trade with China is certainly putting a damper on things.
It seems that Chinese companies have moved past the need to import certain products, like smartphone chips, from the U.S. – something they previously relied heavily on by working with American companies like Qorvo, Inc. in North Carolina, Skyworks, Inc. in Massachusetts, Broadcom, Inc. in California, and Cirrus Logic in Texas.
Since the ban in May, Trump specifically barred shipments from the U.S. from companies like Qualcomm and Intel Corp to companies like Chinese tech conglomerate, Huawei Technologies Co . But much like the bans that came before the Trump administration, it didn’t last long. With tensions high, the U.S. actually recently started rolling back some aspects of the ban and started making exceptions that allow American tech companies to continue to work with Chinese companies like Huawei.
Of course, China’s lack of U.S. parts hasn’t stopped them from rolling out new and improved products. As a matter of fact, in September, Huawei unveiled its newest phone , the Mate 30, which boasts highly-desired features, such as a curved screen and a wide angle camera. This makes the phone a pretty solid competitor of Apple’s newest iPhone, the iPhone 11, of which China was sent 10 million of in September and October.
After Huawei’s announcement, investment and banking firm UBS, and Japanese technology lab Fomalhaut Techno Solutions, partnered up and took to their labs to analyze the phone’s components. Their analysis was simple and straightforward. They found that there were absolutely zero American components in the phone. In fact, the chips in the Mate 30 are actually from Huawei’s in-house chip design agency, HiSilicon. They also provided Huawei with WiFi and Bluetooth chips . With HiSilicon’s 20 + years experience in the industry, 200+ chipsets, and 8000+ patents, it’s no wonder U.S. chip companies are getting nervous. Qualcomm, for example, announced a 31-40% decrease in estimated chip shipments over the next year.
Although the chip ban has made a big impact on larger U.S. companies who make and supply chips to China, there are still many other businesses that have been affected in Trump’s trade war. As it happens, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recently confessed that, since May, when the ban was put in place, the U.S. has received at least 260 requests, asking that they excuse them from the ban and be allowed to work with China as they previously had.
But really, at the end of the day, with so many American companies relying on China for both import and export, it’s probable that the ban will be short-lived and that exceptions won’t need to be made. As Americans, we can be hopeful that the end-result of this trade war will be a positive one, but only time will tell.
Brittany Vance, Staff Writer
What if we told you Australian officials believe they have found a way to reduce driving deaths by almost 30% in just two years? It’s a pretty appealing concept. After all, Australia alone faces an average of over 3 deaths a day due to driving accidents. And Australia’s average death rate clocks in at just half of what we face in the United States.
There’s just one problem with Australia’s proposed solution: it’s basically Big Brother.
Basically, Australia plans to use AI cameras to catch people texting and driving. There are plenty of places that have outlawed texting and driving, but that rule is very hard to enforce – it basically means catching someone in the act. With AI cameras, hands free driving can be monitored and fined.
Australia has already started rolling out some of these systems in South Wales . Because this is a new initiative, first time offenses will be let off with a warning. The following offenses can add up quickly, though, with fines anywhere from $233 to $309 USD . After a six month trial period, this program is projected to expand significantly.
But there are real concerns with this project.
Surprisingly, privacy isn’t one of these worries. Sure, “AI cameras built to monitor individuals” sounds like a plot point from 1984, but it’s not quite as dire as it seems. First, many places already have traffic cameras in order to catch things like people running red lights. More importantly, though, is the fact these machines aren’t being trained to identify faces. Instead, the machine learning for the cameras will focus on aspects of distracted driving, like hands off the wheel.
The bigger concern is what will come from placing the burden of proof on drivers. Because machine learning isn’t perfect, it will be paired with humans who will review the tagged photographs in order to eliminate false positives. The problem is, humans aren’t perfect either. There’s bound to be false positives to fall through the cracks.
Some worry that the imperfect system will slow down the judicial system as more people go to court over traffic violations they believe are unfair. Others are concerned that some indicators for texting while driving (such as hands off the wheel) might not simply apply texting. What if, for instance, someone was passing a phone to the back seat? Changing the music? There are subtleties that might not be able to be captured in a photograph or identified by an AI.
No matter what you think of the system, however, only time can tell if the project will be effective.