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Researchers publish a tool to hunt for hackable robots on the Internet

Vlad Poptamas

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Open sourced by Alias Robotics, the instrument is ready to be used by security researchers interested in robot footprinting and allows to track robots powered by ROS, SROS and other robot technologies 

In a first scan, close to 9000 insecure industrial routers have been reported potentially hosting more connected vulnerable robots. The study showed 1586 of them in Europe, with France and Spain leading the rankingof misconfigured devices
As potential targets for cyberattacks, robots “need to be secured as soon as possible” alert the authors. So far manufacturers are not responding, they claim, but end users are becoming aware of the problem Last summer, the University of Brown published a research on robot visibility on the internet.
They scanned the internet and found over 100 ROS-running internet-connected robots that were potential targets for cybercrime and mischief. This massive security issue got big international echo. Six months later, researchers from the robot cybersecurity startup Alias Robotics found no changes: hundreds of robots are still openly  onnected to the internet and potentially hackable. Moreover, Alias Robotics’ offensive team has extended the scan to other robots not running ROS, and developed a tool that allows security researchers to audit robots in the internet. This open source instrument, called
aztarna (“footprint” in Basque language), allows to locate and
identify robots and robot components, not only in the open internet, but also upon industrial environments where robots operate.
The authors of the piece of research have detected almost 9000 insecure industrial routers worldwide that potentially host more connected hackable robots all around the world. 1586 of them were placed in Europe. and the most insecure routers of the European Union are located in France and Spain, with
63% and 54% respectively. North American countries such as US and Canada also showed a large proportion them. All these detected industrial targets are configured with default credentials and totally unprotected.  

“Our aim was to improve, systematize and extend the results of previous studies. We target not only robots powered by the Robot Operating System (ROS), but also other setups (SROS, ROS 2.0) and technologies . Beyond robotics frameworks, our work also targets other robots that do not necessarily employ these popular middlewares”, says David Mayoral, CEO of Alias Robotics.

  As the University of Brown research team did, Alias Robotics’ authors have notified the owners of the bots whenever they came across a vulnerable robot. But the have also gone a step further: They have opened up the code. “We argue against the security by obscurity approach and instead, advocate for robot security powered by continuous assessments, including quality assurance practices in software. Of course, by no means we encourage unauthorized tampering of running robotic systems. Instead we value the importance to empower security researchers and aim to raise security-awareness among roboticists,
by releasing this robot security auditing tool” aztarna
is ready to be used by security researchers interested in robot footprinting. Throughout the article published on the preprint server arXiv sections, they’ve disclosed and
described how their work can be reproduced, and how it allows for future extensions thanks to
its modular architecture.


Authors argue that the release of these tools is a natural consequence of the general lack of concern among robot manufacturers towards security and cybersecurity.
“It’s not only that they are very slow patching their flaws when we warn them. Many just don’t care and say: We know our  robots have a set of reported vulnerabilities, but we leave security up to the end user”. Researchers from Alias Robotics invite for contributions to extend aztarna’s auditing capacities.

Hacking into 1 out of 3 industrial routers in the world is effortless While hunting for robots, researchers at Alias Robotics stumbled upon a frightening reality. As part of the search of industrial robots, a single internet wide scan was launched targeting industrial end-points, the routers. This scan has revealed a vast amount of connected devices, many of them using default, weak credentials, or having no authentication mechanisms at all. Most popular industrial routers from Ewon, Moxa, Westermo and Sierra Wireless manufacturers were scanned as they represent the majority of industrial routers nowadays.
26801 routers were found, out of which 8958 (a stunning 33%) were tagged as insecure. Results showed that most countries follow a similar balance between correctly configured and misconfigured devices, being Colombia, with 26 connected devices of which 100% were using default credentials, the most insecure country. Regarding European countries with a larger
number of connected routers, France stands out in the proportion of misconfigured devices, reported to display a total of 416 devices, 261 of them (63%) exposing default credentials. Spain follows with 54% of the studied industrial routers being configured with default credentials. North American countries showed the highest amount of industrial routers detected, with poor security settings in 36% in the US and 41% in Canadian routers. 

106 ROS systems detected by aztarnatool in a few hours 

Alias Robotics team has performed two different scans through the whole internet address space searching for open ROS Master in the 11311 port. Then, aztarna was used to verify that
the found hosts actually correspond to machines running ROS. A striking amount of 106 ROS Systems were detected, most of them in the US (52) and Korea (16). Some the ROS instances found corresponded to empty systems or simulations, but a
considerable proportion of real robots were identified. Including an array of research oriented machines, but also a series of robots in industrial environments (Figure; showing a trashclassifying robot).

Example of snaphsot by camara of an industrial trash-classification robot found with aztarna

 

 

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Consumer Electronics

Sirved Launches Redesigned Restaurant App With Options for Everyone

Betty Tűndik

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Sirved Team meeting about functionality improvements in their new restaurant menu app.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Sirved has launched an all new restaurant app that reimagines restaurant discovery and puts all the focus on helping people find menus from restaurants online. Sirved’s mission is to connect people to their ideal restaurant anywhere they go by providing a FREE menu app with over 400,000 restaurant listings across North America.

“The app had a strong backbone with regards to its functionality and menu search. When redesigning the platform, our goal was to elevate the user experience by adding photo driven features that allow users to discover restaurants and menus,” says Kyle Brown, Vice President and Co-Founder or Sirved.

When redesigning the new platform, Sirved wanted to make searching for restaurants and menus more visual. Starting with the discover screen, you can browse restaurants in a variety of ways. You can also search by keyword or by dietary needs, which makes Sirved unique amongst the restaurant menu app competition. Vegetarian? Vegan? Gluten-free? Sirved will find a restaurant that has options for everyone.

The feast for your eyes doesn’t stop there. While browsing restaurants in list view you’ll be able use ratings and photos to guide your decisions. Those looking for more perspective can browse the app to find restaurants near your location using the map view. Lastly if you’re feeling adventurous, you can browse restaurants specifically by a food photo itself – (no logos, no ratings, no distractions) – just let the food photo take you somewhere new and unexpected.

Sirved has added user reviews and ratings to each restaurant listing from trusted online platforms (Yelp, Yellowpages, Facebook, Foursquare and Google) to help users make educated decisions with no bias on where they spend their hard-earned money.

All these new features make Sirved the top iOS restaurant menu app for iPhone as well as one of the top Android restaurant apps.  With all the changes Sirved has made to the new platform, one thing remains the same, it’s still all about restaurant menus. They’ve redesigned everything and refocused on what matters most, the user. With so many options it’s nice to know Sirved has taken the time and effort to satisfy your hunger for a food app with all the fixings.

 

SOURCE: Sirved

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Awards

New Research Identifies the Technology That Hotel Guests Really Want

Betty Tűndik

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Criton developed app for Cheval Residences
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Research conducted by leading travel technology firm Criton reveals the importance of hotel technology to improve the experience of today’s travellers

Dependence on mobile phones when travelling is brought into sharp focus by a survey of more than 3,600 travellers which reveals a growing appreciation for bespoke travel apps. Research commissioned by Edinburgh-based hospitality firm Criton, highlights that loyalty programmes, self-check-in/out and accessing your hotel room via a digital door key are primary requirements of today’s guests.

Julie Grieve, Founder and CEO of Criton

 

 The findings highlight crucial information for all hoteliers, with guests’ smartphones now recognised as an essential tool for delivering and improving their travel experience. With 45% of respondents travelling for leisure more than four times a year, findings showed that 62% of respondents regularly use an accommodation app, with the figure increasing to 67% amongst business travellers.

If their favourite hotel was to have its own app, 74% of respondents overwhelmingly stated they would use this digital channel, with only 10% favouring an in-room device such as a hotel’s smartphone or tablet. This reinforces Criton’s core belief that the future of hotel technology is own device. Hoteliers no longer need to absorb the cost of installing in-room devices when their guests travel with their own smartphone and are more comfortable with the apps and content within it.

The opportunity to check-in via an app and access their hotel room via a digital door key was warmly received with 58% likely or very likely to want this technology. With 68% finding it unacceptable to queue at reception for longer than five minutes, offering guests access to a service which global chains already offer is fast becoming a core priority for independent operators.

Respondents prioritised loyalty programmes as their favoured element of hotel technology with 53% recognising it as their top requirement. In a competitive landscape, the opportunity to drive direct and repeat bookings through a personalised loyalty programme will ensure hoteliers save on OTA commission while creating their own closed marketing group to upsell onsite services and facilities.

Underlining modern travellers’ awareness of technology, the survey found an audience ready to talk about tech use and expectations while travelling. Reflecting on the results of the survey, Julie Grieve, founder and CEO of Criton, which developed the UK’s first intuitive app builder for the hospitality sector, said:

“Increasingly, today’s travellers are downloading apps that help them get around and stay connected with their hotel. That level of tech awareness or even dependency also raises expectations for information, guest services, such as check-in, digital key and offers and incentives to reward their loyalty.

“Respondents to the survey were people who travel regularly, with the majority opting for a mid-range hotel or accommodation. It is increasingly clear that adopting technology has to be seen as an imperative for all hospitality providers; it is not something purely for the major franchises.”

Criton lets independent operators compete with big chain technology through an easy to use platform. From digitising the traditional hotel room guest book to PMS, live chat, digital door key and in-room ordering integrations all contained within a fully-branded hotel app; Criton supports hospitality businesses with their digital transformation strategies and work with clients across the UK and overseas.

Research Methodology:

An online survey ran from Tuesday 26th March until Monday 1st April and received a total of 3,654 responses, of whom 1,311 were classed as business travellers.

Key Findings:

  • 45% of travellers stated they travel for leisure 2-3 times a year
  • 36% travel for business
  • 39% use TripAdvisor as main source of research and inspiration before booking a hotel, followed by 29% of respondents relying on online search
  • 40% of travellers said they regularly stay in a 4-star (boutique) hotel, with 6% in a 5-star (luxury) hotel. The majority (47%) stated they regularly stay in a 3-star (mid-range) hotel
  • 53% have at least one hotel app on their phone
  • 74% would use a hotel app if their favourite hotel had one
  • 55% stated it is acceptable to wait at check-in 2-5 minutes
  • 62% would be likely or very likely to check-in to a hotel via an app
  • 58% would be likely or very likely to check-in to a hotel via an app and use digital key

App usage

  • 62% use an accommodation app regularly (eg Airbnb)
  • 57% use a transport app regularly
  • 47% use an airline app regularly
  • 36% uses a hotel app regularly

The hotel technology that respondents seek:

  • 53% – loyalty programmes
  • 35% – self check-in
  • 10% – in-room mobile
  • 18% – in-room tablet

Awards:

  • Criton won the ‘Best Technology Provider’ award at the 2018 Travolution Awards and was Highly Commended for Best Use of Mobile
  • Criton won the ‘Industry Breakthrough and Innovation Award’ at the ASAP Awards 2018
  • Julie Grieve, Founder & CEO won the prestigious ‘HOSPACE 2017 Best Entrepreneur Award’

 

SOURCE: Criton

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Computer Electronics

Defining the essence of future, DIGIX HUAWEI Global Smartphone Theme Design Competition Officially Launched

Betty Tűndik

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HUAWEI_THEME_1
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

DIGIX HUAWEI Global Smartphone Theme Design Competition was formally launched on April 11th, inviting exceptional designers and art enthusiasts from all over the globe to send in their thematic interface designs, including illustrations, animations, and 3D graphics. With the theme of ‘Hello, New Art’, this competition aims to create a fusion of art and technology, sharing the cutting-edge design and aesthetic trends with global users.

Global Authoritative judges facilitate to forge an international professional design arena

An impressive panel of judges has been appointed including Xiaokang Liu(KL&K Creative Strategics Founder), Jun Fei (Professor of School of Design, Central Academy of Fine Arts), Bai Cha (One of China’s Most Popular Cartoonists), María José Pérez-Luque (Head of the Multimedia and Graphic Design program, ESNE, Madrid), Alejandro Magallenes (Member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale), Jun Liang (Huawei UCD Chief User Experience Design Director), Alexandre Plicque Gurlitt (Senior Visual Designer, Paris Aesthetic Research Center), and other prominent design masters so as to forge the most influential design arena in the mobile phone industry.

Special guest designers to create conceptual works, interpreting the essence of new art 

For the warming-up of this competition, an influential panel of design masters had been invited to create a set of stylish and imaginative masterpieces, showing audiences the new definition of art. The panel list is as follow:

Ye Luying, illustrator named in the Forbes Under 30 Asia List
Wu Sijun, young artist
LOST7, popular illustrator
Paulo Villagrán, One of Mexico’s Most Prominent Illustrators
Wang Yunfei, popular illustrator
FIREYE, popular illustrator

Free to show your strengths in four major categories

This year’s Global Theme Design competition is divided into four separate categories, including illustrations, animations, 2D graphics, and 3D graphics. Designers can choose to submit work into any category to compete for the prize and demonstrate their uniqueness in the specific art field.

In this world-class design competition, designers from all over the world will compete on the same stage and interpret new art with extraordinary creativity. Art design will be revitalized by those talented designers in the process of exploring the futuristic aesthetics.

Generous rewards to your design talent

Eight major awards were set up for 134 winners, with a total prize of more than $330,000 US dollars, and will include the Global Winner Grand Prize, Stars of Tomorrow Award, Most Popular Award etc. In addition to cash rewards, as part of the designer support program, a special Creative Fund is established to incentivize the art work creation and guarantee artists the corresponding income. At the same time, this competition will be launched in more than 170 countries and regions. All entries are able to receive exposure from billions through online and offline channels worldwide, bringing an  extraordinary experience to hundreds of millions of Huawei smartphone users.

Easy to create themes by employing Huawei Themes Development Tool 9.0

In line with this competition, Huawei officially launched the Theme Development Tool 9.0. The newly upgraded theme development tool supports theme visualization editing, multi-effect online preview, and materials one-click packaging, enabling designers to get rid of complex lock screen script development etc., generating a designer friendly environment and leaving more time for the creation.

Event information not to be missed: Your participation will affect the future of smartphone theme design aesthetics

The theme is one of the key artistic measure of smartphones and the theme designer is the master of making the fusion of art and technology possible. And hundreds of millions of users will be influenced by every detail of the theme design.

A great number of designers from all over the world will participate this competition enthusiastically!

For more information, please visit the official website: https://themes.cloud.huawei.com/contest/index.html or open the Huawei Themes application to enter the competition registration page and sign up to participate!

 

SOURCE: Huawei

 

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