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Mississippi City Trying to Turn Residents’ Doorbell Cameras Into Law Enforcement Surveillance Network

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The Ring doorbell/camera has become a fixture of American life, thanks in part to Ring’s partnership with law enforcement agencies. In exchange for steering people towards Ring’s snitch app, the company has been giving deeply discounted doorbell cameras to police, who then hand them out to homeowners with the implied assumption homeowners will return the favor by handing footage over to cops any time they ask.

There are millions of cameras out there and Ring-enabled portals for law enforcement officers to request footage. If warrants seem to be too much trouble, Ring lets police know they can always approach the company with a subpoena to access recordings stored in Ring’s cloud.

Some enterprising city legislators are narrowing the gap between cops and homeowners’ cameras. A trial program is underway in Mississippi that would give police direct access to cameras, as Edward Ongweso Jr. reports for Vice. (h/t FourthAmendment.com]

On Tuesday, Jackson, Mississippi’s city council signed off on a 45-day pilot program that would let police access Ring surveillance cameras in real time.

In partnership with technology companies PILEUM and Fūsus, the pilot program will run through the police department’s surveillance hub, the Real Time Crime Center, from which Jackson’s police department can stream Ring surveillance camera footage.

The goal, of course, is to fight crime. But the methods are concerning, to say the least. The expansion of law enforcement’s surveillance network in Jackson co-opts cameras owned by private citizens. The police feel this would be a boon for their “Real Time Crime Center,” allowing them to seamlessly access any footage instantly near scenes of reported crimes. According to the mayor, this is a net win for everyone, but it provides the most benefit to the local government, which won’t have to spend money to purchase more CCTV cameras.

None of this is mandatory. Businesses and private citizens have to sign a waiver to grant the police real-time access to their cameras. But this move towards more pervasive surveillance comes at a strange time for the city, which recently took steps to limit local law enforcement’s access to surveillance tech.

This may come as a surprise to those who remember that just a few months ago, Jackson was the first city in the South to ban police from using facial recognition technology.

That might explain why this surveillance hub isn’t much of a hub at this point. According to Vice’s report, there are only five private participants in this program. As for Ring, it’s distancing itself from this co-opting of its cameras, stating that this isn’t a Ring program and the company has had no participation in this program. And while that may be true in this case, the company hasn’t been shy about pushing cameras on citizens via law enforcement and encouraging law enforcement to lean on recipients for camera footage.

This may not be Ring’s doing, but that’s always been the implicit promise of its hundreds of partnerships with law enforcement agencies: an expanded surveillance network that costs cops almost nothing. It hasn’t always worked out the way Ring suggests it will, but this trial program makes it clear others will step up to create a network of their own if Ring can’t or won’t help out.

This content was originally published here.

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Precision Agriculture Using AI and IoT to Usher in the Next Revolution in Food Security

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Micromanagement of every aspect of the field being used for your crops is called precision agriculture. It includes mapping of the field in terms of disparities within the field or with other fields around it, the sun light variation across the year, wind patterns, rain predictions and other seasonal effects. To do that, feed from weather stations, Remote sensing equipment, GIS and GPS may be used.

Another key feature of precision farming is having a trained software module on the specific crop being planned in that field. This software module has an understanding about the growth patterns of that crop, possible diseases that are related to that crop, prescriptions of specific fertilizer or pesticides depending upon the disease pattern, and prediction of disease depending upon the growth of leaves or size or colour of the plant.

It uses feed sensors, weight sensors, soil sensors, temperature sensors, intensity sensors and multiple types of cameras. All these sensors may be deployed on a machine. This machine can be a low flying drone or a small robot moving through the field. Based on the crop and the size of the plants, the robot height and size can be manoeuvred. This robot or drone will have multiple compartments full of different ingredients required for the plants. One box may contain water, another may have pesticides, another may have fertilizer and so on. Based on the real feedback of different sensors, the software module will process that information according to the trained AI model installed on that robot or drone. Depending upon the necessary trigger, instructions will follow, and the robot will discharge specific amount of pesticides or fertilizer or water etc.

This whole mechanism may look like a complex process for small and medium level farmers, but that is not the case. Just like farmers currently hire big machines for sowing and cutting the crops, they will be able to hire different kinds of robots for their specific crops. Initially the cost will be high, but eventually, when this becomes a standard practice, the cost will come down with volume and scale.

The end user will not be required to understand or learn about these complex systems. They will just employ these systems like we use washing machines without understanding the mechanical engineering behind their working. The farmer will only need to follow some simple and clear instructions and press a few buttons.

While its execution will be simple, the advantages of precision farming are many and varied. End-to-end efficiency and decrease in wastage/loss of the yield due to disease etc will lead to an increase in crop-yield. Another advantage is the huge saving in inputs: currently, farmers waste a lot of water, pesticides, and fertilizers because these are thrown all over the field, a significant portion of which is not used by the plants. With robots in the field, only the required resources will be given near the roots of the plants, which will save a lot of resources. It will also result in a lot of data inputs across the fields, regions, and geographies, which will result in better policy decision regarding which crops to be promoted, pricing of the output, availability of markets for the produce, value enhancement products in the food chain etc.

Many people may be worried about the impact of such technologies on the job market for agriculture workers. It will result in net additional jobs in this sector. Many hands will be required for maintenance, operations, storage, production, marketing of these variety of robots and drones. The only challenge is that existing agriculture workers will be required to undergo training to work on these modern machines, which will require huge efforts on the part of the trainers as well as the farmers. So, in conclusion precision farming is going to be the next big thing in the domain of agriculture which will have significant impact on economy, food reliance and modern society.

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IoT Security in the Spotlight, As Research Highlights Alexa Security Flaws | Information Security Buzz

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Last week, IoT security was in the spotlight again as researchers warned that Amazon’s Alexa is vulnerable to malicious third-party apps, or “skills”, that could leave owners at risk of a wide range of cyberattacks.

Researchers analyzed 90,194 unique skills from Amazon’s skill stores across seven countries and found widespread security issues that could lead to phishing attacks or the ability to trick Alexa users into revealing sensitive information.

For instance, developers can register skills that fraudulently use well-known company names, and leverage these fake brand names to send out phishing emails that link to the skill’s Amazon store webpage. Attackers can also make code changes after their skills have been approved by Amazon, opening the door for various malicious configurations.

VP of IoT
Best-practices for IoT device security include strong authentication and secure software updates.

Continued innovation in the Internet of Things technology has propelled us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and is undoubtedly valuable for consumers and businesses alike.

However, as this research into Alexa’s vulnerabilities has shown, we can’t be oblivious to the security risks that go hand-in-hand with introducing such a large number of devices into the ecosystem. Left unchecked, this presents a huge security risk. While there are many potential threats to IoT devices, a common

…..

Continued innovation in the Internet of Things technology has propelled us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and is undoubtedly valuable for consumers and businesses alike.

However, as this research into Alexa’s vulnerabilities has shown, we can’t be oblivious to the security risks that go hand-in-hand with introducing such a large number of devices into the ecosystem. Left unchecked, this presents a huge security risk. While there are many potential threats to IoT devices, a common thread in IoT security weakness is the lack of strong authentication.

As attack vectors continue to evolve, it is increasingly critical that organizations embrace security solutions that ensure the integrity and security of their IoT systems. Best-practices for IoT device security include strong authentication and secure software updates – ensuring only authentic code can be installed on the device. For a complex system such as Alexa’s Skills that involve the Alexa platform, third-party apps and third-party cloud services – a comprehensive approach to ensuring the security of the ecosystem is essential.

@Alan Grau, VP of IoT , provides expert commentary for “dot your expert comments” at @Information Security Buzz.
“Best-practices for IoT device security include strong authentication and secure software updates….”
#infosec #cybersecurity #isdots
https://informationsecuritybuzz.com/expert-comments/iot-security-in-the-spotlight-as-research-highlights-alexa-security-flaws

@Alan Grau, VP of IoT , provides expert commentary for “dot your expert comments” at @Information Security Buzz.
“Best-practices for IoT device security include strong authentication and secure software updates….”
#infosec #cybersecurity #isdots
https://informationsecuritybuzz.com/expert-comments/iot-security-in-the-spotlight-as-research-highlights-alexa-security-flaws

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Nearly All Security Professionals Are Struggling to Secure IoT Devices | TechRadar

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Internet of Things (IoT) devices and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices are proving a challenge to secure, raising concerns about cybersecurity, new research has found.

A report from security firm Tripwire found 99% of security professionals find securing these devices challenging, while 95% are worried about risks that come with smart devices.

The biggest challenge for more than three-quarters of IT professionals comes from these devices not easily fitting into their existing security approach. For almost nine in ten (88%), additional resources are needed if IoT and IIoT are to be properly secured.

Visibility is also a problem, as more than half (53%) of the respondents said they aren’t able to fully monitor connected systems entering their controlled environment. Furthermore, almost two-thirds (61%) have limited visibility into changes in security vendors within their supply chain.

“In the past, cybersecurity was focused on IT assets like servers and workstations, but the increased connectivity of systems requires that industrial security professionals expand their understanding of what’s in their environment. You can’t protect what you don’t know,” commented Tim Erlin, vice president of product management and strategy at Tripwire.

Supply chains at risk

Most IT pros follow some kind of security standard and audit IoT and IIoT devices against it, but still – they’d love further expanded Industrial Control Systems (ICS) security standards. This rings particularly true for those in the manufacturing, energy, farm & agriculture, pharmaceutical, chemical, nuclear, waste & water, and oil & gas industries.

Almost all are wary of cybersecurity within their supply chain and agree that their current IoT and IIoT security guidelines are putting their supply chain security at risk.

“It’s understandable that managing supply chain risk is top of mind for industrial security teams given the level of attack we have seen this year,” Erlin concluded. “Large-scale supply chain risk isn’t new, so if anything, this should encourage companies to invest in resources that help maintain a more secure environment.”

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