The fifth generation of mobile communications technology will see the end of the “cell” as the fundamental building block of communication networks.
It may seem as if the fourth generation of mobile communications technology has only just hit the airwaves. But so-called 4G technology has been around in various guises since 2006 and is now widely available in metropolitan areas of the US, Europe and Asia.
It’s no surprise then that communications specialists are beginning to think about the next revolution. So what will 5G bring us?
Today we get some interesting speculation from Federico Boccardi at Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs and a number of pals. These guys have focused on the technologies that are most likely to have a disruptive impact on the next generation of communications tech. And they’ve pinpointed emerging technologies that will force us to rethink the nature of networks and the way devices use them.
The first disruptive technology these guys have fingered will change the idea that radio networks must be made up of “cells” centred on a base station. In current networks, a phone connects to the network by establishing an uplink and a downlink with the local base station.
That looks likely to change. For example, an increasingly likely possibility is that 5G networks will rely on a number of different frequency bands that carry information at different rates and have wildly different propagation characteristics.
So a device might use one band as an uplink at a high rate and another band to downlink at a low rate or vice versa. In other words, the network will change according to a device’s data demands at that instant.
At the same time, new classes of devices are emerging that communicate only with other devices: sensors sending data to a server, for example. These devices will have the ability to decide when and how to send the data most efficiently. That changes the network from a cell-centric one to a device-centric one.
“Our vision is that the cell-centric architecture should evolve into a device-centric one: a given device (human or machine) should be able to communicate by exchanging multiple information flows through several possible sets of heterogeneous nodes,” say Boccardi and co.
Another new technology will involve using millimetre wave transmissions, in addition to the microwave transmission currently in use. Boccardi and co say that the microwave real estate comes at a huge premium. There is only about 600MHz of it. And even though the switch from analogue to digital TV is freeing up some more of the spectrum, it is relatively little, about 80MHz, and comes at a huge price.
So it’s natural to look at the longer wavelengths and higher frequencies of millimetre wave transmissions ranging from 3 to 300 GHz. This should provide orders of magnitude increases in bandwidth.
But it won;t be entirely smooth going. The main problem with these frequencies is their propagation characteristics—the signals are easily blocked by buildings, heavy weather and even by people themselves as they move between the device and the transmitter.
But it should be possible to mitigate most problems using advanced transmission technologies, such as directional antennas that switch in real time as signals become blocked. “Propagation is not an insurmountable challenge,” they say.
Next is the rapidly developing multiple input-multiple output or MIMO technology. Base stations will be equipped with multiple antennas that transmit many signals at the same time. What’s more, a device may have multiple antennas to pick up and transmit several signals at once. This dramatically improves the efficiency with which a network can exploit its frequencies.
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Source: MIT Technology Review
The HP study focused purely on custom business apps, but there’s no reason to believe the issue doesn’t extend to commercial apps you find in the Apple App Store or Google Play. Many apps have access to data or permission to perform functions they shouldn’t.
If you want to play a game like Angry Birds, there’s no reason that it needs to have access to your contacts, and A a weather app probably doesn’t need to be able to send email on your behalf. The security risks in apps go beyond permissions, though. There are issues in how the apps integrate with core functions of the mobile operating system, as well as how they interact with and share information with one another.
In the HP study, 97 percent of the apps contained some sort of privacy issue. HP also found that 86 percent of the apps lack basic security defenses, and 75 percent fail to properly encrypt data. Assuming similar percentages across the hundreds of thousands of consumer apps in the app stores, it’s likely that you have a few security or privacy concerns floating around your smartphone or tablet.
But this isn’t about malicious apps designed to steal your data. It’s mostly a function of lazy coding. Developers write apps that access everything because it’s easier than writing more specific code, and it also paves the way for any future enhancements that might actually need it.
In a BYOD scenario these security and privacy risks are exaggerated for both the employer and the employee. In most cases, the line between business and personal is not clearly defined, and apps can easily blur that line and put both company and personal data at risk. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that apps are impulse purchases for many users, thanks to low prices and easy installation.
The mobile operating systems have improved in terms notifying users about the permissions an app is requesting and providing the user with more control to allow or block access to specific functions. But the system still puts too much burden on the user, both to know those controls exist and how to use them, as well as to understand the implications and security concerns of the apps.
The better solution is for developers to build security and privacy into the apps from square one. Developers should be aware of the potential implications of how their apps access data and interact with other apps, and design them to be secure by default.
Via: Network World
HTTP Request Hijacking attack said to be simple to do against Apple IOS apps
Network World - Many Apple iOS applications are vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack that can result in permanent manipulation by the attacker, according to start-up Skycure, which released its research findings on this today during the RSA Europe conference.
Skycure CTO Yair Amit says many mobile iOS apps are vulnerable to a “very simple attack that relies on the 301 HTTP Response, a permanent re-direction.” If an Apple iOS app can cache these so-called 301 HTTP Re-Direct Response requests — and many popular iOS apps do, according to Skycure — then the app is vulnerable to being repeatedly hijacked via re-direction to the attacker’s server.
While this general type of man-in-the-middle attack has been known on the Web for many years, for mobile applications the result is worse in that it “persistently changes the URL” of the server and lets the attacker take dynamic control over the app, says Amit. In the information that Skycure is publishing today, the company notes the impact of the attack is basically that instead of loading data from the real site that the user wants to visit, the attacker can make the app permanently load the data from the attacker’s site.
Skycure isn’t releasing the names of the vulnerable iOS apps because this issue hasn’t necessarily been fixed. Amit says according to Skycure’s research, a significant portion of apps available through the official Apple App Store could be attacked this way. The problem is not a vulnerability in iOS itself but a coding weakness on the part of the developer.
Skycure says “HTTP Request Hijacking” of Apple iOS mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads starts with a man-in-the-middle attack, which would typically commence in a public WiFi zone, such as in a coffee shop. While a type of attack like this has been known to happen on the Web between computer-based Web browsers and Web servers for quite some time, the way a similar attack works on mobile devices hasn’t yet been subject to much scrutiny, says Amit.
He adds the implication of such an attack on news or financial information received through iOS devices is troubling.
“In a mobile application, it changes the application,” he says, adding “there’s no easy way to remove the problem.” But Skycure believes there are a number of steps that app developers can take to remediate or mitigate against it.
Among them are making sure the app doesn’t cache a 301 HTTP Re-Direct Response for re-direction. Another is to make sure the mobile device interacts with a designated server via an encrypted protocol, such as HTTPS, instead of HTTP. “If you want your application to behave differently with a server, just release an update,” he suggests. Making changes to apps to correct for this may be somewhat disruptive to the end-user, he adds.
The HTTP Request Hijacking attack on iOS that Skycure has identified may also exist in Android or other mobile-device platforms, but Skycure currently puts its focus primarily on Apple iOS. Skycure believes one danger in this type of man-in-the-middle attack on mobile devices is that it is much less visible to the victimized end-user than the more traditional computer-based form of the attack.
Source: Network World
Verizon could be working on increasing the speed of its phone network in New York, by performing a new LTE rollout. The carrier has apparently been spotted operating a new LTE network, which is shown to be providing network speeds of around 80Mbps downstream, and peaking at almost 23Mbps for uploads.
Milan Milanovic told GigaOM that his spectrum analyzer showed the network as operating on the 2.1GHz Advanced Wireless Services band, and was able to be connected to using an iPhone 5s. The new connections could end up offering a 150Mbps theoretical maximum, with the carrier apparently deploying the network on 40MHz of spectrum in some areas thanks to the acquisition of 4G licenses from cable companies last year. It is thought that the 80Mbps achieved on the test network is due to either an artificial data rate restriction or an insufficient fiber backhaul.
The same high-speed network is apparently also being tested in Los Angeles in Chicago, though these rumors were not able to be confirmed to the same level as the New York trials. A launch date for the mystery network is also unknown.
Apple launched its iPhone 5s just a few weeks ago, although shortly after its release, users of the new iPhone have been reporting a number of issues with the device. We recently heard the motion sensors on the iPhone 5s are slightly out of whack, as well as rumors of the device possibly bending just like the iPhone 5 did when it was first released. A new issue with the iPhone 5s has come up, this time bringing the infamous “Blue Screen of Death” with it.
Yes – you read right. A number of iPhone 5s owners have taken to the Apple support forums to report they have been experiencing the blue screen of death on their devices. The most common method of experiencing the blue screen of death seems to be when iPhone 5s owners use Apple’s suite of iWork applications. One user recorded the instance and published it on YouTube, which we can see the problem seems to come up when attempting to multitask between different iWork applications. Once the iPhone 5s reaches the blue screen of death, the device automatically reboots itself, which could certainly be an issue if your neck deep in an iWork document.
At this time, Apple has yet to make any remarks towards the iPhone 5s’ blue screen of death issue, but we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for any updates regarding it.