Ex-Apple engineers to help hardware makers troubleshoot from home – Hardware- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

For years, hardware engineers at American consumer electronics firms have hopped on a flight to China to iron out manufacturing kinks on assembly lines, but the COVID-19 pandemic and Sino-US tensions have made travel between the countries difficult.
A startup founded by ex-Apple engineers, however, has come up with a system that would help engineers troubleshoot remotely.
California-based Instrumental, co-founded by Anna-Katrina Shedletsky and Sam Weiss, has created a system that relies on outfitting manufacturing lines with cameras and then analyzing the images using artificial intelligence software.
To spot a problem, an engineer needs to just log on to the software rather than board a plane.
In the early days of a product, hundreds of issues can crop up and, to fix these, firms “send big groups of people 6000 miles around the world to go stand on the line in random spots and hope that they catch the problems, by getting lucky being in the right place in the right time,” Shedletsky said.
Cameras and artificial intelligence, by contrast, can spot missing screw, a bent spring or a damaged battery in real-time and with high accuracy, she added.
Instrumental’s software system, originally built to identify defects more efficiently and used by firms such as thermal camera maker Flir Systems, has drawn widening interest as the coronavirus has restricted US-China travel.
Air travel to China has become more unclear with President Donald Trump’s administration barring Chinese carriers from flying to America starting June 16 as it pressures Beijing to let US airlines resume flights.
“While certain parts of the world can be open and functioning, travel is unlikely to be open and free for a while,” Shedletsky said.
Firms such as Motorola, owned by Lenovo, have been using Instrumental’s software for several years for mobile phones, but with the travel curbs, “we’ve really had to rely on it a lot more,” said Kevin Zurawski, a supply chain management executive at Chicago-based Motorola.
“It’s been an incredible tool to be able to sit at my desk 6000 miles away and monitor build progress,” he said.

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How to Create a Culture of Kick-Ass DevSecOps Engineers – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Much like technology itself, the tools, techniques, and optimum processes for developing code evolve quickly. We humans have an insatiable need for more software, more features, more functionality… and we want it faster than ever before, more qualitative, and on top of that: Secure.
With an estimated 68% of organizations experiencing zero-day attacks from undisclosed/unknown vulnerabilities in 2019, this is an upward trend that we need to address as an industry by shipping secure code at a reasonable speed.
While many people and organizations are moving on from Waterfall to Agile — and not everybody is there yet, let’s be real — they are already encountering a new problem.
Development teams and their operations counterparts are still working in silos, and this is still causing headaches for development managers and their counterparts across the business. In this environment, how can small teams working in an Agile way deliver on that promise of faster deployment, and faster delivery?
The (former, and we’ll get to that in a minute) top-ranking development buzzword/methodology, DevOps, was created to merge the functions of both developers and operational teams when creating new software. Essentially, this was to help developers take ownership of putting things into production, instead of throwing it over the fence to the operations team and making it their responsibility.
They can undoubtedly ship faster — even a couple of times per day — which seems to play in the alley of Agile. However, DevOps still creates one big, mixed team of engineers and operations personnel, which may not be Agile-aligned in reality. Ultimately, we’ve worked out at this point that DevOps is more of an evolution of Agile, similar in many ways, and complementary in their difference.
The automated, continuous integration and deployment pipeline that is apparent in a functioning DevOps environment is essential to enable frequent releases, but not as sufficient at the team level – and this is where Agile steps in.

Agile allows teams, especially small teams, to keep pace with these rapid releases and changing requirements, while staying on-task and collaborative. It certainly seems ideal — and the process can keep teams on track with the end goal — but it is not without its own issues.
Software created using DevOps best practice still has the potential to stumble at the first boss fight: the security team. When the code is examined by traditional/Waterfall AppSec specialists, either with tooling or complex manual review, they often find unacceptable risks and vulnerabilities which must then be fixed after the fact.
The process of retrofitting security fixes into completed apps is irksome for development managers and their already-stretched teams and is neither quick nor easy. Economically, it’s also far more expensive for the organization.
So, then, if the world is moving on past Waterfall, Agile, and now DevOps, what is the solution? And if you’re managing a team of developers (or are one yourself), what is your role in keeping pace with these changes in approach?
Development techniques are in a constant state of evolution, but thankfully, this one isn’t such a huge change. Organizations just need to put the “Sec” in “DevOps”… and so, DevSecOps was born. A primary goal of DevSecOps is to break down barriers and open collaboration between development, operations, and, last but not least, security teams.
DevSecOps has become both a software engineering tactic and a culture that advocates security automation and monitoring throughout the software development lifecycle.
This might seem like yet another organization-level process, perhaps one with “too many cooks” when it comes to a developer with a long list of features to build. However, the DevSecOps methodology opens up an opportunity for security-aware developers to really shine.

DevSecOps: A bright future for savvy developers

Why would a coder — and indeed their managers — want to get up to speed with DevSecOps?
First off, it’s good to know that it’s a brilliant move, and not just in the quest to make the world safe from costly cyberattacks. Experts say that the demand for talented cybersecurity personnel is skyrocketing with no end in sight. Those who master DevSecOps can expect a long and profitable career.
Job security for DevSecOps engineers is even more assured, because unlike traditional cybersecurity tactics like vulnerability scanning with an array of software-based tools, DevSecOps requires people who know how to implement security as they code.
As Booz, Allen, and Hamilton’s analysts noted in their blog entitled 5 Myths of Adopting DevSecOps, organizations want (and need) DevSecOps, but simply can’t buy it. They require cross-functional teams integrating technologies and collaborating during the whole software development lifecycle, and that requires skilled people, change management, and an ongoing commitment from multiple stakeholders.

According to Booz, Allen, and Hamilton, companies can purchase apps and tools to help with certain aspects of DevSecOps, like release management software, “but it’s really your delivery teams that make it happen.” They are the ones driving the continual improvement offered by DevSecOps and its cultural and paradigm shift.
Organizations cannot “buy” a viable DevSecOps program; it must be built and maintained, using a range of tools, in-house knowledge, and guidance that uplifts the security culture, while also making business sense. It’s not easy, but it’s far from impossible.

How you can kick ass in the DevSecOps movement

One of the first steps on the path to becoming — or supporting the upskilling — of a DevSecOps engineer is realizing that it’s as much a culture as a set of techniques. It requires the will to implement security as part of every bit of code that you create, and the desire to proactively protect your organization by actively looking for security flaws and vulnerabilities as you code, fixing them long before they make it into production. Most DevSecOps engineers take their profession and skillset very seriously. The DevSecOps professional organization even has a manifesto stating their beliefs.
The manifesto is kind of heavy-handed, as manifestos are rarely light reading. But at the core are a few truths that all great DevSecOps engineers should learn to embrace, like:

Realize that the application security team is your ally. At most organizations, the AppSec specialists are at odds with developers, since they are always sending completed code back for more work. AppSec teams don’t often have much love even for developers since they can delay completed code from getting into production by introducing common security bugs. However, a smart DevSecOps engineer will realize that the security teams’ goals are ultimately the same as the developers and coders. You don’t have to be best friends, but forming a calm and collaborative work relationship is vital to success.
Practice and refine your secure coding techniques. If you can find ways that apps are vulnerable while they are still being built, closing those loopholes can stop future hackers. Of course, this requires both an understanding of vulnerabilities and the tools to help fix them. For developers brand new to security — even the OWASP Top 10 — the Secure Code Warrior blog pages can give insight into the most common and dangerous vulnerabilities you will encounter, as well as practical advice and challenges to test your knowledge. The most important aspect is keeping security front-of-mind, and making time for bite-sized training that helps you build on existing knowledge. It’s common for a developer’s interactions with security to be fairly unremarkable—even negative—but upskilling in security is a great career move. Also, it doesn’t have to be a chore, especially with a support network offering training, and the time to actually do it within working hours.
Remember: DevSecOps superstars contribute to a positive security culture at their organization. Instead of focusing on the goals of the past, like delivering apps quickly regardless of their inherent problems, it’s important to make finding and fixing vulnerabilities in developing code a top priority. Security must be seen as everyone’s job, and everyone should share in the adulation and rewards that come from deploying effective and highly secure applications each and every time.

You can help cultivate an incredible security culture at your organization by championing secure coding and security best practices from the ground up, recommending training solutions, and ensuring no coder is left behind in the all-hands-on-deck, fast-paced world of DevSecOps.
The only good code is secure and skilled, security-aware developers are vital pieces of the puzzle. The personal and professional rewards are certainly worth the effort, and with billions of personal data records compromised every year (and growing), we need you. Take your spot on the front lines and help defend against the bad guys in our digital world.
Interested in taking your first steps to a more secure future? Secure Code Warrior have lots of free resources, I would recommend starting here: “The Five-Point Tactical Guide For Secure Developers” Whitepaper.

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5G Critical to Nigeria’s Development, Claim Engineers – Blog – 10 minute

Engineers in the field of electronics have thrown their weight behind the need for Nigeria to deploy 5G technology. This comes after the country’s communication commission announced that, despite news on social media, it had not given out any licenses for network operators to begin to deploy 5G technologies.
These engineers, under the umbrella of the Nigerian Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers (NIEEE), say that despite false claims that have impacted the deployment of the technology globally, the development potential for the country is massive.
Keeping with this, the body says that Nigeria should not be left out of the opportunities that come with 5G technology. Speaking at a Zoom meeting on the topic “Expert Insights on 5G Concerns,” the national chairman of the NIEEE, Kings Adeyemi notes that the technology has and will continue to enable many opportunities once deployed in earnest.
He explains that every new generation of mobile network has its excitement and scepticisms, and with this, he says “…that coronavirus [is] not transmitted by Base Transceiver Station (BTS). 5G signals are not bio-agents, and that EMF for 5G network cannot transmit viruses. Lots of misinformation [is] out there that must be corrected if we are to move forward as a country.”
Backing his claims, Adeyemi, an engineer in his own right, says that NIEEE stands with the side of science to say that there is no harm in deploying 5G. He notes that, despite controversies surrounding its deployment, some countries around the globe have already started research into 6G.
According to the chairman, there is a need for a roadmap for the development and deployment of 5G in Nigeria, stressing that 2025 will be a major landmark for the technology globally: “As such countries, which failed to prepare for this generation of technology may not be compatible with developments from other countries of the world.”

There is a need for a roadmap for the development and deployment of 5G in Nigeria, stressing that 2025 will be a major landmark for the technology globally.Click To Tweet

He continues to warn that Nigeria will find it difficult to meet up with 6G technology when there are, what The Guardian Nigeria calls, “gang-ups and conspiracies against 5G.”
The NIEEE chairman says that the country’s Tempemail Assembly, the Senate to be precise, which urged the Federal Government to suspend 5G deployment in the country, needed knowledge and awareness to understand the potential of the technology.
“This meeting has become imperative to hold in view of what is going on in the country, especially the call by the Senate on the Federal Government to suspend 5G deployment. It has become obvious that the NASS is in need of knowledge and sensitization on the technology,” Adeyemi stresses.
Though while 5G is yet to be deployed in Nigeria, “that doesn’t mean we should not plan ahead. I think no matter what, there should be a roadmap now. 2025 is going to be a major landmark for 5G development across the globe.”
Nigeria is yet to have complete 4G saturation, and even 3G is not yet 100% deployed throughout the country. The chairman says that he is sure there will be no 5G for a good while. He continues to say, however, that this is even more dangerous as the country risks being left behind technologically.
5G uses cloud network technologies, boosted by IPv6 during development. The NIEEE chairman says that the criteria for its deployment include that there should be enhanced mobile broadband; ultra-reliable and low latency communication; massive machine-type communication, among others. He said improved service speed brings mobile Internet to the masses.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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Zoom says engineers will focus on security and safety issues | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Zoom, the hit video conferencing platform, will freeze new feature development and shift all engineering resources on to security and safety issues, its founder has said..
The move comes as the company battles the damage caused by a string of minor scandals ultimately related to the same scrappy approach that enabled it to capitalise on the wave of global lockdowns in the first place.
“We have fallen short of the community’s – and our own – privacy and security expectations,” said Zoom’s founder and CEO, Eric Yuan, in a blogpost on Thursday. “For that, I am deeply sorry.”
Since it began gaining hundreds of thousands of users a day, Zoom has come under increasing scrutiny from privacy campaigners, security researchers, and members of the public, who have found faults in the platform’s programming, policies, and practices.
Some stem from the fact that a tool originally designed for enabling corporate communications has been repurposed for a wide range of consumer uses, from strangers meeting up for virtual “happy hours” to children’s book groups and remote sessions of Dungeons and Dragons.
But others relate to the company’s approach, modelled on the notorious Facebook maxim “move fast and break things”, of finding unorthodox solutions to problems, which may not always hold up under closer inspection.
“There’s a difference between being able to pivot on top of a solid foundation,” says Vincent Roffers, Executive Strategy Director at branding strategists Superunion, “and the path where they have at some level cut corners a bit”, in terms of the way they’ve created their product.
The most public problem facing the company has been the rise of “Zoombombings”, when trolls join public video chats to wreak havoc amongst their members by broadcasting pornography, hurling abuse, or undressing in front of their webcam. Zoombombings are possible because the company’s product is built for use in cases where every caller is part of the same company, or already known to each other, security experts say – an assumption that no longer fits after weeks in lockdown.
“We now have a much broader set of users who are utilising our product in a myriad of unexpected ways,” Yuan said, “presenting us with challenges we did not anticipate when the platform was conceived.” Zoombombings can be prevented by changing the app’s settings, Zoom said in late March as the problem was growing. And other tools, such as YouTube or Twitch livestreams, may be more appropriate for some uses, such as a broadcast of an author reading their book.
Other problems were more baked into the product, however. In July 2019, before it exploded in popularity, Zoom faced an embarrassing security scandal.A researcher discovered that the company installed some code on Macs alongside its app that meant that even if the app was later uninstalled, a single click on a web link was all it took to reinstall the app and join a new conference call with mic and camera enabled. Zoom initially defended the flaw for more than 90 days, saying it was a feature intended to make it easy for users to join calls. Only when the researcher went public did the company act. Apple later pushed a software update to all Macs that automatically prevented the feature from working.
That episode left security researchers suspicious of the company, and when it burst into the public’s consciousness in March, the suspicion returned. In just a couple of weeks, researchers found many more flaws, major and minor, which piled up faster than Zoom could fix them, from a broken promise to provide “end to end encryption” for video calls to bugs that would allow a hacker to gain access to a user’s webcam and microphone.
“So many of Zoom’s poor decisions were about prioritising growth over security,” said analyst Ben Thompson. “This crisis, though, more than takes care of growth: it’s up to Zoom to seize the opportunity to prioritise security in a transparent and verifiable way at a time when all of their customers want them to succeed.”
That’s what the company is promising now, founder Yuan says. Over the next 90 days, it will conduct a “comprehensive review with third-party experts”, publish a transparency report, and run penetration tests to find and fix further flaws.
Superunion’s Vincent Roffers says that’s the right approach. “They need to make it right in a way that’s transparent that’s visible. The worst thing they could do is retreat and disappear.
“They’re going to be fine. The thing about branding is, you always have a lot of chances: It’s not about what you do now, it’s about what you do next.”

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Engineers Connect Two Halves of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope for First Time


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Development of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) stretches all the way back to the mid-90s. No one at the time could have anticipated how long it would take to get the monstrously complex instrument built, but we’re in the home stretch now. Engineers at Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Redondo Beach, California have assembled the two halves of the telescope for the first time. It’s not quite ready for launch yet, but it’s finally starting to look like the renders we’ve seen for years. 

The James Webb Space Telescope is NASA’s successor to Hubble, which is still working after more than a quarter-century. However, that telescope hasn’t had a service mission since the Space Shuttle was retired, and some of its components are starting to fail. The JWST won’t just replace Hubble; it will massively expand our ability to observe distant objects. It’s also a much more complex piece of technology. It uses a larger multi-segment beryllium mirror, and the high infrared sensitivity means it needs a deployable sunshield to protect the instruments. 

Engineers constructed the telescope in two halves out of necessity. There’s the Webb telescope itself with the mirrors and scientific instruments, and then the spacecraft frame with the sunshield and communication equipment. Northrop Grumman temporarily connected the two halves last year to make sure they could communicate with each other, but now they’re physically connected in their final conformation. The team carefully moved the telescope over top of the spacecraft with a crane, and then lowered it into place, allowing engineers could link it with the frame. Northrop is now working to connect the electronics to get the two halves fully integrated. 

JWST-Feature

What the JWST will look like in space.

The next step is for engineers to test the five-layer sunshield. After launch, the JWST will head near the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point almost a million miles away (1.5 million kilometers). If the sunshield doesn’t deploy properly, the telescope could be inoperative with no way to fix it. So, it’s absolutely vital the team makes sure it works before packing it up in the Ariane 5 rocket. 

The current timeline, which has been delayed repeatedly, calls for the James Webb Space Telescope to launch in March 2021. It’s designed to operate for at least five years, but the team hopes for 10 or more. We can only hope it’s as successful as Hubble, which is nearing its thirtieth anniversary.

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