CEBU

Ng: Printers and smartphones in the Internet-of-Things

IN the realm of Internet-of-Things (IoT), we think of sensors, radio frequency devices, biometrics, closed circuit television, and computers.

However, printers can also be considered part of this. Since it is an internet device, it also runs on software, and being software, it has vulnerabilities and can be hacked or introduced to viruses.

In this respect, HP, the world’s largest printer manufacturer, is currently launching a bug bounty program that offers around $10,000 to hackers to find vulnerabilities in its machines. Bug bounties are often held by companies to check for security flaws in their products and services. Payouts can be extremely high, with some even joining these as full-time jobs.

HP runs the program through the platform BugCrowd, which handles the invitations and payments. This program is still currently private, as participation is invite- only. However, HP plans to make the program public sometime soon. For now, keeping it closed manages the vulnerabilities.

The invited researchers will have remote access to 15 printers, which are isolated in HP’s offices, as they attempt to figure out the vulnerabilities. HP has already awarded $10,000 to one researcher and will pay more if other serious flaws are found, such as being able to gain remote control over the printer.

The more commonly known part of IoT can also be our cellphones.

This quarter, even as Huawei overtook Apple to become the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer, Apple’s profits have increased by more than 30 percent and reached $11.5 billion. This brought around new increases in its stock price. That brings it closer to reaching the trillion-dollar market value.

If it reaches that, then Apple will be the first corporation in the planet to be valued at over a trillion dollars.

Despite selling less than the expected quantity of iPhones, stock has risen due to the increase of sales for online services and other wearable devices. This year, Apple also plans to buy back $100 billion in shares. Normally, companies buying back their shares have the effect of increasing its price.

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French students may be unable to appreciate this fact as France has just passed a law banning students from using smartphones during school hours, unless truly necessary.

Once the law takes effect, students will have to keep their phones turned off or leave them at home. This was passed to help combat phone addiction and increase student attention in class.

Other than in classrooms, drivers are also banned from using their phones in their cars, unless they have parked in designated parking spaces. This is to minimize road accidents and traffic blocks caused by randomly pulling over to answer calls or texts.

Smartphones are a great diversion, but increasingly, they are the reason for people having accidents, or even under-performing in schools and offices. The French must be finding cellphones unromantic as it bans it in schools, driving, and many other public places.


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