Wi-Fi Alliance Unveils New Features That Could Triple WiFi Speeds

Today's topics include certification of the latest WiFi enhancements that should improve wireless network speeds, a Google Project Zero hacker's discovery of serious vulnerabilities in Symantec's security applications, the partnership formed by Intel, BMW and Mobileye to develop autonomous vehicles and Trustwave's discovery of increasing cyber-threats from compromised business email.

WiFi connectivity is about to get faster. The Wi-Fi Alliance has officially unveiled its certification for 802.11ac Wave 2, which officials said will deliver higher speeds and greater efficiency to WiFi networks.

That will become increasingly important as the Internet of things—with its growing numbers of connected home appliances, mobile devices, TVs and other consumer and commercial systems—continues to expand and call for higher performance from wireless networks.

There are already wireless devices that support 802.11ac Wave 2 devices on the market, but the Wi-Fi Alliance's expansion of its Wi-Fi Certified ac program means that systems and devices carrying the 802.11ac Wave 2 label will need to include the new features in the standard and that they'll be interoperable.

White hat hacker Tavis Ormandy tore into Symantec's security solutions June 28 on the Google Project Zero blog, citing major vulnerabilities in its products designed and sold to keep users safe. "These vulnerabilities are as bad as it gets," wrote Ormandy.

He described scenarios in which users don't even need to be duped into opening infected emails—just receiving them is enough. Yet Symantec isn't protecting against these emails, he said. "They don't require any user interaction, they affect the default configuration, and the software runs at the highest privilege levels possible," Ormandy wrote.

"In certain cases on Windows, vulnerable code is even loaded into the kernel, resulting in remote kernel memory corruption," Ormandy noted.

Intel reportedly is joining with automaker BMW and vehicle sensor vendor Mobileye in an alliance to develop self-driving car technology. The three companies will conduct a Webcast news conference July 1. While no details about the subject of the event were released, all three companies have ambitions for the autonomous car space.

A partnership would be only the latest alliance between automakers and technology firms in a rapidly expanding race to put driverless cars on the road. Most of the top automakers are investing in the development of driverless cars. It will be a boon for technology companies that not only will create the sensors and cameras that will enable the vehicles to visualize the environment around them, but will also be able to collaborate on the development of technology that can collect, store and analyze the massive amounts of data that these sensors will create to enable driverless cars to operate safely.

Business Email Compromises (BECs) are a growing problem as hackers are increasingly defrauding unsuspecting organizations into sending money. In a new tactic recently uncovered by security firm Trustwave, BEC attack emails that appear to be coming from corporate CEOs are now being used to deliver malware payloads as well.

The FBI issued a public service announcement alert earlier in June warning of the dire consequences of BEC. According to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), $3.1 billion has been lost globally to BEC fraud.

The FBI defines BEC as an email-based scam where attackers are able to trick businesses into making wire transfer payments that appear to be going toward legitimate business requests.

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