What’s up with… Singtel, cybersecurity, Mavenir, Security | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

In today’s industry news roundup: Singtel is given the green light to build the first quantum-safe network in Singapore, prepares for launch in mid-2024; Orange publishes its latest findings on cyberthreats, highlighting new trends in terms of types of attack and the motives behind them; ABI Research ranks Mavenir as the top Open RAN vendor, with NEC and Nokia rounding out the top three; and much more!

Singtel has unveiled ambitions to become the first telco to develop a national quantum-safe network in its home market of Singapore. It has partnered with quantum cybersecurity company ID Quantique (IDQ) to develop the so-called National Quantum-Safe Network Plus (NQSN+) for enterprises. The operator’s announcement comes after receiving the green light from the country’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to develop the network, in line with the Digital Connectivity Blueprint, a plan by the nation outlining its priorities for digital connectivity by 2030, including a goal to be quantum safe in ten years’ time. Singtel noted that the network is set to be launched in mid-2024, employing “modern quantum-safe technologies, such as quantum key distribution [QKD], which is a secure method for distributing encryption keys only known between shared parties, and post-quantum cryptography, a new, advanced form of encryptions algorithms that are secure against attacks from quantum computers”. The new network will use Singtel’s managed network services and fibre network with selected exchanges stipulated as trusted nodes to establish a “reliable, secure and resilient” nationwide QKD network. The telco claimed this will allow businesses to secure their communications across the island, as well as to extend quantum-safe security to new use cases and applications, including identity, mobility and authentication services. Find out more.

Still on the topic of security… In its latest findings, Orange Cyberdefense, the telco group’s cybersecurity arm, has warned of digital security threats after noting the highest number of victims of cyber extortion ever recorded. The global number of victims of such attacks (which demand for money or some other response in return for stopping or remediating the attack) rose by 46% in 2023, according to Orange’s annual security research report, the Security Navigator 2024. The company processed 129,395 detected threats, of which 25,076 (or 19%) were confirmed as security incidents. Hacking remained the most prominent threat, accounting for nearly a third of all incidents, followed by misuse (around 17%) and malware (13%). A breakdown by sector highlighted manufacturing as the sector to have received the greatest number of confirmed incidents, followed by retail trade and professional, scientific and technological services. Another notable insight in Orange’s report suggested that “more and more threat actors are politically or ideologically motivated, with the aims of espionage, sabotage, disinformation and extortion increasingly intertwined.” Additionally, the telco saw an increase of cyber-extortion (ransomware) victims worldwide, “alongside a significant surge in ‘hacktivism’ linked to the war against Ukraine”. The company noted that current geopolitical events have also “politicised some cyber-extortion actors, some of whom have become more politically driven”. Orange Cyberdefense CEO, Hugues Foulon, noted that the company is adapting to new technologies and is “preparing for new threat actors by continuing to anticipate, detect and contain attacks when they emerge”. Orange’s findings come a day after Dutch telco KPN warned of an increased number of malicious activities and phishing attempts affecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Its findings can be found here (in Dutch).

ABI Research has taken a look at the main vendors in the Open RAN sector and decided that Mavenir is currently the top dog and is one of just three “market leaders”, alongside NEC and Nokia. The research firm based its rankings on “10 criteria segmented across innovation and implementation clusters, including R&D activities, O-RAN Alliance contributions, support for mMIMO [massive MIMO], recent momentum, product portfolio, geographical coverage, partnerships & memberships, PoCs/trials/testing, energy efficiency commitments and finally, brownfield deployments,” it noted in this press release. “Mavenir ranked overall leader in the competitor ranking and earned the top spots for both innovation and implementation,” stated Saqlain Ali, senior analyst at ABI Research.Mavenir has demonstrated its role as a leading Open RAN vendor due to its end-to-end cloud-native software and hardware and O-RAN Alliance-compliant solutions. Mavenir has made significant efforts to accelerate Open RAN deployments in partnerships with other mobile, chipset vendors, and cloud providers to validate its Open RAN portfolio for multi-vendor deployments,” added Ali. Other vendors ranked by the ABI Research team include Ericsson, Fujitsu, Parallel Wireless, Samsung and Rakuten Symphony.  

The post-drama/post-Thanksgiving dust has settled at OpenAI, and Sam Altman is officially back in the CEO seat from which he was unceremoniously ousted almost two weeks ago. A blog update from the San Francisco-based developer of safe AI includes a message (which is reminiscent of an awards ceremony acceptance speech) to the company’s 770-or-so staff from Altman and a separate message from board chair Bret Taylor, explaining the make-up of the “new initial board” that comprises just three people (none of whom are Altman, who previously held a board seat). What’s interesting, though, is that OpenAI’s main financial backer, Microsoft, does not (as before) have a representative on the board but it does have “a non-voting observer.” That looks akin to the first step towards a controlling position for the tech giant… 

According to the latest forecasts from the crystal ball-gazers at Ericsson, there are likely to be 1.3 billion 5G users across the world by the end of this year – accounting for about 20% of all mobile user connections and about 100 million more than previously forecast. That total number of 5G users is set to rise to 5.3 billion by the end of 2029, by which time 85% of the global population is expected to be within reach of a 5G signal, according to the forecasts published in the Swedish vendor’s latest Mobility Report. Read more.

United Group, the multi-country telecom and pay-TV service provider that has operations across south-east Europe (Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Greece, North Macedonia and Montenegro) and is majority owned by private equity firm BC Partners, has reportedly generated revenues of €2.045bn for the first nine months of year, up by 7% compared with the same period a year earlier. The operator also managed to post an operating profit of €454.6m for the period compared with a loss of €148.9m for the first three quarters of 2022, but this year’s numbers were boosted by proceeds from the €1.22bn sale of 4,800 towers in Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia to Tawal, the ICT infrastructure subsidiary of Saudi Arabia-based operator stc. Across its operations, United Group has almost 16 million revenue-generating units (RGUs), including mobile, cable broadband and pay-TV connections.

– The staff, TelecomTV


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