Tuesday, 16 August 2022 08:57

Optus launches 5G Standalone

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Telecommunications company Optus has launched its 5G Standalone network after close to year of testing including customer trials, offering network slicing, cloud orchestration edge computing and self-healing networks that will elevate connectivity capabilities.

According to Optus vice president networks on 5G Standalone Lambo Kanagaratnam, 5G Standalone does not rely on 4G radio and core network, and unlike 5G non-standalone, it uses 5G to communicate from the device to base station, capitalising on higher speeds.

Kanagaratnam lists how the 5G Standalone would benefit consumers and businesses.

For consumers
Optus consumers can access the 5G Standalone on selected plans with a 5G SIM in a compatible handset such as Samsung S22 or Oppo X3.

“5G Standalone will provide a greater 5G coverage footprint which means you’ll be able to connect to 5G in more places. As the technology matures, you will see even faster speeds, greater reliability and lower latency,” Kanagaratnam said.

These capabilities, he said will create richer user experiences especially for gamers who seek better ping rates or those who want to explore AR, VR, and XR experiences.

For business
5G Standalone offers end-to-end network slicing, low latency, and network orchestration.

Slicing the network into different virtual segments allows each slice to be configured to optimise speed, latency, and other attributes important to our customers’ requirements.

Kanagaratnam claims this will offer increased flexibility, maximum efficiency and, for enterprises, the opportunity to improve operations through automation.

“Network orchestration, underpinned by 5G Standalone, is a bit like having a conductor in an orchestra. In the same way the conductor controls what instruments play when, network orchestration looks at the business needs and sets up the network to deliver on those requirements,” Kanagaratnam compared.

5G Standalone will allow next-generation technologies come to life such as driverless cars and remote surgery, he said.

This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 15 August 2022.


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Kenn Anthony Mendoza is the newest member of the iTWire team. Kenn is also a contributing writer for South China Morning Post Style, and has written stories on Korean entertainment, Asian and European royalty, Millionaires and Billionaires, and LGBTQIA+ issues. He has been published in Philippine newspapers, magazines, and online sites: Tatler PhilippinesManila BulletinCNN Philippines LifePhilippine StarManila Times, and The Daily Tribune. Kenn now covers all aspects of technology news for iTWire.com.

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  • Optus has not covered itself in glory in handling of breach

    Optus has informed me that my personal data has been disclosed in its data breach – data which was submitted to the company last year to obtain a SIM in order to test the company's 5G services for a smartphone review.

    That account was closed as soon as the review was done and one wonders why Optus is still holding on to the data.

    This is not just my concern; Rachael Falk, chief executive of Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre, says in an op-ed in The Age: "The real issue that Optus will have to stare into is why were they holding such sensitive personal information? So much sensitive data that only had an initial, point-in-time use. This just appears to be data gluttony, and it must stop."

    Falk makes a further succinct point: "Well-intentioned emails and media releases are one thing, but it is not Optus that is necessarily the ‘victim’. It is the 9 million-plus customers who are the real victims, and may well continue to be for many months or years to come."

    {loadposition sam08}One thing that Optus has not disclosed is when its systems were breached. It has only told us when it became aware of the breach, claiming that the information was made public within 24 hours. One presumes that the telco has logs that will provide this information.

    It is of no use to any user to know that Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin is disappointed about the breach - which is what the email I got says. "It is with great disappointment I'm writing to let you know that Optus has been a victim of a cyberattack." One does not expect any chief executive to be overjoyed about a breach.

    One can take little joy from the next sentence: "The information which has been exposed is your name, date of birth, email associated with your former account, and the number of the ID document you provided such as drivers licence or passport number. No copies of photo IDs have been affected."

    Am I supposed to dance with joy on reading that?

    Later in the same email, Optus makes it clear that the onus of not being scammed as a result of this breach is entirely mine:

    "We are currently not aware of customers or former customers having suffered any harm, but we encourage you to have heightened awareness across your accounts, including:

    "Look out for any suspicious or unexpected activity across your online accounts, including your bank accounts. Make sure to report any fraudulent activity immediately to the related provider.

    "Look out for contact from scammers who may have your personal information. This may include suspicious emails, texts, phone calls or messages on social media.

    "Never click on any links that look suspicious and never provide your passwords, or any personal or financial information.

    "If people call you posing as a credible organisation and request access to your computer, always say no." Well, thanks a lot, Optus.

    There has been an unconfirmed report by a reporter named Jeremy Kirk who claims to have made contact with the attacker. It's worth a read. This piece could be read for a more technical look at the claims that Kirk makes.

    As is a tweet thread from former IT security manager Adam Garner, which is highly educative – exactly what is needed, as it treats users as people with some intelligence. It is far from the kind of spin in which Optus has indulged.

  • Optus suffers massive data breach putting millions at risk

    Telecommunications company Optus has informed the public that its current and former data was accessed following a cyberattack on its systems, and sensitive information such as dates of birth, email addresses, and passport numbers may have been impacted in the security incident.

    iTWire reported the breach yesterday. As per The Australian, up to nine million customers were affected.

    Optus assured customers that payment details and account passwords were not compromised.

    Optus services including mobile and home internet were not affected and remain safe to use and operate as normal.

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    Optus said on Thursday that it is immediately "investigating the possible unauthorised access of current and former customers' information."

    As a precaution, it also notified government security offices such as the Australian Cyber Security Centre to mitigate risks to customers. Optus also alerted the Australian Federal Police, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, and other key regulators.

    "We are devastated to discover that we have been subject to a cyberattack that has resulted in the disclosure of our customers’ personal information to someone who shouldn’t see it," said Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin in a staatement.

    "As soon as we knew, we took action to block the attack and began an immediate investigation. While not everyone maybe affected and our investigation is not yet complete, we want all of our customers to be aware of what has happened as soon as possible so that they can increase their vigilance. We are very sorry and understand customers will be concerned. Please be assured that we are working hard, and engaging with all the relevant authorities and organisations, to help safeguard our customers as much as possible."

    F5 regional vice president for ANZ Jason Baden said the personal data of many Australians may possibly land in the hands of criminal or state actors.

    "That data could be used to sign up for new mobile services, open mule bank accounts, gambling accounts, or pursue social engineering for purposes of fraud and money laundering," Baden commented.

    "The impact of breaches like this is much wider than the initial organisation hit - now everyone needs to be on notice, both individuals and organisations such as banks, gambling companies, telcos, loyalty programs, and more."

    Following the breach, the ACCC warned customers to protect their accounts and take necessary steps to secure their personal information.

    The regulatory body advised customers to monitor their personal accounts and to be vigilant for possible scams.

    The ACCC listed the following steps to protect personal information:
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    2. Change your online account passwords and enable multi factor authentication for banking
    3. Check your accounts for unusual activity such as items you haven’t purchased
    4. Place limits on your accounts or ask you bank how you can secure your money
    5. If you suspect fraud you can request a ban on your credit report.

     This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 23 September 2022.

  • Second lot of Optus data advertised for sale on Web forum

    A second lot of data claimed to be from Optus has been advertised for sale on a Web forum, with 100 sample records being linked to as proof that it is genuine.

    Emsisoft security researcher Brett Callow pointed out in a tweet that the account stated, "No sale will be made for 1 week until Optus reply".

    He said this implied it could be a case of attempted extortion. iTWire has sought a reaction from Optus about this. The Optus breach was made public on Thursday.

    The post claims this data is from 11.2 million users and is demanding a million dollars from the company for the sale to be cancelled.

    {loadposition sam08}On Friday, Optus was asked about another lot of data that was claimed to be from its innards. More than 24 hours later, there has been no response from its media unit.

    A media conference by Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin on Friday did not offer any new information about the data breach.

    Bayer Rosmarin claimed the attack was "sophisticated", but that is a claim made by every company that suffers a data breach.

    The first lot of data was advertised in a post dated 17 September and offered 1.1 million Optus mobile numbers and asked those interested to contact a given Telegram account.

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    "If this is strongly encrypted sensitive data, as it should be, then Optus customers do not need to be alarmed. They likely have years to change their passports and other identity documents before the attackers can read and use what they’ve stolen. If it isn't, customers need to get onto that process today. That's quite a difference!

    "Further statements from Optus that this was a very 'sophisticated' attack are unsatisfactory. Very sophisticated and increasingly malicious attacks are common. That's why 'data protection' is essential today - and that's encryption. It is the last line of defence. Whether the stolen data is encrypted or not should be in the first communication about a successful breach. It is concerning that this vital bit of information is missing so far.

    "Many have questioned whether the prevention systems like those used by Optus are sufficient, or if the company under-invested in its cyber security and this is the inevitable result. This is unlikely. No cyber-attack prevention system is bullet-proof.

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    Update: Later in the afternoon, Optus advised: "Apologies for the delay. We are co-ordinating with the AFP [Australian Federal Police] because this is now a criminal investigation. On their advice, we can't comment on this."

  • Arrcus demos its 5G network slicing
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    Hyperscale networking software Arrcus has collaborated with Japanese multinational conglomerate SoftBank to demo its automated network slicing over 5G mobile networks and multi-access edge computing applications running with ArcOS—a component of Arrcus’ networking software stack.

    Arrcus' SRv6 MUP with SRv6 Flex-Algo provided traffic engineering capability to extend a 5G network slice to MEC applications with automation without additional 5G equipment.

    The collaboration also saw SoftBank verifying Arrcus’ SRv6 MUP interoperability with 5G equipment in its laboratory.

    The trial will now proceed to the next step to prepare SRv6 MUP technology for deployment.

    {loadposition kenn}

    The simplified approach to network slicing enables operators to introduce 5G services like network slicing and MEC commercial with reduced time to market (TTM) with reduced operational complexity.

    “Arrcus is excited to work with industry leader SoftBank on this innovative approach, leveraging our Ace platform that is highly programmable with advanced traffic engineering features, to realize the vision of 5G services with a simplified approach,” Arrcus CEO and chairman Shekar Ayyar.

    SoftBank and Arrcus showcased this 5G network slicing system in a TM Forum Catalyst Project at the Digital Transformation World (DTW) 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark last 21-22 September.

    As part of the TM Forum Catalyst project, Modernising 5G Service Delivery, this demo system will show automated MEC application stitching to a 5G network slice.

    This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 6 September 2021.

  • Telco industry demand paves way to integrated passive devices market boom

    The integrated passive devices market share is expected to reach US$3 billion ($4.4 billion) by 2032 with an estimated CAGR of 3% during the projected period due to the growing demand in the telco industry, according to market research company Fact.MR.

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    {loadposition kenn}

    Fact.MR also recognised that there is a growing demand and competition for integrated passive devices. Manufacturers are offering a variety of options at a reasonable price to make it more accessible to customers.

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    3. The integrated passive devices have a number of high-end qualities, including low power consumption, high chip connection, and a tiny footprint, which has fuelled their acceptance in miniaturized hand-held electronics.
    4. The Asia Pacific integrated passive devices market will grow from 2021 to 2028 due to government measures to expand semiconductor production in the region.
    5. Spanish multinational company specialising in developing and manufacturing metal components for automobiles Gestamp, will receive a €200 million ($297 million) loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to upgrade its research capabilities to produce lighter, safer, and environmentally friendly cars, according to the European Commission.

    What are the factors hindering the growth of the integrated passive devices market?
    The high cost of integrated passive devices compared to discrete components limits the growth of the integrated passive device market as well as sales of integrated passive devices and demand for integrated passive devices.

    The long-term impact is projected to be minimal because leading companies in this sector are working hard to minimise the cost of integrated passive devices, according to Fact.MR.

    Low-cost production is critical for profit maximisation. Traditional printed circuit boards, on the other hand, are standardised for individual discrete components but not for integrated passive devices.

    When traditional PCBs are combined with integrated passive devices, they suffer additional costs. The cost ratio of a single discrete component to integrated passive devices (1.5 X 1.5) is one and one-third. This is mostly due to the commoditisation and widespread use of discrete components.

    This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 21 September 2022.




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