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Germany bans Facebook from handling WhatsApp data

Germany’s lead­ing data pro­tec­tion reg­u­la­tor for Facebook has banned the so­cial net­work from us­ing data from WhatsApp users.

It fol­lows con­tro­versy of the mes­sag­ing ap­p’s lat­est pri­vacy terms which the au­thor­ity be­lieves are il­le­gal.

The move fol­lows emer­gency dis­cus­sions in Hamburg af­ter WhatsApp asked users to con­sent to the new terms or stop us­ing it.

WhatsApp is used by al­most 60 mil­lion users in Germany.

Johannes Caspar, head of the Data Protection Authority in Hamburg said: This or­der seeks to se­cure the rights and free­doms of the many mil­lions of users who give their con­sent to the terms of use through­out Germany.

My ob­jec­tive is to pre­vent dis­ad­van­tages and dam­ages as­so­ci­ated with such a black-box pro­ce­dure.”

The reg­u­la­tor sug­gested that the de­ci­sion was­n’t just about pro­tect­ing users’ pri­vacy but also to avoid the use of data to in­flu­ence vot­ers’ de­ci­sions to ma­nip­u­late de­mo­c­ra­tic choices”, cit­ing the up­com­ing 26 September par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in Germany,

The reg­u­la­tor will now sub­mit the case to the European Data Protection Committee, the body re­spon­si­ble for en­forc­ing the rules across the EU.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, ac­cused the Hamburg data pro­tec­tion au­thor­ity of mis­un­der­stand­ing the pur­pose of the up­date and said there was no le­git­i­mate ba­sis for the ban.

The mes­sag­ing app de­fended the lat­est pri­vacy terms, say­ing they won’t af­fect the con­fi­den­tial­ity of mes­sages ex­changed with friends and fam­ily, but was pri­mar­ily in­tended to help com­pa­nies com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter with their cus­tomers via the plat­form, no­tably to al­low them to sell their prod­ucts di­rectly on it.

A spokesper­son for WhatsApp said: As the Hamburg DPAs claims are wrong, the or­der will not im­pact the con­tin­ued roll-out of the up­date. We re­main fully com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing se­cure and pri­vate com­mu­ni­ca­tions for every­one.”

The reg­u­la­tory ac­tion has opened a new front in Germany over Facebook’s pri­vacy poli­cies, with its na­tional an­titrust reg­u­la­tor wag­ing a le­gal bat­tle over data prac­tices it says amount to an abuse of mar­ket dom­i­nance.

Since 2018, on­line pri­vacy in Europe has been sub­ject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Under these rules, Ireland over­sees Facebook be­cause the com­pa­ny’s European head­quar­ters is there.


Read the original on www.euronews.com »

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Security flaws in all Wi-Fi devices

This web­site pre­sents FragAttacks (fragmentation and ag­gre­ga­tion at­tacks) which is a col­lec­tion of new security vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties that af­fect Wi-Fi de­vices. An ad­ver­sary that is within ra­dio range of a vic­tim can abuse these vulnerabilities to steal user in­for­ma­tion or at­tack de­vices. Three of the dis­cov­ered vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties are de­sign flaws in the Wi-Fi stan­dard and there­fore af­fect most de­vices. On top of this, sev­eral other vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties were dis­cov­ered that are caused by wide­spread pro­gram­ming mis­takes in Wi-Fi prod­ucts. Experiments in­di­cate that every Wi-Fi prod­uct is af­fected by at least one vul­ner­a­bil­ity and that most prod­ucts are af­fected by sev­eral vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties.

The dis­cov­ered vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties af­fect all mod­ern se­cu­rity pro­to­cols of Wi-Fi, in­clud­ing the lat­est WPA3 spec­i­fi­ca­tion. Even the orig­i­nal se­cu­rity pro­to­col of Wi-Fi, called WEP, is af­fected. This means that sev­eral of the newly dis­cov­ered design flaws have been part of Wi-Fi since its re­lease in 1997! Fortunately, the de­sign flaws are hard to abuse be­cause do­ing so re­quires user in­ter­ac­tion or is only possible when us­ing un­com­mon net­work set­tings. As a re­sult, in prac­tice the biggest con­cern are the pro­gram­ming mis­takes in Wi-Fi prod­ucts since several of them are triv­ial to ex­ploit.

The dis­cov­ery of these vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties comes as a sur­prise, be­cause the se­cu­rity of Wi-Fi has in fact sig­nif­i­cantly improved over the past years. For in­stance, pre­vi­ously we dis­cov­ered the KRACK at­tacks, the de­fenses against KRACK were proven se­cure, and the lat­est WPA3 se­cu­rity spec­i­fi­ca­tion has im­proved. Unfortunately, a fea­ture that could have pre­vented one of the newly dis­cov­ered de­sign flaws was not adopted in prac­tice, and the other two de­sign flaws are pre­sent in a fea­ture of Wi-Fi that was pre­vi­ously not widely stud­ied. This shows it stays im­por­tant to an­a­lyze even the most well-known se­cu­rity pro­to­cols (if you want to help, we are hir­ing). Additionally, it shows that it’s es­sen­tial to reg­u­larly test Wi-Fi prod­ucts for se­cu­rity vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, which can for in­stance be done when cer­ti­fy­ing them.

To pro­tect users, se­cu­rity up­dates were pre­pared dur­ing a 9-month-long co­or­di­nated dis­clo­sure that was su­per­vised by the Wi-Fi Alliance and ICASI. If up­dates for your de­vice are not yet avail­able, you can mit­i­gate

some at­tacks (but not all) by as­sur­ing that web­sites use HTTPS and by as­sur­ing that your de­vices re­ceived all other avail­able up­dates.

The re­search will be pre­sented at the USENIX Security con­fer­ence and a longer talk with more back­ground will also be given at Black Hat USA

this sum­mer.

The fol­low­ing video shows three ex­am­ples of how an ad­ver­sary can abuse the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties. First, the ag­gre­ga­tion de­sign flaw is abused to in­ter­cept sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion (e.g. the vic­tim’s user­name and pass­word). Second, it’s shown how an ad­ver­sary can ex­ploit in­se­cure in­ter­net-of-things devices by re­motely turn­ing on and off a smart power socket. Finally, it’s demon­strated how the vulnerabilities can be abused as a step­ping stone to launch ad­vanced at­tacks. In par­tic­u­lar, the video shows how an ad­ver­sary can take over an out­dated Windows 7 ma­chine in­side a lo­cal net­work.

As the demo il­lus­trates, the Wi-Fi flaws can be abused in two ways. First, un­der the right con­di­tions they can be abused to steal sen­si­tive data. Second, an ad­ver­sary can abuse the Wi-Fi flaws to at­tack de­vices in some­one’s home net­work.

The biggest risk in prac­tice is likely the abil­ity to abuse the dis­cov­ered flaws to at­tack de­vices in some­one’s home net­work. For in­stance, many smart home and in­ter­net-of-things

de­vices are rarely up­dated, and Wi-Fi se­cu­rity is the last line of de­fense that pre­vents some­one from at­tack­ing these de­vices. Unfortunately, due to the dis­cover vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, this last line of de­fense can now be by­passed. In the demo above, this is il­lus­trated by re­motely con­trol­ling a smart power plug and by tak­ing over an out­dated Windows 7 ma­chine.

The Wi-Fi flaws can also be abused to ex­fil­trate trans­mit­ted data. The demo shows how this can be abused to learn the user­name and pass­word of the vic­tim when they use the NYU web­site. However, when a web­site is con­fig­ured with HSTS to al­ways use HTTPS as an ex­tra layer of se­cu­rity, which nowa­days close


20% of web­sites are, the trans­mit­ted data can­not be stolen. Additionally, sev­eral browsers now warn

the user when HTTPS is not be­ing used. Finally, al­though not al­ways per­fect, recent mo­bile apps by de­fault use HTTPS and there­fore also use this ex­tra pro­tec­tion.

Several im­ple­men­ta­tion flaws can be abused to eas­ily in­ject frames into a pro­tected Wi-Fi net­work. In par­tic­u­lar, an ad­ver­sary can of­ten in­ject an un­en­crypted Wi-Fi frame by care­fully con­struct­ing this frame. This can for in­stance be abused to intercept a clien­t’s traf­fic by trick­ing the client into us­ing a ma­li­cious DNS server as shown in the demo (the in­ter­cepted traf­fic may have an­other layer of pro­tec­tion though). Against routers this can also be abused to by­pass the NAT/firewall, al­low­ing the ad­ver­sary to subsequently at­tack de­vices in the lo­cal Wi-Fi net­work (e.g. at­tack­ing an out­dated Windows 7 ma­chine as shown in the demo).

How can the ad­ver­sary con­struct un­en­crypted Wi-Fi frames so they are ac­cepted by a vul­ner­a­ble de­vice? First, cer­tain Wi-Fi de­vices ac­cept any un­en­crypted frame even when con­nected to a pro­tected Wi-Fi net­work. This means the at­tacker does­n’t have to do any­thing spe­cial! Two of out of four tested home routers were af­fected by this vul­ner­a­bil­ity, sev­eral in­ter­net-of-things de­vices were af­fected, and some smart­phones were af­fected. Additionally, many Wi-Fi don­gles on Windows will wrongly ac­cept plain­text frames when they are split into sev­eral (plaintext) frag­ments.

Additionally, cer­tain de­vices ac­cept plain­text ag­gre­gated frames that look like hand­shake mes­sages. An ad­ver­sary can ex­ploit this by send­ing an ag­gre­gated frame whose starts re­sem­bles a hand­shake mes­sage and whose sec­ond subframe con­tains the packet that the ad­ver­sary wants to in­ject. A vul­ner­a­ble de­vice will first in­ter­pret this frame as a hand­shake mes­sage, but will sub­se­quently process it as an ag­gre­gated frame. In a sense, one part of the code will think the frame is a hand­shake mes­sage and will ac­cept it even though it’s not en­crypted. Another part of the code will in­stead see it as an ag­gre­gated frame and will process the packet that the ad­ver­sary wants to in­ject.

Finally, sev­eral de­vices process broad­casted frag­ments as nor­mal un­frag­mented frames. More prob­lem­atic, some de­vices accept broad­cast frag­ments even when sent un­en­crypted. An at­tacker can abuse this to in­ject pack­ets by en­cap­su­lat­ing them in the sec­ond frag­ment of a plain­text broad­cast frame.

The first de­sign flaw is in the frame ag­gre­ga­tion fea­ture of Wi-Fi. This fea­ture in­creases the speed and through­put of a net­work by com­bin­ing small frames into a larger ag­gre­gated frame. To im­ple­ment this fea­ture, the header of each frame con­tains a flag that indicates whether the (encrypted) trans­ported data con­tains a sin­gle or ag­gre­gated frame. This is il­lus­trated in the fol­low­ing fig­ure:

Unfortunately, this is ag­gre­gated” flag is not au­then­ti­cated and can be mod­i­fied by an ad­ver­sary, mean­ing a vic­tim can be tricked into pro­cess­ing the en­crypted trans­ported data in an un­in­tended man­ner. An ad­ver­sary can abuse this to in­ject arbitrary net­work pack­ets by trick­ing the vic­tim into con­nect­ing to their server and then set­ting the is ag­gre­gated” flag of care­fully se­lected pack­ets. Practically all tested de­vices were vul­ner­a­ble to this at­tack. The abil­ity to in­ject pack­ets can in turn be abused to in­ter­cept a vic­tim’s traf­fic by mak­ing it use a ma­li­cious DNS server (see the demo).

This de­sign flaw can be fixed by au­then­ti­cat­ing the is ag­gre­gated” flag. The Wi-Fi stan­dard al­ready con­tains a fea­ture to authenticate this flag, namely re­quir­ing SPP A-MSDU frames, but this de­fense is not back­wards-com­pat­i­ble and not sup­ported in prac­tice. Attacks can also be mit­i­gated us­ing an ad-hoc fix, though new at­tacks may re­main pos­si­ble.

The sec­ond de­sign flaw is in the frame frag­men­ta­tion fea­ture of Wi-Fi. This fea­ture in­creases the re­li­a­bil­ity of a con­nec­tion by split­ting large frames into smaller frag­ments. When do­ing this, every frag­ment that be­longs to the same frame is en­crypted us­ing the same key. However, re­ceivers are not re­quired to check this and will re­assem­ble frag­ments

that were de­crypted us­ing dif­fer­ent keys. Under rare con­di­tions this can be abused to ex­fil­trate data. This is ac­com­plished by mix­ing frag­ments that are en­crypted un­der dif­fer­ent keys, as il­lus­trated in the fol­low­ing fig­ure:

In the above fig­ure, the first frag­ment is de­crypted us­ing a dif­fer­ent key than the sec­ond frag­ment. Nevertheless, the vic­tim will re­assem­ble both frag­ments. In prac­tice this al­lows an ad­ver­sary to ex­fil­trate se­lected client data.

This de­sign flaw can be fixed in a back­wards-com­pat­i­ble man­ner by only re­assem­bling frag­ments that were de­crypted us­ing the same key. Because the at­tack is only pos­si­ble un­der rare con­di­tions it is con­sid­ered a the­o­ret­i­cal at­tack.

The third de­sign flaw is also in Wi-Fi’s frame frag­men­ta­tion fea­ture. The prob­lem is that, when a client dis­con­nects from the net­work, the Wi-Fi de­vice is not re­quired to re­move non-re­assem­bled frag­ments from mem­ory. This can be abused against hotspot-like net­works such as eduroam and gov­roam

and against en­ter­prise net­work where users dis­trust each other. In those cases, se­lected data sent by the vic­tim can be exfiltrated. This is achieved by in­ject­ing a ma­li­cious frag­ment in the mem­ory (i.e. frag­ment cache) of the ac­cess point. When the vic­tim then con­nects to the ac­cess point and sends a frag­mented frame, se­lected frag­ments will be com­bined (i.e. re­assem­bled) with the in­jected frag­ment of the ad­ver­sary. This is il­lus­trated in the fol­low­ing fig­ure:

In the above fig­ure, the ad­ver­sary in­jects the first frag­ment into the frag­ment cache of the ac­cess point. After the adversary dis­con­nects the frag­ment stays in the frag­ment cache and will be re­assem­bled with a frag­ment of the vic­tim. If the vic­tim sends frag­mented frames, which ap­pears un­com­mon in prac­tice, this can be abused to ex­fil­trate data.

This de­sign flaw can be fixed in a back­wards-com­pat­i­ble man­ner by re­mov­ing frag­ments from mem­ory when­ever dis­con­nect­ing or (re)connecting to a net­work.

Some routers will for­ward hand­shake frames to an­other client even when the sender has­n’t authenticated yet. This vul­ner­a­bil­ity al­lows an ad­ver­sary to per­form the ag­gre­ga­tion at­tack, and in­ject ar­bi­trary frames, with­out user in­ter­ac­tion.

Another ex­tremely com­mon im­ple­men­ta­tion flaw is that re­ceivers do not check whether all fragments be­long to the same frame, mean­ing an ad­ver­sary can triv­ially forge frames by mix­ing the frag­ments of two different frames.

Additionally, against sev­eral im­ple­men­ta­tions it is pos­si­ble to mix en­crypted and plain­text frag­ments.

Finally, some de­vices don’t sup­port frag­men­ta­tion or ag­gre­ga­tion, but are still vul­ner­a­ble to at­tacks because they process frag­mented frames as full frames. Under the right cir­cum­stances this can be abused to in­ject pack­ets.

An overview of all as­signed Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) iden­ti­fiers can be found on GitHub. At the time of writ­ing, ICASI has a suc­cinct overview

con­tain­ing ref­er­ences to ad­di­tional info from ven­dors (the CVE links be­low might only be­come ac­tive af­ter a few days). Summarized, the de­sign flaws were as­signed the fol­low­ing CVEs:

* CVE-2020-24586: frag­ment cache at­tack (not clear­ing frag­ments from mem­ory when (re)connecting to a net­work).

Implementation vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties that al­low the triv­ial in­jec­tion of plain­text frames in a pro­tected Wi-Fi net­work are as­signed the fol­low­ing CVEs:

* CVE-2020-26145: Accepting plain­text broad­cast frag­ments as full frames (in an en­crypted net­work).

* CVE-2020-26144: Accepting plain­text A-MSDU frames that start with an RFC1042 header with EtherType EAPOL (in an en­crypted net­work).

Other im­ple­men­ta­tion flaws are as­signed the fol­low­ing CVEs:

* CVE-2020-26139: Forwarding EAPOL frames even though the sender is not yet au­then­ti­cated (should only af­fect APs).

* CVE-2020-26141: Not ver­i­fy­ing the TKIP MIC of frag­mented frames.

For each im­ple­men­ta­tion vul­ner­a­bil­ity we listed the ref­er­ence CVE iden­ti­fier. Although each af­fected code­base nor­mally re­ceives a unique CVE, the agree­ment be­tween af­fected ven­dors was that, in this spe­cific case, using the same CVE across dif­fer­ent code­bases would make com­mu­ni­ca­tion eas­ier. For in­stance, by ty­ing one CVE to each vul­ner­a­bil­ity, a cus­tomer can now ask a ven­dor whether their prod­uct is af­fected by a spe­cific CVE.

Please note that this de­vi­ates from nor­mal MITRE guide­lines, and that this de­ci­sion was made by af­fected ven­dors in­de­pen­dently of MITRE, and that this in no way re­flects any changes in how MITRE as­signs CVEs.

Our pa­per be­hind the at­tack is ti­tled Fragment and Forge: Breaking Wi-Fi Through Frame Aggregation and Fragmentation

and will be pre­sented at USENIX Security. You can use the fol­low­ing bib­tex en­try to cite our pa­per:

The pre-recorded pre­sen­ta­tion made for USENIX Security can al­ready be viewed on­line. Note that the tar­get au­di­ence of this pre­sen­ta­tion are aca­d­e­mics and IT pro­fes­sion­als:

* An overview of all

at­tacks and their pre­con­di­tions. It also con­tains two ex­tra ex­am­ples on how an

ad­ver­sary can: (1) abuse packet in­jec­tion vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties to make a vic­tim use a ma­li­cious DNS; and

(2) how packet in­jec­tion can be abused to by­pass the NAT/firewall of a router.

* Slides il­lus­trat­ing

how the ag­gre­ga­tion at­tack (CVE-2020-24588) works in prac­tice. Performing this at­tack re­quires trick­ing

the vic­tim into con­nect­ing to the ad­ver­sary’s server. This can be done by mak­ing the vic­tim down­load an

im­age from the ad­ver­sary’s server. Note that JavaScript code ex­e­cu­tion on the vic­tim is not re­quired.

* Detailed slides

giv­ing an in-depth ex­pla­na­tion of each dis­cov­ered vul­ner­a­bil­ity.

* Overview slides

il­lus­trat­ing only the root cause of each dis­cov­ered vul­ner­a­bil­ity.

A tool was made that can test if clients or APs are affected by the dis­cov­ered de­sign and im­ple­men­ta­tions flaws. It can test home net­works and en­ter­prise net­works where authentication is done us­ing, e.g., PEAP-MSCHAPv2 or EAP-TLS. The tool sup­ports over 45 test cases and re­quires mod­i­fied drivers in or­der to re­li­able test for the dis­cov­ered vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties. Without mod­i­fied dri­vers, one may wrongly con­clude that a de­vice is not af­fected while in re­al­ity it is.

A live USB im­age is also avail­able. This im­age con­tains pre-in­stalled mod­i­fied dri­vers, mod­i­fied firmware for cer­tain Atheros USB don­gles, and a pre-configured Python en­vi­ron­ment for the tool. Using a live im­age is use­ful when you can­not in­stall the mod­i­fied drivers na­tively (and us­ing a vir­tual ma­chine can be un­re­li­able for some net­work cards).

Apart from a tool to test if a de­vice is vul­ner­a­ble I also made proof-of-con­cepts to ex­ploit weak­nesses. Because not all devices cur­rently have re­ceived up­dates these at­tacks scripts will be re­leased at a later point if deemed use­ful.

You can reach Mathy Vanhoef on twit­ter at @vanhoefm

or by email­ing mathy.van­hoef@nyu.edu.

Yes! Mathy Vanhoef will be start­ing as a pro­fes­sor at KU Leuven University (Belgium) later this year and is looking for a PhD stu­dent. The pre­cise topic you want to work on can be dis­cussed. If you’re a mas­ter stu­dent at KU Leuven you can also con­tact me to dis­cuss a Master’s the­sis topic. Note that the DistriNet group at KU Leuven is also re­cruit­ing in se­cu­rity-re­lated re­search fields.

If you want to do net­work re­search at New York University Abu Dhabi in the Cyber Security & Privacy (CSP)

team where the FragAttacks re­search was car­ried out, you can con­tact Christina Pöpper.

Yes, you can use the logo, il­lus­tra­tions of the ag­gre­ga­tion

de­sign flaw (mobile ver­sion), illustrations of the mixed key de­sign flaw (mobile ver­sion), and il­lus­tra­tions of the frag­ment cache de­sign flaw (mobile ver­sion).

Thanks goes to Darlee Urbiztondo for de­sign­ing the logo. You can find more of her awe­some graphic works here.

When the 802.11n amend­ment was be­ing writ­ten in 2007, which in­tro­duced sup­ported for ag­gre­gated (A-MSDU) frames, several IEEE mem­bers

no­ticed that the is ag­gre­gated” flag was not au­then­ti­cated. Unfortunately, many prod­ucts al­ready im­ple­mented a draft of the 802.11n amend­ment, mean­ing this prob­lem had to be ad­dressed in a back­wards-com­pat­i­ble man­ner. The de­ci­sion was made that de­vices would ad­ver­tise whether they are ca­pa­ble of au­then­ti­cat­ing the is ag­gre­gated” flag. Only when de­vices im­ple­ment and ad­ver­tise this ca­pa­bil­ity is the is ag­gre­gated” flag pro­tected. Unfortunately, in 2020 not a sin­gle tested de­vice sup­ported this ca­pa­bil­ity, likely be­cause it was con­sid­ered hard to ex­ploit. To quote a re­mark made back in 2007: “While it is hard to see how this can be ex­ploited, it is clearly a flaw that is ca­pa­ble of be­ing fixed.”

In other words, peo­ple did no­tice this vul­ner­a­bil­ity and a de­fense was stan­dard­ized, but in prac­tice the de­fense was never adopted. This is a good ex­am­ple that se­cu­rity de­fenses must be adopted be­fore at­tacks be­come prac­ti­cal.

Likely be­cause it was only con­sid­ered a the­o­retic vul­ner­a­bil­ity when the de­fense was cre­ated. To quote a re­mark made back in 2007: “While it is hard to see how this can be ex­ploited, it is clearly a flaw that is ca­pa­ble of be­ing fixed.”

Additionally, the threat model that was used in the ag­gre­ga­tion at­tack, were the vic­tim is in­duced into con­nect­ing to the adversary’s server, only be­come widely ac­cepted in 2011 af­ter the dis­clo­sure of the BEAST

at­tack. In other words, the threat model was not yet widely known back in 2007 when the IEEE added the op­tional fea­ture that would have pre­vented the at­tack. And even af­ter this threat model be­came more com­mon, the re­sult­ing at­tack is­n’t ob­vi­ous.

First, it’s al­ways good to re­mem­ber gen­eral se­cu­rity best prac­tices: up­date your de­vices, don’t reuse your pass­words, make sure you have back­ups of im­por­tant data, don’t visit shady web­sites, and so on.

In re­gards to the dis­cov­ered Wi-Fi vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, you can mit­i­gate at­tacks that ex­fil­trate sen­si­tive data by double-checking that web­sites you are vis­it­ing use HTTPS. Even bet­ter, you can in­stall the HTTPS Everywhere plu­gin. This plu­gin forces the us­age of HTTPS on web­sites that are known to sup­port it.

To mit­i­gate at­tacks where your router’s NAT/firewall is by­passed and de­vices are di­rectly at­tacked, you must as­sure that all your de­vices are up­dated. Unfortunately, not all prod­ucts reg­u­larly re­ceive up­dates, in par­tic­u­lar smart or in­ter­net-of-things devices, in which case it is dif­fi­cult (if not im­pos­si­ble) to prop­erly se­cure them.

More tech­ni­cally, the im­pact of at­tacks can also be re­duced by man­u­ally con­fig­ur­ing your DNS server so that it can­not be poi­soned. Specific to your Wi-Fi con­fig­u­ra­tion, you can mit­i­gate at­tacks (but not fully pre­vent them) by dis­abling frag­men­ta­tion, disabling pair­wise rekeys, and dis­abling dy­namic frag­men­ta­tion in Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) de­vices.

These days a lot of web­sites and apps use HTTPS to en­crypt data. When us­ing HTTPS, an ad­ver­sary can­not see the data you are trans­mit­ting even when you are con­nected to an open Wi-Fi net­work. This also means that you can safely use open Wi-Fi hotspots as long as you keep your de­vices up-to-date and as long as you as­sure that web­sites are us­ing HTTPS. Unfortunately, not all web­sites re­quire the us­age of HTTPS (i.e. they’re not us­ing HSTS), mean­ing they re­main vulnerable to pos­si­ble at­tacks.

At home, the se­cu­rity of your Wi-Fi net­work is also es­sen­tial. An in­se­cure net­work means that oth­ers might be able to con­nect to the in­ter­net through your home. Additionally, more and more de­vices are us­ing Wi-Fi to trans­fer per­sonal files in your lo­cal net­work with­out an ex­tra layer of pro­tec­tion (e.g. when print­ing files, smart dis­play screens, when sending files to a lo­cal backup stor­age, dig­i­tal photo stands, and so on). More prob­lem­atic, a lot of in­ter­net-of-things de­vices have tons of se­cu­rity vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties that can be ex­ploited if an ad­ver­sary can com­mu­ni­cate with them. The main thing that pre­vents an ad­ver­sary from ex­ploit­ing these in­se­cure in­ter­net-of-things de­vices is the se­cu­rity of your Wi-Fi net­work. It there­fore remains es­sen­tial to have strong en­cryp­tion and au­then­ti­ca­tion at the Wi-Fi layer.

At work, the se­cu­rity of Wi-Fi is also es­sen­tial for the same rea­sons as men­tioned above. Additionally, many companies will au­to­mat­i­cally al­low ac­cess to sen­si­tive ser­vices when a user (or ad­ver­sary) is able to connect to the Wi-Fi net­work. Therefore strong Wi-Fi se­cu­rity is also es­sen­tial in a work set­ting.

Using a VPN can pre­vent at­tacks where an ad­ver­sary is try­ing to ex­fil­trate data. It will not pre­vent an adversary from by­pass­ing your router’s NAT/firewall to di­rectly at­tack de­vices.

The seeds of this re­search were al­ready planted while I was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the KRACK at­tack. At that time, on 8 June 2017 to be precise, I wrote down some notes to fur­ther in­ves­ti­gate (de)fragmentation sup­port in Linux. In par­tic­u­lar, I thought there might be an implementation vul­ner­a­bil­ity in Linux. However, a sin­gle un­con­firmed im­ple­men­ta­tion flaw is­n’t too spec­tac­u­lar re­search-wise, so af­ter dis­clos­ing the KRACK at­tack I de­cided to work on other re­search in­stead. The idea of in­spect­ing (de)fragmentation in Wi-Fi, and de­ter­min­ing whether there re­ally was a vul­ner­a­bil­ity or not, was al­ways at the back of my mind though.

Fast-forward three years later, and af­ter gain­ing some ad­di­tional ideas to in­ves­ti­gate, closer in­spec­tion con­firmed some of my hunches and also re­vealed that these is­sues were more wide­spread than I ini­tially as­sumed. And with some ex­tra in­sights I also dis­cov­ered all the other vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties. Interestingly, this also shows the ad­van­tage of flesh­ing out ideas be­fore rush­ing to pub­lish (though ac­tu­ally finishing the pa­per be­fore sub­mis­sion was still a race against time..).

In ex­per­i­ments on more than 75 de­vices, all of them were vul­ner­a­ble to one or more of the dis­cov­ered at­tacks. I’m cu­ri­ous my­self whether all de­vices in the whole world are in­deed af­fected though! To find this out, if you find a de­vice that is­n’t af­fected by at least one of the dis­cov­ered vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, let me know.

Also, if your com­pany pro­vides Wi-Fi de­vices and you think that your prod­uct was not af­fected by any of the dis­cov­ered vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, you can send your prod­uct to me. Once I con­firmed that it in­deed was not af­fected by any vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties the name of your prod­uct and com­pany will be put here! Note that I do need a method to as­sure that I’m in­deed test­ing a ver­sion of the prod­uct that was avail­able be­fore the dis­clo­sure of the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties (and that you did­n’t silently patch some vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties).

The de­sign is­sues are, on their own, te­dious to ex­ploit in prac­tice. Unfortunately, some of the im­ple­men­ta­tion vulnerabilities are com­mon and triv­ial to ex­ploit. Additionally, by com­bin­ing the de­sign is­sues with cer­tain im­ple­men­ta­tion issues, the re­sult­ing at­tacks be­come more se­ri­ous. This means the im­pact of our find­ings de­pends on the spe­cific target. Your ven­dor can in­form you what the pre­cise im­pact is for spe­cific de­vices. In other words, for some de­vices the im­pact is mi­nor, while for oth­ers it’s dis­as­trous.

By de­fault de­vices don’t send frag­mented frames. This means that the mixed key at­tack and the frag­ment cache at­tack, on their own, will be hard to ex­ploit in prac­tice, un­less Wi-Fi 6 is used. When us­ing Wi-Fi 6, which is based on the 802.11ax stan­dard, a de­vice may dy­nam­i­cally frag­ment frames to fill up avail­able air­time.

By de­fault ac­cess points don’t re­new the pair­wise ses­sion key, even though some may pe­ri­od­i­cally re­new the group key. This means that the de­fault mixed key at­tack as de­scribed in the pa­per is only pos­si­ble against net­works that de­vi­ate from this de­fault set­ting.

The test tool that we re­leased can only be used to test whether a de­vice is vul­ner­a­ble. It can­not be used to per­form at­tacks: an ad­ver­sary would have to write their own tools for that. This ap­proach en­ables net­work administrators to test if de­vices are af­fected while re­duc­ing the chance of some­one abus­ing the re­leased code.

The code that has cur­rently been re­leased fo­cusses on de­tect­ing vul­ner­a­ble im­ple­men­ta­tions. The proof-of-con­cepts scripts that per­form ac­tual at­tacks are not re­leased to pro­vide every­one with more time to im­ple­ment and de­ploy patches. Once a large enough frac­tion of de­vices has been patched, and if deemed nec­es­sary and/​or ben­e­fi­cial, the at­tack script will be pub­licly re­leased as well.

There are ex­am­ple net­work cap­tures of the test tool that il­lus­trate the root causes of sev­eral vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties.

The mod­i­fi­ca­tions to cer­tain dri­vers have been sub­mit­ted up­stream to Linux mean­ing they will be main­tained by the Linux de­vel­op­ers themselves. The patches to the Intel dri­ver have not been sub­mit­ted up­stream be­cause they’re a bit hacky. Concretely, this means that drivers such as ath9k_htc will be sup­ported out of the box, while for Intel de­vices you will have to use patched dri­vers and I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to main­tain those.

That’s a good ques­tion. I’m not sure why so many de­vel­op­ers missed this. This wide­spread im­ple­men­ta­tion vul­ner­a­bil­ity does high­light that leav­ing im­por­tant cryp­to­graphic op­er­a­tions up to de­vel­op­ers is not ideal. Put an­other way, it might have been bet­ter if the stan­dard re­quired an au­then­tic­ity check over the re­assem­bled frame in­stead. That would also bet­ter follow the prin­ci­ple of au­then­ti­cated en­cryp­tion.

The 802.11 stan­dard states in sec­tion 10.6: If se­cu­rity en­cap­su­la­tion has been ap­plied to the frag­ment, it shall be deencapsulated and de­crypted be­fore the frag­ment is used for de­frag­men­ta­tion of the MSDU or MMPDU. There is un­for­tu­nately no warn­ing that un­en­crypted frag­ments should be dropped. And there are no rec­om­mend checks that should be performed when re­assem­bling two (decrypted) frag­ments.

Yes, al­though this is un­likely to oc­cur in prac­tice. More tech­ni­cally, let’s as­sume that an im­ple­men­ta­tion tries to pre­vent mixed key attacks by: (1) as­sign­ing an unique key ID to every frag­ment; (2) in­cre­ment­ing this key ID when­ever the pair­wise tran­sient key (PTK) is up­dated; and (3) as­sur­ing all frag­ments were de­crypted un­der the same key ID. Unfortunately, in that case cache at­tacks may still be fea­si­ble. In par­tic­u­lar, if un­der this de­fense key IDs are reused after (re)connecting to a net­work, for ex­am­ple be­cause they are re­set to zero, frag­ments that are de­crypted using a dif­fer­ent key may still be as­signed the same key ID. As a re­sult, cache at­tacks re­main pos­si­ble, be­cause the fragments will still be re­assem­bled as they have the same key ID.

Strictly speak­ing not, be­cause the 802.11 stan­dard does not ex­plic­itly re­quire that a sender en­crypts all frag­ments of a spe­cific frame un­der the same key. Fortunately, all im­ple­men­ta­tions that we tested did en­crypt all frag­ments us­ing the same key, at least un­der the nor­mal cir­cum­stances that we tested, mean­ing in prac­tice the mixed key at­tack can be prevented with­out in­tro­duc­ing in­com­pat­i­bil­i­ties.


Read the original on www.fragattacks.com »

4 519 shares, 23 trendiness, words and minutes reading time

I Mailed an AirTag and Tracked Its Progress; Here's What Happened

Apple’s AirTags are de­signed to help you keep track of things. There are many things you can use AirTags to track, be­yond the most ob­vi­ous ideas such as your keys or bag.

But you may also be able to use an AirTag to track a pack­age. I sent one in the mail to a friend, and fol­lowed it across the coun­try. Here’s what hap­pened.

I live near Stratford-upon-Avon, in the United Kingdom, and I sent the AirTag to a friend south of London. I mailed this AirTag on Friday af­ter­noon, and, with first-class postage, I ex­pected the en­ve­lope to be de­liv­ered the next day.

The AirTag weighs a mere 11g, so I put one taped to a card, then in a small bub­ble en­ve­lope for pro­tec­tion. I dropped it in the mail­box in my vil­lage, just down the road from my home. I made sure to open the Find My app on my iPhone when I was next to the mail­box; it showed the cor­rect lo­ca­tion.

Mail is picked up around 5 pm, and a bit later than that, I checked the Find My app on my iPad. At 5:28, I found that my AirTag had reached the lo­cal sort­ing sta­tion.

This means that some­one, ei­ther the mail­man who picked up the mail and de­liv­ered it to the sort­ing sta­tion, or an­other em­ployee at the sort­ing sta­tion had an iPhone, which spot­ted the AirTag. Apple touts their net­work of nearly a bil­lion de­vices ca­pa­ble of spot­ting AirTags, and if there are that many, it should be easy to track this en­ve­lope across the coun­try.

Related: How Tough are AirTags? We Froze, Washed and Dried, Ran Over, and Put Them in the Hot Sun

It did­n’t take long for my AirTag to start its jour­ney. At 5:49, it had started mov­ing, go­ing into Stratford-upon-Avon, pre­sum­ably for it to be loaded on to a truck to go to the next lo­ca­tion. At around 6:40, it had left the town, head­ing north.

At 7:30, it reached the South Midlands Mail Centre, a highly au­to­mated mail pro­cess­ing cen­tre,” a mas­sive ware­house-like site where mail is sorted. The pres­ence of even one em­ployee with an iPhone, with Find My turned on, was enough to reg­is­ter this lo­ca­tion, but it’s likely that many of the em­ploy­ees have iPhones.

I had set up a script on my Mac to take screen­shots of the Find My app every two min­utes, and these show the jour­ney of the AirTag across the coun­try. At 10:08 pm, the AirTag was on the road, and here’s its progress through the night and the fol­low­ing morn­ing. The du­ra­tion of each im­age in the video does not rep­re­sent how much time has passed.

There were a cou­ple of stops along the way, where pre­sum­ably some mail was trans­ferred to other ve­hi­cles, and by 6:45 am, the AirTag had reached the fi­nal sort­ing of­fice near where my friend lives. He re­ceived de­liv­ery in late morn­ing.

After the AirTag was de­liv­ered, my friend left the en­ve­lope on a table in his house. He has an iPhone, so I ex­pected him to be no­ti­fied of the pres­ence of the AirTag af­ter a while. According to Apple, any­one who is in the pres­ence of an AirTag that has been sep­a­rated from its owner for three days will get an alert on their iPhone. They are sup­posed to get an AirTag Found Moving With You” mes­sage. It’s pos­si­ble that this alert only dis­plays when the per­son is ac­tu­ally mov­ing with the AirTag, but that seems some­what lim­it­ing; imag­ine that you leave an AirTag in some­one’s bag at their home, but they don’t take the bag with them right away. Should it take an­other three days for them to get an alert? Apple is­n’t clear enough about the way to pre­vent AirTags from be­ing used by stalk­ers.

I there­fore ex­pected my friend to get such a mes­sage on or af­ter Monday af­ter­noon, three days af­ter I mailed it. By Tuesday, he had still not re­ceived any alerts. As I write this ar­ti­cle, I just checked in the Find My app, and the AirTag was last seen 13 min­utes ago, at his lo­ca­tion, but he still has not re­ceived any alerts.

Apple also says that When moved, any AirTag sep­a­rated for a pe­riod of time from the per­son who reg­is­tered it will make a sound to alert those nearby.” Again, this is sup­posed to be three days, and the sound ap­par­ently only plays for 15 sec­onds, and is­n’t very loud, ac­cord­ing to this Washington Post ar­ti­cle. My friend thinks he might have heard a sound at some point, but he could­n’t be sure, be­cause he had the TV on at the time.

The point of these alerts is to let peo­ple know if they’re be­ing tracked sur­rep­ti­tiously by some­one who placed an AirTag in their bag, their pocket, or their car. Three days is al­ready much too long, but the fact that no au­di­ble sounds or alerts are oc­cur­ring af­ter four days is dis­turb­ing.

AirTags aren’t de­signed to track some­thing in move­ment; this is­n’t like a Tom Cruise movie, where spies track a car in a city, see­ing ex­actly where it is in real time. They are meant to be used to find lost keys, lug­gage, or other ob­jects. But my ex­per­i­ment shows that you can track these de­vices to a cer­tain ex­tent.

The rea­son for this is the sheer size of the net­work of iOS de­vices that can lo­cate AirTags. Apple says that there are nearly one bil­lion iOS de­vices around the world that par­tic­i­pate in this net­work, and that en­sures that you can lo­cate AirTags in most sit­u­a­tions.

I don’t know if any of the truck dri­vers car­ry­ing the mail did­n’t have iPhones. Even if they did­n’t, it’s pos­si­ble that if some­one in a car dri­ving next to the truck has an iPhone, then it would be spot­ted. Since AirTags use Bluetooth 5, the range is around 100m, but that de­pends on such things as in­ter­fer­ence, walls, and other ob­sta­cles, and test­ing would need to be done to find how ef­fi­cient they are in mo­tion.

It’s also not clear how of­ten AirTag lo­ca­tions up­date. I gave my part­ner an AirTag last week for her to take when she went on an er­rand, dri­ving about 20 miles from home. Since she has an iPhone, I ex­pected to see fre­quent up­dates in the Find My app, but that was­n’t the case. It seemed that when she was on the road, there weren’t many up­dates, but when she got to a shop­ping mall — where there are lots of peo­ple with iPhones — it up­dated much more of­ten. Curiously, it up­dated at one lo­ca­tion on the road in both di­rec­tions, which was when she drove around a large round­about. Perhaps when the de­vice is trav­el­ing fast, there are less fre­quent up­dates, and when it slows down, it up­dates more of­ten.

Obviously, if your de­vice is in an area with fewer iPhones around, you won’t be able to track it, or find it. In more re­mote or rural ar­eas, this will be more dif­fi­cult, but in most sit­u­a­tions, there’s a good chance that some­one with an iPhone will be near your AirTag if it gets lost. This ex­per­i­ment also shows that if, for ex­am­ple, you’ve taken a flight and the air­line has lost your lug­gage, you’ll have a good chance of keep­ing track of where it is.

Each week on the Intego Mac Podcast, Intego’s Mac se­cu­rity ex­perts dis­cuss the lat­est Apple news, se­cu­rity and pri­vacy sto­ries, and of­fer prac­ti­cal ad­vice on get­ting the most out of your Apple de­vices. Be sure to fol­low the pod­cast to make sure you don’t miss any episodes.

You can also sub­scribe to our e-mail newslet­ter and keep an eye here on Mac Security Blog for the lat­est Apple se­cu­rity and pri­vacy news. And don’t for­get to fol­low Intego on your fa­vorite so­cial me­dia chan­nels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

writes about Apple prod­ucts and more on his blog Kirkville.

He is co-host of the Intego Mac Podcast, as well as sev­eral other pod­casts, and is a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to The Mac Security Blog, TidBITS, and sev­eral other web­sites and pub­li­ca­tions.

Kirk has writ­ten more than two dozen books, in­clud­ing Take Control books about Apple’s me­dia apps, Scrivener, and LaunchBar.

Follow him on Twitter at @mcelhearn.

View all posts by Kirk McElhearn →


Read the original on www.intego.com »

5 434 shares, 17 trendiness, words and minutes reading time

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6 390 shares, 15 trendiness, words and minutes reading time

Tech giants join call for funding U.S. chip production

(Reuters) - Some of the world’s biggest chip buy­ers, in­clud­ing Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc’s Google, are join­ing top chip-mak­ers such as Intel Corp to cre­ate a new lob­by­ing group to press for gov­ern­ment chip man­u­fac­tur­ing sub­si­dies.

The newly formed Semiconductors in America Coalition, which also in­cludes Amazon.com’s Amazon Web Services, said Tuesday it has asked U. S. law­mak­ers to pro­vide fund­ing for the CHIPS for America Act, for which President Joe Biden has asked Congress to pro­vide $50 bil­lion.

Robust fund­ing of the CHIPS Act would help America build the ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity nec­es­sary to have more re­silient sup­ply chains to en­sure crit­i­cal tech­nolo­gies will be there when we need them,” the group said in a let­ter to Democratic and Republican lead­ers in both houses of the U. S. Congress.

A global chip short­age has hit au­tomak­ers hard, with Ford Motor Co say­ing it could halve sec­ond-quar­ter pro­duc­tion.

Automotive in­dus­try groups have pressed the Biden ad­min­is­tra­tion to se­cure chip sup­ply for car fac­to­ries. But Reuters last week re­ported ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials were re­luc­tant to use a na­tional se­cu­rity law to redi­rect com­puter chips to au­tomak­ers be­cause do­ing so could hurt other in­dus­tries.

The new coali­tion in­cludes some of those other chip-con­sum­ing in­dus­tries, with mem­bers such as AT&T, Cisco Systems, General Electric, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Verizon Communications Inc. It cau­tioned against gov­ern­ment ac­tions to fa­vor a sin­gle in­dus­try such as au­tomak­ers.

Government should re­frain from in­ter­ven­ing as in­dus­try works to cor­rect the cur­rent sup­ply-de­mand im­bal­ance caus­ing the short­age,” the group said.

Tech com­pa­nies such as Apple are also be­ing hit by the chip short­age, but far less se­verely than au­tomak­ers.

The iPhone maker said last month it will lose $3 bil­lion to $4 bil­lion in sales in the cur­rent quar­ter end­ing in June be­cause of the chip short­age, but that equates to just a few per­cent of the $72.9 bil­lion in sales an­a­lyst ex­pect for Apple’s fis­cal third quar­ter, ac­cord­ing to Refinitiv rev­enue es­ti­mates.


Read the original on www.reuters.com »

7 365 shares, 41 trendiness, words and minutes reading time

Enhancing Photorealism Enhancement

1work done while an in­tern at Intel Labs

We pre­sent an ap­proach to en­hanc­ing the re­al­ism of syn­thetic im­ages. The im­ages are en­hanced by a con­vo­lu­tional net­work that lever­ages in­ter­me­di­ate rep­re­sen­ta­tions pro­duced by con­ven­tional ren­der­ing pipelines. The net­work is trained via a novel ad­ver­sar­ial ob­jec­tive, which pro­vides strong su­per­vi­sion at mul­ti­ple per­cep­tual lev­els. We an­a­lyze scene lay­out dis­tri­b­u­tions in com­monly used datasets and find that they dif­fer in im­por­tant ways. We hy­poth­e­size that this is one of the causes of strong ar­ti­facts that can be ob­served in the re­sults of many prior meth­ods. To ad­dress this we pro­pose a new strat­egy for sam­pling im­age patches dur­ing train­ing. We also in­tro­duce mul­ti­ple ar­chi­tec­tural im­prove­ments in the deep net­work mod­ules used for pho­to­re­al­ism en­hance­ment. We con­firm the ben­e­fits of our con­tri­bu­tions in con­trolled ex­per­i­ments and re­port sub­stan­tial gains in sta­bil­ity and re­al­ism in com­par­i­son to re­cent im­age-to-im­age trans­la­tion meth­ods and a va­ri­ety of other base­lines.

Please cite our work if you use code or data from this site.


ti­tle = {Enhancing Photorealism Enhancement},

au­thor = {Stephan R. Richter and Hassan Abu AlHaija and Vladlen Koltun},

jour­nal= {arXiv:2105.04619},

year = {2021},

The mod­i­fi­ca­tions by our method are geo­met­ri­cally and se­man­ti­cally con­sis­tent with the orig­i­nal im­ages.

They are also tem­po­rally sta­ble:

It greens the parched grass and hills in GTAs California:

It adds re­flec­tions to the win­dows and in­creases the fres­nel ef­fect (e.g., at the roof of cars):

It greens the parched grass and hills in GTAs California:

Images from this dataset are recorded around the world with wide va­ri­ety of cam­eras. The im­ages are more vi­brant and of high res­o­lu­tion.

It re­moves dis­tant haze and re­builds the road:


Read the original on intel-isl.github.io »

8 303 shares, 14 trendiness, words and minutes reading time

Cloudflare on the Edge

Matthew Prince, at the end of his pre­pared re­marks af­ter Cloudflare’s re­cent earn­ings re­port, re­lated a story from the com­pa­ny’s ear­li­est days:

Back in 2010, right be­fore Cloudflare’s first Board meet­ing and our launch, I got some ad­vice from one of our early in­vestors. He said run­ning a com­pany is a bit like fly­ing an air­plane. You want to make sure it’s well main­tained at all times. And that when you’re fly­ing, you keep the wheel steady and the nose 10 de­grees about the hori­zon. That’s stuck with me, and we’ve de­signed Cloudflare for con­sis­tent and dis­ci­plined ex­e­cu­tion. That shows in quar­ters like the one we just had.

What is most im­por­tant of all, though, is the des­ti­na­tion that air­plane is headed for.

The launch Prince re­ferred to hap­pened at TechCrunch Disrupt 2010; the en­tire video is worth a watch, but there are three high­lights in par­tic­u­lar. First, Prince — de­spite a three-minute tech­ni­cal de­lay — did an ex­cel­lent job of lay­ing out Cloudflare’s core value propo­si­tion:

Prince, a grad­u­ate of Harvard Business School, ex­plic­itly in­voked HBS Professor Clayton Christensen while an­swer­ing a ques­tion about com­pe­ti­tion:

The most mem­o­rable mo­ment of the pre­sen­ta­tion, though, was Prince’s re­sponse to a seem­ingly an­o­dyne ques­tion about when com­pa­nies might grow out of Cloudflare’s of­fer­ing:

Despite the au­dac­ity of Prince’s an­swer — Our vi­sion is that we’re go­ing to power the Internet — the com­pa­ny’s list of com­peti­tors in its 2019 S-1 seemed rather as­pi­ra­tional, in both breadth and scale:

Our cur­rent and po­ten­tial fu­ture com­peti­tors in­clude a num­ber of dif­fer­ent types of com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing:

On-premise hard­ware net­work ven­dors, such as Cisco Systems Inc., F5 Networks, Inc., Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., FireEye, Inc., Imperva, Inc., Palo Alto Networks, Inc., Juniper Networks, Inc., and Riverbed Technology, Inc.;

Point-cloud so­lu­tion ven­dors, in­clud­ing cloud se­cu­rity ven­dors such as Zscaler, Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. through Umbrella (formerly known as OpenDNS), con­tent de­liv­ery net­work ven­dors such as Akamai Technologies, Inc., Limelight Networks, Inc., Fastly, Inc., and Verizon Communications Inc. through Edgecast, do­main name sys­tem ven­dors ser­vices such as Oracle Corporation through DYN, NeuStar, Inc., and UltraDNS Corporation, and cloud SD-WAN ven­dors; and

Traditional pub­lic cloud ven­dors, such as Amazon.com, Inc. through Amazon Web Services, Alphabet Inc. through Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Corporation through Azure, and Alibaba Group Holding Limited through Alibaba Cloud.

The first two cat­e­gories make sense; af­ter all, Cloudflare’s value propo­si­tion from the be­gin­ning was speed and se­cu­rity, so of course they would grow up to com­pete with net­work and se­cu­rity ven­dors. It was that last bul­let point, though, that even now leads to raised eye­brows: Cloudflare’s big quar­ter en­tailed $138 mil­lion in rev­enue; AWS, over the same pe­riod, made $150 mil­lion a day.

To un­der­stand why Cloudflare sees pub­lic cloud ven­dors as com­peti­tors it helps to go back to what made Cloudflare dis­rup­tive; Christensen wrote in The Innovator’s Dilemma:

Occasionally, how­ever, dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies emerge: in­no­va­tions that re­sult in worse prod­uct per­for­mance, at least in the near-term. Ironically, in each of the in­stances stud­ied in this book, it was dis­rup­tive tech­nol­ogy that pre­cip­i­tated the lead­ing firms’ fail­ure. Disruptive tech­nolo­gies bring to a mar­ket a very dif­fer­ent value propo­si­tion than had been avail­able pre­vi­ously. Generally, dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies un­der­per­form es­tab­lished prod­ucts in main­stream mar­kets. But they have other fea­tures that a few fringe (and gen­er­ally new) cus­tomers value. Products based on dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies are typ­i­cally cheaper, sim­pler, smaller, and, fre­quently, more con­ve­nient to use.

That was ba­si­cally Prince’s value propo­si­tion: Cloudflare’s CDN would be cheaper (free), sim­pler (just change DNS servers), smaller (only 5 servers to start), and more con­ve­nient (ridiculously easy!). And Cloudflare’s cus­tomers were def­i­nitely fringe:

What Cloudflare had in its fa­vor, though, was the most po­tent ad­van­tage on the Internet: the ser­vice, much like Google a decade-ear­lier with its link-based rank­ing sys­tem, got bet­ter with use. This was be­cause Cloudflare paired its con­tent de­liv­ery net­work with DDoS pro­tec­tion; the lat­ter was ex­tremely at­trac­tive to web­sites, gave Cloudflare an in with ISPs who val­ued the pro­tec­tion to build point-of-pres­ence servers around the world, and, crit­i­cally, gave Cloudflare bet­ter-and-bet­ter data about how data flowed around the world (improving its ser­vice) even as it im­proved its CDN ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Cloudflare’s fo­cus on se­cu­rity-for-free also meant its CDN was built on gen­eral-pur­pose hard­ware from the be­gin­ning; from the S-1:

To achieve the level of ef­fi­ciency needed to com­pete with hard­ware ap­pli­ances re­quired us to in­vent a new type of plat­form. That plat­form needed to be built on com­mod­ity hard­ware. It needed to be ar­chi­tected so any server in any city that made up Cloudflare’s net­work could run every one of our ser­vices. It also needed the flex­i­bil­ity to move traf­fic around to serve our high­est pay­ing cus­tomers from the most per­for­mant lo­ca­tions while serv­ing cus­tomers who paid us less, or even noth­ing at all, from wher­ever there was ex­cess ca­pac­ity.

As time went on those gen­eral pur­pose ma­chines were used for more-and-more of­fer­ings be­yond a CDN and DDoS pro­tec­tion; HHHypergrowth has a fan­tas­tic overview of every­thing Cloudflare is work­ing on, and the ar­ti­cle is daunt­ing in length be­cause Cloudflare’s port­fo­lio is so vast. It is Cloudflare Workers, though, that are re­spon­si­ble for the big cloud play­ers be­ing in Cloudflare’s com­pet­i­tive set.

Cloudflare launched Workers seven years af­ter the com­pa­ny’s launch at Disrupt; from the in­tro­duc­tory blog post:

Cloudflare is about to go through a sim­i­lar tran­si­tion [as pro­gram­ma­ble CPUs]. At its most ba­sic level, Cloudflare is an HTTP cache that runs in 117 lo­ca­tions world­wide (and grow­ing). The HTTP stan­dard de­fines a fixed fea­ture set for HTTP caches. Cloudflare, of course, does much more, such as pro­vid­ing DNS and SSL, shield­ing your site against at­tacks, load bal­anc­ing across your ori­gin servers, and so much else.

But, these are all fixed func­tions. What if you want to load bal­ance with a cus­tom affin­ity al­go­rithm? What if stan­dard HTTP caching rules aren’t quite right, and you need some cus­tom logic to boost your cache hit rate? What if you want to write cus­tom WAF rules tai­lored for your ap­pli­ca­tion?

You want to write code.

We can keep adding fea­tures for­ever, but we’ll never cover every pos­si­ble use case this way. Instead, we’re mak­ing Cloudflare’s edge net­work pro­gram­ma­ble. We pro­vide servers in 117+ lo­ca­tions around the world — you de­cide how to use them.

Workers were ex­tremely lim­ited in func­tion­al­ity to start; just a bit of state­less Javascript code run­ning in a V8 iso­late, but as close to users as pos­si­ble. In 2018 Cloudflare added a key-value store, giv­ing Workers ac­cess to highly dis­trib­uted even­tu­ally-con­sis­tent data stor­age; in 2020 the com­pany in­tro­duced Workers Unbound, dra­mat­i­cally ex­pand­ing Workers ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and Durable Objects, which not only store data but also state, which means a sin­gle source of truth. Once again Cloudflare’s net­work comes to the res­cue:

When us­ing Durable Objects, Cloudflare au­to­mat­i­cally de­ter­mines the Cloudflare dat­a­cen­ter that each ob­ject will live in, and can trans­par­ently mi­grate ob­jects be­tween lo­ca­tions as needed. Traditional data­bases and state­ful in­fra­struc­ture usu­ally re­quire you to think about ge­o­graph­i­cal regions”, so that you can be sure to store data close to where it is used.

Thinking about re­gions can of­ten be an un­nat­ural bur­den, es­pe­cially for ap­pli­ca­tions that are not in­her­ently ge­o­graph­i­cal. With Durable Objects, you in­stead de­sign your stor­age model to match your ap­pli­ca­tion’s log­i­cal data model. For ex­am­ple, a doc­u­ment ed­i­tor would have an ob­ject for each doc­u­ment, while a chat app would have an ob­ject for each chat. There is no prob­lem cre­at­ing mil­lions or bil­lions of ob­jects, as each ob­ject has min­i­mal over­head.

In Cloudflare’s ex­am­ple of a chat app, every in­di­vid­ual con­ver­sa­tion is an ob­ject, and that ob­ject is moved as close to the par­tic­i­pants as pos­si­ble; two peo­ple chat­ting in the U. S. would uti­lize a Durable Object in a U.S. data cen­ter, for ex­am­ple, while two in Europe would use one there. There is a bit of ad­di­tional la­tency, but less than there might be with a cen­tral­ized cloud provider. That’s ok, though, be­cause the real ad­van­tage of Workers is­n’t what Cloudflare thought it was.

The eco­nom­ics of pub­lic clouds are very straight­for­ward: it makes far more sense for Amazon or Microsoft or Google to build and main­tain data cen­ters all over the world and rent out ca­pac­ity than it does for com­pa­nies for whom data cen­ters are not their core com­pe­tency to du­pli­cate their ef­forts at a sub-scale level. It’s so com­pelling I la­beled the cur­rent state The End of the Beginning:

This last point gets at why the cloud and mo­bile, which are of­ten thought of as two dis­tinct par­a­digm shifts, are very much con­nected: the cloud meant ap­pli­ca­tions and data could be ac­cessed from any­where; mo­bile made the I/O layer avail­able any­where. The com­bi­na­tion of the two make com­put­ing con­tin­u­ous.

What is no­table is that the cur­rent en­vi­ron­ment ap­pears to be the log­i­cal end­point of all of these changes: from batch-pro­cess­ing to con­tin­u­ous com­put­ing, from a ter­mi­nal in a dif­fer­ent room to a phone in your pocket, from a tape drive to data cen­ters all over the globe. In this view the per­sonal com­puter/​on-premises server era was sim­ply a step­ping stone be­tween two ends of a clearly de­fined range.

While this view of the om­nipresent cloud is true for end users, the story is a bit more com­pli­cated for de­vel­op­ers; if you want to set up a new in­stance you need to first se­lect a re­gion. AWS, for ex­am­ple, has twenty-five re­gions around the world:

Once you choose a re­gion your ac­tual app is ge­o­graph­i­cally con­tained in that re­gion. In the­ory that lim­i­ta­tion gives an ad­van­tage to Cloudflare Workers; Prince wrote in a blog post:

Since we’re un­likely to make the speed of light any faster, the abil­ity for any de­vel­oper to write code and have it run across our en­tire net­work means we will al­ways have a per­for­mance ad­van­tage over legacy, cen­tral­ized com­put­ing so­lu­tions — even those that run in the cloud.” If you have to pick an availability zone” for where to run your ap­pli­ca­tion, you’re al­ways go­ing to be at a per­for­mance dis­ad­van­tage to an ap­pli­ca­tion built on a plat­form like Workers that runs every­where Cloudflare’s net­work ex­tends.

The truth, though, is that this per­for­mance does­n’t mat­ter very much for most ap­pli­ca­tions. Stratechery’s pod­cast ser­vice runs in the US East (Ohio) re­gion, for ex­am­ple, and it does­n’t re­ally make a dif­fer­ence for me, de­spite the fact I’m halfway around the world. Price ad­mit­ted as such:

But let’s be real a sec­ond. Only a lim­ited set of ap­pli­ca­tions are sen­si­tive to net­work la­tency of a few hun­dred mil­lisec­onds. That’s not to say un­der the model of a mod­ern ma­jor server­less plat­form net­work la­tency does­n’t mat­ter, it’s just that the ap­pli­ca­tions that re­quire that ex­tra per­for­mance are niche…Peo­ple who talk a lot about edge com­put­ing quickly start talk­ing about IoT and dri­ver­less cars. Embarrassingly, when we first launched the Workers plat­form, I caught my­self do­ing that all the time.

Indeed, for al­most all ap­pli­ca­tions the pub­lic clouds were good enough, and again, the eco­nom­ics made any other choice a bad idea.

Earlier this year, in the wake of January 6, I wrote Internet 3.0 and the Beginning of (Tech) History; af­ter rais­ing the ar­gu­ments from The End of the Beginning I noted:

In the case of the Internet, we are at the log­i­cal end­point of tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ment; here, though, the im­passe is not the na­ture of man, but the ques­tion of sov­er­eignty, and the po­ten­tial re-lib­er­a­tion of mega­lothymia is the likely re­fusal by peo­ple, com­pa­nies, and coun­tries around the world to be lorded over by a hand­ful of American gi­ants.

As long as eco­nom­ics were all that mat­tered, we would only ever have the cen­tral­ized cloud providers; the limited set of ap­pli­ca­tions” that needed min­i­mal la­tency could pay a bit more to run on those blue AWS edge providers in the maps above. The point of that ar­ti­cle, though, is that eco­nom­ics weren’t the only thing that mat­tered: go­ing for­ward pol­i­tics would be even more im­por­tant.

Prince had the same re­al­iza­tion; the blog post I have been quot­ing is en­ti­tled The Edge Computing Opportunity: It’s Not What You Think, and the chief ben­e­fits Prince cites are very much about pol­i­tics:

Most com­put­ing re­sources that run on cloud com­put­ing plat­forms, in­clud­ing server­less plat­forms, are cre­ated by de­vel­op­ers who work at com­pa­nies where com­pli­ance is a foun­da­tional re­quire­ment. And, up un­til to now, that’s meant en­sur­ing that plat­forms fol­low gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions like GDPR (European pri­vacy guide­lines) or have cer­ti­fi­ca­tions pro­vid­ing that they fol­low in­dus­try reg­u­la­tions such as PCI DSS (required if you ac­cept credit cards), FedRamp (US gov­ern­ment pro­cure­ment re­quire­ments), ISO27001 (security risk man­age­ment), SOC 1/2/3 (Security, Confidentiality, and Availability con­trols), and many more.

But there’s a loom­ing new risk of reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments that legacy cloud com­put­ing so­lu­tions are ill-equipped to sat­isfy. Increasingly, coun­tries are pur­su­ing reg­u­la­tions that en­sure that their laws ap­ply to their cit­i­zens’ per­sonal data. One way to en­sure you’re in com­pli­ance with these laws is to store and process data of a coun­try’s cit­i­zens en­tirely within the coun­try’s bor­ders.

The EU, India, and Brazil are all ma­jor mar­kets that have or are cur­rently con­sid­er­ing reg­u­la­tions that as­sert le­gal sov­er­eignty over their cit­i­zens’ per­sonal data. China has al­ready im­posed data lo­cal­iza­tion reg­u­la­tions on many types of data. Whether you think that reg­u­la­tions that ap­pear to re­quire lo­cal data stor­age and pro­cess­ing are a good idea or not — and I per­son­ally think they are bad poli­cies that will sti­fle in­no­va­tion — my sense is the mo­men­tum be­hind them is sig­nif­i­cant enough that they are, at this point, likely in­evitable. And, once a few coun­tries be­gin re­quir­ing data sov­er­eignty, it will be hard to stop nearly every coun­try from fol­low­ing suit.

This po­ten­tial re­al­ity pre­sents a big prob­lem for Amazon, Microsoft, and Google: what scales on their side is the cloud as a whole, from man­age­ment to in­ter­face to pur­chas­ing; in­di­vid­ual de­vel­op­ers are meant to stay in their re­gions. Yes, all three com­pa­nies guar­an­tee that data in one re­gion won’t go else­where, but it’s a de­vel­op­ment night­mare: you have to main­tain dif­fer­ent apps with dif­fer­ent data stores in dif­fer­ent re­gions.

Cloudflare, mean­while, can use the same ca­pa­bil­i­ties that seam­lessly trans­fer Durable Objects to the near­est data cen­ter, to fol­low lo­cal com­pli­ance data sov­er­eignty laws at a gran­ual level; from an an­nounce­ment for Jurisdictional Restrictions for Durable Objects:

Durable Objects, cur­rently in lim­ited beta, al­ready make it easy for cus­tomers to man­age state on Cloudflare Workers with­out wor­ry­ing about pro­vi­sion­ing in­fra­struc­ture. Today, we’re an­nounc­ing Jurisdictional Restrictions for Durable Objects, which en­sure that a Durable Object only stores and processes data in a given ge­o­graph­i­cal re­gion. Jurisdictional Restrictions make it easy for de­vel­op­ers to build server­less, state­ful ap­pli­ca­tions that not only com­ply with to­day’s reg­u­la­tions, but can han­dle new and up­dated poli­cies as new reg­u­la­tions are added…

By set­ting re­stric­tions at a per-ob­ject level, it be­comes easy to en­sure com­pli­ance with­out sac­ri­fic­ing de­vel­oper pro­duc­tiv­ity. Applications run­ning on Durable Objects just need to iden­tify the ju­ris­dic­tional rules a given Object should fol­low and set the cor­re­spond­ing rule at cre­ation time. Gone is the need to run mul­ti­ple clus­ters of in­fra­struc­ture across cloud provider re­gions to stay com­pli­ant — Durable Objects are both glob­ally ac­ces­si­ble and ca­pa­ble of par­ti­tion­ing state with no in­fra­struc­ture over­head.

Durable Objects are not, in-and-of-them­selves, go­ing to kill the pub­lic clouds; what they rep­re­sent, though, is an en­tirely new way of build­ing in­fra­struc­ture — from the edge in, as op­posed to the data cen­ter out — that is per­fectly suited to a world where pol­i­tics mat­ters more than eco­nom­ics.

I ac­tu­ally al­ready cov­ered Cloudflare’s dif­fer­en­ti­ated ap­proach, al­beit in pass­ing, and by ac­ci­dent. Back in March, I in­ter­viewed Prince in the process of writ­ing Moderation in Infrastructure; one thing that stood out to me was how his re­sponse to Internet frag­men­ta­tion dif­fered from Microsoft President Brad Smith, and Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian:

I think, it’s a re­flec­tion of the fact that if you’re a global tech­nol­ogy busi­ness, most of the time, it is far more ef­fi­cient and legally com­pli­ant to op­er­ate a global model than to have dif­fer­ent prac­tices and stan­dards in dif­fer­ent coun­tries, es­pe­cially when you get to things that are so com­pli­cated. It’s very hard to have con­tent mod­er­a­tors make de­ci­sions about in­di­vid­ual pieces of con­tent un­der one stan­dard, but to try to do it and say, Well, okay, we’ve eval­u­ated this piece of con­tent and it can stay up in the US but go down in France.” Then you add these ad­di­tional lay­ers of com­plex­ity that add both cost and the risk of non-com­pli­ance which cre­ates rep­u­ta­tional risk.

So far, we have tried to get to what’s com­mon, and the re­al­ity is, Ben, it’s su­per hard on a global ba­sis to de­sign soft­ware that be­haves dif­fer­ently in dif­fer­ent coun­tries. It is su­per dif­fi­cult. And at the scale at which we’re op­er­at­ing and the need for pri­vacy, for ex­am­ple, it has to be soft­ware and sys­tems that do the mon­i­tor­ing. You can­not as­sume that the way you’re go­ing to en­force ToS and AUPs is by hav­ing hu­mans mon­i­tor every­thing, I mean we have so many cus­tomers at such a large scale. And so that’s prob­a­bly the most dif­fi­cult thing is say­ing vir­tual ma­chines be­have one way in Canada, and a dif­fer­ent way in the United States, and a third way…I mean that’s su­per com­pli­cated.

Everywhere in the world, gov­ern­ments have some po­lit­i­cal le­git­i­macy, and they cer­tainly have a lot more po­lit­i­cal le­git­i­macy than I do…It’s im­por­tant that we com­ply with the laws in each ju­ris­dic­tion in which we op­er­ate. We should help our cus­tomers com­ply with the laws in each ju­ris­dic­tion we op­er­ate…Ger­many can set what­ever rules they want for Germany, but it has to be the rules in­side of Germany.

And you can man­age that okay. You can man­age on a per coun­try ba­sis. You feel good about that?

Sure. I mean, for us, that’s easy. And then we can pro­vide that to our cus­tomers as a func­tion of what we’re do­ing. But I think that if you could say, German rules don’t ex­tend be­yond Germany and French rules don’t ex­tend be­yond France and Chinese rules don’t ex­tend be­yond China and that you have some hu­man rights floor that’s in there.

Right. But given the na­ture of the in­ter­net, is­n’t that the whole prob­lem? Because, any­one in Germany can go to any web­site out­side of Germany.

That’s the way it used to be, I’m not sure that’s go­ing to be the way it’s go­ing to be in the fu­ture. Because, there’s a lot of atoms un­der all these bits and there’s an ISP some­where, or there’s a net­work provider some­where that’s con­trol­ling how that flows and so I think that, that we have to fol­low the law in all the places that are around the world and then we have to hold gov­ern­ments re­spon­si­ble to the rule of law, which is trans­parency, con­sis­tency, ac­count­abil­ity. And so, it’s not okay to just say some­thing dis­ap­pears from the in­ter­net, but it is okay to say due to German law it dis­ap­peared from the in­ter­net. And if you don’t like it, here’s who you com­plain to, or here’s who you kick out of of­fice so you do what­ever you do. And if we can hold that, we can let every coun­try have their own rules in­side of that, I think that’s what keeps us from slip­ping to the low­est com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor.

The quotes aren’t per­fectly com­pa­ra­ble — you can read the full in­ter­views to get the con­text — but it makes sense that Microsoft and Google (and pre­sum­ably Amazon) would be very con­cerned about a world where in­di­vid­ual coun­tries make their own laws about what can be put on the Internet, or even seen. Theirs are ser­vices pred­i­cated on the su­pe­rior eco­nom­ics that come from cen­tral­iza­tion; Cloudflare, on the other hand, is al­ready do­ing all of its com­put­ing on the edge — data sov­er­eignty rules are sim­ply a vari­able. It’s easy”.

This is why the di­rec­tion of Cloudflare’s metaphor­i­cal plane is so fas­ci­nat­ing: Cloudflare’s cur­rent ad­dress­able mar­ket of en­ter­prise se­cu­rity and net­work­ing is sig­nif­i­cant, par­tic­u­larly as re­mote work has laid bare the prob­lems with tra­di­tional ap­proaches; the des­ti­na­tion with out­sized up­side, though, is Internet 3.0, and the re­sul­tant need for a ser­vice that routes around ob­sta­cles, not from nu­clear war, but sov­er­eign gov­ern­ments.


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Announcing the Arduino IDE 2.0 (beta)

The Arduino IDE is the well-known soft­ware we all use to pro­gram our boards. Its de­vel­op­ment started in 2005 based on the graph­i­cal in­ter­face of the Processing pro­ject and has never stopped since. During these years, count­less hours of de­vel­op­ment by the Arduino team with the help of a vi­brant com­mu­nity made the Arduino IDE the de facto stan­dard for elec­tron­ics pro­to­typ­ing. Thanks to an ex­ten­si­ble frame­work based on mod­u­lar board sup­port pack­ages, the IDE sup­ports more than 1,000 of­fi­cial and non-of­fi­cial boards; it’s trans­lated in 66 lan­guages, men­tioned by more than 3,000 books, and is still grow­ing: dur­ing the last year, it was down­loaded more than 39 mil­lions of times. More than ever.

First off, a big thank you to the Arduino com­mu­nity that makes de­vel­op­ment pos­si­ble with do­na­tions and — even more im­por­tant — by buy­ing orig­i­nal Arduino boards: we use your money to pay the de­vel­op­ers that work daily on the Arduino open source soft­ware for the ben­e­fit of every­one. Keep sup­port­ing our work!

While the Arduino IDE pro­vides a sim­ple and clear in­ter­face that is ideal for the novice users, the more ad­vanced users of­ten re­port that the edit­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties are a bit lim­ited com­pared to mod­ern ed­i­tors. This in­cludes fea­tures like code in­den­ta­tion, block fold­ing, auto-clos­ing brack­ets, reg­u­lar ex­pres­sion search and re­place, com­ment tog­gling. In ad­di­tion to this, many users have been ask­ing for live de­bug­ging, i.e. the abil­ity to run code on an at­tached board and stop it at a given line to check the con­tents of vari­ables, mem­ory and reg­is­ters.

The IDE 1.x is de­vel­oped in Java, and its mono­lithic code­base makes it dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment such fea­tures. Java is also be­com­ing an ob­so­lete tech­nol­ogy for desk­top ap­pli­ca­tions and is be­ing phased out by newer op­er­at­ing sys­tems and app stores, which forces us to spend time on work­ing around com­pat­i­bil­ity is­sues.

In 2018, we started to refac­tor the tool­chain by an­nounc­ing a big game changer: ar­duino-cli, the Arduino com­mand line tool writ­ten in Golang that ex­poses all the core func­tion­al­i­ties of the IDE, pro­vid­ing ad­vanced users with a flex­i­ble tool they can in­te­grate into their pro­fes­sional IDE of choice. Since then, we main­tain and im­prove ar­duino-cli on a daily ba­sis (try it now if you haven’t!).

In 2019, we an­nounced the al­pha re­lease of a new IDE built on top of ar­duino-cli and based on a mod­ern soft­ware stack (Theia and Electron) un­der the code name of Arduino Pro IDE and we got a lot of pos­i­tive feed­back about it. 2020 has been a busy de­vel­op­ment year, and a ded­i­cated team of de­vel­op­ers has been work­ing be­hind the scenes to bring the new IDE from a proof-of-con­cept to a fully func­tional tool.

We’re pleased to an­nounce that as of to­day the Arduino IDE 2.0 beta is avail­able for down­load and its code repos­i­to­ries be­come open source. It car­ries a mod­ern ed­i­tor and pro­vides a bet­ter over­all user ex­pe­ri­ence thanks to a re­spon­sive in­ter­face and faster com­pi­la­tion time. Don’t be afraid of try­ing it to­day: the up­grade will be fric­tion­less as the in­ter­face will look very fa­mil­iar. But let’s see some of the good­ies you’ll find.

While typ­ing, the ed­i­tor sug­gests the au­to­com­ple­tion of vari­ables and func­tions ac­cord­ing to the li­braries you in­cluded:

When right-click­ing on a vari­able or a func­tion, a con­tex­tual menu will pro­vide nav­i­ga­tion short­cuts to jump to the line (and file) where they are de­clared:

See this page to learn more about the new edit­ing tools.

But there’s an­other big fea­ture in the new IDE: a live de­bug­ger that al­lows you to run your code in­ter­ac­tively on a board and in­spect its ex­e­cu­tion with­out writ­ing tens of Serial.println()” state­ments. Just fire the de­bug panel, set break­points where you want to pause the ex­e­cu­tion and in­spect the con­tent of vari­ables. Oh, you can even change the con­tent of vari­ables on the fly and re­sume ex­e­cu­tion!

As of to­day, the de­bug­ger sup­ports all the Arduino boards based on the SAMD and Mbed plat­forms (MKR fam­ily, Nano 33 IoT, Nano 33 BLE, Portenta, Zero). Maintainers of Arduino cores for third-party boards can add sup­port for de­bug­ging by adding the rel­e­vant con­fig­u­ra­tion pa­ra­me­ters; a tech­ni­cal guide for this is com­ing. You’ll need to con­nect a de­bug­ging probe such as the Segger J-link to the JTAG pins on the board and you’ll be ready to go.

The new IDE is based on the Eclipse Theia frame­work, which is an open source pro­ject based on the same ar­chi­tec­ture as VS Code (language server pro­to­col, ex­ten­sions, de­bug­ger). The front-end is writ­ten in TypeScript, while most of the back­end is writ­ten in Golang.

We need your help to test the new IDE. We want to make it per­fect and bug-free, so do not hes­i­tate to down­load it now and join the dis­cus­sion in the fo­rum! Ready to get started? Follow along with our tu­to­ri­als here.


Read the original on blog.arduino.cc »

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