Category Archives: News

Vertical Farming – Will it Take Us into the Next Century?

Vertical Farming – Will it Take Us into the Next Century?

As the Global Food industry continues to evolve is it time for agriculture to embrace this next wave of technology?

Hydroponics, or growing plants in nutrient rich-water without using soil, is a practice that has been around for decades but has only been used in relatively small-scale applications. This is beginning to change.

Source: World Reimagined: Can Hydroponics Become the Next Big Thing in Agriculture?

Thematic Reads: May 10, 2021

Thematic Reads: May 10, 2021

Thematic Reads

Each week Team Tematica consumes an immense quantity and range of content as we look to stay on top of the latest data and mine it for tailwind and headwind signals for our investment themes and indices.

Cleaner Living
Growing demand for items that claim to be better for you and the planet:

The clean movement is probably definitely the biggest thing to happen to the beauty industry in a long, long time. Just take a look around the next time you head to a major beauty retailer like Sephora, Ulta, or Target: Whole entire sections—both IRL and virtual—are now dedicated to showcasing the best skin, hair, and makeup products in the clean space.
Everything you need to know about the Clean Beauty movement.

Consumer habits are evolving, people have started to be concerned about what they are putting into their bodies, which in turn initiated a clean eating movement across the world. Now the emphasis pivots to what they are putting on their face. While commercial beauty brands are restructuring their beauty strategy, natural beauty products such as Tata Harper are feeding the needs of the new green consumer.
– The Rise In Clean Beauty Brands

House Democratic leaders are lining up behind a White House push to allocate $8 billion in taxpayer funding for the latest iteration of mail truck, paving the way for a fully electric fleet instead of the piecemeal strategy U.S. Postal Service leaders have been pursuing.
Push to electrify mail trucks gains wide support, an unlikely win for both DeJoy and Biden

Synergy Flavors (part of Carbery Group) has acquired savory flavor and ingredient supplier, Innova Flavors, from Griffith Foods Worldwide, ramping up its savory product development of plant-based alternatives.
Synergy Flavors acquires Innova Flavors fueling plant-based food and beverage product development.

Mercedes-Benz is giving a sneak peek of an electric van that’s among the models broadening its battery-powered range over the next year. The electric iteration of the Mercedes T-Class, dubbed EQT, will accommodate as many as seven passengers and launch in 2022, Daimler AG’s main division said Monday. It will flank the Citan commercial van due to be introduced later this year, a version of which will be battery-electric.
– Mercedes Unveils Electric Van for Growing Battery-Powered Lineup

 

Cyber Security & Data Privacy
Securing individuals and organizations against cyber threats and privacy violations:

A text-message scam that infects Android phones is spreading across the UK, experts have warned. The message – which pretends to be from a package delivery firm, prompts users to install a tracking app – but is actually a malicious piece of spyware.
Flubot: Warning over major Android ‘package delivery’ scam

Top U.S. fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline has shut its entire network after a cyber attack, the company said in a statement on Friday. Colonial’s network supplies fuel from U.S refiners on the Gulf Coast to the populous eastern and southern United States. The company transports 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined products through 5,500 miles (8,850 km) of pipelines. Colonial Pipeline says it transports 45% of East Coast fuel supply.
– U.S. pipeline operator that transports 45% of East Coast fuel shuts entire network after cyberattack

Researchers on Thursday reported that despite a 50% increase in mobile device management (MDM) adoption during the past year, average quarterly exposure to phishing attacks on mobile devices in the financial sector rose by 125% – and malware and app risk exposure increased by more than five times.
– Financial sector saw a 125% increase in mobile phishing attacks during 2020

Apple (AAPL) recently rolled out its highly anticipated App Tracking Transparency feature with iOS 14.5, which lets users decide whether apps track their activity for targeted advertising. Overwhelmingly, users seem happy to leave app tracking disabled. Just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have agreed to app tracking after updating their device, according to the latest data from Verizon-owned analytics firm Flurry.
– Too Bad, Zuck: Just 4% of U.S. iPhone Users Let Apps Track Them After iOS Update

“Identity Security is at the center of every major industry tailwind, including digital transformation, zero trust, hacker innovation, and compliance. Digital transformation and the explosion of technologies applications and automation tools are not only blurring the line between a privileged user and a workforce user, but also between human users, applications and bots.”
CyberArk Software (CYBR) earnings conference call (May 5, 2021)


Digital Infrastructure & Connectivity

The Buildout and upgrading of our Networks, Data Storage Facilities, and Equipment:

This week I want to talk digital infrastructure, again. I say again because my most recent Financial Times column focused on the topic. In that column I probably was not as explicit as I should have been about why I think investors need to have some exposure to digital infrastructure. I am going to pass over the obvious demand drivers – you’d have to be in a cave not to understand what’s going on with the internet, digitalisation, 5G etc.
Stevenson: Put 10-20% of your assets in digital infrastructure

Cristiano Amon, the CEO-elect of mobile-phone chip maker Qualcomm (QCOM), rubs his hands in glee when you ask him to talk about 5G. And for good reason: The speedy new wireless standard is creating boom times for his San Diego–based company, which reported 52% revenue growth in its latest quarter.
Qualcomm Is a 5G Winner. Here’s Why the Company’s New CEO Is So Bullish on the Future.

The world’s digital connections are about to become broader and faster, providing a platform for every industry to boost productivity and innovation. We have identified hundreds of use cases across more than 17 commercial domains that can run on an enhanced digital backbone. This research focuses on four of them: mobility, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.
– Connected world: An evolution in connectivity beyond the 5G revolution

“Globally, 5G deployment is still in an early stage given that less than 20% of the global operators that currently use LTE have deployed 5G. The U.S. and Northeast Asia markets continue to deploy 5G aggressively for both public and private networks.”
PC-Tel (PCTI) earnings conference call (May 9, 2021)

 

Digital Payments & FinTech
Companies leveraging technology to disrupt and improve the financial services and payments industries:

The pandemic has not only altered consumers’ shopping behaviors, but it’s also changed how they pay for goods and services. A significant number of people in the US were already using proximity mobile payments regularly before the pandemic—about 72 million in 2019, according to our estimates. As more consumers experimented with different forms of payment in 2020, however, the number of proximity mobile payment users in the US rose by 29.0% year over year to 92.3 million. We expect the user base to surpass 100 million this year and growth to continue steadily through the end of our forecast period in 2025.
– More than 100 million Americans will use proximity mobile payments in 2021

The Mastercard (MA) New Payments Index shows 95% of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) consumers will consider using at least one emerging payment method, such as cryptocurrency, biometrics, contactless, or QR code, in the next year. Over two-thirds of respondents (65%) agree they have tried a new payment method they would not have tried under normal circumstances, but the pandemic has galvanised people to try flexible new payment options to get what they want, when they want it.
– Mastercard’s Payment Index Shows 95% Of MENA Consumers Want To Try New Digital Payment Methods

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) today launched the linkage of Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay real-time retail payment systems. The first of its kind globally, the linkage is the culmination of several years of extensive collaboration between MAS and BOT, both countries’ payment system operators, bankers’ associations, and participating banks.
– Singapore and Thailand Launch World’s First Linkage of Real-time Payment Systems

The adoption of digitisation in trade finance has been something of a “slow burn” as practices have historically relied on the transfer of paper documents between involved parties and largely manual processes. This vitally important area of financial services has trailed behind the digitisation progress that has been made, especially in the last decade, in consumer and retail banking.
– Digitising trade finance: the next frontier for financial services innovation


Thematic Dividend All-Star
Combining the power of rising dividends and thematics.

The first quarter’s uptick in interest rates has some investors concerned about the potential for stock market headwinds. But unlike bonds, stocks often rise in value when interest rates increase. Dividend growth strategies that focus on companies with the longest track records of consistent dividend growth tend to be all-weather strategies that have performed well during a variety of interest rate environments.
– When Interest Rates Are Rising, Your Dividends Need To Be Growing


Sustainable Future of Food
Companies addressing the challenge of providing healthy, affordable and nutritious food to a growing global population amid dwindling natural resources.

Wunda is a ‘fully versatile’ milk alternative for baking, cooking, frothing, and drinking either hot or cold, according to Nestlé, who is rolling out the new brand in France, Portugal, and the Netherlands.
Nestlé develops pea-based alt milk with “neutral taste” for versatility

Tyson Foods is expanding its plant-based protein line Raised & Rooted into hamburger patties and grounds, bratwurst and Italian sausages.
– Tyson expands Raised & Rooted offerings further into competitive plant-based market

Two-thirds (67%) of consumers consider it important that the products they buy are in recyclable packaging, and the same percentage consider themselves environmentally aware — the same share as before the pandemic, according to Trivium Packaging’s 2021 Global Buying Green Report.
– Consumer demand for sustainable packaging holds despite pandemic

During the past 50 years, the world’s population has grown about 2.1 times, and consumption has grown more; for some goods, much more. Between 1968 and 2018 (the most recent year for which we have global data), production of both primary energy and of steel rose 3.4 times, that of meat grew 3.5 times, and that of grain grew 2.6 times. The total number of cars on the world’s roads rose sixfold, and the number of revenue-generating passenger-kilometers flown (an industry metric) grew by about 24 times. But the rise in aquacultural production beats them all.
– The Fabulous Growth in Aquaculture

 

Tematica Research Indices

 

Cybersecurity confirmation in March quarter earnings

Cybersecurity confirmation in March quarter earnings

We are in the thick of the March quarter earnings season and following a week of Big Tech earnings that included Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOGL), Facebook (FB), and Amazon (AMZN), the coming week will be an earnings barn burner for constituents in the Foxberry Tematica Research Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Index (FXBYCYBR). One of the key tentpole investment thesis underlying the Cybersecurity & Digital Privacy index should once again be confirmed – as our lives become increasingly connected with accelerating 5G deployments, the expanded scope of connected devices and the internet of things will fuel demand for cybersecurity solutions. The groundwork for what we will hear in the coming weeks reflects the number of high-profile attacks early in the March quarter, the quarterly results and commentary from the handful of index constituents that have recently reported their quarterly results, and newly published reports discussing developments in the cybersecurity market.

10 major attacks during the March 2021 quarter

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digital transformation that was underway for many companies as the adoption of work and learn from home, greater interconnectivity, and the shift to the cloud, all led to a surge in cyberattacks. Findings from Forrester consulting revealed companies felt they “had become more vulnerable” to cyberattacks since the start of the pandemic as total cyber losses among the affected firms rose to $1.8 billion, a 50% increase compared to the prior year. [1] A separate report from Hiscox found companies in the UK and Europe doubled cybersecurity spending to combat the increase in cyberattacks during 2020[2] but a finding published in the 24th Annual Global CEO Survey from PwC shows 47% of CEOs are concerned with cyber threats, up from 46% in 2020.

That increase in concern is understandable given the number of high-profile attacks that occurred during the March 2021 quarter:[3]

  • Threat actors actively exploited four zero-day vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s (MSFT) Exchange Server that resulted in at least nine government agencies and 60,000 private companies in the US alone being affected by the attack.
  • Computer giant Acer Inc. (ACEYY) suffered a ransomware attack and was told to pay a ransom of $50 million.
  • A data breach at aircraft company Bombardier (BDRBF) resulted in the compromise of the confidential data of suppliers, customers, and around 130 employees located in Costa Rica.
  • A cyber-attack disrupted US cyber insurance firm CNA Financial Corp.’s (CNA) customer and employee services for three days with the company forced to shut down to prevent further compromise.
  • London-based Harris Federation suffered a ransomware attack and was forced to “temporarily” disable the devices and email systems of all the 50 secondary and primary academies that it manages.
  • Australian broadcaster Channel Nine was attacked, leaving the company unable to air its Sunday news bulletin and several other shows.
  • A ransomware attack against the internal IT systems at IoT device manufacturer Sierra Wireless (SWIR) led to the company halting production at its manufacturing sites.
  • Cybercriminals engineered an attack on a Florida water treatment facility seeking to poison the plant’s water supply by increasing the amount of sodium hydroxide to a potentially dangerous level.

And while those and other high-profile attacks garner media attention, 30,000 websites were hacked per day in 2020 and every 39 seconds there is a new attack somewhere on the web.[4] To combat the “growing cyber challenge” as the scale of the problem “continues to both change and grow,” businesses are allocating more resources, including a 39% increase in cybersecurity spending.[5] That increase is leading to favorable year-over-year revenue and earnings metrics that have already reported their March quarter results and is poised to do the same at those that have yet to do so.

March quarter earnings

According to Zacks, during April, more than 1,500 companies reported their quarterly results and among there were several favorable reports from index constituents. Several key themes were had including:

  • Revenue and EPS for the March quarter came in ahead of consensus expectations;
  • Upward revisions were had to financial guidance;
  • Warnings that the number of attacks continue to grow even as bad actors continue to innovate new attack strategies.

Check Point Technologies (CHKP) reported a March quarter beat with revenue up 5% year-over-year to $508 million, while EPS for the quarter rose 9% to $1.54. Deferred revenue for the quarter climbed 8% compared to the March 2020 quarter, reaching $1.458 billion.

Per the company: “As hackers continue to find new ways to exploit the pandemic’s disruption, Check Point Research warned organizations about a global surge in ransomware attacks, alongside increases in cyber-attacks targeting Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerabilities. This uptick included a 57% increase in organizations affected by ransomware during a 6-month period.”

March quarter results at F5 Networks (FFIV) topped expectations with revenue for the quarter up 10% year over year to $645 million. According to the company, it is seeing stronger than anticipated demand across the board as “Business and consumers increasing reliance on applications has accelerated all prior expectations about the pace of digital transformation… customers across the globe are scaling their digital assets faster, resulting in a growing demand for F5’s application security and delivery solutions.”

During the quarter, F5’s transition to a subscription-based model continued with record subscription volume leading subscriptions to account for 79% of its software revenue in the quarter vs. 73% in the year-ago period. Meanwhile, Systems revenue rose 17% year-over-year due to increases in “application traffic, the continued growth of systems-based security use cases as well as the emergence of 5G-driven service provider demand.”

When it reported its March quarter results, FireEye (FEYE) bested consensus expectations with $246.3 million in revenue, a 10% increase vs. the year-ago period, and boosted its 2021 guidance to $1.01-$1.03 billion vs. $941 million in 2020 and $889 million in 2019. During the quarter, the company’s annual recurring revenue climbed 9% to $643 million. Leading that charge was the company’s platform cloud subscription, managed services professional services that amounted to 69% of total billings in the quarter, up from 56% a year ago.

The March quarter also showed FireEye making progress on bagging larger deals as the number of products per customer continued to grow. During the quarter, the company closed 30 transactions greater than $1 million and more than 70% of those transactions included three or more products or solutions, and 60% included consulting services.

On the company’s earnings conference call, it shared its findings that “actors continue to innovate faster than the technologies customers are deploying to protect their networks and organizations are deploying to protect their networks. The attackers are learning new ways to circumvent conventional safeguards that cannot or do not learn from the frontlines in a timely manner.”

Later on in the call, FireEye added the following: “Nearly half of the 294 distinct malware families we observed in investigations last year were new and never seen before. More than 80% of these new malware families were not publicly available, meaning they were privately developed, and availability was restricted in some way. And 70% of all the malware families we observed were only found in a single intrusion set.”

Fortinet (FTNT) reported March quarter revenue that climbed 23.1% compared to the year-ago quarter reaching $710.3 million, nicely ahead of the consensus forecast. EPS for the quarter cruised past consensus expectations as well hitting $0.81 per share. Billings for the quarter jumped 27% year over year to $850.6 million while total deferred revenue exiting the quarter rose roughly 25% to $2.75 billion.

Cloud security solutions were a driving force in the company’s Service revenue, growing to $460 million during the quarter. Support and professional services revenue increased 21% to $210 million, while Fortinet’s subscription revenue grew 21% year-over-year and low-single-digit quarter-over-quarter gains to $255 million. For the current quarter, the company sees revenue of $733-$747 million, up 19%-21% year over year, and ahead of the $732 million consensus.

Upcoming constituent earnings reports

As the pace of quarterly earnings accelerates further in the coming weeks, with roughly 2,540 such reports to be had in May vs. 1,507 in April, a greater number of index constituents are slated to issue their latest quarterly results:

  • Tuesday, May 4: Commvault (CVLT), McAfee (MCFE)
  • Wednesday, May 5: CyberArk (CYBR), Radware (RDWR), Ping Identity (PING)
  • Thursday, May 6: NetScout Systems (NTCT), Cloudflare (NET)
  • Monday, May 10: Norton Lifelock (NLOK), SailPoint (SAIL)
  • Tuesday, May 11: Mimecast (MIME)
  • Thursday, May 13: Nice Ltd. (NICE), Tufin Software (TUFN)
  • Wednesday, May 19: Cisco Systems (CSCO)
  • Thursday, May 20: Palo Alto Networks (PANW), Splunk (SPLK)
  • Thursday, May 27: Okta (OKTA), Zscaler (ZS)

When we held the last webinar at the end of March, before the current earnings season got underway, we commented that the constituents of the Cybersecurity and Digital Privacy Index were poised to grow their aggregate revenue and EPS by more than 20% over the 2020-2022 period. As we tally the upcoming earnings reports, we’ll have a much better sense for the degree to which 2021 cybersecurity industry spending forecasts calling for year over year growth of 10% are conservative and how translates into even faster revenue and earnings growth for the basket of constituents. We continue to see consensus expectations for that basket moving higher over the coming quarters as the increasingly pervasive nature of attacks is once again realized while the combination of new technologies, new business models, and sadly new types of attacks expands the addressable market even further.

==============================================================

[1] “Firms are Spending More on Cybersecurity To Combat Growing Threats” available at https://digit.fyi/firms-are-spending-more-on-cybersecurity-to-combat-growing-threats/

[2] IBID

[3] “10 Major Cyber Attacks Witnessed Globally in Q1 2021” available at https://securityboulevard.com/2021/04/10-major-cyber-attacks-witnessed-globally-in-q1-2021/

[4] “How Many Cyber Attacks Happen Per Day in 2020?” available at https://techjury.net/blog/how-many-cyber-attacks-per-day/

[5] “Firms are Spending More on Cybersecurity To Combat Growing Threats” available at https://digit.fyi/firms-are-spending-more-on-cybersecurity-to-combat-growing-threats/

Thematic Reads: April 26, 2021

Thematic Reads: April 26, 2021

Thematic Reads

Each week Team Tematica consumes an immense quantity and range of content as we look to stay on top of the latest data and mine it for tailwind and headwind signals for our investment themes and indices.

Cleaner Living
Growing demand for items that claim to be better for you and the planet:

 Volvo AB (VOLVF), the world’s second-largest truck-maker, is looking to generate half of its sales in Europe from electric vehicles by 2030. The company recently announced three new heavy-duty electric trucks designed for intercity regional transport and urban construction. Production of the trucks is expected to start in the latter half of 2022.

Toyota Motor (TM) introduced the Toyota bZ4X Concept, the first of a global series of battery-electric vehiclesto be launched under the “Toyota bZ” brand umbrella.

German automotive company Daimler (DDAIF) shared it will create 1,000 new jobs for software programmers at its S-Class production facility to develop its planned operating system for electric vehicles. Daimler’s MBOS system, which will run electric-only vehicles, is expected to hit the market in 2024.

The Oprah Winfrey-backed oat-milk maker Oatly Group AB (OTLY) has filed to go public in the US and intends to raise at least $100 million.

Nestlé SA (NSRGY) is in talks to buy the maker of Nature’s Bounty vitamins for a price in the mid-single-digit billions, according to people familiar with the matter, as the Swiss food giant pushes further into nutritional offerings… In addition to Nature’s Bounty vitamins, Bountiful’s brands include Pure Protein, which makes protein bars, Osteo Bi-Flex joint-care supplements and Puritan’s Pride vitamins and supplements.
Nestlé Looks to Buy Maker of Nature’s Bounty Vitamins


Cyber Security & Data Privacy

Securing individuals and organizations against cyber threats and privacy violations:

The Biden administration is buckling down on cyber threats to the U.S. power infrastructure. The Department of Energy (DOE) announced a 100-day plan to help shore up the U.S. electric power system against cyber threats. The plan, rolled out with the private sector and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), is meant to help owners and operators develop more comprehensive approaches to detection, mitigation and forensic capabilities, according to the National Security Council.
Biden administration unveils plan to defend electric sector from cyberattacks

An ongoing phishing campaign is impersonating Michael Page consultants to push Ursnif data-stealing malware capable of harvesting credentials and sensitive data from infected computers.
Phishing impersonates global recruitment firm to push malware

Costco Wholesale (COST) warned American internet users to be wary of more than a dozen digital scams targeting its customer base. On its website, the American multinational corporation has published screenshots of 14 “prominent fraudulent emails, texts, and posts” in which cyber-criminals are impersonating Costco.
Costco Issues Scam Warning

Check Point reported March quarter results that topped top and bottom-line expectations. Exiting the quarter, deferred revenues were $1.46 billion, up 8% YoY. Per the company, “The cyber threat landscape is reaching new levels of risk and requires a holistic security architecture to prevent the next cyber pandemic.”
Checkpoint Software (CHKP), April 26, 2021


Digital Infrastructure & Connectivity

The Buildout and upgrading of our Networks, Data Storage Facilities, and Equipment:

“Several factors are at play in driving this robust wafer front end growth. First, secular tailwinds such as AI, 5G, and IoT continue to strengthen. And over the past year, COVID-19-related impacts like work and learn from home have accelerated adoption of these technologies.”
Lam Research (LRCX), April 21, 2021

“Compared to three months ago, we are seeing a significant increase in demand across all market segments and our product portfolio. The build-up of the digital infrastructure with secular growth drivers such as 5G, AI and High- Performance Computing solutions fuels demand for advanced and mature nodes in Logic as well as Memory. We now expect revenue growth towards 30% in 2021 compared to last year.”
ASML Holding (ASML), April 21, 2021

“In data center, we believe revenue bottomed in Q1 and will increase in Q2 as cloud digestion impacts begin to subside, and enterprise and government momentum continues.”
Intel (INTC), April 23, 2021

“We have partnered with leading brands across diverse verticals, such as Honda to innovate connected and autonomous driving; Deloitte and SAP to create a 5G and edge computing retail digital platform that will provide retailers with real-time operations data; and Dreamscape and Arizona State University to build and commercialize immersive learning and training.”
Verizon (VZ), April 21, 2021

“…the latest slew of UK government broadband funding, which has largely been based on clear and unambiguous objectives: providing gigabit-speed connections to 85 per cent of the country by 2025, be that through FTTP or 5G, or any other sufficiently-capable technology.”
Maybe high-speed internet is infrastructure after all, say US Republicans in proposal to spend $65bn over five years


Digital Lifestyle

The increasingly digital landscape that now underpins the entire consumer experience:

Walt Disney (DIS) and Sony’s (SNE) Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a multi-year content licensing agreement for US streaming and TV rights to Sony Pictures’ new theatrical releases across Disney+ and Hulu, as well as ABC, Disney Channels, Freeform, FX and National Geographic.

Digital Payments & FinTech
Companies leveraging technology to disrupt and improve the financial services and payments industries:

PayPal (PYPL) announced the launch of crypto on Venmo, a new way for Venmo’s more than 70 million customers to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency directly within the Venmo app.

Amazon (AMZN) is expanding Amazon One, its palm-scanning payment system to a Whole Foods store in Seattle, the first of many planned rollouts at other locations.

Juniper’s Digital Money Transfer & Remittances whitepaper says mobile transactions will represent an 89 per cent per cent share of total transaction value by 2025. The report also found that with shifting customer expectations, existing money transfer models face an increasing threat from instant payments, with domestic instant payment transaction values forecast to grow from $524billion in 2020, to $2trillion in 2025.
Mobile Transactions Will See Digital Money Transfers Soar to $3.4 trillion


Thematic Dividend All-Star
Combining the power of rising dividends and thematics.

 “The historical evidence strongly suggests that expected future earnings growth is fastest when current payout ratios are high and slowest when payout ratios are low.”
Does Dividend Policy Foretell Earnings Growth?


Sustainable Future of Food
Companies addressing the challenge of providing healthy, affordable and nutritious food to a growing global population amid dwindling natural resources.

Trimble (TRMB) and HORSCH announced a collaboration focused on developing solutions that enable autonomy in agriculture with the goal of building a future for autonomous machines and workflows in the industry.

Raven Industries (RAVN) purchased all of the intellectual property and patents of Jaybridge Robotics, an early developer of automated agriculture technology. Raven will leverage the portfolio with its continued development of Driverless Ag Technology — including integration of the technology into the company’s AutoCart platform.

Bear Flag Robotics tractors provide growers increased command and control to take control of any situation in the field, higher levels of safety for farmers and the machines and path generation technology to give operators total control
Bear Flag Robotics Autonomous Tractor

Tematica Research Indices

 

Facebook users’ data leaked online, again…

Facebook users’ data leaked online, again…

Over 500 Million Facebook user’s data from 2019 has been made publicly and freely available. While not every record is current, this release still affects many users of the social network.

The data includes phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates, bios, and — in some cases — email addresses.

Source: 533 million Facebook users’ phone numbers and personal data have been leaked online

Cheaters Never Prosper

Cheaters Never Prosper

Video Game publisher Activision recently published a report that outlines how players downloading and installing various cheats for Call of Duty: Warzone are not only gaining an unfair edge over their competitors but are also installing any number of credential stealing, computer compromising, and all-around not good malware as well. Want to get better? Start grinding, or as we like to say, practice makes better!

https://www.activision.com/cdn/research/cheating_cheaters_final.pdf

US Senators Urge White House to Modernize Bandwidth Standards

US Senators Urge White House to Modernize Bandwidth Standards

A bipartisan group of US Senators published a letter yesterday calling for updated minimum standards for broadband access across the United States.  Current Standards dictate a 25Mbps minimum but even by Federal Communications Commission household broadband guidelines, it is clear that a 25Mbps connection is inadequate for most families even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. This touches on our Digital Lifestyle theme but plays directly to the core premise of our Digital Infrastructure and Connectivity theme and will provide momentum for this industry along the virtuous circle of increased capacity leading to innovation and increased demand leading to…

Today, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Angus King (I-Maine), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) wrote to the Biden Administration urging it to update federal standards for high-speed broadband to reflect modern uses and align those standards across the government.

Source: Bennet, King, Portman, Manchin Urge Biden Administration to Create Modern, Unified Federal Broadband Standard | Press Releases | U.S. Senator Michael Bennet

Russian Hacking Collective Sandworm Identified as? Hackers.

Russian Hacking Collective Sandworm Identified as? Hackers.

In an attack reminiscent of the Solarwinds hack, The French National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI) recently released a report detailing actions taken by Russian hackers “Sandworm” targeting products offered by IT Monitoring system provider Centreon. The company has since responded stating that effected users were using an unsupported freeware version of their product and that no current paying customers were affected.

Destructively minded group has exploited an IT monitoring tool from Centreon.

Source: France ties Russia’s Sandworm to a multiyear hacking spree

Cybersecurity Advisory for Public Water Suppliers

Cybersecurity Advisory for Public Water Suppliers

In response to recent disclosures of a water treatment  plant cyber attack State of Massachusetts officials have prepared a review of the attack and a list of resources for municipalities to help combat future attacks.

How public water suppliers can guard against cyber-attacks on water supplies.

Source: Cybersecurity Advisory for Public Water Suppliers

Florida Water Treatment Hack Highlights Infrastructure Weaknesses

Florida Water Treatment Hack Highlights Infrastructure Weaknesses

A combination of lax internal security measures and outdated technology left an Oldsmar, FL water treatment plant vulnerable to hackers who attempted to manipulate treatment chemical levels. Luckily, a worker noticed a mouse pointer moving by itself, observed levels of certain chemicals fluctuating beyond safe parameters and was able to take action to stop the attack. The question now is what can municipalities do to secure infrastructure going forward?

Source: Hack exposes vulnerability of cash-strapped US water plants