Until now, concerns about the Internet of Things (IoT) have largely focused on privacy. Hackers have shown they can gain control of internet-enabled security cameras and even baby monitors to spy on people’s homes. Even if you cover up your webcam when you’re not using it – as it seems Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg does – devices like internet-enabled TVs and thermostats could also allow criminals or governments to monitor your movements.
But the new Ubuntu Core delivers groundbreaking security, management, operations and upgradability in a compact, developer-friendly platform, thanks to its use of ‘snap’ packages. Snaps are securely confined, read-only, tamper-proof application images, digitally signed to the integrity of IoT software.
You would have noticed few weeks ago, hackers attacked the internet infrastructure run by US firm Dyn, knocking out services including Paypal, Twitter and Netflix. More accurately, the attacked involved potentially hundreds of thousands of surveillance cameras and digital video recorders connected to the internet that had been weaponised by the hackers.
But there is a solution for this.
“Ubuntu Core secures the Internet of Things and provides an app store for every device,” said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and Canonical.
Canonical is the company behind Ubuntu, the leading OS for cloud operations. Most public cloud workloads use Ubuntu, as do most new smart gateways, switches, self-driving cars and advanced robots. Canonical provides enterprise support and services for commercial users of Ubuntu. Established in 2004, Canonical is a privately held company.
The operating system and kernel in Ubuntu Core are also delivered as snaps, so the entire platform is transactionally upgradeable.
All Ubuntu Core devices, from all manufacturers, will have free, regular and reliable OS security updates
“As companies continue to embrace Internet of Things solutions, security and quick, easy system updates are critical,” said Jason Shepherd, Director of Strategy and Partnerships, IoT, Dell.
“Dell has been working with Canonical on Ubuntu Core for over a year, and our Dell Edge Gateways are fully certified for Ubuntu Core 16. This enables Dell to offer the long term support and security that IoT use cases such as factory and building automation demand.”
The universal or device-specific snap app store supports developers throughout the device lifecycle from beta testing to general availability, allowing them to sell IoT software as easily as cloud, enterprise and mobile software. A white label app store helps device manufacturers build a branded, differentiated device and software experience.
“The Internet of Things will see billions of devices in all aspects of our lives”, said George Grey, Linaro CEO. “Ubuntu Core 16 will help developers get their products to market quickly using snaps, bringing a new generation of Linux based IoT smart devices to the market.”
Gartner suggests more than half of new business processes will incorporate some elements of IoT by 2020.
Ubuntu Core 16’s over-the-air updates, signed snaps, and security model help developers and device manufacturers reduce their time to market.
Device manufacturers can choose from a wide range of chipset, SoC and Single Board Computer vendors supporting Ubuntu Core, such as the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, the Qualcomm Dragonboard 410c and the Intel Joule.