Tech Transformers

‘Who’s going to try and hack my toaster?’ CEO asks, as security threats evolve

Preventing "toaster hacking" and creating new robotic technologies are set to be some of the key developments to come out of ARM Holding's recent acquisition by Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank, according to the chief executive of the chip designer.

ARM's chief executive Simon Segars told CNBC that the firm would not be gearing its technology specifically towards robotics under the deal – a space in which SoftBank has been prominent in recent years – however it has provided more scope to think about "accelerating the deployment of cool stuff" – robotics included.

"Robotics is a very sexy subject at the moment, the use cases are evolving all the time, we see more of our products used in there, but we're not tailoring the products specifically for that."

Providing more capability into semiconductor industry: ARM CEO

ARM is currently focusing chiefly on improving its technology in the semiconductor industry – i.e. producing the chips used in smartphones – and building a device management platform to enable the devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) to adapt as technology and security threats evolve.

The latter will be a huge project for the firm, with scope to grow, said Segars.

"There are so many different use cases for IoT … there really is no one size that's going to fit all; you need a range of solutions.

"Smartphones, while the use cases do change, it's a very similar form factor from one to another. In IoT, the breadth of applications can be as diverse as a tiny sensor in a field somewhere working out when the crop needs watering to maybe a security camera in the middle of a city – the implementation of that's completely different."

Safeguarding against security threats will also be at the centre of this, he said.

"You may think 'who's going to try and hack my toaster?' but, as we saw last year, hackers did break into DVRs (digital video recorders) and home IP security cameras to launch a denial-of-service attack, so it really does matter that everything is secure.

"You can only really be secure at any moment in time against the threats you know – it's always changing – so you need to push out updates into every device."

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