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5G security: Europe worries about backdoors into its networks



Huawei warns bans will increase prices and put US behind in 5G race
Huawei says that restricting competition will increase prices and delay the implementation of 5G, putting the US behind rival countries.

Europe wants to make sure that 5G networks are secure, and is asking member states to update their security requirement to make sure there are no backdoors into their networks.

Politicians are worried about the security of 5G because these networks will be a become a core part of national infrastructure over the next few years, whether that’s in energy, transport, banking, and health or in powering industrial-control systems carrying sensitive information and supporting safety systems.

Also: How 5G will transform business ZDNet special report | Download the report as a PDF TechRepublic

“5G technology will transform our economy and society and open massive opportunities for people and businesses. But we cannot accept this happening without full security built in. It is therefore essential that 5G infrastructures in the EU are resilient and fully secure from technical or legal backdoors,” said Andrus Ansip, EC vice president in charge of the digital single market.

In particular, Europe is worried that any vulnerability in 5G networks or a cyberattack targeting the future networks in one member state would affect the union as a whole.

It is asking member states to complete a national risk assessment of 5G network infrastructures by the end of June 2019. It said countries should update existing security requirements for network providers.

In the background is the ongoing row about about Huawei and 5G. 

Also: How 5G will impact the future of farming

The US banned the Chinese networking giant from government contracts back in 2014 has continued to raise concerns about the use of equipment from Huawei in 5G networks, worried that it could create a backdoor to be used by the Chinese state for spying.

While the company has strenuously denied that this is possible, the US has been lobbying other states to dump Huawei kit from forthcoming 5G networks, with mixed results. Australia has blocked Huawei from its 5G networks on national security grounds, and the New Zealand government late last year turned down a request from one operator to use Huawei kit in its 5G network.

The UK is currently carrying out a review of 5G security but the country’s tech security agency has already said that it can manage the risks of using Huawei equipment, and that having a broad set of suppliers to be able to spread risk is also essential to security. 

Also: US tells Germany to ban Huawei on 5G or it will share less intelligence: Report

Today’s announcement has been seen by many as Europe pushing back on US demands for a ban, instead leaving any such decision to member states. The EC statement did not mention Huawei by name but said that member states have the right to exclude companies from their markets for national security reasons, if they do not comply with the country’s standards and legal framework.

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EU member states should also agree on a set of mitigating measures that can be used at national level. These could include certification requirements, tests, controls, as well as the identification of products or suppliers that are considered potentially non-secure. The EC said countries should develop specific security requirements that could apply in the context of public procurement related to 5G networks, including mandatory requirements to implement cybersecurity certification schemes.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris returns with better safety features and more standard kit



The 2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris is returning next year with a bevy of new standard kit. Also known as the Vito, V-Class, or Viano in some markets, the Metris is a tad smaller than the full-size Sprinter van, but it’s significantly larger than other midsize vans like the Ford Transit Connect, Ram ProMaster City, and Nissan NV200.

New for the 2021 Metris is Mercedes-Benz’s 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic gearbox, which is now standard across all variants. It replaces the old seven-speed auto shifter of the outgoing model, and it still comes with Dynamic Select driving programs like Sport and Comfort modes. Additionally, the new gearbox has a new manual mode, and you can toggle between the gears using the standard steering-mounted paddle shifters.

All variants of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris remain powered by a turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine – the same as the outgoing model. It still produces 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, sending power to the rear wheels via its new nine-speed transmission.

Similar to the outgoing model, the new Metris will be sold in two wheelbase options. The standard variant has a 126-inch wheelbase, while the longer versions have a stretched 135-inch wheelbase. Meanwhile, the passenger variant has the same 126-inch wheelbase as the base cargo version and can be fitted with up to eight seats.

As such, the Metris can be optioned with a myriad of door and window configurations including a sliding passenger door, swing-out rear doors, and a rear liftgate. The cargo variant can be fitted with an optional plastic floor while some models have wooden floors. Regardless, the load compartment comes fitted with lashing rails on the sidewall and interior panels. The floor even has a rail system for easier load anchoring.

Style-wise, the new Metris is different from the outgoing model with a new front grille and optional painted bumpers. Customers have the option of choosing a chromed front grille with shiny louvers for a distinctive and more refined look. The expanded range of paint hues now includes two shades of gray (Graphite Gray and Selenite Gray) and a new Steel Blue paint job.

As expected from a Mercedes-Benz, the 2021 Metris is loaded with advanced safety kit. Standard equipment includes attention assist, headlamp assist, crosswind assist, tire pressure monitoring, trailer brake control, and hill start assist. For the first time, active brake assist and active distant assist DISTRONIC is available, while all trim models receive a digital rearview mirror for better rear visibility even when fully loaded with cargo or passengers.

Inside, Metris has a restyled dashboard with new ‘turbine’ air vents. The seat materials are also new, while the driver gets to fiddle with a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth connectivity. Meanwhile, the popular Metris Getaway Camper Van has privacy curtains, a pop-top roof, an integrated table, and optional solar panels among many others.

You can expect the new Mercedes-Benz Metris van to arrive at U.S. dealerships in mid-2021. Pricing will be announced next year, but we’re expecting the new Metris to cost more than its direct competitors in exchange for better versatility and enhanced refinement.

2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris Gallery

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Porsche Taycan sets a Guinness World Record for drifting



Porsche has set a Guinness World Record for the longest drift using an electric vehicle. The EV the sports car maker used to set the record was the popular Porsche Taycan. The record was set at the Porsche Experience Center Hockenheimring.

Porsche instructor Dennis Retera did 210 laps drifting around a 200 meter-long drift circle to set the record. For the entire 210 laps, the front wheels never pointed in the same direction as the curve. After spending 55 minutes sideways around the track, the driver covered 42.171 kilometers.

That distance was enough to allow Retera to grab the world record for the longest continuous drift in an electric car. His average speed was 46 km/h, and a rear-wheel-drive Taycan was used, which is already available in China. Porsche did have to switch the driving stability program off and says that drifting the car was very easy once that was turned off.

The driver says that the vehicle had sufficient power to move around the circle sideways and was stable thanks to its low center of gravity and long wheelbase. Retera is currently the Chief Instructor at the Porsche Experience Center Hockenheimring. Previously, he was a competitor in carting, single-seat racecars, and endurance racing.

He says that it was tiring to keep his concentration high for 210 laps. He also said that the wet asphalt of the drip circuit doesn’t give the same grip everywhere, so he concentrated on controlling the drift with steering rather than the accelerator pedal to reduce the risk of spinning. Guinness World Record official Joanne Brent meticulously documented the record attempt. She’s been supervising record attempts for Guinness World Records for over five years. The video above shows parts of the record-setting run.

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Bugatti and the Little Car Company’s Baby II debuts in North America



The Bugatti Baby II mini electric car debuted at the Geneva Motor Show last year. Built to commemorate the 110th anniversary of French carmaker Bugatti, the Baby II is built in collaboration with the Little Car Company and will be sold in limited numbers.

Now, the Bugatti Baby II has arrived at Willow Springs International Raceway in Southern California. It will also be on display until December at various Bugatti showrooms in Newport Hills and Beverly Hills. Bugatti is only making 500 units of Baby II with base prices starting at around $36,600.

The Bugatti Baby II is available in three versions. The base model features a lightweight composite body shell and a 1.4 kWh battery pack. The mid-tier Vitesse trim – with base prices at $53,000 – has a carbon-fiber body and a 2.8 kWh battery. It also comes with a Speed Key upgrade like the Bugatti Chiron to unleash the all-electric powertrain’s full potential.

Finally, the top-of-the-line Pur Sang model is most sought-after by adults rather than kids. It has a similar powertrain to the Vitesse but has a hand-formed aluminum body instead of carbon-fiber. According to Bugatti, it takes up to 200 hours of labor to hand-form the Pur Sang’s body panels. The Pur Sang is the costliest of the lot with base prices starting at $71,400.

Regardless of trim level, all Bugatti Baby II’s have a rear-wheel-drive powertrain, a limited-slip differential, and performance brakes. It also has selectable driving modes like a full-scale modern car. Novice mode restricts the speed and power output to 12 mph and 1.3 horsepower, just right for young kids to enjoy.

However, the speed key upgrade in Vitesse and Pur Sang unleashes 13.4 horsepower and a top speed of 42 mph. Bugatti says the speed key enables Baby II to rush from zero to 60 mph in under six seconds. On the other hand, the milder Expert mode deploys 5.4 horsepower and a top speed of 30 mph.

And if you happen to own a Bugatti Chiron, the Baby II can be painted with the same theme and livery as your Bugatti supercar. Each purchase of Baby II comes with an automatic membership to the Bugatti Owner’s Club and the Little Car Club, enabling clients to play with their Baby II on prestigious racing circuits around the globe.

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