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Internet of Things Journal

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IoT Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

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Microsoft's new Linux distro wants IoT developers to sit on their Sphere

THE LOVE affair of our modern era continues, as once again Microsoft and Linux are sitting in a tree, C.O.M.P.U.T… er… ING.

Microsoft announced on Monday at a small launch event at RSA, that it has gone from simply loving Linux to creating a distro of its own, aimed at the Internet of Things (IoT) market.

It's an under the bonnet affair, offering secure end-to-end communication and control of Internet of Things products built from microcontrollers from the company's Azure Sphere.

Azure Sphere devices will be available to users under a free licence, as the company looks to build an ecosystem around Sphere OS, the new Linux based operating system it is using.

Security is at the heart of the project. With the number of devices in our homes and businesses expected to grow exponentially in the coming years, there's got to be assurances that they will all communicate only on their owners' terms.

In the launch blog, the company explains: "A device can disrupt and do damage on a larger scale. This is what happened with the 2016 Mirai botnet attack where roughly 100,000 compromised IoT devices were repurposed by hackers into a botnet that effectively knocked the U.S. East Coast off the Internet for a day.

"It's of paramount importance that we proactively address this emerging threat landscape with solutions that can keep pace as connected MCUs ship in billions of new devices every year."

Security will be provided by a turnkey Azure-based service in the cloud.

Azure Sphere will, therefore "meet all seven properties of a highly secured device - making it a first of its kind solution." said Microsoft.

At present, there are private previews going on while the company works with ‘select manufacturers' with a view to a full launch by the end of this year. Development kits will be available in the summer. And it's almost that now.


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