• Making the metaverse feel real…
  • These AIs are taking the guesswork out of biotech…
  • 5G spectrum is still a hot commodity…

Dear Reader,

After the nation-state-backed hacks of Microsoft’s exchange servers and the SolarWinds software, it was hard to imagine the year getting worse for cybersecurity.

And yet, it just did…

Days ago, the Apache Software Foundation – the largest open-source software foundation in the world – revealed an absolutely massive software vulnerability that has the information technology (IT) sector scrambling to mitigate the damage.

The security vulnerability was discovered in an open-source logging utility based on the Java programming language that is used by computing devices like servers and some consumer electronic devices like smart TVs and routers. The software is known as Apache Log4j.

This may sound obscure, and it might not seem like something that we need to worry about… but that would be a mistake.

The problem is that the open-source Apache software is used everywhere. The software is so pervasive that everyone has exposure to it one way or another.

It’s a virtual guarantee that even if we’re not using a piece of electronics attached to our home networks with the vulnerability, we are most certainly using the software and services of companies that are exposed.

How bad is it? In a matter of minutes, a bad actor can insert a single line of text and gain control of a computing device.

By doing so, the hacker can steal all of the data, download malicious code, commandeer computing resources, hold our computers for ransom, and wreak havoc on software just about anywhere in the world.

Microsoft’s Minecraft game has already been hacked. And that was just the start…

Since last Friday, more than 840,000 attacks on companies, governments, and computing systems have already been launched.

By the time you read this, it will almost certainly be more than 1 million. Cybersecurity firm Check Point Software estimates more than 100 attacks every minute.

Because the vulnerability is so simple, it’s essentially a free-for-all. Worse yet, the vulnerability has been there since 2013. Who knows what kind of damage has been done over the last eight years?

That said, the kind of mass exploitation that we’re seeing right now only happened after news of the security flaw was published earlier this month.

This is epic, and it’s not a good way to end the year. Cybersecurity professionals are racing to patch the vulnerability as quickly as they can, but the truth is that it will take years to clean this mess up.

The scale is so massive. And it requires every single software administrator, and even consumers, to upgrade their software and eliminate the vulnerability.

It’s easy to feel helpless in a situation like this, but we’re not. The best thing that we can do is check all of our electronic devices at home and work, and upgrade them to the latest versions of software.

There will be a number of security patches and updates being issued over the next couple of weeks. Please take the time to prioritize downloading the software and upgrade as soon as possible.

It doesn’t take much time, and it can mean the difference between peace and absolute chaos.

And hopefully, for my Bleeding Edge subscribers, it will be the former, not the latter.

A big development around Facebook’s metaverse…

Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, just made a big announcement. It revealed a pair of gloves loaded with haptics technology. This gives us some insight into Facebook’s plans for interacting with its metaverse…

Haptics technology is designed to simulate touch. It does this by applying forces and vibrations in a specific place. In this case, Meta’s gloves allow users to “feel” when they touch, pick up, or manipulate objects in the metaverse. Here’s a great visual of the prototype:

Facebook’s Haptic Gloves

Source: Meta

As we can see, these haptic gloves allow users to control their digital avatar’s hands inside the virtual world. When the user makes the motion to pick up and move an object, the corresponding action happens in the metaverse.

We can also see that there’s a lot of gear packed into these gloves. That’s because they require a lot of semiconductors to produce the sense of touch at various points on the hand – from the palm all the way up to the fingertips.

I have been interested in haptics technology like this for a while now. Simply put, haptics will be necessary to make metaverses more immersive.

It’s one thing to put on a headset to interact with a virtual world visually. But that’s a limited experience. Add the sense of touch in a metaverse, and a way to interact with objects rather than using a control stick or mouse, and the dynamics change completely.

Of course, there are plenty of gaming applications here. And there are also work and social applications as well. Imagine reaching out and shaking someone’s hand in the metaverse… and actually feeling a handshake.

Technology like this will help teleport us further into a metaverse and take us one step closer to leaving the real world behind. Meta clearly has an interest in using technology to keep us in “there” longer, which makes perfect sense. The more time of each day that we spend in Meta’s world, the more data it can mine to sell more advertising.

Meta’s leap into haptic technology is not going unchallenged, though. A company called HaptX just accused Meta of violating some of its patents with these gloves. HaptX sent a letter to Meta requesting a peaceful solution. But HaptX also made it clear that it will pursue legal action if necessary.

This doesn’t come as a surprise, as haptic technology has been in development for decades. I would have been amazed if another firm hadn’t put their hand up as HaptX has done already. I suspect more will follow given that Meta is new to this space.

While HaptX is private, there will be other investment opportunities in the haptics space. This is a perfect example of technology finding a new life on the back of an explosive trend like the metaverse.

I currently have several recommendations for how readers can gain exposure to this space. To learn more, simply go right here.

This century’s biggest breakthrough in life sciences is already having a cascade effect…

A research team at the University of Washington (UW) just made a fantastic life sciences breakthrough. And it has incredible implications for the future of drug discovery and the biotechnology industry.

To bring newer readers up to speed, Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) subsidiary DeepMind revealed its second-generation AlphaFold software about this time last year.

And DeepMind demonstrated that its second-generation AlphaFold 2 could accurately predict the folding of a protein based solely on its amino acid sequence, with 92.4% accuracy.

It received little fanfare, but I don’t doubt that this is one of the greatest scientific developments in history. I’ll explain with a brief background…

Proteins are long chains of amino acids. They are responsible for every function a living organism’s body performs.

And a protein’s structure tells us how it will impact living organisms. That, of course, includes us humans. The structure also determines what other compounds (such as pharmaceutical drugs) the protein can bind to. With this information, we can design the perfect biopharma therapies for any possible ailment.

Well, the research team at UW developed its own AI and combined it with AlphaFold 2. The team then applied the combined AIs to analyze how proteins interact with each other in yeast. They first trained the AIs on known protein interactions, and then they turned the AIs loose.

The end result was that the combined AIs developed models for more than 700 previously uncharacterized protein interactions in yeast. We are talking about incredibly complex and nuanced models here… and the AIs developed them in a short time.

And this is just the beginning.

The next step is to apply the same approach to assessing human protein interactions. Having accurate predictions around both protein folding and protein interactions would give us incredible insight into how to develop cures for any given disease. This knowledge would essentially take the guesswork out of therapeutic development.

It’s just incredible that both AlphaFold 2, and now this discovery for predicting protein interactions, all happened in less than a year. The industry hasn’t yet digested the significance of what just happened.

And I fully expect that the team at UW, perhaps with the further cooperation of DeepMind, will have a working model for human protein interactions before 2022 is out.

It’s yet another example of the power of the convergence… the crossing of AI with biotech. This remains one of the key trends that should be on investors’ radar.

We are on the cusp of a Cambrian explosion in drug discovery, development, and precision medicine. And if anyone would like to learn the top convergence stock on my list, then please go here for more details.

I can’t wait to see what comes from this next year.

The 5G build-out is about to go into hyperdrive…

We’ll wrap up today with some exciting news in the world of fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just concluded another radio frequency (RF) spectrum auction… and it sold nearly $22 billion more in 5G spectrum.

Sometimes it may feel like the 5G rollout is moving slowly, but the exact opposite is the case. The infrastructure build-out is accelerating, and the RF spectrum is the first step in that process.

If we remember, the FCC just completed the largest spectrum auction in history earlier this year. That was the start of the 5G gold rush.

Wireless companies led by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile rushed to buy over $80 billion in mid-band spectrum. As a reminder, these big wireless players must secure this spectrum before they can begin building and deploying their 5G networks.

The mid-band spectrum is often referred to as the “Goldilocks” spectrum for 5G. This is because, at these mid-band frequencies, 5G networks can both exhibit the crazy high speeds and low latency of 5G and still cover relatively wide areas for each cell tower. This is why the wireless operators have been bidding so high on the mid-band spectrum.

So the core of the 5G network build-out is still in the earliest stages of construction. Most of the world hasn’t gotten a taste of “real” 5G yet. The best is yet to come, I assure you.

And the fact that the same wireless companies came back this month to gobble up even more spectrum tells us that they are committed to nationwide 5G networks.

In fact, they know that 5G applications are going to take advantage of the increased speed, low latency, and the growth in data traffic these networks will enable at an accelerated space. They will need as much spectrum and bandwidth as they can get their hands on.

As such, we can expect to see these companies focus on their 5G builds throughout 2022 and 2023. And that’s incredibly bullish for the top 5G stocks out there.

In fact, I was just on-site talking with the CEO of one of my favorite companies in the 5G space. This is a tiny company that’s producing technology that’s absolutely critical to 5G infrastructure and all 5G-enabled mobile devices.

This under-the-radar micro-cap stock could bring back manufacturing innovation to America, igniting an American renaissance.

And I have reason to believe that tech giants like Apple and others are eyeing this tiny company for a potential buyout… which could turn a small investment stake into a major nest egg.

For readers interested in learning more about this explosive 5G play, please go right here to see footage from my in-person visit with the company. I hope to see you on the inside…


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge

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