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With the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting more and more devices with each passing day, it is expected that by the year 2020, the number of IoT devices will reach around 24 billion out there in the world.

Now, this growth is certainly going to benefit the people in more than many ways and will hugely transform how people execute day-to-day tasks & a lot of other activities. As we live in the times when “impressions” are crucial for a person’s status, hence it will be cool to have a smart-home that will draw the attention of your visitors & guests and certainly make you the talk of the town. Meanwhile, among its significant benefits, one is the smart lighting that will actually be able to largely reduce the energy consumption, thus resulting in lowering down the electricity bill.

With this new technology, linking up connected cars with smart city infrastructure is possible, thus establishing a totally different ecosystem for the car drivers, who until now are accustomed to the conventional way of covering the distance from Area A to Area B. Also, there are connected healthcare devices at the disposal giving people a fuller and deeper look at their own health.  So, what more can we ask for?

But these tons of benefits certainly invite some sort of risks and security issues and this is what we will be discussing here today.

Do you know that increased numbers of connected devices are giving cybercriminals and hackers more entry points? And why just security issues, as average customers, are genuinely sharing their concerns over their privacy, with so much of consumer life being connected.

IoT – What makes it vulnerable to security aspect?

IoT is a growth sector, and besides that, it is also a market for buyers and investors, and where consumers are willing to grab the best-possible benefit at a little amount. Quite certainly, this kind of environment encourages vendors & manufactures to economize on money, effort, time and material, hence they enroll into the cheapest ways, hastening to put their services and products out there into the money stream.

This sends a direct invitation to practices, like usage of software code and generic components, access codes, default passwords, vendor-specific PIN numbers. All of this opens a path for an ecosystem that has weak security and exploitable vulnerabilities.

A study carried on by Ponemon Institute and IBM security suggest that around 80% enterprises usually do not test their IoT apps, hence making them vulnerable from a security perspective.

Here we have categorized various areas of IoT security vulnerability that are the most common:

Vulnerable to Hacking: According to the researchers, hackers were successful in hacking these real IoT devices with enough energy and time, within a limited time. Like, a research team at Michigan University and Microsoft discovered a lot of gaps in the security of Samsung’s Smart Things smart-home platform. Unfortunately, the methods didn’t appear complex at all.

Poor On-board Web Interface: There is an onboard web server for most of the IoT devices and it does the job of hosting a web app used in device management. Now, in case, any loopholes found in the underlying code of the web apps and web servers, then that certainly makes the device vulnerable to get attacked – maybe in a remote manner owing to its connectivity to the internet.

Weak mobile security: Weak security on mobile app development often makes the IoT devices vulnerable from a security point of view. The biggest problem lies in the fact that data is being stored on mobile applications. Even though the data that is saved on iOS is less risky as compared to Android app development, still to storage of sensitive data and information on a mobile device is never considered ideal. Like, what if a worker ends up losing a smartphone which contained valuable data in it, that too with no backup.

Vulnerable Cloud & Mobile Management Platforms:  As there are a huge number of IoT devices that connect to wireless and cloud mobile networks, hence the poor security and exploitable code in the software & infrastructure, which manages these platforms, has also become a major concern. To address these issues there are management platforms embedded on these devices, but that works only to a certain extent, with there being a risk, these interfaces are not being patched or updated on a regular note. 

Concerns regarding Privacy & Data Transfer: Since IoT device comes with a constant flow of information regarding the device and its environment, it is not obvious that it will be delivered to the users. Like, depending on the device and its application, there could be financial, geographic and personal information. In case, there is poor or say no encryption at all on these data streams, then this kind of information becomes vulnerable to be used by third parties, hackers, or maybe eavesdroppers.

Often the companies are not prepared: As per AT&T’s Cybersecurity Insights Report, around 5,000 companies were surveyed across the world and it was found that 85% of them are about to or are planning on a deployment of IoT devices. Still, there are just 10% of companies, which as per the survey, are confident about security infrastructure attuned to devices against hackers.

Weak Authentication protocols: Often it happens that in the manner devices speak to their controllers and each other links them to an open channel. The reason could be the mechanisms used for authorization or authentications of legitimate communications. Perhaps insecure default device settings are deployed automatically, about which users are unaware, or maybe not given the opportunity to reconfigure weak security settings for themselves.

To stay realistic about IoT security risks is the key to combat this problem

Today more and more security researchers are focusing on the IoT, with few of their researchers posing kind of a theoretical risk instead of an actual one – at least for now. Like, one researcher came across this concept where smart lighting was used to filtrate data by compromising an internal network. Now is it possible getting a light in a room fluctuate enough such that it is able to transmit data? It is very doable in the test environment, whereas in the real world it is yet to be proven.

Even though more and more security researchers today are focusing on uncovering a range of IoT security concerns, but Deral Heiland, a veteran penetration tester, stresses the significance of having a realistic perspective. Sharing his experience, he said people keep asking him what to do with all these vulnerabilities that are coming out. His answer to them is quite logical. He states these vulnerabilities are being uncovered and the researchers and testers are making efforts to find a solution in order to combat such situations.  This says it all, doesn’t it?

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IoT and Smart Home has become an important part of every aspect of our lives. In addition to these, Internet of Things applications are also introduced to enhance our comfort by giving us more control to simplify routine work life.

Internet of Things and Smart Home technology, enables owners to customize and control their home environments. It is now proving to be a powerful enhancement in technology. There are already hundreds of IoT apps development companies available to monitor and build smart homes.

When we think of the next step in technology evolution, Smart Homes and IoT always comes in the picture as it has a major hand in technology enhancement. The trend began in 1920’s, by introducing machines like vacuum cleaners, food processors and sewing machines highlighting the convenience and time savings.

Major evolution was in 90’s with an announcement of internet refrigerators or smart refrigerators installed with calendar updates, emails, television and personal finance terminal, which failed to satisfy consumers as the similar services were being used on different devices also.

Later in 2010, Nest (Acquired by Google later) announced smart thermostats and smoke alarms which gained huge acceptance due to its fine-tuned design and ability to control temperature as per human behavior and trend without many efforts. Moving to next, smart home category incorporated with Smart Things (Acquired by Samsung) having capability of connecting nearly all the connected gadgets at home gained quite enough popularity.

The giants like Google (Google Home), Amazon (Amazon Echo), Microsoft (Lab of things) and Tesla (Smart wall and solar tiles) also put their efforts into investing and researching heavily in the hope of making smart homes a possible dream with smart products. These Smart Home appliances are integrated with IoT, hence IoT app development is suppose to have a leading trend in apps world.

IoT has a big hand in smart home evolution. It states how technology can be used by integrating into simple everyday objects and how the objects are automated with sensors. The Market trends regarding smart homes and IoT are broad with independent household appliances. These self-sufficient devices will be integrated with the latest technology, to get a realistic ‘smart home’ experience.

The IoT apps development Companies are gaining high attention due to this massive enhancement in IoT and Smart Home technologies. Considering the major role of IoT apps in Smart Home appliances, IoT app development will be a leading trend in apps world.

According to statistics, the purchases of the smart home device are expected to grow from 83million in 2015 to 193 million by 2020. The smart home appliances like washing machines, microwaves, coffee machines etc, the smart home security solutions like sensors, locks, alarm systems and cameras, and the smart home energy equipment, like smart thermostats and lighting, are incorporated in it. The smart home controlling will lay in electricity management, lighting control and temperature control and security systems.

The three areas Home utility systems, appliances and safety devices are uncovering both individual and society wide benefits. They include financial savings, enhance convenience, and contribute to more ecological and sustainable living, sense of safety and security and more.

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