The S in IoT stands for Security

By 2020 there will be an estimated 212 billion IoT objects connected to the internet. An IoT object is any device with an on/off switch connected to the internet. We are currently sharing a series of blog posts to help you navigate what IoT means for your home, business, and city. Previously in our series, we discussed what IoT is, its implication for your home, for small businesses, and for the cities we live in. In our latest installment, we are covering the security risk associated with IoT.

Whether at home, at work, or in cities, the gains garnered by IoT are hard to beat. Effective IoT lowers the cost of doing business, increases productivity, improves the overall experience in cities, and allows one a firmer handle of real-time data. However, the multitude of connected devices opens our homes, businesses, and cities up to new risks in network and identity security from bad actors.

An industry joke goes like this: “the S in IoT stands for security.”

There is no S in IoT. In the same way, IoT devices are notoriously lacking in security measures. The lack of security in IoT devices is alarming considering that, according to a recent report, IoT attacks grew 280% from the prior six-month reporting period.

Digging deeper, it is apparent that a large chunk of this growth stems from Mirai—malware that infects IoT devices like wireless cameras and home routers that have standardized factory passwords and turns them into controllable bots. The malware co-opts thousands of unprotected IoT devices and directs them to send signals to overload specific networks.  In fact, a Mirai attack happened in 2016 and shutdown sites like Etsy, Pinterest, Netflix, The New York Times, SoundCloud, and Twitter, among other major websites. Estimates project that roughly $110 million in potential revenue was lost in this attack.

One consistent factor in attacks that compromise vast networks is when devices in use maintain their default username and password set in the factory. Because these passwords are standardized, hackers infiltrate devices operating with unchanged passwords and then are able to dictate the action of those devices at-will.

If you own any device that connects to the internet, you need to seriously consider what security protocols you want to take to protect your network. If you are in the Texas Hill Country, schedule a consultation with HCTS. We have multiple decades of experience installing the networks for Fortune 500 companies and U.S. Embassies abroad. We value any opportunity available to protect and serve our neighbors in the Highland Lakes.

Home Automation with the Internet of Things (IoT)

 

By 2020 there will be an estimated 212 billion IoT objects connected to the internet. An IoT object is any device with an on/off switch connected to the internet. We are currently in a series of blog posts to help you navigate what IoT means for your home, business and city.

 

One of the first IoT devices was created in the early 1980s when programmers at Carnegie Mellon connected their refrigerator to the internet to ensure a cold Coca Cola was in the fridge before they made the trip to get one. Today refrigerators are still on the cutting edge of the IoT wave, but now they are more sophisticated than checking to see if a Coke is cold.

For instance, the Samsung Family Hub has a camera inside the refrigerator, so you can see the contents from your phone while shopping at the grocery store. Moreover, the Samsung Family Hub has an interactive connected touchscreen where you can buy groceries from your fridge, manage the schedules of your family with a synchronized calendar, play music around the house, and even watch TV. The Family Hub’s functionality is extensive and demonstrates the range of possibilities for the IoT and smart home technologies to coordinate our busy lives.

In addition to the internet, everything is getting smarter, harkening back to the quote I began this series with: “Anything that can be connected, will be connected.”[1] With that ethos in mind, it makes sense that now we have door locks, door bells, light bulbs, fans, blinds, smoke alarms, garage doors, mowers, washers, dryers, TVs, etc., connected to the internet and capable of being managed from anywhere with your cell phone.

As our homes become more connected, we constantly deal with new generations of devices incompatible with older generations of devices, and home environments with hodge-podge sets of appliances and gadgets that do not synchronize effectively together. To make sure IoT is reaching its full potential in your Highland Lakes home, we recommend that you schedule a consultation with HCTS. We will take the time to understand your current situation and share with you the most effective and convenient way to fully synchronize the technology in your home.

Working with HCTS means your home will have an enterprise grade network professionally installed by network experts with multiple decades of global networking experience. An enterprise grade network allows you to get the most out of your devices as well as support the bandwidth demands of devices of today and new technologies yet to be released. Additionally, HCTS is an authorized Control 4 dealer. Control 4 gives you the ability to personalize the controls of the IoT devices in your home to make them more comfortable, convenient, and secure.

If you live in the Highland Lakes area, and you would like to learn the most effective ways to implement home automation, call us at (512) 466-2974 or email info@thehcts.com.

[1] A Simple Explanation of “The Internet of Things” by Jacob Morgan

What makes a home smart?

Whether you were introduced to the concept of a smart home from The Jetsons, or in my case, Smart House, it’s time to break down what actually makes a home smart. Spoiler alert – it’s not a robotic nanny.

The steps to convert your existing home to a smart home are pretty simple, and if you have internet connection in your home, you are already on the right track.

First, for a home to be smart, it must be connected. If you have an appliance or gadget connected to the home Wi-Fi, and information can be shared across devices, your home is connected. A smart home is a connected home, but a connected home is not a smart home.

In order for a connected home to become a smart home, the devices and appliances in the home must be connected to Wi-Fi as well as actively work in-sync with one another. Additionally, the devices are programmed to work together at specific times and are controllable at one centralized hub, which you can access locally and remotely.

A home can be smart to varying degrees, and there are many products on the market introducing consumers to starter-smart home technologies.  A few products that are a great start to becoming a smart home are Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Nest Thermostat, and Ring Video Doorbell.

These products are innovative, and DIY projects, but they are a piece-meal approach to home automation. The more comprehensive option is a Control 4 system professionally installed by Hill Country Technology Solutions. Control 4 gives you the ability to link all your smart products on one easy-to-use platform that you can manage at home or remotely. HCTS professionally installs Control 4 and has an unmatched depth of experience with technology infrastructure. To learn more about our products and services, call us at (830) 613-3133 or visit our website.