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Posts tagged ‘IoT’

Internet of Things & Smart Cities

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Atlanta, like other metro centers, is striving to become a “smart city” via the latest technological innovations. However, with some of the city’s infrastructure over 100 years old, it faces challenges that planners hope to resolve through an integrated technology approach. To date, Atlanta has implemented numerous newer and emerging technologies as part of its smart initiative. These include environmental sensors, video analytics, artificial intelligence, data analytics, real-time situational awareness tools, big data management, traffic management tools, smart lighting, and smart waste management. The city has planned deployments of technologies including radar detection, dedicated short-range communications, autonomous vehicles, and connected vehicle systems.

Hacking Is Becoming Common With Smart Gadgets

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The idea of turning on your TV with a spoken command may sound wonderful— no more fumbling for the remote! But for that to work, the TV needs to be listening all the time, even when you’re not watching. And even when you’re discussing something extremely personal, or engaged in some other activity to which you’d rather not invite eavesdroppers.

How much should you be concerned about it? Maybe your TV never records any of your casual conversations. Or maybe its manufacturer is recording all that, but just to find ways to make the TV better at understanding what you want it to do. Or maybe it retains everything it hears for some other hidden purpose. You  just have to can hope the company keeps its promises on privacy. More important, you have to trust that its computer systems are really secure, or those promises are suddenly worthless. That part is increasingly difficult to guarantee — or believe — as hacking becomes routine.

Then there’s the kids toys such as  Hello Barbie talking doll  which stores your conversation once the child presses her belt, or Dino, the dinosaur powered by IBM’s Watson artificial-intelligence system? 

Cars will work with GPS technology and sensors in parking meters, roads and home appliances to help route you around traffic and turn on your living-room lights as you approach the driveway. But that can also generate a detailed record of your whereabouts.

Thermostats from Nest and others will get smarter at conserving energy when you’re away. Potential burglars might find that information handy.Home security cameras are getting cheaper by the dozen, but they’re sometimes insecure themselves, especially if you set them up clumsily. There’s already a website devoted to showing video from cameras with no passwords. It appears that convenience usually wins. Shiny new things are inherently attractive, and it takes a while for some of us to get uneasy about the extent to which we may be enabling our own surveillance.

IoT & Healthcare

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Internet of Things offers a vast of promises in the field of healthcare by increasing efficiency, improving patient care and lowering costs. According to an interesting report from MarketResearch.com, the Healthcare Internet of Things market segment is expected to hit the $117 billion mark by 2020. Some of the methods in which Internet of Things is transforming the healthcare industry are:

the ability for an IoT device to be tested and diagnosed remotely. A specialist can connect from his own office and run diagnostics on an MRI that has failed. He can identify the root cause and remotely connect to the hospital’s technicians to provide hands-on-support. These interventions in hospitals will help to lessen medical equipment’s idle time and increase the systems efficiency.

The Internet of Things enables hospitals to track, monitor and update patient information in a systematic manner. Data could include reported outcomes, medical-device data, and wearables data. Computational methods of analytical support, known as augmented intelligence, are collectively used to analyze information. This type of database can help healthcare professionals in better decision making and providing superior patient care.

Internet of Things ensures better inventory management in hospitals and healthcare organisations.

Cloud based scheduling applications can ensure that machines, hospital staff and infrastructure is being utilized to its fullest capacity.

IoT Risks & Challenges:

One of the major risks associated with the erosion of IoT is the privacy of patient-sensitive data. There is a huge amount of  exchanging information through this technology and this often leads to concerns about the disclosure of vital personal data. Patient history confidentiality is mandatory in the healthcare sector and critical data may be misused if accessed by culprits. Intentional disruption and manipulation of networks is another threat faced by IoT in the healthcare industry. Similar to any networked technology, IoT is vulnerable to hackers, thieves, and spies etc. who may create havoc through medical crime.

Healthcare organizations must also be able to identify legitimate and malicious traffic patterns on IoT devices. Encryption is needed for better security.There should be in-built security controls such as administrator ID’s and password authentication to prevent the misappropriation of critical data. Some suggests that devices be configured to inhibit data storage media from being retrieved, and the device itself should not be easily disassembled.

Smart Appliances & Hackers

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A smart coffee machine can make your coffee at 6:30 every morning, or smart tech can warm up your car whenever the temperature is below freezing. It can open the doors at your business and turn on the lights. However the downside, is the security risk. Because this data is moving around on devices that are not universally protected, in an environment where there is no established security standard, we have no way of assessing the level of risk. Most products are often underprotected (or not protected at all), which opens the door to hacking. Computer manufacturers and software companies devote attention and resources to providing security, but appliance makers have little understanding of the field. It is only a matter of time before the hackers start digging into their programs. The first proven large-scale hack of IoT devices occurred in December 2013 and the first week of 2014, according to the security-as-a-service company Proofpoint, based in Sunnyvale, Calif. According to Proofpoint’s press release detailed the marshaling of conventional household smart, or IoT, appliances, “the global attack campaign involved more than 750,000 malicious email communications coming from more than 100,000 everyday consumer gadgets such as home-networking routers, connected multimedia centers, televisions and at least one refrigerator that had been compromised and used as a platform to launch attacks.”

FTC Urges Companies To Adopt Best Practices To Address Consumer Privacy and Security Risks

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The staff of the Federal Trade Commission recommend a series of concrete steps that businesses can take to enhance and protect consumers’ privacy and security, as Americans start to reap the benefits from a growing world of Internet-connected devices.

The Internet of Things is already impacting the daily lives of millions of Americans through the adoption of health and fitness monitors, home security devices, connected cars and household appliances, among other applications. Such devices offer the potential for improved health-monitoring, safer highways, and more efficient home energy use, among other potential benefits. However, the FTC report also notes that connected devices raise numerous privacy and security concerns that could undermine consumer confidence.

One of the main topics addressed at the workshop was security. The report includes the following recommendations for companies developing Internet of Things devices:

  • build security into devices at the outset, rather than as an afterthought in the design process;
  • train employees about the importance of security, and ensure that security is managed at an appropriate level in the organization;
  • ensure that when outside service providers are hired, that those providers are capable of maintaining reasonable security, and provide reasonable oversight of the providers;
  • when a security risk is identified, consider a “defense-in-depth” strategy whereby multiple layers of security may be used to defend against a particular risk;
  • consider measures to keep unauthorized users from accessing a consumer’s device, data, or personal information stored on the network;
  • monitor connected devices throughout their expected life cycle, and where feasible, provide security patches to cover known risks.

Commission staff also recommend that companies consider limiting the collection of consumer data, and retaining that information only for a set period of time, and not indefinitely. The report notes that data minimization addresses two key privacy risks: first, the risk that a company with a large store of consumer data will become a more enticing target for data thieves or hackers, and second, that consumer data will be used in ways contrary to consumers’ expectations. FTC staff also recommends that companies notify consumers and give them choices about how their information will be used, particularly when the data collection is beyond consumers’ reasonable expectations.

The Internet Of Things: A New & Upcoming Trend

According to industry research firm IDC, the IoT market is expected to hit $7.1 trillion by 2020,” said John Maddison, vice president of marketing at Fortinet.

Completed in June 2014, the survey asked 1,801 tech-savvy homeowners questions relating to the Internet of Things as it pertains to the connected home. These were the top findings:

The Connected Home is a reality – A majority (61 percent) of all respondents believe that the connected home (a home in which household appliances and home electronics are seamlessly connected to the Internet) is “extremely likely” to become a reality in the next five years. China led the world in this category with more than 84 percent affirming support.

  • In the U.S., 61 percent said that the connected home is extremely likely to happen in the next five years.

Homeowners are concerned about data breaches – A majority of all respondents voiced their concern that a connected appliance could result in a data breach or exposure of sensitive, personal information. Globally, 69 percent said that they were either “extremely concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about this issue.

  • Sixty-eight percent of U.S. respondents said that they were “extremely concerned” or “somewhat concerned.”

Privacy and trust are concerns – When asked about the privacy of collected data, a majority of global respondents stated, “privacy is important to me, and I do not trust how this type of data may be used.” India led the world with this response at 63 percent.

  • Fifty-seven percent in the U.S. agreed with this statement.
  • Data privacy is an extremely sensitive issue – Respondents were also asked how they would feel if a connected home device was secretly or anonymously collecting information about them and sharing it with others. Most (62 percent) answered “completely violated and extremely angry to the point where I would take action.” The strongest responses came from South Africa, Malaysia and the United States.

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