Don’t believe the hype: Why the IoT is stalling

If hype cycles are anything to go by we’re almost certainly teetering on the brink of the trough of disillusionment with the IoT. Recent research claims that 60% of test deployments have failed. But while some pilot projects may have faltered there isn’t yet the weight of devices in deployment to suggest we’ve peaked. Rather, adoption itself seems to be faltering.

IoT adoption hasn’t been the runaway success envisaged and this is down to a number of issues. Firstly, the IoT-enablement of devices which don’t necessarily warrant this additional connectivity. Take the IoT fishtank which regulated feeding, water temperature and quality, says Ken Munro, partner at Pen Test Partners.

That may sound like a labour saving device but ultimately it saw a Casino where the tank was installed lose 10GB of data to a device in Finland. IoT security doesn’t stop at the device. What this illustrates is that such devices are being used to create exploitable backdoors on to networks, allowing the theft of credentials and data exfiltration.

Longevity concerns are also hampering adoption, with devices often swapped out rather than updated causing users to question the viability of the investment. Then there’s the question as to whether the manufacturer has the resource to fix any issues that may come to light?

Security vulnerabilities emerge over time and if that does happen and your devices need to be patched, will the manufacturer invest the time needed to oversee this or deny culpability or even withdraw support?

Divulged details

Protecting the existing installed base is a real headache for manufacturers. If you peruse the Shodan website you’ll see hosts of deployed IoT equipment (and worryingly even Industrial Control Systems) with details on the IP address, the operating system run, and the version of software in use. And the FCC helpfully publishes the schematics for soon-to-be-released IoT devices complete with circuit diagrams for those wanting some up close detail.

In many cases, an attacker can identify devices from Shodan and simply obtain the default credentials to gain access. We once found a handy ‘super password’ list of daily log-on credentials for the entire year published on social media site by a technician. Clearly, supply chain security tends to be lax, with this case illustrating just how easy it is to get hold of ‘confidential’ data.

Struggling in the face of these odds, manufacturers are now looking to sell on data to third parties. That may make sense commercially but it further compromises the security and privacy of the userbase. It could see the floor plans for your office, for instance, sold on if you’re the user of an IoT vacuum cleaner. And what if that information makes its way on to the blackmarket? Building Management System (BMS) data could be particularly useful. Think of the extortion that would be possible if an attacker were to put ransomware over smart thermostats.

Solving the problem

The cynical among you will be questioning whether the end user shouldn’t also shoulder some of the responsibility and it’s true that few reconfigure devices upon set-up. That’s […]

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Almost half of motorists believe connected cars improve road safety – and new research backs it up

A study into the attitudes of motorists towards connected cars has revealed almost half now believe they improve road safety, and new research backs it up.

Over 2,000 motorists were surveyed for insurance provider Aviva’s recent Connected Car Report. 49 percent gave “safer roads” as a reason for wanting a vehicle with autonomous features. However, the same percentage (49%) also said they wouldn’t use a driverless car at this point in time.

“As with any new technology, there is some nervousness about driverless cars, but many drivers admit this is because they don’t know enough about them, so any concerns will inevitably wane over time,” explains Paul Heybourne, Head of Digital Innovation Operations at Aviva. “Technology is evolving at an unprecedented pace, so it will be fascinating to see whether consumer adoption will match.”

A primary reason given for wanting driverless technologies was to free up time. More than a quarter (26%) responded they like the idea of being able to do other things in the car instead of driving.

“We’re a nation of car lovers and there’s a clear enthusiasm for technologies which improve the driving experience,” continues Heybourne.

Interestingly, just one in eight drivers said they’d choose a hybrid or electric vehicle for their next purchase. 68 percent still plan on purchasing a petrol or diesel car in spite of the sales ban in the UK and France by 2040.

Meanwhile, Toyota claims it performed independent calculations on accident data from the Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis (ITARDA) and determined vehicles fitted with connected car technologies were much safer.

Vehicles equipped with Safety Sense experienced approximately 50 percent less rear-end collisions. Those also equipped with ICS (Intelligent Clearance Sonar) experience an approximately 90% reduction.

“It is only when such safety systems are in widespread use that they can have a real impact on eliminating traffic accidents and fatalities,” says Didier Leroy, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe. “That’s why Toyota has decided to launch the democratisation of advanced safety technologies in its cars.”

Safety Sense is a package of technologies which includes lane departure alerts, road sign assistance, pre-collision system, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. ICS uses a clearance sonar to detect obstacles during sudden starts caused by pedal misapplication. When an obstruction is detected, and there is a possibility of a collision, automatic braking is applied.

“High-level driver-assist technologies such as these make driving easier and simpler,” continues Leroy. “They improve the driver’s perception of the traffic environment, their decision-making process and their overall safety skills”

While technology such as the aforementioned from Toyota currently represent semi-autonomous features, these results will further help to boost the confidence in automated technologies improving road safety as we continue on the road to driverless vehicles.

Do you think connected cars will improve road safety? Let us know in the comments.

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Healthcare firms believe their data is safer in the cloud than on-prem for a disaster

As more and more traditionally slower-moving industries start to move their resources to the cloud, an interesting note from Evolve IP: healthcare IT professionals believe their data is safer in the cloud than on-premises when faced with a hardware issue or environmental disaster.

The report, which surveyed 180 healthcare professionals, found that for environmental disasters, 61% of respondents felt their information was safest in a private cloud, compared to 27.5% for a public cloud and 11.5% on premise, while for malicious attacks and hardware malfunctions 58.5% each also preferred a private cloud. Interestingly, for malicious attacks on premise (32%) was significantly the second most popular option.

2Healthcare organisations have on average between two and three services in the cloud with data backup, servers and data centres being the most widely deployed services. 85% of all organisations polled said they had at least one service in the cloud, while more than four in five respondents (81%) say they plan on adding new or additional cloud services in the next three years.”

Healthcare organisations have on average between two and three services in the cloud with data backup, servers and data centres being the most widely deployed services. 85% of all organisations polled said they had at least one service in the cloud, while more than four in five respondents (81%) say they plan on adding new or additional cloud services in the next three years.

The research also found that rollouts had not been a universal success, however. Almost two in five said they had deployed a cloud solution on their own as opposed to using a third party provider – lower than the figure for all industries – with a third (32.5%) admitting they would outsource to a solution provider given the chance next time.

One of the key elements for healthcare organisations moving to the cloud is HIPAA accreditation; 85% of respondents said they were aligned with HIPAA requirements, with a further 32% also citing PCI (payment card industry) compliance.

Writing for this publication last year, Karin Ratchinsky, director of vertical marketing strategy at Level 3 Communications – since acquired by CenturyLink – argued that while using cloud-based technologies for back end functions was steadily rising, the use cases elsewhere were similarly important. “Healthcare leaders want to funnel capital into cash flow-generating activities that allow them to deliver improved outcomes,” Ratchinsky wrote.

“Cloud computing lets healthcare organisations focus on healthcare rather than data centres, digital real estate to house them, and skilled professionals to maintain and operate them.”

Originally published on Cloud Tech News. istockphoto.com/ andreypopov | studiocasper

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