Bitdefender BOX : the ultimate security solution for smart home environments?

Bitdefender Box in home environment

By Marc, Editor at IoT Business News.

Bitdefender has just released the 2nd generation of its Bitdefender BOX, a hardware security appliance designed to offer protection to all the home systems and devices connecting to the Internet. The protection applies to all devices running operating systems like Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, but also to Kindles, smart TVs, gaming consoles, smart thermostats, or any other internet-enabled device. At a time where IoT security has become a hot topic, Bitdefender brings to the consumer market an easy-to-use solution to protect connected home devices against a large variety of cyber threats.

Bitdefender Box pack shot

Advanced security features for connected home devices

The Bitdefender BOX has been designed as a Smart Home Cybersecurity hub able to secure any home network with all the internet-enabled devices attached to it. And the protection doesn’t stop at the front door. Whether you’re connecting to public wifi or using your mobile network, your devices will stay secure out in the world as they do in your home.

The Bitdefender team has done a nice job, designing an elegant yet powerful box able to run a large set of security features on its Dual Core Cortex A9. Embedded wireless connectivity supports 802.11ac MiMo Wi-Fi delivering up to 1 Gbps throughput.

The BOX comes with the following smart home security services pre-integrated:

  • Web scanning: The BOX checks every website that the devices access and in case the website is listed as malicious in our cloud database, the BOX will block access to it.
  • On demand Vulnerability Assessment: The BOX offers the option to scan a certain device and check for vulnerabilities. In case the device is found vulnerable, the user will be notified in the BOX managing app regarding the vulnerability found (week credentials, outdated firmware, CVE vulnerabilities, etc). This also includes tips on how to address and secure your network, based on the specific vulnerability BOX has identified.
  • Device detection: Once a new device is connected to the network protected by the BOX, the user will be informed through a notification displayed in the managing app of the BOX and will be asked if he wants to allow the device to be connected to his network.
  • Exploit prevention: This engine identifies and blocks exploits through a mechanism similar to other popular IDS solutions in the market. It includes generic signatures to cover a wide array of attacks as well as specific signatures wherever needed (noting that the signature list is constantly expanded).
  • Anomaly detection: The anomaly detection engine uses machine learning and cloud correlation to understand how devices should behave under normal circumstances and is able to accurately identify, block and alert upon any malicious activity.
  • Brute force protection: This security module blocks forced authentication on devices connected to the BOX protected network.
  • Sensitive data protection: This module identifies whenever credit card information or passwords is sent over a non-encrypted connection and block the attempt. The user is free to surf a non-secured website without issues but any attempt to send sensitive information will be redirected to a warning page.

When operating in Network Level Protection mode, all the devices connected to the BOX-protected network benefit from the here-above security features.

The BOX can also operate in Local Protection mode. With this option, the Bitdefender BOX offers extended protection to all devices connected in the home network but also outside of it with the help of the Bitdefender Total Security package. This also includes a range of extra protection features like VPN brought through Bitdefender Total Security on Windows, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac on Mac OS, Bitdefender Mobile Security on Android and iOS.

Setup and System requirements

The most common configuration is using the BOX with the router provided by your ISP but the BOX can also be used with a combo of ISP provided router + personal router. At last, it is also possible to use the BOX configured as a standalone router if you wish to create a new Wi-Fi network. Whatever option you choose, the setup process is quick and smooth.

Bitdefender BOX can be installed and managed only using a dedicated app, available for devices running Android 4.0 or newer and iOS 7.0 or newer. The network level protection does not have any operating system requirements. The only requirement is that the devices need to be able to connect to the BOX protected network.

The Local Protection, Device Management and VPN have the normal Core Products system requirements, Windows 7 or newer for Bitdefender Total Security, Mac OS 10.9.5 for Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac, iOS 9 and Android 4 for Bitdefender Mobile Security.

BOX package content

The Bitdefender BOX package contains:

  • The Bitdefender BOX.
  • A power adapter for powering on the unit.
  • An Ethernet cable – for connecting BOX to the existing router.
  • A Quick Start guide – to get started with the setup.
  • A Quick Start guide – for helping get started with the setup.
  • A warranty card.

Price

The Bitdefender BOX is offered at $ 249.99 and can be ordered online from the Bitdefender online store.

It is to be noted that apart from its security BOX, Bitdefender offers a free IoT scanner that looks for vulnerable devices and passwords, and offers detailed security recommendations for home networks. If you are not ready yet to get equipped with the BOX, we recommend at least to try this smart (and free) tool which will scan your home Wi-Fi network for weaknesses.

Bitdefender Box in home environment

Conclusion

With the fast development and deployment of IoT devices, new security threats appear almost every day. Although we can expect that enterprises are in a position to address their IoT security issues by setting up smart security protocols and sophisticated equipments, most likely it is not the case for the millions of people using internet-connected devices at home. With its BOX 2, Bitdefender offers to the consumer market an efficient and affordable smart home security solution which may soon become a must-have in any home environment. Easy to setup and packed with the latest cybersecurity features, it is an excellent option for everyone looking to be on the safe side when using IoT devices at home or on the go.

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Connected Environments Will Not Work Without Accurate Asset Master Data

Manufacturers are beginning to use machine intelligence, smart sensors, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to create connected environments. There is broad consensus that transitioning to this type of advanced digital infrastructure will help improve visibility into process functions and allow algorithms and processing power to play bigger roles in optimizing the real-time health of critical assets.

“We are at the beginning of this smart machine journey,” says Dean Fitt, SAP solutions manager for enterprise asset management and plant maintenance. “People want to move from reactive maintenance to predictive maintenance. Sensors and other maintenance technologies have been around awhile, but they are being put together in new ways to transform how we maintain these environments.”

Some companies are tackling these challenges by using software, sensors, drives, and controllers to automate existing assets. This approach allows them to extend the useful life of 50-year-old hydraulic presses and hundred-year-old steam engines, for example. It also preserves more funds for situations where buying new assets is the best or only option for adding needed capabilities.

Master data management is essential for real process improvement

Being able to predict when asset maintenance is required is one of the biggest advantages offered by connected environments and IoT. But predictive analytics require both real-time data and detailed records of each facility’s as-built assets.

Ideally, this information, which includes a number of data types, would be defined as master data objects to ensure consistency across enterprise systems and processes. But capturing and standardizing data from disparate systems, digital formats, and hardcopy documents is often a low priority for project teams when they are focused on bringing new assets online.

“The master data is crucial,” says Fitt. “It is the foundation for everything. If you do not have a good foundation, you are building on quicksand.”

That is why organizations should treat master data management as a core function whenever they adopt, maintain, or automate any new or existing assets. Governance, controls, and workflows are essential for using asset data to minimize downtime, enable real-time decision-making, and increase process and worker productivity.

“Technology alone will not ensure accurate data,” says Peter Aynsley-Hartwell, chief technology officer for Utopia Global, Inc., a global data solutions company that focuses on information management. “A lot of people have information they do not trust. As soon as that happens, they begin making incorrect or poor decisions or no decisions at all. And they lose the opportunity to achieve a huge benefit from the information they have.”

Connected environments require a consistent and proactive strategy

As technology continues to evolve, manufacturing processes are likely to become more reliant on machine learning and artificial intelligence. Some manufacturers, distributors, and service companies will probably use processing, logic, and networking to continuously monitor and improve the quality and reliability of their assets.

“We may see some of these concepts make their way into our day-to-day manufacturing operations,” says Aynsley-Hartwell. “Perhaps when we have self-driving cars, they will diagnose and drive themselves to the service provider on their own initiative.”

A simple self-driving system is already in service in Australia, Aynsley-Hartwell notes. Rio Tinto, a British mining company, uses 73 416-ton trucks to haul ore along a fixed route. The vehicles are driverless and use GPS units, radars, and sensors to work 24 hours a day while saving the company 15% on overhead costs.

These technologies are evolving quickly, and numerous companies are working on making their assets more autonomous and “smart.” But none of these optimistic visions of the future will be realized without an effective strategy for acquiring and managing vast amounts of data.

Want to learn more? Listen to the SAPRadio show, “The Next Big Thing in Plan Operations: Intelligent Machines and Networks,” and check @SAPPartnerBuild on Twitter.


Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

IoT boosts healthy and safety in offshore environments

Fluenta: The health and safety case for IoT in remote oil & gas operations

In a contributed article for Internet of Business, Neil Bird, engineering director at flare gas measurement company Fluenta  makes the case for IoT technology in reducing safety risks in oil and gas operations.

In August 2015, an explosion at a gas treatment plant on the west coast of Venezuela demonstrated the need for the highest levels of safety in oil & gas operations.

The explosion took place at a processing plant in the Cardon IV Block of the Perla gas field, around 50km offshore of the North West of the Gulf of Venezuela, at one of the biggest offshore gas fields in Latin America. Fortunately, the explosion did not cause any fatalities, yet these kinds of incidents often do lead to the loss of life.

There are many potential causes of on-site explosions: the sudden release of gas under pressure or the introduction of an ignition source into an explosive or flammable environment. The Hydrocarbon Releases (HCRs) that cause explosions like these are, in simple terms, leaks.

It is inevitable that leaks will happen during operations, and while significant efforts have been made to reduce these, innovations in remote monitoring technology can be exploited to reduce the associated risk further.

A recent campaign called Step Change in Safety,supported by all of the stakeholders in the UK offshore industry, neatly demonstrates what can be achieved. In 2010, the total number of HCRs was 187. The Step Change in Safety campaign aimed to reduce this by 50 percent over a three-year period and while it  came up fractionally short – only reducing the number by 49 percent – the approach demonstrates what is possible when more focus and attention is paid to safety issues.

Monitoring potentially explosive environments for the presence of flammable vapours is an important health and safety practice and should be supported using accurate measuring equipment. By combining IoT advances in remote connectivity and innovations in monitoring technology, the success that has already been achieved in this area can be increased significantly.

IoT for remote monitoring in oil & gas

When applied effectively, remote asset management through connected infrastructure will revolutionize oil and gas operations. While the ability to operate oil rigs without any personnel on-board is still some way off, any reduction in the number of personnel needed is likely to quickly add up to a considerable cost saving and inherently reduces the risk of casualties during emergency incidents.

The capability to access diagnostic information remotely is already widely used in the utilities sector where, for example, remote assets have been controlled by telemetry for many years to manage several tasks. Typical examples are regular reporting of asset well-being and diagnostics when an asset may be malfunctioning.

Historically, it has been necessary for personnel to check whether assets were working or not. That costs time and money, and at its core, places a human life in a potentially dangerous environment. Not only does remote measurement and polling of these assets significantly reduce cost, but inherent risk.

Ubiquitous internet connectivity

It is cloud technology and the ubiquity of internet connectivity that fundamentally brings significant change to remote asset management. Cloud is the infrastructure or network over which an application or programme can run on many different computers simultaneously, and with remote asset monitoring relates specifically to the internet.

Monitoring equipment installed on local assets transmits information in real time to software that is stored on central servers, rather than physically on-site. When real-time data is fed into software such as continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS), organisations can continuously collect, record and report data remotely.

Better management through measurement

The combination of accurate, real-time information on remote assets and cloud technology can have a significant positive impact on moving an oil and gas operation from a monitoring approach to a management approach. It enables companies to access information on extreme events, and make strategic decisions based on historic data.

Data enables insight and insight enables better management, and this in turn should lead to reduced risk. The oil and gas industry matches high risk against high reward, and any action that can be taken to reduce risk means that a higher proportion of the reward is accessible.

In late 2015, dozens of oil workers were killed in a fire aboard a rig in the Caspian Sea. This was caused by a gas pipeline that was damaged in high winds. By recording critical data to the cloud, companies can understand the impact of extreme weather on oil rigs and implement procedures to reduce the risk of a similar incident. Had the owners of the rig been more aware of the likelihood of such an incident happening, the workers would have evacuated the site earlier.

Read more: Remote monitoring in oil and gas: a new path to profitability?

The human factor

Ironically, the most critical aspect of deploying successful IoT communication systems for remote asset monitoring is human involvement. Connected infrastructure will report accurate information in real-time, but skilled humans still need to interpret and analyse the information, to turn it into actionable insight to make better decisions. IoT applications also need to be designed with fail safes, to ensure that immediate escalation for human intervention takes place when required and the monitoring systems are themselves monitored.

Rather than taking the place of human beings, the best IoT applications will enhance people’s abilities to make accurate decisions, reducing cost, improving capability and, most important, reducing risk.

Nowhere will this be more applicable than in the high-risk oil and gas industry, but this is also an industry that can experience a host of ancillary benefits through connected monitoring infrastructure. As regulations become increasingly targeted, complex, and legally enforceable, businesses in the oil and gas industry need to harness the most innovative technology if they are to maximise the financial potential of their operations in an increasingly uncertain environment.

Read more: SkyX aims high in oil & gas drone services

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