The latest IoT debacle
One of the most evident trends in today’s global market is to integrate the internet anywhere and everywhere possible. Automobiles, kitchen appliances, utilities, clothing- no product is safe from becoming IoT enabled. But what happens when the “smart” devices you buy become out-dated and incompatible with new technology? Or what if a corrupted update issued to your smart device turns it into nothing more than a $480 paperweight? Such was the experience for over 500 LockState customers the other week…
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. In fact, the rush to get IoT enabled devices to market has resulted in a very poor level of quality, and has made the public’s confidence in IoT products queasy. More often than not, consumers find themselves frustrated with the system, unable to get it to perform correctly, or as advertised. Furthermore, security is very substandard on these devices, and in some, completely neglected. This means a hacker can infiltrate your entire business’ network because the break room’s IoT enabled blender wasn’t issued a security update. In some cases, the risks associated with connecting a conventional product to the internet are simply not worth the benefits.
Take a look at LockState for a prime example. In a partnership with Airbnb, they sold property owners a model of IoT enabled home locks, engineered to deliver custom access codes to guests, eliminating the need to exchange a physical key. Unfortunately, LockState made a mistake and issued an update designed for a newer model to some existing, older models still being used. Just like that, in a matter of minutes- or even seconds- more than 500 smart locks turned into fancy, light-up bricks. Those without the physical key on hand were essentially locked out of their properties! The update affected the ability for the smart lock to communicate back with the LockState servers, rendering remote fixes impossible. Instead, customers had to mail in the defective product for a new one which could take up to 18 days! This example highlights the risks and pitfalls associated with integrating critical devices with the internet. There is some promise though, as industries have gotten considerably better at producing IoT devices that work properly and consistently, and are more resilient to cyberattacks.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Notable Features
On Wednesday, Samsung unveiled the latest model of the Galaxy Note- a highly anticipated and fierce competitor to the Iphone. The company gave customers a chance to check out the device before it hits shelves on September 15. As implied by its name, the Note utilizes a small stylus and is built for productivity. It boasts 6 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage (with an additional SD slot) and Samsung’s powerful Xynos processor. The best part- they guarantee that it won’t explode like the Note 7 did. Some highlights of the Note 8:
· Multitasking- This feature allows you to reduce the size of a window or video and share the screen with another program. It allows you to perform two tasks at once, and operate two apps simultaneously.
· Dual Cameras- Samsung has long had formidable camera abilities that have championed Iphone in the past. The Note 8 is no different. The cameras are each 12 megapixels, and integrate features like stabilization, re-focus, and of course, plenty of filters.
· Wireless Charging- No need to plug your phone in. Simply lay it on the charging pad to restore battery.
As a whole, the Galaxy Note 8 is great if you want to really get stuff done on your phone. It is fast, capable, has plenty of memory and storage space, and is even pretty resistant to damage. Notes are larger than most phones, and can be a nuisance to bring on jogs or to the beach. The cameras produce some very high quality photos, which is great for those into photography or photoshop. If you like Phablets (phone + tablet) and are interested in productivity over convenience, this phone is a great option! Just don’t forget that hackers are targeting personal devices more and more each day…
A BYOD workplace
Personal devices have long become a workplace norm. A recent Gartner survey was done to measure what and how devices used for work are allotted to employees. While over half of employees were reported to have been issued PC’s, the survey found that only 23% of employees were given corporate issued smartphones. This statistic is actually shocking when you think about how much employees rely on smartphones to perform their daily tasks, like using the GPS, or making client calls, or checking email. Is it assumed that the workplace is BYOD (bring-your-own-device)? Is it wise for employers to trust these personal devices with connections to the corporate network?
To address this problem, our partners at Cylance have introduced CylancePROTECT Home Edition. This program gives employees the same enterprise-grade cybersecurity as leveraged by their company. The first of its kind, this solution brings next-generation AV to the homes of the employees and works to stop 99% of the malware that attacks their endpoints. It keeps your employees and your business safe- both at the office and at home.
Tom X McShane