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Has the Internet of Things Outpaced Network Security?

Has the Internet of Things Outpaced Network Security?

The Internet of Things is constantly changing and evolving, but this also means that it might be growing a bit too fast for its own good. So many devices these days have connectivity that it’s difficult to keep your business secure from them. We’ll discuss whether or not the Internet of Things is outpacing the efforts of security organizations and businesses, as well as what you can do to make sure that your business doesn’t fall victim to it.

It’s not unheard of for Internet of Things devices to cause security concerns--particularly in the wake of devastating Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks orchestrated through the use of countless hacked devices. We can use the relatively recent DDoS attack on Dyn, a well-known domain name provider, as a prime example of this. The devices used to initiate this attack were infected with a malware variant called “Mirai,” and it created a massive botnet that was used to bring down the websites of some of the biggest technology companies out there--specifically, those who relied on Dyn’s services in order to be active.

The basic idea behind the fear (and now reality) mobile device botnet is that millions of devices will create an infected network that can bring about a massive attack. This attack can target something with a ridiculous amount of traffic that can bring down naught but the mightiest networks. The Mirai botnet itself targeted devices by using their default passwords. Many users don’t change the default passwords, making this a viable tactic.

When you think about it, this development isn’t nearly as far-fetched as it might seem. When so many devices are being used in a connected fashion, it’s only natural that some either won’t be properly secured, or will be infected with malware that can do the bidding of external threats. There is a direct correlation between the increase in connected devices and the number of potential threats out there. The most unnerving part of the Internet of Things and security shortcomings is the fact that so many devices are connected--many of which were never connected before, including automobiles, home appliances, and so much more. How can you protect your business with such a crushing force waiting to be launched at any moment?

It all starts by implementing basic security best practices. If you have any mobile or connected devices in your office, it’s best that you change the password (definitely don’t leave it at the default password). Furthermore, any devices on your network should be comprehensively protected by a mobile device management solution that’s designed to protect any devices that have access to company data.

To learn more, reach out to us at 800.394.2301.

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Sports Are a Training Ground for Smart Technology

Sports Are a Training Ground for Smart Technology

Smart technology and the whole Internet of Things revolution has been underway now for some time. One vertical market that has embraced this shift was that of sports and fitness. Of course, you’ve heard of (and possibly own) a fitness band that is designed to track your steps, your vitals, and some other things to allow you to be the best version of yourself. This technology has been around for years and, while useful, isn’t transforming the face of sports like the technology you are seeing being introduced today. Today, we’ll take a look at how the IoT is transforming the sporting world.


The Games
Sports are important throughout the world. With so many people claiming to be sports fans, and so much money spent on viewing sporting events annually, it stands to reason that one of the biggest technology trends in history hit the sports world (and athletics as a whole). To this point the Internet of Things has been a conceptual strategy in some industries. Not in sports, where athletes, teams, and leagues are using sensors and smart products to help quantify and track elements of an athlete's performance, while using the immense amount of data that’s produced to formulate plans to make sports safer. The analysis of this data has become big business, and is, in some cases, transforming the games themselves

The National Pastime
One example is happening in baseball. Several years ago, the use of data began to change the way teams value players. Called sabermetrics, it took all the raw data that was collected from the game (and there is an awful large amount of data in every game), plugged it into algorithms that were uses to compare every player to every other player. This provided a map of how to put together a winning team for fewer dollars. Later named “Moneyball”, the strategy began to make its way through the major leagues, into the minor leagues, and beyond. With so much impetus put on the numbers, a lot of teams started finding new algorithmic approaches to try to get an advantage.

When the IoT was in its infancy, the shift toward analysis has only quickened the pace of innovations. Today, so much raw data is taken from a baseball game that all 30 major league teams have come to employ huge analytic departments to sort through and quantify the data. This has not just been used to determine the acquisition (and value) of players, it has been used to determine lineup configuration, defense configuration, pitcher effectiveness, and all in the name of situational advantage.

Once general managers, managers, and players knew what they were looking for, they began to use the newest technologies to track specific parts of a player performance. One way that IoT is working to improve player performance is by introducing technologies like SwingTracker that attaches to the bat and captures a player’s swing in 10,000 separate data points per second, and the mThrow wearable sleeve that pitchers can wear on their arms to measure pitching mechanics. Since millions of dollars are spent on contracts for players, teams are trying to be as diligent as possible as to not waste available capital. Beyond the dollars and cents, these IoT wearables not only help athletes fine-tune their craft, they do it in a way that helps them avoid injury.

Other major sporting leagues including the NFL, MLS, Premier League, NHL, NBA, and PGA all have incorporated IoT devices into the training and reporting strategies trying to both enhance the quality of their product while protecting (as much as they can) their resources (their players).

The Athletes
For the athletes themselves, the IoT has a myriad of potential uses. Today there are smart clothes, including socks, shoes, fabrics, and more designed to help the track and improve performance. Here are some examples of IoT devices that are helping individuals excel in their athletic endeavors:

  • The connected basketball - Ball handling and shooting are two of the most important offensive skills for a basketball player and there are now basketballs on the on the market that can help you improve your ball handling and shooting by incorporating sensors into the ball itself. The corresponding app presents you options to measure your dribbling and shooting.
  • The connected hockey stick - Using tape sensors, a hockey stick can help players measure their shot speed, their blade angle, and a player’s stick work.
  • The connected golf club - Golf has, somewhat ironically, been the one sport that has embraced technology most over the past 50 years. So, it is not really a big surprise that the IoT has already found its way into both clubs, and their grips. Today, there are many options for the tech-savvy golfer to improve their game using IoT technology.
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for football - By sticking an RFID sensor in a player’s shoulder pad, coaches can now see where the location of a player, the speed, and the direction they’re going. This allows them to put together smarter game plans and improve team performance.

The Internet of Things is changing the world we live in, and it’s not happening slowly. Have you started using IoT-connected devices? Tell us about your IoT experiences today in the comments section below.

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These 3 Industries are Being Fundamentally Changed by Smart Technology

These 3 Industries are Being Fundamentally Changed by Smart Technology

Smart technology has seen explosive growth in recent years, leading to an uptick in startups popping up to capitalize on smart tech and the innovative ways it can be leveraged. With demand for such devices increasing exponentially, it’s little wonder that many industries are diving into this technology. Today, we’ll discuss three of them.


Energy and Conservation
It should come as no surprise that a major driving force behind the use of smart technology is for this technology to use energy and natural resources more intelligently. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that smart technology allows us to save time and money as well, through the automation of processes that once required a human touch to complete. In addition to making homes ‘smarter’ and more accommodating to the needs of those living in them, smart tech has been proven to be a major player in environmental conservation. Automated devices have been able to track and report on various kinds of environmental data, including waterflow, plant health, migration patterns, and many other variables, allowing us to use this data to improve our treatment of our environment.

Fitness and Health
Ever since the first ‘smart’ shoe - the Micropacer - was introduced in 1984 by Adidas, smart technology and fitness have been close companions. In just the past few years, devices like fitness bands and smartwatches have exploded in popularity, and more innovations have followed fast.

As fitness bands and watches have become more intelligent, the technology that powers them and their functions has improved as well. Now, features like application integration, improved functionality, and quicker response times are available in fabric form. These smart fabrics have led to innovations like smart socks and undergarments, fitness rings, shoe inserts, and other activewear and accessories hitting the market en masse. Using these technologies, everyone from the active exerciser to the casual enthusiast will be able to better measure and optimize their workout regimen, even avoiding injury.

Transportation
All over the world, one of the biggest time sinks is the battle to get from point A to point B. In many places, the commute to work can be stretched due to traffic congestion, and in others, impractical traffic patterns extend the amount of time spent sitting behind the wheel. This is one issue that is actively being worked on through smart technology now, as is evident by the aggressive research and development into driverless transportation. After all, with machine learning and AI behind the wheel, traffic as a whole could become a cohesive network, rather than the mass of individual, autonomous bodies all looking out for number one.

This is a concept that has long been considered as a solution for the persistent issues with mass transportation that have been evident since, well, mass transportation became a common thing. We have never been closer to successfully revolutionizing automated transportation in a way that is practical for widespread application. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and other places have experimented with concepts like Uber’s driverless cars. While this initiative didn’t go quite according to plan, it still demonstrated that this technology is on the cusp of market readiness.

What are your opinions on smart technology? Do you see it being adopted in more aspects of life, or do you see it as being a short-lived interest? Talk about it in the comments section!

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The Internet of Things Moves Forward

The Internet of Things Moves Forward

More devices are taking advantage of Internet connectivity now than ever before, including some that have no business having a connection to the Internet whatsoever. While there are some practical uses for connective technology on devices on security systems, thermostats, and vehicles, others simply can’t be justified. Even blenders and refrigerators have access to wireless communication nowadays. These types of connected devices are part of the reason why so many businesses are worried about the Internet of Things.

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The IoT Can Be Very Useful, but Also Risky

The IoT Can Be Very Useful, but Also Risky

You might be surprised to hear how the scope of the Internet of Things has increased over the past few years. These connected devices are all over the place. In order to ensure that your business isn’t affected in a negative way by these IoT devices, you’ll need to consider the many risks and how you will respond to them.

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