How Smart Homes Take Over The World (Infographic) | Guest Blog of The Week

ana-bera-guest-authorThis insightful article is written by Ana Bera, Co-Founder of SafeatLast. Ana Bera is a seasoned digital marketing executive. She’s also a food addict and has traveled some of the most well-known metropolises around the world. Her current venture – SafeatLast – is a service which offers an insightful study of security technologies, specifically those powered by IoT. Have any questions or want to ask her opinion about a security system in your new smart home? Get in touch with Ana Bera!

Smart homes are the next big thing. You may not realize it yet, but somewhere your day will be easier because of it. Smart home technology is not only impacting the houses it’s installed into. Its reach stretches to other industries like business, science and even health care. Here is an infographic detailing the numbers and change caused by smart homes.


Disruptive Growth

The rapid rate of growth in the smart home industry has an effect on all kinds of industries. The easiest way to track this is to follow the money. In 2018 alone, the US has spent $19.827 billion on smart home technology. This may seem like a low amount compared to the total size of the American Gross Domestic Product. But, keep in mind that smart homes are all about connecting different types of technology. It uses the Internet of Things (IoT) to do this. It’s estimated that by 2020 IoT will generate revenue exceeding $300 billion. The influential power of that $19 million-odd (spent in 2018) suddenly looks very promising.

Home Automation

Smart homes have you in mind. Its very existence is to make your life easier and cheaper. Different products will have differing applications. You can be sure that any room in your house can be automated in some way through this technology.

Smart Kitchens

Smart ovens, smart refrigerators, smart microwaves, and the list goes on. You are now able to monitor and control certain functions in your kitchen from your smartphone. You aren’t alone in the kitchen anymore. Smart kitchens have your back!

Smart Climate Control

You can program your thermostat and air conditioning from an app. Schedule and control these devices through a wireless connection via the internet. Be your own weatherman and decide the climate of your house. Or save unnecessary costs by stopping these units from consuming gas and electricity beyond your budget.


Smart Security

Be the king of your castle as you track monitor and control vulnerable aspects of your home. Use home security systems like smart CCTV, smart locks, smart sensors, and alarms to enjoy absolute control over what is yours. 62% of Americans claim smart security as the top benefit of owning smart homes. Three out of every five Americans who own smart homes will use a smartphone to monitor their houses. Total control is now possible from the screen of your phone.


Taking the nation at large!

The world is becoming a smaller place, and smarter too. Smart homes have bridged many gaps to make life easier for their owners. America is leading the global charge with 7,5% of homes already adopting the technology. In 2022 that number is expected to hit 19,5%. Life as you know it is changing every day due to smart homes. The infographic below shows where it has come from and where it is going. Read on to see the change that lies in wait.


Key Smart Home Statistics To Remember

  • 57% of Americans say smart products save them 30-min per day
  • 45% of Americans save on average $1,179.60 per year with smart devices
  • 62%, or 3 out of 5 Americans claim that home security is the main benefit of smart products
  • 81% of buyers claim they would rather purchase a home with smart products already installed
  • Home security systems will account for over $100 Billion by 2020 in the security market
  • 57.7% of smart tech users are male and 42.3% are female


Mirai Botnet Attacks & Security Status of IoT in 2019

(This article is also featured at “IoT for All“)

Without a single shadow of a doubt, the reemergence of the notorious Mirai botnet in the IoT infrastructure presents some grave challenges for security developers as well as force us to reflect on the state of security of IoT in 2019.

While such unethical malware attacks are now widely regarded as the online version of real-life crimes, and the cybercriminals as the counterparts of their real-life partners, the scope and target of these types of attacks makes them either noticeable or unnoticeable.

In the case of Mirai botnet, the 2016-founded malware program has been continuously successful in grabbing the attention of the IoT world, and more lately, the enterprise IoT sector which altogether makes it a huge concern for IT firms. So, with such kind of recurring Mirai malware attacks in IoT infrastructure – even in 2019 – where does the state of security in IoT stand now?


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Before More, A Little Bit on Mirai & Its Turbulent Relationship with IoT

Mirai malware was written by three programmers: Paras Jha, Dalton Norman, and Josiah White. It was first discovered in 2016 by a malware research group called MalwareMustDie. In the same year, Mirai malware became a globally recognized threat when it accumulated one of the worst and most massive DDoS (denial-of-service) attacks in history; Mirai closed down a pivotal U.S. dynamic host service providing company which triggered a widespread internet outage in the USA and Europe.

Again in 2016, Mirai returned with an impactful attack on a renowned American security journalist Brian Krebs “Krebs on Security” blog site. It locked down the entire website for almost four days and costing the owners around $323, 000. Now, despite being arrested and sentenced by a U.S. Court, the authors did manage to make the source code public on a hacking forum online, and this actually triggered the creation of numerous Mirai botnet types since 2016. However, the thing which is worrisome about all those developed Mirai malware variants is this: their target was mostly consumer-level IoT devices, but recorded a serious shift towards enterprise IoT sector from 2017 and all the way into 2019.

So, the question might be lurking in the corridors of our reader’s mind: Why Mirai has mostly been targeting the IoT industry, let alone a shift towards enterprise IoT? And what an IoT service provider can possibly do to keep this online viral plague away from its IoT ecosystem? Well, to answer the first question, the growing adoption and rise of IoT technology make it an obvious target of such notorious online malware like Mirai.

The answer to the second question is not so straight forward, but simple to understand theoretically: Keep your IoT network, and every device on it, tightly encrypted with modern IoT-specific encryption techniques. This statement leads us to the second immediate concern of this narrative; what security standards are there in IoT technology in 2019 to combat severe malware and virus attacks online? Let shed a bit of light on this.


road traffic management with IoT technology - infographic

Road Traffic Management via IoT Technology (Infographic)

Nearly 1.35 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day, says WHO. We can increase road safety by managing traffic with smart IoT solutions.

The State of IoT Security in 2019

Despite great advancements and breakthrough over the last decade or so, it is quite unfortunate (shameful) to admit that the problem of ideal security architecture and standards are still largely missing for the thriving IoT sector. According to the words of Joe Weiss, a consultant with Applied Control Solution and the Managing Director of ISA99:


“It’s 2019! How can we be in this place? We haven’t made much progress with security at all. We’ve made lots of progress monitoring the networks and almost nothing about what we were supposed to do in the first place.”


This statement cannot be termed as an exaggeration, and there are good reasons to say so. For instance, a sensor is one of the most widely used/deployed forms of IoT hardware. Many manufacturers globally are using cheap and low-capability processors for IoT hardware that are not capable enough to sustain additional load forced by latest encryption techniques; thus, resulting in a dangerous lack of security for an IoT ecosystem of devices. If we see this lack of concern for security in a multitude of billions and trillions of deployed IoT devices, we sure have a delicious meal ready for the hungry wild pack of viruses and malware online to strike.

The reason for this, according to Paul Bevan – Research Director of IT Infrastructure at Bloor Research – is the cost. He says that to keep the costs down and profits higher, companies that are creating small-scale IoT sensors are not using adequate hardware components and benchmarking to accommodate powerful security encryption requirements. Obviously, this has to be changed or else we will have a gigantic area of the internet, specifically the enterprise sector, which is completely open for bad players online to play their games at their own will.

Although, Transaction Processing Performance (TPC) has given a universal benchmarking standard for all kinds of IoT gateways evaluation, still the need for a succinct and truly overall undeniable pack of security standards for IoT network and devices is a must. If we take a close look at how Mirai malware successfully breaches the IoT device’ integrity, we can easily find out that we are lacking effective security protocols at the core levels.

For example, a Mirai malware works on the “command injection attack” format. A Command Injection Attack uses unsafe accessing credentials in various forms such as cookies, forms, HTTP protocol, and etc., to enter and manipulate an operating system’s “Shell” file. It then manipulates the entire OS central command directive and implements/executes attacker-supplied commends in the system. These kinds of attacks are only possible when there is an insufficient or incapable validation process existing in a system. In our case, this can be an IoT ecosystem or an IoT network.

So, if we do not build hardware/software powerful and capable enough to self-evaluate, validate, and implement complex encryptions for the command-level operating system, the data breach in the form of Mirai attack or any other else is inevitable. Considering the seriousness such a situation can create, and the current state of security in the rapidly growing IoT sector, it is about time that the “think tank” in the IoT world should sit down and join their heads to bring about an innovative and novel approach in order to combat any threats seeking to annihilate the growing IoT sector. Once we can be proud of our security standards in IoT, nothing can stop us from reaping the remarkable benefits this amazing technology has to offer, both to commercial and private users for good.


How Smart Homes Take Over The World (Infographic) | Guest Blog of The Week

In our “Guest Blog of The Week” series for this week, we share Ana Bera’s – co-founder SafeatLast – insights on how smart homes are taking over the traditional abode.

Mirai Botnet Attacks & Security Status of IoT in 2019

Recent Mirai botnet attacks highlight challenges for IoT integrity, as well as forcing us to reflect on where IoT stands in terms of security in the year 2019.

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