Security in IoT - The flip side of the next big thing in technology

Security in IoT – The flip side of the next big thing in technology

Touted as the revolution that would change the world as we know it, the Internet of Things is a phenomenon that’s been gaining steady mileage over the years. In fact, GE predicts investment in Industrial Internet of Things to top $60 trillion during the next 15 years.

Every business wants to leverage IoT – from manufacturing to utilities, from healthcare to customer electronics. Think predictive maintenance of plant-floor machinery, automatic information transfer from electricity meters to service providers, auto-purchase of supplies such as shampoo by a carwash machine, and many such use cases that would enable businesses to improve user experience.

So much so, that even banks are exploiting IoT. Case in point is Capital One exploring Amazon Alexa, and adding another avenue in its omni-channel strategy. Capital One customers can now just talk to a device connected with Amazon Alexa, and easily learn their account and transaction status. Check out the video:

Source: YouTube

It is easy to predict the question running in your minds now. “My bank account details are with a device, out in the open for hacking and misuse?” Well, sometimes convenience doesn’t come without risks. And while IoT makes our lives easier, it can easily turn them into nightmares.

Weaponization of IoT?

Security in IoT

How secure is the data that these ‘things’ or devices pass among each other?

The truth is, not so safe.

As per a 2014 report by HP, 7 out of 10 IoT devices have security flaws – with an average of 25 vulnerabilities per device.

Today, any attacker worth their salt can hack into an IoT device and manipulate it to act on their orders. Bank account numbers and credentials can be accessed and used to cause fund diversion. Smart electricity meters can be rigged to cause power outages.

And though it may seem far-fetched, pacemaker transmitters can be ‘doctored’ to deliver deadly shocks to patients connected with pacemakers.

While your device control may be taken over and data be stolen, you may also be subjected to denial of service attacks. On October 2016, widespread Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks were reported in the US, that affected 80 major websites like Amazon, BBC, Twitter, Slack, etc. Thought to be the largest-ever, the attack was caused by a botnet that had injected the Mirai malware, into a number of IoT devices such as printers, IP cameras and even baby monitors. Mirai scanned for IoT devices that had weak factory default setting (hard-coded usernames and passwords), converted them into bots, and then used them to launch DDoS attack.

In another DDoS attack, connected heating devices were hacked, leaving Finnish residents in hazardous sub-zero conditions.

Such events can cause widespread chaos and mayhem among the general public.

Making IoT more secure Security in IoT

Security in IoT  is a key concern that’s hounding the aficionados. The benefits are aplenty, and usher our world into a new era in technology, but at what cost? It is important for businesses and consumers to reflect at the following security aspects of IoT:

  • Device password – The Chinese firm, TP Link had been shipping routers that by default had the last 8 characters of their MAC addresses as the device password, making it easy for attackers to identify MAC address and hack into these devices. A terrible flaw in info security indeed. This vulnerability can be overcome by eliminating such default settings, and regularly updating passwords.
  • Data safety – Businesses are urged to retain data for as short a while as possible and then purge them, akin to shredding information when no longer required.
  • Provide security patches – In a rush to take the product to market, manufacturers often disregard the need for security in devices. Manufacturers should release security upgrades and inform their customers to install these to tighten security.
  • Implement security standards – The international community is coming together to create IoT security standards to adhere to, and to prevent cyber attacks. There are many associations that are working towards this. Manufacturers should consciously adopt a security first approach and uphold these standards.

While making IoT completely infallible is a difficult goal, it is definitely important to aspire for and ensure security in IoT. Vulnerabilities will exist, but at the end of the day, stakeholders need to work together to make IoT more secure in the coming future, where the world will be populated with around 50 million connected devices. And that’s a battle of a totally different magnitude, for which we aren’t currently equipped.

Reimagining customer experience in retail

Re-imagining Customer Experience in Retail

The recently concluded World Retail Congress saw the who’s who of the tech and retail worlds gathering at Dubai, to discuss the changing retail landscape. This year’s theme was reflective of the current mood of the market – Re-imagining the customer experience in retail.

The modern customer has multiple options to choose from and if they don’t like the experience, they don’t mind shifting elsewhere, even if it means paying more. The days of deep discounting are done, and the era of experience has taken over.  In fact, it is predicted that customer experience will overtake price and product as a differentiator by 2020.

Now who really is this modern-day customer?

This segment consists of the Gen Y and Gen Z (those born after 1995) who do an online analysis and peer-group discussion even before entering the retail outlet. These mobile-savvy, social media enthusiasts expect stores to present ‘one voice’ across communication channels – outlets, web stores, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

By 2020, Gen Z will be the largest group of customers worldwide, making up 40% of the US, Europe and BRIC countries, as per Fitch. Gen Z will be big on using technology to achieve their shopping goals, goals that are both tangible (product) and intangible (experience).

We can safely conclude that the modern customer poses an interesting challenge to retailers. And the battle cry to tackle this is – #GoPhygital.

Imagine a world of:

  • Ordering groceries online during lunch from work and picking up the order from a convenient location, while driving home?
  • Or entering a mall, and having all the promo offers information come right into your phone via proximity engagement technology?
  • Or in-store shopping assistance via endless aisle? Order today, get it delivered at home/place of convenience when product is back in stock.

The possibilities are endless. And retailers are transcending channels, riding on the technological capabilities.

Who are the customer experience trendsetters in retail?

Amazon has conceived the futuristic Amazon Go store, where checkout has been eliminated. It’s just walk in, grab stuff and walk out! Watch this.

Source: Amazon

Now’s that some amazing customer experience made possible by digital technology!

Another biggie that is literally turning heads is Alibaba’s ‘pay with a nod‘. Alibaba is building the VR Pay technology for people who use virtual reality devices to shop on virtual reality shopping malls.

Going by these developments, it seems for sure that retail will be encountering marked transformations in days to come.


Reimagine and actualize exceptional customer experience in retail, with AgilizTech’s innovative digital solutions.

 

Does your customer bake cakes to celebrate your win? Ours did!

All sorts of prose and literature are available on customer relationship management. But often, what binds and strengthens the relationship between a business and its customer is the experience imparted. A commitment to put the customer’s needs and requirements at the forefront of all efforts. And when the business gets it right, customers consider themselves as partners, a fellow of the inner circle, a member of the family. They share the joys and sorrows and become pillars of strength to the business, in times merry and morose.
And while it feels great to receive accolades from the industry, it feels extra special when our customers applaud our wins!
When we excitedly announced our win at the Small Enterprise Business Awards 2016 event, our customer community reverberated with cheers and congratulations. And our customer, Whitecaps International School of Pastry, made our victory sweeter by toasting us with an assortment of delicious Raspberry Pastries and divine chocolates.
Whitecaps customer

We were exhilarated when we won the awards. And now we stand overjoyed at the fact that, we have won not just awards, but also our customers’ hearts. Our many thanks to Whitecaps International School of Pastry, for their constant support and encouragement in all our endeavors, and of course the delectable desserts! We stand committed to our mission of helping businesses respond with agility and provide superior customer experience. This is just the beginning and these are tiny steps on our march to scale the summits we have marked.

Bitnami