The future is unfolding now, as smarter devices using machine learning and artificial
intelligence are being created every day and permeating every facets of our lives as they are increasingly becoming part of the mainstream electronics culture. Smart devices are quickly being incorporated into smart homes faster than ever. It’s already been predicted that, by 2020, there will be over 20 billion smart devices connected. IoT devices are already a huge part of how we interact with our vehicles, homes, appliances, and beyond….
Evidencing that IoT is taking off rapidly, Target operates a store in San Francisco that sells IoT devices exclusively. Likewise, there is big money in the IoT space currently, and it will only continue to grow as technology improves.
The collection of data by IoT devices will encourage the creation of even smarter ones. Municipal connected IoT devices, including smart traffic lights that utilize data to sync lights, are transforming cities into smart cities. Other smart IoT devices are improving cities’ overall efficiency and saving municipal governments money as everything can be remotely managed. Smart homes are currently using smart thermostats, lighting systems and coffee makers that collect data on occupants’ habits and patterns of usage to facilitate machine learning toward enabling efficiency.
Keeping These Devices Secure
With all these IoT devices connected, end-to-end security can present a real challenge. The best answer, however, is to utilize a security solution that not only provides end-to-end security but also encrypts the message all the way through.
Thus, devices with encryption keys that can decrypt the encrypted data, as it’s sent and received, are ideal. These devices also enable you to wrap the message body and leave all the actionable data in TLS. Whereas actionable data ought to be simple data like temperature information. Likewise, all inbound ports should remain closed at all costs to prevent your IoT devices from being open to vulnerabilities and DDOS attacks. Configuring devices for outward connections to only make outbound connections will keep the door closed and prevent applications access as well as access to services behind the open ports. The outward connection can be left open so the device can listen in with a secure tunnel back from the network.
The Publish-Subscribe Paradigm is A Great Solution to Many IoT Issues
Using the Publish-Subscribe model with protocols like MQTT, Websockets, or Streaming HTTP to send data on a small scale, ensures connection security to be secure but only works on a small scale. Utilizing such model, the publisher is given a write token and the subscriber a read token, and each token can be revoked at any time and tokens can also have an expiry. In addition, tokens can be set to work with only certain datastream (in this case channel names) so you can have control over what goes in and out of your network.
Utilizing solutions like PubNub help keep globally (large-scale )secure networks running as it also supports secure message delivery among devices. No need to setup your own servers no custom code(s) needed in order to communicate with your backend.
The key to a successful IoT project is to make provisioning incredibly fast and ensure that the entire user experience seamless.
Unless you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or another reason to cut back on grain consumption, the USDA recommends eating grains daily with at least half being whole grains. With whole grains, you’re getting fiber, a healthy plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and a variety of phytochemicals that will improve your health.
Whole Grains | What Are They?
Whole grains have all of the parts of the original kernel—bran, germ, and endosperm—in the original proportions but stripped of the the bran and germ in refined state.
One very important point, however, is that you must always look for the word “whole”—either whole grain or whole wheat on the label, and also ensure the grain is one of the first three ingredients listed on the label. Likewise, a whole grain stamp from the Whole Wheat Council indicates there’s at least half a serving of whole grain inside. And don’t be fooled by bread that looks healthy because it’s brown. It may just be colored with molasses or brown sugar.
Whole Grains Can Contain a lot of fiber
Fiber is one big reason to eat whole grains as adults need about 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily, and whole grains contain two types—soluble and insoluble—which are both beneficial to your health. You’ll get 5.8 grams of fiber in two slices of dark rye bread, but only 1.9 grams from the same amount of white bread. Because it digests slowly, fiber also helps you feel fuller longer. And fiber’s health benefits are well known—it can help control blood sugar, lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and reduce colon cancer risk. Granted not all whole grains are high in fiber, some of the best sources include oats, barley and bulgur.
Whole Grains Help Digestion
Whole grains have other digestive benefits, including regular bowel movements and help ward off diverticulosis, the condition in which little pouches form in the colon wall, causing inflammation, constipation, diarrhea, and pain. Fiber is responsible for much of the benefit, but whole grains also contain lactic acid, which promotes good bacteria in the large intestine. These organisms aid digestion, promote better nutrition absorption, and may even beef up the body’s immune system.
Whole Grains Lower Cholesterol
Likewise, whole grains also help your body with getting rid of bad cholesterol and also help lower triglycerides, both of which are major contributors to heart disease. It’s been found that women who ate 2-3 servings of whole grain products daily were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease compared with women who ate less than one serving a week. “Any form of whole grain—including whole wheat, oats, brown rice, barley, corn, quinoa, rye, buckwheat, and millet—will confer benefits for heart health,” says Cheung. “When it comes to oatmeal, steel-cut is better than instant.”
Whole Gains Blood Pressure
The heart benefits of whole grains don’t stop with cholesterol and triglycerides. They also lower blood pressure, one of the most important risk factors for heart disease. One study found a 19% lower risk of hypertension among men who ate more than 7 servings of whole grain breakfast cereal a week compared with those who ate one or less. A study of women also found a benefit of eating whole grains instead of refined grains substantially lowers blood cholesterol.
Whole Grains Weight
People who eat a lot of whole grains are more likely to keep their weight in check and less likely to gain weight over time than those who eat refined grains. In one study, women who consumed the most wheat germ, brown rice, dark bread, popcorn, and other whole grains had a 49% lower risk of “major weight gain” over time compared with women who favored doughnuts and white bread. Result of another study revealed that middle-aged men and women who ate a diet high in fiber gained 3.35 pounds less than those with who went for refined products.
Whole Grains Fat
Even if eating whole grains doesn’t actually make you lose weight, studies have shown that it can help you cut down on the amount of body fat you have and lead to a healthier distribution of that fat. Specifically, eating whole grains can leave you with less belly fat—what scientists kindly call “central adiposity”—which increases your risk of diabetes and other health woes.
Whole Grains Make You Feel Full
One way whole grains may help you control your weight is by making you feel fuller than refined grains such as cookies or white bread. “Whole grains take longer to digest and have a more satiating effect,” says Gans, who is also author of The Small Change Diet. This could also help keep your portions under control. Try rye or protein-packed quinoa to get maximum fullness.
They help regulate blood sugar
One of the main benefits of whole grains is that, compared to refined grains, whole grains help keep your blood glucose from spiking, which can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, among other things. It’s been found that women who ate 2-3 servings of whole grains a day had a 30% lower risk of diabetes than women who ate little or no whole grain products. Another analysis found a 32% lower risk of diabetes in people who ate 3 or more servings a day of whole grains versus a 5% risk reduction in those who ate refined grains. Something as simple as swapping one third of a serving of cooked white rice a day (about 2 ounces) for brown rice was associated with a 16% decline in type 2 diabetes risk. Consuming whole grains has been proven to provide some preventive measures against type 2 diabetes, and can be a smart choice for people with pre-diabetes predisposition or high risk of diabetes.
Adult men and women should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day / Some Grains that Deliver Calcium
As it’s been widely known, whole grains may not be an abundant source of calcium, one grain “Teff”, a whole grain type that is common in Ethiopia, has about 123 milligrams of calcium, approximately the same amount to a half cup of cooked spinach.
Some grains offer vitamin C
Although whole grains aren’t your first go-to source for vitamin C, some of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C can be obtained from the whole grain known as amaranth – a grain that originates from Mexico and Peru – is also high in other vitamins and minerals including iron, and is rich in protein, keeping you full longer.
They are a good source of B vitamins
Whole grains are great for metabolism as they are rich in the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin as well as folate (folic acid), which helps the body form red blood cells as it is critical for preventing birth defects in babies. Furthermore, whole grains, like Bran, can also help women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant with their multivitamin requirements.
They deliver essential minerals
Whole grains are a great source of essential minerals, including iron, which transports oxygen throughout the body and helps prevent anemia; magnesium, which builds bones; and selenium that protects against oxidation that keep our bodies healthy. They also contain zinc, that is necessary to keep your immune system in fighting shape.
They May Reduce asthma risk
An overall healthy diet with more whole grains, fruits and vegetables and less meat, as well as refined foods may reduce asthmatic wheezing.
It’s been found that eating whole grains early in life may ward off asthma and other allergic conditions. It’s also been found that children who were introduced to oats as infants were less likely to have asthma or allergic rhinitis by the time they turned five.
They Cut Markers of Inflammation
Inflammatory condition, like asthma, may be eased by consuming whole grains. It’s also been suggested that whole grains, like barley or brown rice, or a combination of the two reduced markers of inflammation in the gut, and may also cut levels of C-reactive protein – the marker of inflammation that has been associated with the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes but also with issues in pregnancy such as premature birth, preeclampsia and fertility problems.
Whole Grains May Lower Cancer Risk
Though mixed, but eidence that consumption of whole grains as well as vegetables and fruits may lower the risks of certain cancers, such as colorectal, breast, and pancreatic cancer, is growing.
Protection for Your Teeth And Gums
In a study of almost 35,000 male health professionals aged 40-75, participants who consumed the highest amounts of whole grain were 23% less likely to get gum disease than those who stayed away from whole grains. This was true even after taking into account other factors like smoking, age, and body size. Since gum disease is linked to inflammation and other health conditions like heart disease, this is about more than just a pretty smile.
Better Life and Longevity
Whole grains help you live better and may help you live longer. Result of a study on postmenopausal women suggested that women who consumed regular servings of whole grains weekly had a much lower risk of dying from causes other than cancer or heart disease when compared with women who had few or no whole grains in their diet. Result of another study concluded that men who consumed 1 or more servings a day of whole-grain cereal had a 17% reduced risk of dying than those who never or hardly ever ate it.
Whole Grains Resistant Starch
Although carbs are good for you, the trick is to find the right kind of carb that act more like a fiber as well as starch resistant. As they are not easily digested, they move slowly through your digestive system burning more fat, stoking the hormones that make you feel full, maintaining your insulin in good working order and keeping blood sugar and cholesterol levels down. Ten to fifreen grams daily. Oatmeal, pearl barley and brown rice are all good whole grain sources of Resistant Starch, which is also found in green bananas and other non-grain foods.
IoT devices are special-purpose devices, that, most likely, connect wirelessly to a network and transmit and receive data over that wireless connection in order to monitor or
control one or many device(s)(thing(s).)
The key characteristics that make IoT devices work include sensors for data acquisition and monitoring as well as actuators – the physical interface – to control the thing(s)( a smart thermostat, the dimmer switch in a smart light bulb, or the gear motors in a robotic vacuum cleaner ) as well as data processing and storage.
Moreover, IoT devices are also equipped to process sensor data, store that data locally, and provide the computing power that makes the device operate.
Although security is the biggest problem with IoT devices, it is the last thing that is considered in the
device’s development lifecycle. However, there are lots of manufacturers out there who build pricier
and more secured devices.
Having IoT devices both at home and on your corporate network means that your devices are widely exposed to malware attacks. In fact, your devices might have already been attacked or compromised while you not aware of it. By modifying your firewall to enable port-forwarding to allow your devices to be conveniently accessed from anywhere on the internet to monitor and control them, they are widely
exposed to the internet.
Many IoT home security devices tested were found to have substantial vulnerabilities, including weak
passwords, lack of encryption when devices communicate over the network, as well as account enumeration (when using password reset feature to find valid user account IDs). All of the tested devices are likely to be a part of any smart home today: smart TVs, home thermostats, webcams, smart locks, and beyond.
Firmware and/or Software
The firmware and/or onboard software that runs an IoT device sit between the hardware and the outside world, and fall into one of two categories: embedded firmware or operating system-based (OS-based) firmware.
Most IoT devices connect wirelessly
IoT devices most often communicate wirelessly, using a direct 802.11 Wifi connection to your router,
which means they can be anywhere in your home or enterprise. The communication needs of the device
change depending on how it is designed to work.
Device Provisioning and Management
As some IoT devices (aka, Headless devices) do not have built-in user interaction hardware, such as a
touch screen, one way to configure these devices is to use Wifi Protected Setup (WPS) by pressing the
WPS button on your IoT device and pressing the WPS button on the router to establish a connection.
Other devices create a Wifi access point to which you can connect by using your smart phone to access a
setup program where you to enter your Wifi network credentials. Yet, other devices, like gateways,
are provisioned using the pairing mode. To pair, you follow the device-specific instructions to put
the devices in pairing mode so that they can connect to the gateway.
Monitor and manage the devices
Once your devices are connected to the network, you can monitor and manage them either through a
smartphone or through an interface connected to a cloud service.
Other devices like CCTV security cameras have dedicated IP addresses and connect directly to the
internet. These devices are accessed directly over the internet, bypassing the need for a cloud service
provider or gateway.
Many malware attacks are designed to test the defenses of the target by employing multiple attack vectors to exhaust all of its defenses in the process. Most of these attacks are characteristic of clever and resourceful hackers.
The attack vectors
Weak passwords and backdoors With some manufacturers emphasizing easy setup and use for end-users who are often not technically savvy, as well as their desire for automatic software upgrade and support, they provide some simple way to login to the device, like a single userid/password combination. Often times, these users leave the device’s login credentials unchanged.
Lack of encryption
Unfortunately, security features like encryption that is able to secure data over the network are often overlooked or not even considered by some manufactures. Likewise, many IoT devices do not support encryption.
Being on the Internet and accepting incoming traffic, devices are exposed and will come under attack. Most IoT devices already have little or no security and are particularly susceptible to attack.
The attack: Scan and takeover
As it sounds, a scan and takeover attack is comprised of two phases: the scan and takeover phase and
the attack launch phase, which are executed by a Command and Control (CNC) program. After the IoT
device attack, the device is taken over and bent to the hacker’s will.
The CNC program is a malicious program that scans IP addresses on the internet looking for hosts with
open ports, and attempts to log in using a set of known default userid/password combinations (for
example, admin/admin, root/admin, user/user, and so forth), if a port is found open. If successful, a script runs and reports the device’s IP address, along with the login credentials to use and, subsequently, pushes the malware to the device that it needs to run the attack. The device is now controlled and awaits for the actual attack to take place.
While the device(s) owner is unaware of what is going on, the attack continues as other devices are taken over and referred to as bots. These types of attacks usually cause either DDos attacks (crippling the target host(s) by sending it/them so much HTTP (and other) traffic it/they cannot handle)) or spam bots.
Protecting your IoT devices
Always change default passwords When you provision a new device, go into the management interface and change the password. If there is not a way to do this, and you plan to expose the device to the internet, consider using a device that allows you to. Likewise, remove devices with telnet backdoors.
Run regular port scans on all your devices There are multiple scanners out there that can enable you to run the tools yourself.
( For assistance, please contact us InternetOfThings@Bluelabelweekly.com )